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Customer getting me to pay their bank charges
Thread poster: Lydia Smith

Lydia Smith
Local time: 05:56
French to English
+ ...
Nov 26, 2003

An agency in Europe recently paid me by bank transfer, and deducted around 17 euros before making the payment, which was then converted into GBP by my bank (at no charge, under the new regulations). Nothing on their PO indicates that they will charge me for their bank charges! I have e-mailed them to ask them to explain why there was this shortfall, but not had a response yet.
What would you suggest - dump the agency (not a very regular customer), demand my 17 euros (they still owe me for one job I did last month, which was only 400 words, so I don't want them deducting 17 euros from that payment too, or I'll end up with very little!), charge them extra next time, request payment by cheque?
On another note, if I never get my blasted 17 euros, how do I account for this shortfall in my accounts??
I know you have to balance between receiving your dues and keeping business, but if every customer did for this with every payment, I wouldn't make much money at the end of the day.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:56
English to German
+ ...
Are you sure the agency deducted this? Nov 26, 2003

Hi Lydia,
Allow me to check if we've got the facts right here:

Lydia Smith wrote:

An agency in Europe recently paid me by bank transfer, and deducted around 17 euros before making the payment, which was then converted into GBP by my bank (at no charge, under the new regulations).

I assume you're referring to the recently-introduced EU rules for intra-EU cross-border payments. Note that these rules apply to euro payments only - was the payment made to your euro account? Your statement that this was converted into pound sterling seems to indicate that the payment was made to a sterling account, in which case the new rules do not apply.

Assuming the agency's bank used SWIFT for its payment, you should be able to find an amount in the payment advice that's preceded or followed by this code OCMT. This indicates the amount in original currency that was instructed for payment.

HTH - Ralf


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Lydia Smith
Local time: 05:56
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes I'm pretty sure Nov 26, 2003

From the information sent to me by my bank, the amount sent by the agency was 17 euros less than it should have been. I do not have a euro account, but the agency made its payment in euro, not sterling. My bank converts it to sterling, but since July 2003 my bank does not make any charge for such payments provided the correct IBAN and BIC codes are quoted. I receive other payments in this way in euros and I do not get charged anything for conversion and I get paid the full amount of what I invoiced. I am still waiting to hear back from the agency as I said, but I think they must have deducted something their end.

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Marina Zinno  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:56
French to Italian
+ ...
my personal experience Nov 26, 2003

I did a job once, it around 100 euros, the french agency sent me a cheque and when I went to my italian bank... bad surprise: I had to pay 10 euros for bank charges.

I told it to the agency that said that she would have to pay the same amount for a bank transfer, but offered me to pay the expences in the next translation.

Other agencies use to pay me without any additional charge, but every time I'm quite worried.. If I were you, I would wait agency feedback and if they say that this is their rule you only have to ask a bit more on your next work for them!


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Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
The agency is not necessarily at fault Nov 26, 2003

Lydia, please note that as Ralf said, the no-fee rule (valid from 1.7.03) only applies to payments IN EUROS to EURO ACCOUNT!! So BOTH of these conditions need to be fulfilled, before there is no charge to the sender, and you said you do not have a euro account! I regularly send money to my UK bank account (from Finland), and even though I send the money in euros, the account is an 'ordinary' sterling one, so I still have to pay the charges...

(I'm sorry but I cannot seem to make italics or bold when writing messages in this forum, thus the capitalized words, I don't mean to shout!)


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Lydia Smith
Local time: 05:56
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, but no one else does that! Nov 26, 2003

Yes, OK, perhaps they have charges their end because they are paying into a sterling account rather than a euro account, is that what you're saying? Well all my other customers are seemingly quite happy to absorb these charges, they are aware that I live in the UK before they place work with me. It is not really in my interest at present to set up a euro account as customers pay me in full and my bank does not levy any charge at my end.
I am going to ask them to send a cheque for the small job (my bank does charge for cheques but I can pay in 10 at once and only pay one charge) and in future will just have to charge them a bit extra than everyone else I think...


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Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
Yes, true Nov 26, 2003

I'm sorry, Linda, that I replied to your message perhaps a bit too hastily, after just reading it quickly through - the point I wanted to make was that these charges do apply in this case, even despite the new regulations, but you are of course right in that the agency should pay these charges themselves, and not make you do it! (Hopefully you manage to convince them of this too!)

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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
Puzzled Nov 26, 2003

my (doubtless fallible:-) understanding is that sending Euro's from a bank in an EU country, to another EU country, should cost the same as sending it to a bank within the borders of the sender's country. Ie: not very much, or nothing - not 17e. if IBAN and BIC/Swift were used.
AFAIK it should make no difference to the sending charges whether the receiving account in the UK is a Euro account or a Sterling account - if everything was done properly - the difference ought to be at the UK receiving charge/conversion end.

Which UK bank is the receiving bank?

