Customer deducting massive bank charges from invoices
Thread poster: Andrei Albu

Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:55
English to Romanian
+ ...
Jul 5, 2004

A U.S.-based agency is telling me they would have to deduct USD 75 from my invoice of USD 206.52, as charges for the international wire order into my USD account. Now, their PO had not mentioned anything about such massive bank charges, and I had specifically instructed them, upon acceptance of the PO, to effect the payment by wire transfer. They said "no problem, will do so". However, they forgot to mention the huge bank charges. I would have not taken on the assignment should I have known that from the very beginning. Anyways, willing to be flexible, I volunteered to cover HALF, but definitely not more, of the said bank charges. They simply replied "we need to forward these charges entirely to you", without any explanation whatsoever. I feel I am being taken advantage of and do not know what to do. They have another pending payment for me, which is over USD 2,000, that had also been agreed, in writing, to be paid by wire transfer. Now they said they sent out a check instead, which may be on its way here as I have not received it yet, but apologised and said they will initiate the wire transfer tomorrow. I told them it can take two months to cash a check in Romania. Again, I feel I am being taken advantage of. What is your opinion on this issue, apart from dumping this agency from future assignments? Thank you in advance for any advice.
Andrei

[Edited at 2004-07-05 09:03]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 00:55
English to German
+ ...
it is surely not right Jul 5, 2004

Andrei Albu wrote:

A U.S.-based agency is telling me they would have to deduct USD 75 from my invoice of USD 206.52, as charges for the international wire order into my USD account. Now, their PO had not mentioned anything about such massive bank charges, and I had specifically instructed them, upon acceptance of the PO, to effect the payment by wire transfer. They said "no problem, will do so". However, they forgot to mention the huge bank charges. I would have not taken on the assignment should I have known that from the very beginning. Anyways, willing to be flexible, I volunteered to cover HALF, but definitely not more, of the said bank charges. They simply replied "we need to forward these charges entirely to you", without any explanation whatsoever. I feel I am being taken advantage of and do not know what to do. They have another pending payment for me, which is over USD 2,000, that had also been agreed, in writing, to be paid by wire transfer. Now they said they sent out a check instead, which may be on its way here as I have not received it yet, but apologised and said they will initiate the wire transfer tomorrow. I told them it can take two months to cash a check in Romania. Again, I feel I am being taken advantage of. What is your opinion on this issue, apart from dumping this agency from future assignments? Thank you in advance for any advice.
Andrei

[Edited at 2004-07-05 09:03]
Hi! normally an outsourcer mentions in the P.O and transaction model etc., whether the bank charges are born by the translator or they are split. Normally if it is not mentioned, the outsourcer is to bear the full transaction expenses. As far as I know such a fee doesn´t exceed USD 35- 40, a few banks may charge in percentage depending upon the value of transfer. Considering you do paypal, the translator normally bares around 9.9% of the transaction fee, for this the transaction is over in the fastest manner. Remains the charges levied between Paypal and your bank. In any case, if there was no mention of who bares the transaction fee, normally the outsourcer is to come for it. Alternatively you can always remind the outsourcer via BB, of undue trade practices, such that others will also know.
Regards,
Brandis

[Edited at 2004-07-05 09:26]


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:55
English to Czech
+ ...
Unfair behaviour Jul 5, 2004

I believe the agency's behaviour is unfair. It seems they want you to cover all banking charges, including theirs.

I have a similar experience and since then I always explicitly ask the agency what are the banking charges and who covers them. I was going to suggest using moneybookers, because they have very low fees, but it seems that it's not possible to withdraw money from a moneybookers account in Romania.

You should at least ask the agency to send both amounts in one payment, so that they don't deduct the charges twice.


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:55
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Please report the abusive behaviour on the BB and other Payment Practices lists Jul 5, 2004

This is our last line of defense. It can be effective in two ways: (1) providing us with warnings that we should draft especially clear conditions with such parties, and (2) putting pressure on agencies and clients against such abusive behavior.

The only conditions for this to work is that translators do not get intimidated, and proceed with reporting in a consistent way, and that we always remember to check every new client against the BB and PP lists.

[Edited at 2004-07-05 11:56]


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Ramesh Madhavan  Identity Verified

Local time: 04:25
English
+ ...
Sender never deducts, the sender's bank does. Talk to your bank. Jul 5, 2004

Please talk to your bankers. They will tell you more. But, I think your customer is not telling the truth. When sending out wire transfers, we have an option to tell our bank to deduct charges from our own account or from the receiver's account. The bank on either side will be able to confirm the exact amount deducted as bank charges. I have never heard of a client deducting the BANK charges BEFORE sending payments! Normally, bank charges are between US$ 5 & US$ 25, depending on the bank. However, if your client has 'borrowed' the money ( like over draft / back-to-back payments etc.)from his/her bank to pay you, his/her charges will include this special situation. Now, you are not responsible for this situation but it is possible for your client to make you pay for the 'borrowed' money! THAT IS NOT FAIR!

