‘Do you hear the people sing, who will not be paid again…?’


Photo Credit: Mukumbura via Compfight cc

One web designer has taken his revenge in the most visible of ways on the website of San Francisco-based gym chain Fitness SF.

Frank Jonen, whose company has worked on a new version of the Fitness SF website for more than six months, claims that his invoices have been ignored and have gone unpaid by the client.

As such, he argues that the work done remains his intellectual property – and has replaced the Fitness SF website with a statement to that effect.

The notice on http://fitnesssf.com/ reads: “We regret any inconvenience this may cause for you as a customer of Fitness SF, however it is a necessary measure in getting what is rightfully ours.”

Perhaps the most impassioned part of the page, however, comes beneath the header “Do you hear the people sing, who will not be paid again…” – an adapted song lyric from a Les Miserables scene that speaks of martyrs and slavery.


‘Larger corporations who can afford to starve them out…’

In his open letter to freelancers and small businesses everywhere, Mr Jonen writes that tens of thousands of people face disruption to their earnings from “larger corporations who can afford to starve them out”.

He says that this is what Fitness SF have done to him – paid a “barren advance” and then run up significant unpaid bills on charges like weekend work and overtime, as well as rush fees.

“You don’t get to sleep for days on end, but you do get to wait on your money forever. It’s people like this who cause company after company to go bankrupt,” Mr Jonen writes.

He calls on the freelancer and small business community – and all those who feel such actions are unjust – to spread the word that this kind of behaviour will not be accepted.

In short, his statement is not only a name-and-shaming of Fitness SF, but a call to arms for the little man across the globe, and a word of warning to slow-paying businesses everywhere.

Helping the Little Man

At CPA, we believe that big brands should not be above the law, and that individuals and small businesses should not be unable to access professional assistance in pursuing their debtors, just because of their size.

We work with organisations of all sizes to recover funds that are owed to them, and to ensure outstanding invoices are enforced in the appropriate way.

If you have a customer who owes you money, you are legally entitled to pursue them for full payment of that debt; do not be afraid that they will ‘starve you out’, but call on professional firms like CPA to fight your corner, without facing an excessive administrative or cost burden due to trying to chase for payment yourself.

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