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Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by Jeff, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Hi,

    I'm a freelance graphic designer based in Manchester. I've recently found myself caught up in a potentially nasty situation between a printer and a client. I'm looking for some advice/information as to where I stand regarding a couple of legal matters. This is my first use of a forum and if someone could let me know how I go about posting my questions, it would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    hi Jeff

    Welcome to the forum, what's the problem?
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Many thanks for the prompt reply.

    After producing some artwork for a client I was instructed to organise the print.

    My printer gave me a lead-time of 10 days from sign off of the proofs to produce some pocket-size diaries (72pp, 51 kinds, total print run of 7,300). On day 10 I received only 3 of the 51 kinds and the following day, just 1. This translated to just 7% of the total order received.

    My client was understandably concerned and requested a guaranteed date for completion. The printer was unwilling to commit to a final date and would only give a vague assurance it would be finished soon. The reason the printer gave for the delay was the size of the booklet was causing unexpected problems on their folding machines. I would dispute this as I supplied them with a sample from a previous year.

    My client now wishes to walk-away from the job entirely. As it is me that placed the order and therefore liable for all costs, am I within my rights to cancel the order on the grounds that the printer has failed to deliver an acceptable quantity on their self proposed lead-time and would then not commit to a final deadline?

    This is a current, ongoing situation that is changing even as I’m writing this. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  4. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Have you paid up front?
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    No. Payment is expected on completion. The printer will invoice me and I will invoice the client. Relationships have begun to sour and I can see myself getting stuffed with a fairly sizable print bill (2.5k)
     
  6. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    I would just say to the printer that they have failed to meet the agreed turnaround and that them not giving you an exact delivery date to receive the rest is not good enough, failure to agree to a delivery date (with discount) agreed by both parties for the rest will result in the order being cancelled, granted you may get chased for the money but I think you are well within your rights to do this now.

    I kinda feel sorry for the printer but to be honest if they have seen a physical sample they should have known how long these would take them, them not being forthcoming in letting you know when the balance will be received is pretty poor service, hence tell them what will happen, you may find they are back in touch with a delivery date straight away. If they are make sure they understand that if the second date is missed that you are cancelling the order completely.
     
  7. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    They said 10 days - they should have turned it around in 10 days.

    Cancel your order.

    If they couldn't fulfill the order they shouldn't have accepted the job.
     
  8. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Many thanks. You've said pretty much what I think too. As I said earlier the situation is changing all the time and tempers are flaring. The current situation is the job has recommenced and the printer has finally agreed to supply a minimum of 10 diaries a day over the coming week with the job reachging completion on Friday. This job still has every possibilty of falling apart if the printer does not keep to his word (in writing) with my client teetering on the verge of walking away at any moment.

    This has been a very sobering episode for me. I don't normally get involved in buying print except for small print runs. What I haven't mentioned in any of these threads is the appaling behaviour of my client. Whilst this has no bearing on the issue above it does lead to another situation I would appreciate your input on.

    I'm going to be away from my desk for the next hour but if you would be available later for your opinion I would be extremely grateful.

    Many thanks for your help so far.
     
  9. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Many thanks for replying.

    As you will see from my previous reply things have moved on again. My client has instructed me to reingage the services of the printer.

    My client was in the difficult situation where he desperately required the finished print and couldn't wait to go through the whole process again.
     
  10. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Stationery Direct likes this.
  11. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I've had similar issues (one quite recently) and it always seems to come down to handing over control to a supplier when outsourcing. The client gets cross with you because they see it as your fault, even though you've got no real control over the situation.

    I've come to the realisation that if I can't manage a project entirely in house or through a small trusted network of suppliers, it's gong to be waaaay more hassle than its worth, so I don't bother.
     
  12. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Many thanks for the link. That's exactly the kind of thing I need to know. I've worked in the industry for close on thirty years (the last four in a freelance capacity) and never had any bother. Hindsight is a marvelous thing. It's not until something goes wrong you realise just how vunerable you can leave yourself. Thanks again for your assistance.
     
  13. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    I couldn't agree more. The lure of earning some 'easy money' from the commision is soon blown away when something like this happens - It just isn't worth it. It's tough learning the hard way, but it teaches you a valuable lesson for the future. All the best.
     