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 18:55
SITE FOUNDER
Lower rates are available in the US Jul 5, 2004

The rates I have seen at US banks for international wire transfers are $25-$35. A $75 charge sounds rather high to me, but I suppose there is a chance that this company's bank is very uncompetitive on this point--they should look around if this is the case, particularly if they want their translators to bear the charges. In any case I believe they should have informed you in advance.

Beware the charges that will apply to processing a check. Even if your bank says the fee will be something reasonable (like $10), the check can get passed among several banks in between, each will take a fee, and the rate of exchange applied may be poor. It may end up costing more than $75.


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 00:55
German to English
Bank transfer charges Jul 5, 2004

Andrei,

I was told by my American stepmother who is a bank manager that transfering money by wire into a European account, when one does not have a *specific business account* for those purposes, costs plenty. That's why I get cheques for Christmas. (A cheque is cheaper but I get to pay the handling charge, thanks mom...)

I always state on my PO and in my General Terms and Conditions that bank charges will be shared, I pay mine you pay yours so to speak. It looks like the bank charges came as a surprise to both of you. Live and learn.
Don't write them off as crooks yet, take the next job, state the share charges blurb in your Terms and Conditions or raise your price to include the "hidden" costs of handling.

I don't know what it costs to clear an American cheque in Romania, but maybe you should have taken it and accepted the 2 month wait.

sylvie


[Edited at 2004-07-05 13:10]


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Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:55
English to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
But I do have a business account Jul 5, 2004

Hi Sylvie,

Who needs a business account? Well, I do have one (actually, several), as I trade as an incorporated entity. And frankly, I do not see why I should wait for two months, and pay the check handling charges as well. We had a written agreement, 30 days net, wire transfer. Should they have told me of the 75 USD cut-off, I would have either not accepted the job, or I would have charged extra so that I can get what we agreed. As for the agency, I assume they should have a business account, otherwise they would not be a translation agency.


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Charlotte Blank  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
Czech to German
+ ...
Try ikobo.com Jul 5, 2004

Hi Andrei,

you could also try to get your client to use ikobo.com for the transfer. For USD 2000 ikobo will charge USD 60,09 (from a merchant's account) - that's even less than you paid for your first wire-transfer. I just checked their website (http://www.ikobo.com/country/romania/) and found that you can send and receive money in Romania without any problems.
But be careful when opening an account: The fees for a merchant's account are cheaper than P2P and you can send money without limit (P2P is limited to USD 1010 for one transfer, so you would have to pay several times when it's more than that).

Good luck!

Charlotte


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:55
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Your own US bank account Jul 5, 2004

Just some thoughts:

If you are doing more work for this agency (or others) would it be worth your while to open your own bank account in the US?

Then you could make one large transfer to your bank in Romania once in a while and you can research what is the cheapest way to do that - you will be in charge.

You could also consider that US account a savings account and leave some money in there for a rainy day.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 00:55
English to German
+ ...
do you plan to offer these services Jul 5, 2004

Tina Vonhof wrote:

Just some thoughts:

If you are doing more work for this agency (or others) would it be worth your while to open your own bank account in the US?

Then you could make one large transfer to your bank in Romania once in a while and you can research what is the cheapest way to do that - you will be in charge.

You could also consider that US account a savings account and leave some money in there for a rainy day.
Hi! it is certainly interesting, do you plan to offer these services, then that should be wonderful, for many in the east european countries like , poland, Bulgaria, Tscheschei, and others. But I do not think it is easy for any one operating outside the U.S to open such an account without inlandische vouching and support. I would be more thoughtful here.
Regards
Brandis


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:55
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Transfer fee way up high! Jul 5, 2004

I think they are ripping you off.
I recently transferred several thousand dollars to a bank in Spain. The fee was $US30.00. Previously I had transferred anywhere from three hundred to three thousand, and I always paid the same. The charge for a wire transfer is not a percentage of the amount. I think the idea to open your own account in the US is excellent. Chase Manhattan has very good offers. Check if they apply to you.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:55
German to English
+ ...
My bank charges $40 Jul 6, 2004

to wire money to Germany. Just chiming in to agree that the charge is excessive.

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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 00:55
German to English
Andrei Jul 6, 2004

Andrei Albu wrote:

Hi Sylvie,

Who needs a business account? Well, I do have one (actually, several), as I trade as an incorporated entity. And frankly, I do not see why I should wait for two months, and pay the check handling charges as well. We had a written agreement, 30 days net, wire transfer. Should they have told me of the 75 USD cut-off, I would have either not accepted the job, or I would have charged extra so that I can get what we agreed. As for the agency, I assume they should have a business account, otherwise they would not be a translation agency.


Andrei,
Sorry, I meant to specify that it is the US business that has to have the business bank account that allows transferring money overseas. Perhaps a wire transfer to your country costs double. But still it sounds like they've "sweetened" the bank charge with a few handling charges of their own. Ask them to itemize the charges for your records. I'm not sure you want to lose them as a customer or not, but you'll have a base for raising your price for the next time.

sylvie


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