Prime Contractor Refusing to Pay 1099 (sub)

A pseudo-govt client instructed me (my small business) that I would have to work through one of their approved prime contractors. We did through them on prior projects and I was brought back for a second project.

Unfortunately after a very short time I was pulled from the account with no information as to why (although there were many layoffs of in-house people that week). The prime said they had no information.

Next day I was told that the agency has a policy of not paying for the services if the person works # wks or less - I point out it was over # weeks.

Next day I and told that there is no more info on why - but that the policy is if you work less than # hours they will not pay. I pointed out I was over # hours. (I have the APPROVED timesheets)

Next response was it doesn't matter - they claimed that they have an agreement with me (they do not) that if they don't get paid, they will not pay. Well I never would have agreed to that, especially had I known that this is not an unheard of practice by the end client.

Paperwork - I signed nothing that bars me from speaking to the customer. I received and signed nothing that would imply that I would agree to not be paid - the work memo state the hourly rate. And the payment policy documents their own IC Payment guidelines:
Co Z pays all Companies on a bi-weekly basis

I contacted the end client - since I had been dealing with them before ever hearing of the prime. They claimed that they would pay - if billed.

Prime sends me a "cease and desist" email - ordering from communicating with the end client and stating:
"In regard to payment matters with - sub, Prime considers this matter closed. “

This is in Virginia and the Small Claims limit appears to be very very low. But the amount owe is too low to be able to afford an attorney.

I have sent a Demand for Payment with an invoice and the approved Timesheets and pointed out that if they force me to file suit that the damages will grow.
What else can I do?

I appreciate advice. (btw my permanent residence is in another state, which will add costs if I have to appear in VA court.)

0 answers  |  asked Dec 6, 2011 6:54 PM [EST]  |  applies to Virginia

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