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trailBLAZER Magazine (Susan Gibson)

  • Thread starter Melanie Furlong
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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Melanie Furlong

Hello all,
Publisher Susan Gibson, of Trail Blazer magazine in Arizona, owes me $300 US. I wrote a story for her that was published in January 2007. My lengthy contract says that I should have been paid 2 weeks after the publication of the story. I waited a while before nagging her. Then I started emailing. When my emails were ignored I started calling. Then when I left a message saying I hoped this wouldn't become an embarrassing situation for either of us I received an email saying she had tried to deposit money into my bank account three times but it hadn't worked. Then she said she would put a cheque in the mail to me tomorrow that would take 5-7 days. I knew the bank story was a lie because I have never given her any banking information but I still hoped for the check.
I do have this contract, but not sure what else I can do at this point. Your ideas/input would be greatly appreciated.
Susan, if you are on here or read this, please pay your bills!
Thanks,
Melanie
 

Stella

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You can file a complaint with Better Business Bureau in her area. You can also send her a certified letter (return receipt) and cc a lawyer (if you have an attorney friend or family member who'll let you do that). I've never filed a BBB complaint, but I have in other situations where people owed me money sent them a certified letter--return receipt and gotten paid.
 

JerseyGirl1962

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Melanie,

That's just terrible. Have you tried over at Angela Hoy's site, Writer's Weekly? I found this statement over at her site:

Angela is now doing investigations of the worst complaints we receive and posting the results to this forum. If you have a complaint, please contact angela -at- writersweekly.com and include as much detail as you can. Also include copies of emails.


Something you might want to consider. I used to follow her investigations, and many times she managed to get things done (that is, get people paid).

Good luck.

~Nancy
 

Canndy

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Trail Blazer Magazine

Has anyone else had problems getting paid by Trail Blazer Magazine? They owe me more than $2,000 and all I'm getting is one excuse after another why they're not paying me--as well as promises that the check will be in the mail this week. How long should I wait until I take legal action? Any advice?
 

coloradodesigner

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Susan Gibson owes me $700 and is quite delinquent in paying me as well. I've sent her countless emails with the invoices attached and there's been no acknowledgement of those emails or anything. Very disappointed in this client's lack of respect for her indep. contractors and the unethical disregard.
 

coloradodesigner

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Still no payment

Update: Susan Gibson has still not paid me (as of Sat. July 12). I've given her till Tuesday, July 15; this date is when I'm to have a check for sufficient funds of $700 which is what she owes me. I sent her a demand for payment email after several "friendly reminders" which she completely ignored. I did this the week of June 30. She then sent nasty (several quite incoherent) emails back to me saying that my work wasn't up to par for the last issue and that it had to be redone so I will be getting paid what I "deserve" and (get this!) that she was going to bill me for the work that had to be done over (huh?). She never complained about my work before I sent the demand for payment letter. Hmmm...coincidence?

I do plan to pursue legal avenues after this coming Tuesday to collect the money.

People like this need to be put out of business and no longer be able to victimize small business owners! This is criminal, to say the least. Some people rely on their freelance to pay their mortgages and to put food on the table, for God's sake.

I will keep you all posted as to the next set of theatrics in this case. I'm sure there'll be more.

PS: I did some very basic 5-minute research on her past payment practices (or lack there-of) and did a BBB report, all of which came up as "unsatisfactory". Lesson learned: Do your research on clients BEFORE signing on with them. It's super easy to do and takes no time at all in this internet age.
 

coloradodesigner

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July 15 and...

...no check. Surprise, surprise.

I guess it's on to the Atty Gens office, The BBB, a lawyer and a collection agency. Damn, I hate when this happens! But she's going to hate it even more, I'm afraid.
 

coloradodesigner

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It's July 21...STILL no payment from this woman after snipey email promises from the "accountant" Dianne Payton( she's le=isted on the masthead as "circulation, distribution, and admin. support...guess Susan has added the moniker of "accountant" to her title as well. I'll just betcha she didn't get a raise!).

I've already filed several complaints and am about to warn all other equestrian pub. writers and designers on the unethical behavior of these sheisters. So far, all I'm seeing are lies, lies, lies. They are not to be trusted! Be forewarned!
 

coloradodesigner

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Susan Gibson FINALLY paid me the $700 she owed me but sent a long an accompanying note saying that I was now officially off the graphic designer list for Trail Blazer magazine. That made me laugh so hard I almost cried! Amazing what bottom feeders are out there that call themselves publishers!
 

