I've been stiffed!!
If it wasn't a common occurrence then there wouldn't be a term for it!
I figure that I live a charmed life in that I've never been stiffed for a performance. That's not to say that I've never played without being paid - I still donate better than one community service event for every paid performance - nor to say that I haven't had to track down people who'd said that they would be responsible.
I try not to play for free at private events nor those where an admission is charged. However, when firm financial arrangements aren't made in advance, payment is rare. Consequently, I take some of the "blame" and don't consider lack of payment at these events as being "stiffed".
My usual issue is at funerals. I've since learned to employ the funeral directors to help sort this out in advance. If you have a good relationship with these professionals, you call them IN ADVANCE and tell them that no-one seems to have made arrangement for your payment. They'll usually help to sort it out.
I do know of those who've legitimately been stiffed. (One was at an induction ceremony at Eastern Star and the woman wouldn't return phone calls and eventually blocked emails!!)
Some folks resort to contracts for everything to provide some legal recourse. The contracts usually include a 50% deposit refundable only if the piper can't play. I don't know anyone who's been stiffed twice.
Copyright S.K. MacLeod 1996-2016