What To Do When a Client Doesn't Pay (Passive Aggressive Edition)

If you found this article, you’re probably researching how to get a client to pay you. You saw the title of this article (passive aggressive edition) and clicked on it because you’re upset (rightfully so) and feeling a little passive aggressive right now.

Your feelings are valid. You should probably do the right thing, and go through the proper channels. But sometimes even those don’t work, or are frustrating to navigate. Whether you’ve been ghosted for two years or you’ve lost count, you’re not alone.


This article does not contain legal advice, but it can provide you with a little laugh. You deserve to get paid, and we hope that you do.

Email Them This Meme

Had enough of politely emailing your client?

Can’t find another way to write “hey wtf, pay me” nicely?

Send them this meme instead. 🤭


Mail Them This Sticker

Client still ignoring your emails and phone calls? What about snail mail?

Stick this Pay Your Invoice sticker on the envelope next time you mail them (another) outstanding payment reminder. That’ll grab their attention!

This sticker also looks great on laptops. (Just sayin’.)

Send Them a Pennant

Another option the next time you send snail mail: this mini pennant from Oxford Pennant. Maybe they’ll hang it up nicely in their office, so they can remember to be a better client next time.

Order Them This Book

Let’s take a break from being passive-aggressive to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they’re just super stressed at work and have an inbox with 10,000+ emails and paper strewn all over their desk. Zen as F*ck at Work can help them find their zen, so they sift through the BS and finally deal with that unpaid invoice.

Mail Them a Glitter Bomb

Nothing says “I loathe your inability to pay me” more than a glitter bomb. 😈

They’ll never suspect that it was you. (Maybe.)

Add Them to the Naughty List

Is it almost the holidays? Send them a lump of coal so they know Santa is not impressed with their behavior.

Hire a Singing Telegram

We can hear it now, a group of people (or person) singing FU Pay Me by Tech N9ne, everyone else in the office staring awkwardly. Maybe you can even get someone to sing an edited version of Bills Bills Bills by Destiny’s Child:

Can you pay my bills?
Can you pay my outstanding bills?
Do you pay my overdue bills?
If you did then maybe we could chill
I don't think you do
So, you and me are through

Is this a bit aggressive? Yes. But it gets the message across.

You can hire a singing telegram via GigSalad.

Sign Them Up for Catalogs

Clog up their mailbox with catalogs. You could be extra malicious and sign them up for a completely irrelevant topic (like pet supplies catalogs if they don’t have any pets) or fundraising catalogs for ideas on how to raise enough money to pay you back. The possibilities are endless, really.

Another option: order them phone books. (Yes, phone books are still a thing.) No one wants phone books anymore.

Hire a Celebrity to Shame Them

Okay, this one cost a bit more money than everything else on this list. (But it’d be really funny, so it could be worth it.) Hire a famous person via Cameo or Memmo and get them to send a personalized video about how disappointed they are that they won’t pay you.

You can hire Graham McTavish, Kate Flannery, Corp Bro, or even a bunch of puppets.

Should you do these things? Probably not. But maybe being embarrassed or annoyed will spur them to take action.

All jokes aside, if you don’t have the money for a lawyer, you could ask ChatGPT to write you a letter like Greg Isenberg did.

The only thing you can really do next time is ask for payment upfront before work is completed. We hope you get paid! 💰