In this case, the company in question is Oxbridge Media Project. They contacted me on July 16, after I had responded to an ad they were running for writers, and said that they liked my style. They invited me to pitch three article ideas. I pitched the three ideas, and all of the ideas were accepted. I submitted the articles on July 28, and on August 3, I received an email from the editor telling me that the three articles had been accepted for publication and that I could expect to hear from the accounting department soon.
On August 14, the accounting department got in touch with me and asked me to electronically sign a contributor's agreement. I did so and returned it the same day. Since then, I have heard nothing from anyone at Oxbridge regarding payment for my articles.
I have written to the accounting department three times and to the editor twice. I have asked them if they could let me know when to expect payment, and I even offered to accept a payment plan or reduced payment if the company was in financial difficulty.
As of today, I still have not been paid for the articles, and all of my emails have gone unanswered.
I'm hoping the company is simply disorganized and not a deadbeat or a scam, but at this point my hopes are not high. A word to the wise: If you are approached by Oxbridge Media Project, run in the other direction - fast.