Anonymous 3m 720
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Oh, the life of a freelance writer! I’ll admit it seemed glamorous, at first. After all, you get to pick and choose your clients, you can work whenever you want, you can work wherever you want, and at the end of the day, you’re the only one that’s responsible for your work.
While I still love those aspects of freelance writing, there are some sides of the business that aren’t so positive. If you’ve ever dealt with chargebacks like I have, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Let’s start from the beginning. I found a new client who wanted me to create some content for a new website. We hashed out the details of how much work he was looking for, what kind of tone he wanted, what reaction he wanted from the readers, how soon everything needed to be completed and of course, how much I would be getting paid.
I finished all the assignments before the deadline and submitted them to my client. He was very happy with the work. He told me it was exactly what he was looking for, and I received my payment the next day. Up to this point everything went very smoothly, but that didn’t last for long.
A few days later, I check my account and see that his payment has been removed. The client filed a chargeback for the work he received on time and was happy with. I was livid. To make matters worse, I had to pay a fee for the chargeback. Think about that for a second: I actually paid to work.
Of course, when I checked the site, there was my content enticing potential customers to action. The client got exactly what he wanted, and I was left with nothing. I decided I had to do something about it.
My first course of action was to call the bank. I explained the situation, telling them that the client had received exactly what he paid for. I even told them he had to be happy with my work, as it was on his website. As polite as they were, it was obvious they didn’t care. The other guy was their customer, and they were more interested in keeping him happy than doing the right thing.
I was dejected to say the least. My first thought was that I was just screwed. Fortunately, I didn’t back down. I knew that as a freelance copywriter, I owned the copyright for all the content that I produced. I also had emails proving the client had asked for certain services, agreed to pay a certain price and he was happy with the final result of my work.
I did a little bit of research, and was able to find out who hosted my client’s website. I looked around for any information that might be useful to me, and I came across their DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) page.
I used to the contact information on that page to talk to a very helpful individual. All I had to do was answer some questions, and she told me they would help. They gave my client an ultimatum: pay me for my content, remove it from his website, or get his site shut down for violation of copyright laws.
Hot dang! It was nice to have someone fighting on my behalf. And, I have to admit, a little gratifying to know my client was being held responsible for his crummy actions.
As it turns out, my writing skills must have done a good job of converting sales because I got paid in full shortly after that.
After I got my vengeance, I went online and educated myself a bit. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything possible to prevent future chargebacks. I got some great advice here to prevent chargeback scams. I also learned I need to do a better job of getting contracts in writing – with signatures.
Apparently (I now know), chargebacks can affect any business owner. And they can really wreak havoc on profit margins. My experience taught me it is essential to fight – fight for your rights! It doesn’t matter if you are a freelancer or an established eCommerce owner. Don’t take chargebacks lying down!