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.
Flat Iron Yard
London SE1 1ES
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.