The Story of My Dealings with Andrew Weilgus and the National Trivia Association
As a designer/art director with a fulltime job, I don’t actively search for freelance work. I occasionally take a job that falls in my lap and sounds interesting, but it’s maybe once or twice a year. In the little amount of time I want to spend working outside of my 9-5 I’m usually wrapped up with helping out friends or family with little things rather than taking paid jobs.
I was recently contacted through my website by a man named Andrew Weilgus. As Andrew’s LinkedIn profile suggests he’s a Director at The Live Network LLC (which seems to be defunct) and the National Trivia Association based out of New Jersey. Before I even respond to freelance work requests I tend to do a bit of digging to both find out about the person contacting me as well as the company they work for or own. Andrew and his company sounded pretty legit, and he had what sounded like a really interesting project. We chatted via email but quickly moved to phone conversations to discuss how we might be able to work together. The conclusion we came to was that to start, he needed someone to fill a very basic consulting role to start. In a nutshell, it was outlining the type of team he would need to pull together for this project and the particular skillset of each team member. Think of it as the basics of what to look for in a person’s resume that he might be interviewing. As we went over the details of the deliverable (we settled on basic word doc. containing an outline of the functions and skills), I made sure this was exactly what he wanted, he reassured me several times, yes. I mentioned that I thought it might take me 4-5 hours total to complete the document… a few phone calls, some minor research and I’m done. Easy. Now, I’m not typically one to work without a written contract, but Mr. Weilgus was nice enough to offer me payment for the first 2 hours upfront which he delivered right away, and the project was short and pretty straight-forward, so I moved forward. I completed the document over the weekend and sent it off to him for review. After a couple of weeks of not hearing back from him I emailed him again to check in. This went on for a bit with no response, so I sent him a text message and got a response… something to the effect of “Hey, sorry, got married, have been really busy with my wedding stuff, I’ll check the document out and get back to you.” Little did I know this was the first excuse of many that would lead right up to this day, nearly 8 months later. They started with “I’ll send the money as soon as I have it in my account” and toward the end they turned to blame… “you over-billed me” and even a “I could have found this information myself.” For the record folks, in the age of the internet you can find any information yourself. When you hire someone to find it all for you that’s not a great excuse to then not pay that person that you hired. For a man that certainly tries to portray himself as big-time company owner/director in his online profiles, it turns out that Andrew Weilgus is little more than you’re average dishonest person that anyone would be smart to steer clear of in a business setting.
As only an occasional freelancer, I rarely have to put myself out there and potentially deal with this sort of nonsense. I mostly do work for friends and past colleagues that I trust. I know plenty of others that freelance on a regular basis and it’s a shame that we occasionally run into these types of people. Sure, there are things you can do when this happens… there’s small claims court, you can file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office in the state they’re based out of, or the Chamber of Commerce. These actions tend to work better as threats to get people to take action, but actually pursuing them takes time, and when you’re a contractor, time is money. Sometimes it’s just better to write a reasonably well search-engine-optimized blog post that you know will show up in the search results the next time someone wants to check up on someone like Andrew Weilgus from the Live Network and the National Trivia Association, to find out what kind of person he is, or how he conducts business.
In the end, it’s a shame when you deliver on your end of an agreement and others refuse to deliver on their end. Personally my reputation is worth more than a few hundred bucks, but sadly some people don’t feel that way about their own.