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Yay! :Clap:

But, yeah, it's laughable such places could think you'd want to work with them again.
 

inkkognito

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Anybody work with this publication recently? I found them on a list of equestrian magazines and had a pitch idea, but this thread is scaring me off. Just wondering if they're still a slow/no pay or if anyone has had recent good experiences.
 

coloradodesigner

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Well, I think you'd be nuts to work with her after seeing all these posts. She got very nasty as well as several of the writers I got in touch with who had done work for her. She got ridiculously reactive when we had the audacity to ask for our payment and then to top it off, she started accusing us of not doing a good job, etc. when she never had complaints before. (you'll see this as a familiar desperate tactic used by deadbeat clients)

She was far from being a simple "slow paying" client. Also, if you run a check thru google on her financial situation, you'll find that she's gone thru bankruptcy filings after people had come after her for what she owed them. I think she is one of those who borrows from Peter to pay Paul, etc. It was like pulling teeth to get what was owed to me. Eventually I was paid because I refused to back down and really meant business and she knew it. I've heard from several other writers not shown in this forum (about 4-5) and they've all had the very same story.

You can do what you want but unless you're so desperate or want to do volunteer work, I'd advise against it.
 

coloradodesigner

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or...

...if you feel you MUST work with her, get your money upfront and make sure it's safely in the bank and that she had sufficient funds to cover the check first. I did this when I did the first project with her and I should have kept the policy up throughout the whole time I did work for her.

Hindsight's 20/20.

Hope this helps!
 

horsephotogrpaher

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I used to sell magazine ads for her... independent contractor but she would not let me take a day off... so she let me go when I defined IC... then she decided NOT to pay my commission for the next year. She got her prepaid legal to write a letter to me... she paid a small fraction of what she owed... I was going to take her to court and had a friend do research. Public records show she had gone bankrupt a while ago but continued business. I ended up filing with the IRS (ss8 I think it was) and they determined I was an employee by the way she was treating me. Didn't help me recover the thousands she owed. I still have copies of all of my contracts, emails, letters etc etc... she is not to be trusted!! I told someone about the situation and they told her.. she then threatened my with a lawsuit saying defamation of character.. too much for me to deal with at the time... the best defense is TRUTH but everyone told me forget her and move on... her main writer got ahold of me after that.. guess she burnt her bad too... amazing... I guess since she sits at home by herself on her computer churning the magazine with no other life that I could see... she has plenty of time to be mean and unethical.
 

horsephotogrpaher

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oh also...

she used titles on people to make her site look bigger. She works out of her home and it was just her and I there. If you follow American Horse Publications you will see how often she looks for advertising sales agents.. she must go through them like toilet paper and I would assume do this same "non-pay" to all of them.
 

coloradodesigner

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I believe she has quite the legacy! She made veiled threats against me last summer with the lawsuit too. I truly believe that karma will bite her hard. Sites like this expose the likes of her. Unfortunately, there are others out there that are bottom feeders too. Best to do your due diligence and act accordingly BEFORE working with them. Because of her, I now run a BBB report on any client I do business with. If they're not "A" or "A+", I won't work with them without a giant non-refundable retainer up front. Bad apples spoil the whole basket!
 

Westernskies

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Trail Blazer - Susan Gibson - Complaint

Following the advice of Writer's Weekly, I am posting about a "deadbeat editor", Susan Gibson of Trail Blazer magazine. The editor owes me over $700 for articles published under contract in 2008. She has ignored my repeated requests for payment (which was due 30 days from acceptance), as well as the efforts of a collection agency and her local Better Business Bureau. I urge any writers who are considering contributing to Trail Blazer to do so with caution!
 

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The exact same post, in fact. Do you have any new information, Westernskies?
 

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Thanks. Is Angela contacting Gibson on your behalf? She has a good record of getting folks their money.
 

Westernskies

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Angela might be taking it on, I have my fingers crossed that she can work some magic on the situation. I actually found the writing job years ago on Writer's Weekly!
 

coloradodesigner

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After all these posts with repeated 'non payment' stories, WHY would someone consider working with her? I don't get it! The economy can't be THAT bad, right?
 

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