Associated Content doesn't keep their promises!

By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, September 05, 2007 At 10:01 AM

As my regular readers will already know, I have had an ongoing problem with Associated Content regarding my performance bonus. For a couple of months I didn't get paid for it at all (even though I was supposed to be paid), and then when they did pay me they messed up the amount! You can read about the non-payment problems here and here.

Another post provides an update: Two weeks ago yesterday, Mike Street told me that they had verified that they did, in fact, owe me money (duh), and that they would fix it soon. Two weeks later, I have still received no payment, and I am still getting the runaround.

Below is our entire email correspondence over the last two weeks. I have bolded the parts that reflect Associated Content's failure to follow through.

From: Mike Street
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 9:32 AM
To: Katharine Swan Leppert
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Just wanted to update you and let you know that we have pin pointed the error in the system and are working to fully correct it. Thank you for alert us of this and will hope to have this problem resolved asap and any additional funds will be sent to you via paypal once the errors are corrected.

From: Katharine Swan Leppert
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 9:36 AM
To: Mike Street
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Thank you for letting me know. I appreciate the update!

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

From: Katharine Swan Leppert
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 10:20 AM
To: Mike Street
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

I have not heard anything more since your email a week ago, nor have I received payment. Can you give me an update or let me know when I should expect to receive payment?

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

From: Mike Street
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 10:26 AM
To: Katharine Swan Leppert
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Last I heard they are still working on it but it should be taken care of this week.

From: Katharine Swan Leppert
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 10:29 AM
To: Mike Street
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Terrific. Thanks for the quick response!

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

From: Katharine Swan Leppert
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2007 6:00 PM
To: Katharine Swan Leppert
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

It's been another week and I still haven't heard anything. Can you please let me know where we stand on this payment? I would like this to be resolved before bonuses are paid out in a week, to avoid any additional confusion regarding my account.

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

From: Mike Street
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:35 AM
To: Katharine Swan Leppert
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

OK so they will send your owed payment on the 12 when we send out the next round of performance bonus payments.

From: Katharine Swan Leppert
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:45 AM
To: Mike Street
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Is there a way to get the payment made before that pay date?

I am concerned that if the payment is made on the same day as the regular payments, the person making the payment may deduct it from my unpaid performance bonus balance (the amount shown on my CP account page), which it should not be. (i.e. It was already deducted last month, it just wasn't actually paid.)

Please let me know.

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

From: Mike Street
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:47 AM
To: Katharine Swan Leppert
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

No, we can not pay you that amount before hand. But the payment person is well aware of the situation and will make sure you receive the correct amount.

From: Katharine Swan Leppert
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:52 AM
To: Mike Street
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Why can't you pay me beforehand? This has been an ongoing problem for quite some time now. Two weeks ago you said I'd be paid soon, and last week you said it would be by the end of the week. Why could you have paid me beforehand last week, but not this week? Or have you just been putting me off?

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

From: Mike Street
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:53 AM
To: Katharine Swan Leppert
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Payments related to performance bonus are only paid out on the second Wednesday of each month.

From: Katharine Swan Leppert
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 10:00 AM
To: Mike Street
Subject: RE: Your Performance Bonus

Even if you make a mistake?

It is not my fault that on the Wednesday of LAST month, your staff made a mistake and did not pay me the full amount. Furthermore, you have been telling me for two weeks that I would receive the missed payment soon.

I will be posting our emails in full on my blog. The online writing community has a right to know that AC does not follow through with what they say they will do.

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

I have not received any response to my last email.

As you can see, Mike Street has been telling me for two weeks that Associated Content would make my missed performance bonus payment soon: In the first email, it was "asap" [sic], and in the second email it was "this week." Today, though -- with the scheduled performance bonus payments due to be paid next Wednesday -- he suddenly changed his tune. Suddenly, they "can not [sic] pay that amount before hand," and performance bonus payments "are only paid out on the second Wednesday of each month."

It seems to me that all of the emails claiming they would get to it "asap" or "this week" were merely to put me off until the scheduled pay date. Why they think that they should only have to correct their mistakes on payday, too, is beyond me. That would be like your full-time employer saying, "Well, we screwed up your check, but payday is only once a month, so you'll have to wait for the next one." That would never fly at a full-time job, so why should it be an acceptable way to treat contractors?

Besides that, I still have some doubts as to whether I'll actually get paid on payday (which is next Wednesday). After all, I had to harass them for two months before I even got a partial payment! We'll see if I actually get paid on the 12th, but I won't be surprised if I don't.

In my opinion, Associated Content is showing quite clearly that they don't keep their promises. This is the same runaround that I was getting during the two months when they weren't paying me my performance bonus at all. Ulimately, by the end of this -- assuming I get paid next week, that is -- I will have had to harass them for more than three months... Just to get a measely twenty bucks!

Associated Content's low pay is insulting enough to professional writers. Just the thought of someone thinking $3 and $4 is appropriate pay for a 500-word article makes me mad. But to add insult to injury, then they don't even make payments on time -- and when they finally do, they're wrong? I can't help but wonder -- what would have happened had I not called them on their non-payment? Would they have just never paid me? And think of all the money they would save (aside from the fact that they are already paying sweatshop rates) if they simply didn't pay every writer who failed to demand it!

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Blogger Jessica Says:  

I have experienced the same thing -- I have $16+ in my performance and I never received anything last month at all...ANNOYED.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Thanks for your comment, Jessica. I don't blame you for being annoyed! I wish I could say that contacting them helped, but obviously it didn't. Still, I think it's best to try.

 
 
Blogger Jessica Says:  

After telling them I still wasn't paid, they didn't respond, but I noticed I have 2 payments, my august and my september bonus payment pending.....hopefully it will clear.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

I think it's incredibly rude not to respond, even if they do take care of the problem. However, at least it sounds like you're getting paid.

I have some updates of my own that I will post soon.

 

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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