On March 30, 2021, I receive the following inquiry from the Barcelona based Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia:
„Hi, I’m Florenci Martínez, documentary maker for the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia. We are interested in publishing a photo of you to illustrate a report on Linda Böstrom, the Swedish writer who was married to Karl Ove Knausgard, we already have a cool photo of her. But, as a detail, we would like to put one of her with her husband (yours) that I attach. You can tell us the conditions and the price for its publication. Greetings“
I respond positively the same day and send the photo in high res a short time later as agreed.
In the evening of the same day Florencio Martinez writes to me: „Thomas, according to the price of xxx euros. I am attaching the data for you to send the invoiceLA VANGUARDIA EDICIONESNIF d-61475257Av. Diagonal 477 Barcelona 08036 For any questions about billing, please contact:EVA BLANCO firstname.lastname@example.orgThanks“
The next day Florencio Martinez writes again because there are apparently technical problems with the download: „Hi Thomas, this photo is only a little over three megabytes, you may have it with a higher resolutionThanks“
After expressing my astonishment at this, Florencio Martinez explains: „Sorry, I guess I didn’t download it correctly.This 0k (34 megs).I’ll send the PDF’s when it’s publishedGreetings“
I do not receive any pdf. And no money either. So I ask at the beginning of August 2021.
4 weeks later I receive the following answer: „Hi Thomas, sorry for the lateness. With telecommuting, your bill was probably lost.When recovering the one you sent us, we have two problems: 1) The fiscal data of La Vanguardia must be:LA VANGUARDIA EDICIONES SL.Av. Diagonal 477 planta 77Barcelona 08036Spain (your invoice was missing the SL and the plant -I shouldn’t have told you- 2) You would have to send us your tax residence certificate for the purposes of Germany’s bilateral agreement with Spain. If you do not send it to us, Spanish tax law requires us to withhold 24% of the payment from you. We wait again for your invoice and the certificate (if possible) to pay you for the photo.Greetings“
I answer a short time later:
„Hey Florence,It all sounds very complicated and does not correspond to my experience in international picture traffic. I have changed the billing address as requested.I enclose the certificate from the Federal Tax Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. My International Tax Number is DExxxxxxxxx as shown on the scanned and attached document.This number is for the international movement of goods within the EU. I hope this is sufficient. My normal tax number is still on the top right of the invoice. It is: xxxxxxxxxxx If there are any further questions, please let me know. I hope that there are no more of these, as it is only a relatively small amount of xxx euros and this administrative burden hardly seems reasonable to me. The German authorities register every incoming payment from abroad and check them randomly.In principle, I report every fee to the German tax authorities.best Thomas“
Florencio Martinez answers the same day:
„Received, I pass it on to Administration. Hope everything goes wellGreetings“
Unfortunately nothing went well !
Florencio Martinez contacts me in mid-October 2021:
„Thomas, I’m sorry to give you some bad news. They communicate to me from the editorial office that your invoice is wrong and they do not give it the go-ahead. Errors that you must correct: 1) Direction: Av. Diagonal 477 planta 7ª. 2) You have to put the CIF of La Vanguardia: CIF: B614xxxx. 3) As you do not have the double taxation document, invoice xxx euros (and thus with the withholding you will have xxx euros net) 4) You have to send us a certificate of bank ownership of the account where we will make the deposit (your bank provides it easily) I’m sorry for the delay (I’ve been on vacation). Greetings“
I give up inside. I have little or no hope of ever getting my fee. But I wonder if the people in charge at La Vanguardia treat every photographer like this. I write without hope for an answer:
„Hey Florence,I don’t know if Spain also has the famous 1th of April. In Germany, it’s the day when you fool other people with a joke („April Fool’s Day“). Unfortunately, what La Vanguardia is doing to me here is worse than that.The effort to get my fee here exceeds the value of the service you have used. Should I now seriously go to my bank and ask for a certificate?Is no one in your institution ashamed to treat a photographer like this? I have been a freelance photographer for almost 30 years, have photographed all over the world for media from Japan in the East to the USA or South America in the West, but I have never experienced anything like this. I will now once again make the desired changes to points 1 – 3 you listed.I thank you for the offer to increase the gross price to xxx € in order to come to the agreed net fee of xxx €. I expect my fee to be in my account by 20th November 2021.Should this not be the case, I will bring my communication with La Vanguardia to the attention of an interested public in relevant media channels and social media. I am sorry to be so rude now, but my patience has unfortunately run out.bestThomas“
Since then I have heard nothing from La Vanguardia, of course to this day I have not received any money and never the promised pdf.
UPDATE, 30. dec. 2021: I had posted here in detail my correspondence with La Vanguardia. Whether the social media activities in this case on FB or elsewhere have contributed significantly, I can not say: but La Vanguardia had yesterday transferred the agreed fee.