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Customer problem
Old 12th May 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 
bobby_z's Avatar
 

Talking Customer problem

So, had my first location recording gig a couple of weeks ago. A church choir together with an 14 man orchestra. All went (relatively) well, being the absolutely first gig I've done just by myself.

However, one problem has arisen from all of this; the deal that I made with the conductor was that I record a repetition a couple of days before the concert for free, and if he's happy with that I'll record the concert, charging him per hour. Now, there was never any confusion about that (I even have witness of it).

But now the conductor won't pay, saying that he thought all this was for free.

I've offered to meet him half way, saying that I'll cut the price in half because of the miss in communication, but he's still refusing.

What would you do in a situation like this? I don't want to go hardball, but I'm not going to be a doormat about it either.

(I'm actually a bit shocked that I'm being hustled by a church.. =)
Old 12th May 2006
  #2
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Yannick's Avatar
 

What did he say after the 'rehearsal' recording ?

If he said something, that proves he remembers the deal.

Don't give the finished product.
Don't give the finished product.

or

send an invoice for the full amount.
Old 12th May 2006
  #3
Gear Head
 
bobby_z's Avatar
 

That's kind of a problem; I've already given him the finished product.

No, he hasn't said anything that proves him wrong. I might be a little blue-eyed, but I've thought about it, and I'm having a bit of a hard time believing that he's actually trying to hustle me.

How can I solve this, so that both of us walk away happy? Should I just say "oh well, nevermind"? I'm not really comfortable in doing so, and I don't think it sends a good message either. But I also don't want to go on like a tank and go in guns blazing about it.
Old 12th May 2006
  #4
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mhartman's Avatar
 

I think that we have all had this happen at one time or another, whether engineering or in other business situations. The key is to make the situation perfectly clear up front prior to the engagement. Do this by writing a letter prior to the engagement stating the price in detail and confirming the gig. In this case, you make the call, but you may want to just write it off to experience. One good thing, I doubt that you will ever let this happen again.

Mike
Old 13th May 2006
  #5
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T.RayBullard's Avatar
 

never give them anything until money is in hand. for this one though...id chalk it up to bad luck, express to him your dissapointment and explain to him in very clear terms, that should you work with them again..XXX is what you expect.

Always make it over clear...repetition...leave nothing to imagination and assumption.

For me, I take a percentage up front, and then take the rest when I give them the master.
Old 13th May 2006
  #6
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

First, I'd write a polite letter explaining the entire situation, with a citation from the witness confirming their observations, in which you ask the conductor to return the media. Also provide a letter to the minister, rector or head of this organization.

If you like, you can threaten small claims court in which you will receive payment as well as the return of the media.

Ultimately, you will probably not get paid. Chalk this one up as a learning experience to always have a binding, signed contract.

Jim
Old 13th May 2006
  #7
0VU
Gear Addict
 

I'd probably try the polite methods and, when/if they don't work, I'd put it down to experience and make sure it never happened again. And seriously consider whether or not I ever again do anything involving the same conductor without a watertight contract. In short, never, until they've paid in full, deliver recordings to people you don't know and trust at least as well as your own mother! No matter how decent/friendly/well recommended they may be.
Old 14th May 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Was it a good performance? Not that a bad performance would excuse the treatment you received, but it may explain it.

As for letting this influence your view of the church (although you didn't say it had), please know that there are a lot of folks there just going through the motions. Nevertheless, the person (Jesus) that the church is ostensibly following would never condone the way you were shafted. While he also would tell you that you must ultimately forgive this conductor, I think he will understand if you don't do it immediately :-)

best,

john
Old 14th May 2006
  #9


Here's a thought:

Offer the recording for sale to choir and church members at a resonable price. At 10 euro a CD, it wouldn't take too many to get a reasonable fee out of the deal.




-tINY

Old 14th May 2006
  #10
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T.RayBullard's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY


Here's a thought:

Offer the recording for sale to choir and church members at a resonable price. At 10 euro a CD, it wouldn't take too many to get a reasonable fee out of the deal.




-tINY

I have a feeling that the director is doing that, in which case selling the recording would be bad business, and unprofessional on the recording engineers part.

Just count your losses and remember next time.
Old 14th May 2006
  #11
Gear Head
 
bobby_z's Avatar
 

yeah, exactly, he's going to sell the record himself.

Well, I wrote a mail saying that we'll write it off to experience. "Surprisingly", the guy hasn't replied.

Anyway, thanx for your replies y'all!
Old 14th May 2006
  #12
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Now that you have a reasonable perspective, go break the fukker's legs.



If he is selling the recording, I'd sue him. Period.
Old 14th May 2006
  #13
krs
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krs's Avatar
 

Had a similar problem 2 years ago, sub-contractor for strings ran off with all the money. Church's moral sense only chimed in after a nasty, threatening email. Give it at shot, being the bad guy is not compatible with their world-view.

Good luck
Old 14th May 2006
  #14
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen
Now that you have a reasonable perspective, go break the fukker's legs.



If he is selling the recording, I'd sue him. Period.
Haha. Yeah, you're a big purple dinosaur. You can intimidate almost anyone!

Yeah, this stuff happens. Best to not beat yourself up. Besides, if it was your first solo gig, you can think of it as a trial deal.
Old 15th May 2006
  #15
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Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

Maybe Barney's purple dinosaur lawyer will put the fear of god in the guy. Sometimes a letther threatening legal action is enough.

Writing a letter to the parish, church board, pastor, elders, etc- ANYONE-- can make a huge difference. In other threads, some guys have spoken to members of the choir & band directly to make their pleas which has had significant influence.

Don't give up. Be persistent! And I'm serious about your witness. I don't know about the laws in your country but in the US you have just cause for a win in small claims court.

Jim
Old 17th May 2006
  #16
You can make this a story you tell everyone you know, along the lines of "You would never imagine how sleazy some people are, like Mr. X of the Church of the Poison Mind, I did a gig for them..."

I seem to develop a "character profile" of everyone I work for, where they fall on the Sleaziness Scale. In the early days, I would do a sparklingly fantastic job, get it done quickly, deliver it in person, and hope that this inspired people to pay up equally quickly.

Boy did I have a lot to learn.
Old 17th May 2006
  #17
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Plush's Avatar
Please never offer any of your services for free. That is how you got into trouble with this project.

I suggest to write a letter to the Rector of the church explaining the misunderstanding. Do not deal with the musician any longer.

You have provided them with something they wanted and you need to be conpensated for your services.

Ask for a meeting with the Rector and the musician together and stand up for yourself.

Then expect a check in the mail.

Once someone in authority who wishes to maintain their reputation hears your plight, I feel that the situation will be sorted out.

After that, never again offer your services (even a test recording) for free.
We don't work for free.
Old 17th May 2006
  #18
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Well said, and good words of advice.
Old 26th May 2006
  #19
But then, to turn the beat around... do church people work for free? Or do they only save your soul if you pay them? Maybe THAT'S the problem, one of orientation...
Old 27th May 2006
  #20
Gear Nut
 
JazzYoda's Avatar
 

I suppose if you really wanted to get something done you could write a letter to the global leadership of whatever denomination that church is. Give them a chance to set things straight before going public and outing the church to the media. I can imagine if the locals found out about this, they might not be so willing to drop money in the collection plate.
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