For those who don’t know: I am a freelance videographer, I operate under my company, Up+Atom Inc, creating all kinds of videos for businesses. The following post recounts the events that happened between September 2009 and March 2010, hopefully serving as a warning to anyone who does business with Silver Lining Ltd as well as any of their customers.
In September 2009, Silver Lining Ltd asked for my video services; filming and editing their weekly podcast, filming and editing an instructional video for a board game for ZOE Alliance, and creating an informational video for a support services brokerage called InclusionINC. I agreed, sent off my estimates, and Silver Lining agreed to my estimates, and so I commenced the work.
I filmed all of their podcasts, edited them together, and posted them every week. I was given a script for the instructional video, which I filmed and edited together, and delivered. I was given a script for the informational video as well, and I just edited together a string of text and stock images, as per what the script called for. Neither of these scripts were written by me, whatsoever.
I sent my first invoice shortly after posting the first podcast, on October 1, 2009, which was paid rather quickly, all was well in the world.
I completed the ZOE Alliance video and the InclusionINC video mid-October 2009, delivered it to Silver Lining, and sent off my invoices (October 7, 2009 for ZOE Alliance and October 19 for InclusionINC). I was told that I would be paid soon, Silver Lining was just sorting out their accounts – fair enough, I should be paid before November ends.
The Problem Begins To Show
I kept doing their podcast for them, recording another run and continuing to post them weekly. I would send an invoice at the end of every month for all of the work that I would do for their podcast in that month, except at this point, I wasn’t being paid quickly.
I have a rather lengthy string of e-mails between myself and representatives of Silver Lining Ltd where they continue to tell me that I will be paid soon, and that I have nothing to worry about. These e-mails started in November, telling me that I would be paid by mid-November, and they continued all the way through to mid-January, telling me that I would be paid “soon.” Of course, soon never came and by the end of January, they were about three months late on a payment of $2,726.04, which is no small amount for a fledgling small business.
In early February, I received an e-mail from the President and Founder of Silver Lining Ltd, informing me that they were finally going to pay me the amount that they owed me. Well, almost. They were going to pay me for all the podcast work I had done up to this point, as well as the ZOE Alliance video. But… what about InclusionINC?
Apparently, InclusionINC was not happy with my video, and was not paying them, and therefore Silver Lining Ltd wasn’t paying me.
Hold on, I said, that isn’t my concern. My contract was with Silver Lining Ltd, and not with InclusionINC, and I had completed my work 100% to spec. I had gone back and forth during the creation of the video to make sure it was up to the standards of the people I was doing correspondence with at Silver Lining Ltd. They gave me the green light after several revisions, and I had completed it. So why wasn’t I being paid?
When It Got Ugly
At this point, I was pretty steamed, so I was firing off plenty of e-mails to everyone whom I had come into contact with at Silver Lining, as well as Carissa to ensure she got the message. I explained to them what I had written above, that they still owed me money regardless of non-payment from InclusionINC. We never agreed to me being paid only if they got paid, I simply provided a service for them that I had completed successfully.
Carissa sent back another e-mail, which made me quite a bit more mad. In short, she essentially said that they made a mistake in acting as the middle man between InclusionINC and Up+Atom Inc, and it wasn’t their fault that I wasn’t being paid. To make it up to me, she offered me half of the invoice “out of Silver Lining Ltd’s own pockets.”
I agreed; I said sure, give me half of the amount due on the invoice immediately, followed by the rest of the amount plus interest accumulated by the end of the following week.
[EDIT: Just to clarify, I was offered half of the amount, and I agreed as long as I got the other half the very next week. I never received anything, not even a reply.]
Understandably, I received no response.
Around mid-February, I talked to a lawyer, who sent off a demand letter to Silver Lining giving them an ultimatum: pay Up+Atom Inc the full amount due by February 26, 2010, or face litigation.
Guess who didn’t receive a paycheque on February 26, 2010?
At this point, I’m in the process of filing a suit in small claims court for the amount I am owed, which is to the tune of $1,606.04 plus interest from February 2, 2010 onward. In addition, I have written this post to shed light on the type of business practices being committed by Silver Lining Ltd and Carissa Reiniger.
So please, I would love to hear any comments you may have on the situation. I am at my wit’s end, and there really isn’t much else I can do. I would like to thank every single person who has shown me support along the way; you know who you are, you’re all awesometastic. Even better, I would love for all of you to spread this story as much as you can, just to ensure other freelancers don’t run into the same type of problems that I did!