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Costs for Checks - what would you do?
Thread poster: Elke Fehling

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
English to German
+ ...
Nov 17, 2003

We already discussed this in October: one of my clients (from Spain) all of a sudden insists on paying via check. They insist on the fact that money transfers within Europe have become more expensive for them and didn’t react to my objection concerning cheaper money transfers with IBAN and BIC codes.

My bank now charged me more than 16 Euros for the payment of approx. 800 Euros by check. I find this unacceptable and would like to ask the client to pay for these extra charges in the future (or to send the money directly to my bank account, which is much more comfortable anyway).

What would you do? Do you sometimes charge "administrative fees" or do you just pay these bank fees?

I consider this client to be a good client, they are fun to work with, they regularly send me work and up to now almost always paid on time. I don't want to upset them, but I don't find it fair to have to pay for these fees when there are other - cheaper and more comfortable - possibilities.

Thank you for your help!

Elke


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 14:18
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
2% is not that much Nov 17, 2003

Hi Elke

I don't think that 16 euros for an amount of 800 are that much.

My big lesson was the 17 euros I had to pay for an amount of 40 euros. I don't say I would do it again, but it's food for thought.

Good luck.


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xxxchance
French to Chinese
+ ...
What do you think about over 30 euro for a refused check ? Nov 17, 2003

That means I touch not a cent but had to pay over 30 euro for this damned check. It's really unforgetable food for thought.

Claudia Iglesias wrote:
Hi Elke

I don't think that 16 euros for an amount of 800 are that much.

My big lesson was the 17 euros I had to pay for an amount of 40 euros. I don't say I would do it again, but
Good luck.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 20:18
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Just put it on the invoice the next time Nov 17, 2003

If the cost is avoidable, the customer should pay, if he wants to subsidise the banking system. But perhaps the firm is in financial trouble?

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Gideon van Zoest
Local time: 19:18
German to Dutch
+ ...
Count it in Nov 17, 2003

Hello Elke,


I think I would simply calculate it into the bill.

Nevertheless it appears a bit strange to me that the company is so unwilling to pay via regular wire-transfer with IBAN and BIC, since this is, I think, the cheapest way to transfer money within the EC.

Good luck!

Gideon


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
English to Polish
+ ...
50/50 Nov 17, 2003

I heard from an acquaintance that she solved the problem by splitting the cost 50/50 with the client.
This probably works only if you are on good terms with the client (but not friendly enough to charge them the whole fee!)

[Edited at 2003-11-17 12:23]


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Cristóbal del Río Faura  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
Are they Martians? Nov 17, 2003

Well, if they are a Martian good client and fun to work with, just try to write them and explain your point in a honest and friendly manner. They should understand there is no reason for you to pay extra cost when there is a cheaper method.
Regards,
Cristóbal


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xxxncfialho  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:18
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Portugal-German wire transfers... Nov 17, 2003

Hi Elke,
I think there is no reason that your customer wont pay through wire transfer I do a lot of transfers to Germany and it costs only 0,75€ per transfer as long as the amount is less that 10000€...
I would tell my client to pay by wire transfer....or charge him the extra costs
Good luck,
Natália


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:18
Italian to English
+ ...
hang on a minute.... Nov 17, 2003

I work as a freelancer and an outsourcer so am familiar with both sides of the equation.
I receive regular payments from a French agency via cheque, which costs me a few (between 10 and 20) Euros each time I pay them into my Euro account (in the UK). My opinion is that I have been paid in a legitimate way and that yes, it may be less expensive to do it another way, but hey, they are a good agency and if they want to pay me by cheque then that's fine.

As for 16 Euros out of 800 - I'm with Claudia on this one. No-one likes to see hard-earned cash go down the drain, but are those 16 Euros really significant? I can assure you that in the majority of cases there's no evil agency rep at the other end of the computer holding a chequebook and thinking how nice it would be to 'make you pay'.
I send Euro cheques out to translators myself, but always state whether payment will be by cheque(in postings/e-mail/PO etc.) before work starts.

My bank is just about coming to terms with the idea of fee-free transfers (I was charged £30 for a EUR-EUR transfer after fee-free transfers were introduced! (see other threads on the subject)) so aside from that, things are starting to looking up, but please bear in mind that it is only very recently in the UK that some banks have come to terms with the new transfer regulations, and that even now they can be very sketchy about IBANs etc.

