salvaging damaged business relationships

Subject: salvaging damaged business relationships
From: "Sue Kirk" <skirk -at- iprimus -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 00:22:54 +1000

I agree with you wholeheartedly Andrew about communication and that is
exactly why this project fell apart. However, Lisa hit the nail right on
the head. There was no problem with my work.

The reason for the breach was because the Company doesn't have policies in
place to make payments under Contracts. They insist that contractors submit
invoices and then the contractors fall victim to their internal mechanisms
and payment schedules, which I wasn't aware of until the first breach and
late payment, I don't have a problem with submitting an invoice but, its a
bit crazy to set up a Contract with payment schedules and then be in a
position of breach because that is not the process. (first example of bad
communication and a bad contract)

The final payment became a power struggle. The contract expired. I
delivered the product, but still had possession of image files. In the
meantime I had received advice from the Project Manager (who incidentally
resigned because of this man) that my invoice was not with accounts. I rang
accounts to verify this and at that same time that I received confirmation
that they had not received my invoice I was getting emails from the guy
saying that I was being "unreasonable" and again assuring me that my invoice
was with the accounts section. I guess at this point I thought he could be

I never received feedback regarding my work nor did I have to do an
edit.(more bad communication) I mean wow I know I deliver an exceptional
product! but I expected 2 edits at least in accordance with the Contract.
The time schedules included in the Contract were poor and they had a
deadline to complete that unfortunately took place over the Christmas break
while they were away and I was writing. (bad project management and bad

I gave them one of the draft 2 weeks before the due date to give them a head
start in reviewing, but it was never read.(more bad project management) I
did ask for feedback on a few occasions.

The whole Contract was poorly set up and after talking at length with the
Manager, I know for a fact that they will at least ensure that policies are
put in place so that payments under Contracts are met on time.

So the documents were NEVER edited can you believe that!! He used them
exactly as they were. The documents had comments all the way through them
of things that needed to be addressed, which never were.

>Its a matter of energy and expense. If you jump right into a lawsuit,
>you're likely to wind up in a quagmire of legal wrangling. You also stand
>a chance of losing, which could make you liable for the customer legal
>fees - DOH!

As regards payment of legal fees there was already a clause in place, as

10. Each party must indemnify the other party against loss, damage, injury,
cost or expense resulting from its breach of this Agreement.

so Doh! there was no question of legal fees.

>Lawsuits have a polarizing effect on people. It doesn't matter how
>diligently you followed every rule. If you sue somebody, or even threaten
>to sue them, they will immediately see you as an enemy and begin
>fortifying themselves from attack. Furthermore, you might earn a
>reputation as a "troublesome" person.

At the risk of gender bashing. Is this a Power play in business based on
testosterone? (enemies and attacks) I have had an extensive background in
law and my partner is an attorney. A Contract should not be taken lightly,
you don't enter into a Contract without serious consideration. The fact
that so much of business is unethical and in bad faith is the reason we have
had to resort to Contracts rather than a shake of hands. I know for a fact
there are a lot of people out their delivering a less than perfect product
and expecting to get paid for it. I am not one of those people.

Is it being "troublesome" to expect payment for your work. I've never been
employed by someone and been told, "well we are not going to pay you for
that work you did this week because we don't consider it was up to scratch".
You might get fired in the end but you still get paid for the work you do.
If you are not delivering a quality product then you won't be in business
for long and I will be taking over your work, I can guarantee that. So yes
I DO expect to get paid for the work I do. I will endeavour to the best of
my ability to deliver exactly what the client requires but "reasonableness"
prevails and we all know you cant please everyone all the time.

I can say one thing the Manager I spoke to was mortified that this had taken

>Maybe it was a man who only LOOKS like a woman? Ever consider that?


Yes I will call her. They have a lot more work and I know I can give them
what they need. Is paying for lunch ok?

>Why didn't he pay you? You said he breached the contract. Did he have a
>reason? Generally people don't just BREECH contracts for fun. They have
>reasons. Do you know his reasons

My final point is this I want you to think about why the words breach and
breech are so closely related, even Andrew had a Freudian slip. Maybe its
all a proverbial pain in the...........

Susan Kirk

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