Puzzled
Giuli Kvrivishvili

~Eng Russ Geo~

[Edited at 2003-11-26 23:07]


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Annira Silver  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:56
Finnish to English
+ ...
Make your terms clear Nov 26, 2003

Hi,

This happened to me, too: a client deducted half his bank charges from my payment. I was annoyed, as it certainly is not standard practice, and to make matters even worse, his bank made a mistake and double charged. However, as it was quite a large payment, I gave up pursuing it with both client and his US bank.

After that experience, I have added the clause "Bank charges payable by the client" to my Payment Terms at the bottom of every invoice. Nobody has tried it since.

My own bank charges are bad enough, I don't intend to pay the clients', too!

P.S. In your bookkeeping, you can enter the missing amount as "discount to cover bank charges". But I would try and recover it first.

Best of British,

Annira


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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 06:56
German to Polish
+ ...
a bit off topic Nov 27, 2003

do you know any bank/ building society in the UK who would have no problems with a standing order (SWIFT) to a Polish bank? We already enquired at Barkley's and Nationwide...
TIA for any hint
-Agnieszka-


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
see Directive Nov 27, 2003

Hi Lydia,

http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l24023.htm

This is the Directive that refers to cross-border transfers, it is also available in the other official languages of the EU. It may help you to figure out your rights. To my mind, the fact that you are in the UK and using sterling does not make you any less of a EU citizen, and that it is the prerogative of the GB bank to make charges if they wish.

I myself seem to have been DOUBLE charged by one of those most honourable of institititions, a Spanish bank. A Spanish bank will try and get away with anything in my experience! I know for a fact that the charges won a transfer were already paid in Belgium, yet the bank is charging me again.

So, up in arms again, I hate having to point out snide little dishonesties to companies..........I just think, what incredibly mean, grasping little monsters...!

Best
Ailish


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Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:56
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
more (disturbing) personal experiences Nov 27, 2003

[quote]Heli Kajander wrote:

the no-fee rule (valid from 1.7.03) only applies to payments IN EUROS to EURO ACCOUNT!!

A Belgian client has recently paid me for a small job directly to my account (in Euro)in Spain. It was a few Euro less than the amount in the invoice and when I contacted them to check what was wrong, they said they had transferred the right amount and it was my bank's fault ("you know, these banks, always robbing you blind!", they said). But it had never happened to me before.
They have another small payment pending and I'm quite sure they'll do same. I think I'll have to add that sentence ("Bank charges payable by the client") to my invoices, as Annira has suggested.
As if it wasn't bad enough to get paid such low rates, now they want us to pay for their bank charges, too! What next?


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 00:56
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Rosa, ask your bank Nov 27, 2003

I've had strange experiences with Spanish banks. They deduce charges not only when the payment is sent from Spain, but also when they receive from another EU country.

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:56
German to English
+ ...
Bank charges Nov 27, 2003

when I contacted them to check what was wrong, they said they had transferred the right amount and it was my bank's fault .
(...)
They have another small payment pending and I'm quite sure they'll do same. I think I'll have to add that sentence ("Bank charges payable by the client")


If the charges were made by your bank as your customer claims, there should be evidence of the fact on your bank statement.

If that is the case, it's your problem, assuming that the transfer was in order; you can hardly expect a customer to pay for charges that your bank is charging you.

I do suspect though that charges are sometimes deducted by intermediate banks. Last year, I made several transfers to Austria, and the recipient received around 8 Euro less each time than I sent, even though the IBAN was quoted, my bank insisted that no charges would be made to me or deducted from the transferred amount, and the recipient swears that his bank didn't charge him anything. 8 Euros simply "disappeared" along the way. Early this week I made another transfer and discovered by chance that the clerk was trying to enter the IBAN with a space after the "AT". This meant that it wasn't accepted and it was only when the clerk suggested that she enter it under "Verwendungszweck" that I realized what had happened on previous occasions and why it hadn't gone through as an IBAN transfer in the past. Even so, there appears to be no record of where these 8 Euro went.

you know, these banks, always robbing you blind!


In that respect, at least, your customer is telling the truth!

Marc


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Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Banks charges again Nov 27, 2003

Dear Lydia et al.

Bank charges will be levied twice some times.
Once at the issuing bank (most of my clients have been kind enough to meet the costs themselves) and again when the money reaches the account (sterling or not). In the UK I usually get charged £6 pounds with Barclays. However, Smile (Internet Co-op bank) do not charge me anything. I think you would have to check with the individual banks to find out different policies.

I used to have a Euro account but it was more trouble than it was worth. But you can always shop around.

In terms of taxes, you should have a record of all amounts paid to you when you do a job as in "price for the job agreed" and "total received" separately. When you do your self-assesment you should declare what you have actually received. If the Inland Revenue query it, you will have some proof to show them. It is worth keeping track of everything this way. I know it's a pain but it's part of the trade.


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