DEAR HARRIETTE: I referred a former employee of mine to do a special project for a friend -- shooting her wedding photos -- because I thought he would do a good job for the low budget that she had to offer. (I had already referred others who were not interested because the budget was low.) They met and hit it off, and everything seemed to be going OK, but now things have gone south.
My employee completed that job, but the pictures have yet to be delivered -- many months later. My friend has contacted me multiple times, distraught because she can't seem to get her pictures. Since I referred the photographer, she is hoping I can help. I have spoken to him several times, but due to a series of strange circumstances, so far he has not delivered. I am fuming. My reputation is on the line, and I haven't a clue what to do. -- SOS, Bowie, Maryland
DEAR SOS: This is a mess, but it's not your problem. Because you referred the photographer, it is kind and appropriate for you to speak to him sternly about honoring his commitment. You can point out that your reputation hangs in the balance because he has shrugged off his duties. But since he isn't responsive, guilting him will go only so far. Do your best to find out what is going on with him. If you know him to be a responsible person normally, something is off. Figure out what it is, and tell him that you need him to come clean with his client and let them know a timetable for fulfilling his duties.
You can let your friend know whatever you have learned. Then, ultimately, if he still does not come through, you may want to recommend that your friend sue him. Depending upon the amount of his fee, they may be able to handle this in small claims court. In the future, if a job seems too small to give to a professional, say as much. Most importantly, don't get entangled in getting somebody cheap to fill the position.