There Are 2 Ways to Handle Payment Discrepancies With Clients

But one feels much better than the other

Allison Burney


Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

We hear expressions like, “Always believe the best” and “Give people the benefit of the doubt.”

But how often do we really do this?

I was working for a client recently doing some writing. I sent them the invoice, and a few hours later, they sent the payment.

Only, the amount wasn’t correct. They were a bit short.

I initially began to stew about the discrepancy. What should I do? How should I tell them? Should I just wait until I send the next invoice, and if they hadn’t paid it by then, I’d tack it on to the amount owing?

I felt a bit weird about doing that, but at the same time, I wasn’t okay with being paid the wrong amount.

I tried to go on with my work, but I kept getting sucked back in.

My thoughts soon went down a rabbit hole, wondering whether they had just misread the invoice, or whether the lower payment was intentional. Were they trying to tell me something with these missing dollars? Did they not think my writing was worth the amount I had charged?

I didn’t know for sure. My gut instinct was that it had simply been a mistake.

I desperately wanted to believe that, because I was afraid of what it might mean otherwise. I’d worked hard to make this article the best I could, and I’d spent considerable hours on it between the initial interview, the research, the transcribing, the writing, the editing, and finally, the revisions. I felt that at the bare minimum, it was worth the amount I’d charged.

If anything, I had actually undercharged if I compared it to the equivalent hourly rate (we’d settled on a per-word rate for the article).

All of these things and more were swirling around in my head as I tried to go about my other work. In the end, I decided it was best to wait it out and see if they would realize their mistake.

A little while later, I checked my email. And there it was! The extra amount was sitting there waiting for me, along with a message containing an apology for the discrepancy.



Allison Burney

Writer, ghostwriter & proofreader. On a mission to keep exploring, learning & enjoying this adventure we call life. Work with me: