Emap is paying some of its freelances several times over for the same piece of work, it emerged this week.
The revelation adds an unexpected twist to the accounts fiasco, resulting in a backlog of thousands of unpaid invoices, which came to light in May.
One magazine journalist said he had been paid several times for the same piece of work and claimed that, if he had banked the cheques, the amount would have run into thousands of pounds.
“I did have problems where I was waiting, but once they started to pay, the cheques kept coming,” he told Press Gazette.
“At first I thought ‘Oooh!’, but I sent them back and then they kept sending me more. I’ve got to the stage now where I’ll carry on sending the cheques back, but I’m not going to keep on phoning them. The chap I spoke to in accounts told me I wasn’t the only one it had happened to.”
Another journalist said it had become a major talking point among freelances. “You can get on to a winner if you’re lucky,” he said.
The problems with Emap’s accounts first came to light in May when it emerged it had a backlog of around 8,000 unpaid invoices following a decision to move all its accounts to Peterborough. The move resulted in payment chaos with freelances in “desperate straits” over mortgage payments and, in some cases, struggling to find money to feed their children.
A source said senior management at Emap were not amused by the latest development, accusing journalists of “biting the hand that feeds it”.
An Emap spokeswoman said: “We are sorry that there are more problems being caused. We are doing our utmost to correct procedures and doing our best to make sure the
situation is corrected.”
by Ruth Addicott