Condé Nast's Self magazine made our list of "Print's Ten Worst Late Payment Offenders" last year for stiffing a freelancer for 300 days. Which is about 40 more days than Condé Nast will wait for payment before it sues you.
Last week, Condé Nast Publications sued Print International, a New York pre-press operation, for not paying a $17,300 advertising bill dating to June 2009. (The complaint doesn't specify which magazine Press International bought ads in, but the only member of its portfolio that a pre-press printer would likely advertise in is Women's Wear Daily).
It's by no means out of the ordinary for a magazine to turn to the courts to collect from a recalcitrant advertiser. But anyone who has written as a freelancer for a glossy monthly knows that a June-to-February turnaround for getting paid is sadly the way of the world for the little guy. And given that the tipster who ratted out Self as deadbeat last year now tells us that she had to wait a full year before her check finally came through, it's particularly galling.
We're not certain how litigious Condé Nast has been in the past when it came to calling in debts—though they did sue a bunch of islands last year. But since it lost $1 billion in revenue last year and recently launched a fraud hotline for fearful staffers to rat out their stapler-stealing colleagues, we have to wonder if it's legal trigger finger isn't getting itchier. Anyway, if you're waiting on a check from GQ or Wired, just sue the fuckers. It's the only thing they respect.