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I have done freelance work for a local company in Reno, NV. I managed and created content to post on the company's facebook page. The marketing lady processes my invoices for payment but the company owner writes the checks. When I quit this job, I sent an invoice to reflect the number of days in the month that I had managed the page before quitting.

The marketing lady stated in email, "I would prefer that you to submit to me a flash drive with a comprehensive library of photos, graphics and testimonials inclusive of all images that have appeared on Facebook, and all images that have been provided to you by me. Upon receipt of that material, I will process your invoice for payment." I emailed back the marketing lady that the flash drive is ready. She replied that she will review flash drive and let me know about a check for this last month.

Am I obligated to give a flash drive to get payment?

  • Did you have a contract stipulating that you had to immediately turn over all assets when leaving, or that payment was contingent on receipt of those assets? – user45623 Aug 29 '15 at 1:27
  • No. Besides the emails, there has never been a contract. – Allison Aug 29 '15 at 17:30
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Some web developers on here may know better than me, but I don't think you are legally obligated to send them anything. And I don't think you should until you get paid and the check clears.

They may be doing this because they are nervous, but once you give them that data you have nothing else they want and her saying "we will review it then SEE about your check," would make me nervous.

Since you don't have a contract, and this is a request you never agreed to in advance, I would find a very polite way to say something like: "It is my policy to hang onto my intellectual property until I have been paid, but I am assuring you, in writing, that I will definitely send all files once payment has cleared."

Also, to help them feel comfortable about what you're sending, I would send screen shots of the directory/files on the data key.

  • I would also be inclined to bill for your time to gather the data key data, since it's something they did not list as a requirement in advance. And if some of that is your original intellectual property I could be wrong but I believe many people charge extra to turn that over. Of course if you just want to get your last paycheck, don't introduce these complications, but I definitely would not turn over the data until paid. – Emily Aug 30 '15 at 19:07
  • I wish I could upvote this more than once... NEVER release work you produced until you've been paid! Especially if a client wants source files that you were working with, in addition to the final product(s)! – Canadian Luke Aug 31 '15 at 16:40
  • Thank you so much for your advice. This was my first freelance job and I can see why people complain about this type of job. Thanks for your help. – Allison Aug 31 '15 at 17:42
  • @Allison don't be too discouraged - you definitely learn what to expect and how to protect yourself as you go. I have found for every jerk client there are at least 10 wonderful clients. The more you do the better prepared you will be and you'll gradually start attracting a higher class of repeat clients. This website is invaluable for advice when you don't even know what you should be worrying about! – Emily Aug 31 '15 at 21:43
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If you can't get them to be reasonable, come up with a contract agreed upon by both parties that stipulates what will happen now. Either you give them the assets and then they pay you, or they pay you and then you give them the assets - the order doesn't really matter as long as you both get what you want. That way, either of you can pursue the other for breach of contract if you don't get what's owed to you.

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