On another site, I was reading correspondence between a deadbeat client and a writer demanding payment. As I read through the exchange, the question came up in my mind - when is it okay to drop your professional demeanor and just let them have it? My answer? Never.
These are people looking for excuses to use to explain why you're not getting paid. In the case I was reading about, the client had promised payment, lied about payment being sent, and then found fault with the writer's work toward the end of about 5 or 6 months worth of the back-and-forth. The writer was understandably upset. He/she used profanity in the correspondence. It certainly got the attention of the deadbeat client, but it didn't help the cause at all. In fact, the client got snotty and refused to discuss payment until the writer cleaned up the language. Again, wrong answer from the deadbeat, but getting upset obviously did not work for the writer.
The client is clearly in the wrong here. Months and months of promised payment that ends with the sudden questions as to the quality of the work? Oh, have we ever heard that one before! But I say the writer should have at that point stepped back from the emotions (which is tough, I know) and looked at the only issue that matters - payment was overdue and action was about to be taken. Anything beyond that is a waste of time and energy.
At the point where you think you need to tell them to go to H-E-double hockey sticks you should instead go to an attorney, a collection agency, a small claims court, etc. Actions, especially in this case, reap more than harsh words ever will.
Speak softly and have an airtight backup plan. Do you agree? Have you ever used profanity on a client? Do you feel it was justified? Is it EVER justified? Convince me.