Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Proof Positive

Over at The Consumerist, they have an interesting article titled "Make Debt Collectors Prove They Own What They Say You Owe", which includes, in part:

We've mentioned how if you're being pursued by a debt collector, you need to make them prove that you owe the need to make them prove that it is they they actually own the debt, what is called having "standing."...When we defend clients in court on these types of cases...the debt buyer refuses to produce at trial the alleged "purchase agreement" where they supposedly bought the debt...
So, what does this mean?

Consider that you are that debt collector, and the debtor is the person for whom you provided services to, or to whom you've delivered prints, or a CD. I know far far too many photographers who do not require the client sign an estimate or other document prior to the beginning of work being performed.

What if the person hiring you gets fired? Quits? Dies? Or, what if they remember you agreed to terms or fees that you didn't, because it's not in writing, signed? What if you spent a lot of money on an assignment (airfare, hotels, assistants, and so on) and they either thought all expenses were included in the fee, or don't approve expenses like yours? A signed agreement would give you "standing" with this person, or if they are no longer with the company, for whatever reason, with their boss, legal department, or accounting department.

You must have a signed document from your client outlining terms and conditions, fees and expenses, and rights granted, and you must have your signature on the document as well. Not doing so, is like playing with fire, and you will get burned.

Oh, and one more thing - save and archive these documents, meticulously and methodically!
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