I think that it would be worth talking to your agency again, Elke, as things could be very different from where they stand.

To sum up: nobody likes losing money, especially when there's a cheaper way around it, but why worry about 2% of your payment? Why not accommodate this factor in your rates to begin with/before you start on the job? And is it any more fair that the agency should cough up those extra 16 Euros that you lost on the 800?
All it needs is a little give and take.

Have a good week,
Amy





[Edited at 2003-11-17 19:34]

[Edited at 2003-11-17 19:41]


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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
2% Nov 17, 2003

You are right, 2% isn't all that much. But when I started working for this agency I told them not only my prices but also that I wanted to be paid by money transfer. It is not only a question of price, it is also a question of flexibility. I like to travel and I just can't cash checks that sit in my mailbox while I am in Spain or France...

Now they pretend (?) checks are cheaper then money transfers. I think they are wrong, but I don't KNOW this. I tried to argue them into making their payments via bank transfer, but they just didn't react.

Now I have two options: I can either be happy with their payments and go on as if nothing had happend. But doesn't that make me look like a puppet? Like somebody they can play around with?

Or I can try again to make them aware of the fact that I don't agree with their payment methods. I already tried that once but all they said was: "sorry, bookkeeping says we cannot do it any other way".

Elke


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 19:18
English to French
+ ...
Why ? Nov 17, 2003

Because there is internet and banking via internet. Banks have given the IBAN-BIC nummer to facilitate transactions, and their policy is to go more automatic. I send an invoice with my IBAN-BIC nummer on it and "shared cost" and three days later I got the money on my account, it costed around one euro (till 10 000 euros). So easy, and I am home and without to go out I can pay all my bills the same day, direct, from the web, to be to morrow by the crediteur. No fuss, no waste and because we are in the 21e century. (germany-the netherlands).

I would not accept check it is more complicated for both parties. I do not see the problem, to send money via IBAN-BIC, you just need to have it and you type the right thing on the comp and it's done.

I woo


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 14:18
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
It's not as easy as it seems Nov 17, 2003

One point is related to the banks, the other to the agency.
Although all the banks of EU countries should have applied this new policy, they have not. I don't know how it works for Spain, but I have an account in France, in a known bank, and I cannot transfer via Internet to an account that is not in France. For this I have to send a Fax, although in the texts explaining this new modalities it's said that the operation must be done via Internet. The most difficult part of all this was discovering that Fax number. Somebody had to go to my bank because nobody answered to my e-mails.

The problem with the agency, if we imagine that there's no problem with their bank, can be just that they are used to checks for their accounting. They say "we cannot do it any other way", it's their answer, so you must decide on what to do next. For this time, if I were you, I'd take the charges, and for next time I'd add them to the invoice if they agree. The problem for them seems to be more check vs. transfer than the charges involved.
Now, your problem is that you travel. Don't you have anybody in your main country who can receive the checks for you, and deposit them in your account? That's what I do.

Elke, you ask:
Now I have two options: I can either be happy with their payments and go on as if nothing had happend. But doesn't that make me look like a puppet? Like somebody they can play around with?

I don't think so, flexibility is also a quality and can be found in both sides.

Or I can try again to make them aware of the fact that I don't agree with their payment methods.

Of course you can. As soon as you receive the check, thank them and tell them that next time you'll have to find another arrangement, either changing the check or charging the fees to them or sharing them.
At some point I wouldn't be too demanding with a good client who pays with no other problem than "checks".

[Edited at 2003-11-17 21:13]


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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:18
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
König Kunde Nov 17, 2003

Sorry for writing the headline in German, it was just too tempting.

Elke Fehling wrote:
Now I have two options: I can either be happy with their payments and go on as if nothing had happend. But doesn't that make me look like a puppet? Like somebody they can play around with?
Elke


Wouldn't this rather make you look like a professional who tries to be as flexible as required to get the business of your client and to make placing orders with you as easy as possible?


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:18
English to German
+ ...
Commercial judgement Nov 17, 2003

What this comes down to is weighing your commercial interests - is the business relationship valuable enough in the medium to long term to accept the 16 euros plus the potential payment delay, due to a cheque lying around?

If it is, and they don't get the point about cross-border euro payments, let them have their way; possibly reflect it in the price.

If it isn't, charge a handling fee on top, or turn down the work in the first place.

Simple, really... (I know it isn't.)

Best regards, Ralf


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