  14. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Because of the ill feeling this situation has created between myself and my client, I need to take steps to protect myself in the future and need to know where I stand legally with the following query.

    I've worked with this particular client for close on 17 years and the work I do involves the updating of artwork at the tail-end of each year. As the designer, I hold all the original artwork files i.e. In-Design Documents, PSD Layered Files etc. If a client decides he wants to take his work elsewhere and transfered on to an external device, is the designer within his right to charge more than just a nominal fee for this service or can he charge a fee for loss of potential future earnings.
     
  15. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    You can charge whatever you like.

    You never had a contract to begin with as to what is deliverable in terms of files.

    The sheer fact that you never supplied them in the first place over 17 years would give you some legal standing as it basically is an indication of what is to be supplied.

    Much like if I go to a counter with 4 apples I am charged for 4 apples, I don't say to the clerk that I want to buy these 4 apples, it's implied in my actions that is what I want to do. If I told him I want to buy these 3 apples and he charged me for 4 then I could ask for a refund.

    Right?

    So why wouldn't it apply here - you've offered a service and under the implication of what was supplied previously for the fee you are under no obligation to supply anything else.


    If the client really wants the files then I'd be inclined to charge a much larger fee for all the files.

    That is if you want to completely burn your bridges.


    If you want to try retain him as a client the perhaps offer an apology and a working method going forward along with sweetening the deal by offering him a discount on the next job.
     
  16. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Thank you. I was hoping that would be the case. I don't want to be accused of using extortion. I just want a fair price for all the work I've put in to creating the original files. The only thing I can liken it to is a window cleaner selling his round.

    With regards to me offering the client an apology, I haven't been able to go in to all the nitty-gritty of the situation. The client, who appears to be blaming me for the whole situation, has acted appalingly towards me and is currently refusing to pay outstanding invoices giving some ludicrous reasons for witholding payment (the whole situation has become very toxic and very unpleasant).

    The working relationship has suffered quite badly and once the print has been delivered I'm not sure I can trust or work with him again.

    I just want to be forearmed for any eventuality.

    Many thanks again for all your input.
     
  17. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Thank you. I was hoping that would be the case. I don't want to be accused of using extortion. I just want a fair price for all the work I've put in to creating the original files. The only thing I can liken it to is a window cleaner selling his round.

    With regards to me offering the client an apology, I haven't been able to go in to all the nitty-gritty of the situation. The client, who appears to be blaming me for the whole situation, has acted appalingly towards me and is currently refusing to pay outstanding invoices giving some ludicrous reasons for witholding payment (the whole situation has become very toxic and very unpleasant).

    The working relationship has suffered quite badly and once the print has been delivered I'm not sure I can trust or work with him again.

    I just want to be forearmed for any eventuality.

    Many thanks again for all your input.
     
  18. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    They can't do that if the task you're invoicing for has been completed. They can refuse to pay invoices for the print-problem until it's complete, but if you have invoices for artworking and design from before the problem occurred, they have no right to refuse to pay those.

    Sounds like the client is really tarnishing what sounds like a good relationship. Just goes to show how you can never really know what someone is truly like. It might be worth looking into some some liability insurance in future, especially if you plan to handle more large print jobs. Larger agencies often handle the print-side of projects, but this is often because they have the security should something go wrong. As a freelancer, if a client asks me to handle print, then I'm happy to be the middle-man between the printer and client, but when it comes to payment, I ask the printer to invoice the client directly. This way I'm only responsible for the files, and any problems with payment can be handled by the two parties directly involved.
     
  19. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    Sound advice.

    It is highly unusual for me to get involved with print for such a large sum. I thought I was on fairly safe ground, considering the length of time I'd known the client. The client was in a bit of a tight squeeze and needed a printer urgently and asked me to organise it.

    Hopefully, over the forthcoming week, the printer delivers as promised, the client will be happy and at some point we can sit down and resolve any outstanding gripes and grudges.

    Many thanks for your comment.
     
  20. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    If they refuse to pay then you refer the case to the small claims court for outstanding invoices.

    If you need to take it that far.
     

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