Conduct unbecoming

Charles Cowling

I don’t want this blog to get moany and bitter. Had I a good news story to break today I would most certainly do so. To be honest, not much has happened for a few days — and it’s all too easy for me to become lazily reactive. And a bit moany, I’m afraid.

A number of readers have asked me, over several months now, what the story is about Eulogy magazine — has it gone down? I had reached the conclusion that it had indeed sunk until they suddenly popped up on Twitter earlier today drawing attention to a just-published article.

So I have written to them, and I shall tell you what happens next. This is my ‘letter before claim’ which I am bound to send them before I start an action against them in the Small Claims Court. Am I the first writer to have to resort to such tactics? I don’t think I am.

Eulogy Magazine
Unit A&D
Flat Iron Yard
Ayres Street
London SE1 1ES

10-02-2010

Dear Alfred Tong,

Re: unpaid fee for article: How to Have a Good Funeral

As it has not been possible to resolve this matter amicably and it is apparent that court action may be necessary, I write in compliance with the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct.

On 28-06-2010 you commissioned me by email to write 1000 words about how to have a good funeral. You agreed to pay me £250 if the piece were published. I submitted my copy before the deadline and you subsequently published the piece online under the title How to Have a Good Funeral, with my name spelt incorrectly as Cowley.

On 17-12-2010 I sent you an invoice, reminded you that I had sent it on 10-01-2011, at which stage you referred me to messrs Ryan and Lewis. I sent an invoice to Lewis on 10-01-2011 and to both Ryan and Lewis on 29-01-2011. I have heard nothing.

I am therefore claiming my fee of £250 from Eulogy magazine.

The documents I shall rely on in my claim against Eulogy magazine are the emails we exchanged concerning your commissioning of the article and your subsequent responses to receipt of my invoice. I can make these available to you if you wish.

I can confirm that I would be agreeable to mediation and would consider any other system of Alternative Dispute Resolution in order to avoid the need for this matter to be resolved by the courts and would invite you to put forward any proposals in this regard.

In closing, I would draw your attention to section II (4) of the Practice Direction which gives the courts the power to impose sanctions on the parties if they fail to comply with the direction including failing to respond to this letter before claim. I look forward to hearing from you within the next 28 days. Should I not receive a response to my letter within this time, court action will be commenced with no further reference to you.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Cowling

16 thoughts on “Conduct unbecoming

  1. Charles Cowling
    Peter Ryan

    Dear Charles,

    Please accept my sincere apologies for the late payment of your invoice.

    Eulogy has recently undergone a major restructuring after the departures of our features editor and three non-productive directors. I became a director after their departures and have looked to sort out the mess they left me with. In addition, a close colleague has recently passed away after a long and painful illness. Whilst it is still unacceptable to process your invoice so late, these are the reasons why your invoice was unfortunately overlooked. It was in no way deliberate or malicious, and it is certainly not Eulogy’s policy to delay payment to contributing writers.

    I’d like to thank you again for your support of Eulogy and also for your excellent article. Of course, we would welcome future comments and ideas you and your readers might have.

    A cheque in payment of your invoice is in the post. I trust that this is a satisfactory resolution and that you will make notifications through your social media to this effect.

    Yours sincerely,

    Peter Ryan


    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    Peter

    Dear Charles,

    Please accept my sincere apologies for the late payment of your invoice.

    Eulogy has recently undergone a major restructuring after the departures of our features editor and three non-productive directors. I became a director after their departures and have looked to sort out the mess they left me with. In addition, a close colleague has recently passed away after a long and painful illness.

    Whilst it is still unacceptable to process your invoice so late, these are the reasons why your invoice was unfortunately overlooked. It was in no way deliberate or malicious, and it is certainly not Eulogy’s policy to delay payment to contributing writers.

    I’d like to thank you again for your support of Eulogy and also for your excellent article. Of course, we would welcome future comments and ideas you and your readers might have.

    A cheque in payment of your invoice is in the post. I trust that this is a satisfactory resolution and that you will make notifications through your social media to this effect.

    Yours sincerely,

    Peter Ryan


    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    Comfort Blanket

    I wrote to the Editor of Eulogy magazine when it launched to say “Congratulations. Well done..” etc. etc. Despite the fact that it wasn’t all good, at least it was getting people thinking. But he couldn’t be bothered to reply. I used to be a magazine editor and the first rule was – ignore your readers at your peril. As for ignoring invoices… imbeciles.


    Charles Cowling
  4. Tweets that mention The Good Funeral Guide – Conduct unbecoming -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Louise Harris, Louise Harris. Louise Harris said: RT: GoodFunerals @fundertaker @eulogy Please read this http://bit.ly/g2v7X0 before endorsing Eulogy mag articles. I'm sure you'll understand […]


  5. Charles Cowling
    Jonathan

    …and besides, if they wanted to come up with a ‘death brand’ to put it on the shelves alongside the other celeb mags, why didn’t they call it something catchy, such as ‘Stiff’?


    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    Jonathan

    If the coroner comes back finally with a pronouncement of death, don’t come to me to do the eulogy. All I’d be able to say is it was crap anyway (except one article in particular).


    Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling
    sentiment

    Karma Charles, Karma you may not see it work, but Eulogy mag will never amount to much

    much love and respect to you and you amazing work xxx


    Charles Cowling
  8. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    NR, the fruits of your research revolt me. I was only in it for the money. Teach me to be cynical — or better at it, perhaps.

    Jon, I think an awful lot of stuff like ‘grief brand’ will erupt. I wouldn’t like to be there.


    Charles Cowling
  9. Charles Cowling
    Jon Underwood

    If it does die I’d be interested in the post-mortem


    Charles Cowling
  10. Charles Cowling
    Nestov Ratz

    “Unpaid bills, of course, are often a symptom of imminent demise”

    Also of moral bankruptcy, Charles. Do you think there is anything suspect about the spelling mistake with your name? They look to me like a pair of media “branding” charlies with an eye for the main chance. There is a picture of Molly Parkin on their website – that is NOT a good sign. I also read some of their PR copy:

    “There’s a huge opportunity for a grief brand”

    One of their advertisers is the Coop.


    Charles Cowling
  11. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    They seem still to be publishing online, Jon. Not dead, simply unresponsive. Unpaid bills, of course, are often a symptom of imminent demise.


    Charles Cowling
  12. Charles Cowling
    Jon Underwood

    Can we conclude that Eulogy is dead?


    Charles Cowling
  13. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    Beautifully expressed, NR. Blackguard, too.


    Charles Cowling
  14. Charles Cowling
    Nestov Ratz

    Pay up Mr Tong! I despise people of this nature, no better than a common cutpurse.


    Charles Cowling
  15. Charles Cowling
    charles

    Naughty, aren’t they? When one lives off scraps as we do, GM, it makes one almost cross. I’ll keep you posted.


    Charles Cowling
  16. Charles Cowling
    gloria mundi

    So, Eulogy, this is how you repay Charles for the excellent free publicity he has given you on this blog? Shame on you.

    Charles, we stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Cheeky buggers! Keep us posted.


    Charles Cowling

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