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Agency -abroad- not willing to pay
Thread poster: Laurens Landkroon

Laurens Landkroon  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
Oct 6, 2008

Dear colleagues,

I read some of the discussions on Proz about debt collecting, disputes with clients, etc., as to find out what I should do (or rather: what I can do.....) about my dispute with an agency abroad that keeps saying it will pay, but doens't.

a couple of details:

1. there are no disputes about errors or negligence in the work I did.
2. I do not have a signed contract with them.
3. They repeatedly told me that all their outstanding payments are always paid within 60 days of invoice receipt, but emailing and phoning about this only results in all kids of excuses (for example, some time ago, they even closed their accounting department for a couple of weeks and informed me I should wait and ask the responsible person when she got back !!!!)
4. It has been over 4 months now.
5. They are listed on the blue board.

(In my opinion, also according to some of the things my contact from that agency told me, they have a dispute with the end client, who possibly didn't pay them or something like that...... -something that is of no concern whatsoever of course in regard to their obligation to fulfill their part of the agreement-)

What can I do?

If this agency would have been based in my own country, this matter would have already been dealt with, but how can I get my money now that it concerns an agency abroad?
Should I contact a local debt collecting agency? Should I have a lawyer or debt collector from my own country send a formal letter to them, and does this have any legal importance?

And in general, is there some kind of general method to resolve these debt colleting issues??
(especially regarding foreign agencies); for instance; I can send my list with conditions and even have a signed contract with them, but according to some of my colleagues even that won't help you to get your money)

Thanks for your input!!

Regards,


Laurens Landkroon.


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Dr. Andrew Frankland  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Abroad where? Oct 6, 2008

It might help if you could tell us where the agency is based as debt-collection procedures vary from country to country.

Andy


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 10:58
English to German
+ ...
outstanding bills and debt collection.. Oct 6, 2008

hi! is it not easy to follow a central debt collection system, which proz.com is apparently trying to offer. This has sometimes nothing to do with the quality of the work delivered, especially when the bills are long outstanding and the OS is not responding. I have currently a couple of such issues, one of them just shifted to another address and I cannot even check the genuineness of the address supplied. No one to to pick the phones and if there were any they just drop the line. There should be some time based tolerance level for the collection facility. Well just thoughts. BR Brandis

[Edited at 2008-10-06 09:21]


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Laurens Landkroon  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Europe-Italy Oct 6, 2008

Sorry for that;

the agency is based in Italy (I only recently learned that Italy appearantly is the worst country in regard to payment policies -and I thought France was bad- .......)

Thanks.


Laurens.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 10:58
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
ProZ.com is NOT involved in contracts or agreements between outsourcer and freelancer Oct 6, 2008

Brandis wrote:

hi! is it not easy to follow a central debt collection system, which proz.com is apparently trying to offer.



Brandis,

Please note that ProZ.com is NOT trying to offer a "central debt collection system".
ProZ.com offers the possibility to express your willingness to work with an outsourcer through the Blue Board and gets in touch with the outsourcer if at least two proven non-payment reports have been submitted, after which ProZ.com may a.o. decide to no longer allow this outsourcer to further use the services offered by ProZ.com.
But ProZ.com does not collect any debts whatsoever and is in no way involved in agreements made between an outsourcer and e.g. a freelancer.

I hope this clarifies it a bit.

Evert


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Laurens Landkroon  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"proven non-payment reports"? Oct 6, 2008

Dear Evert,

interesting point; what should I do to submit such a report; and what is a
"proven non-payment report" ?


Laurens.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 10:58
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
non-payment Oct 6, 2008

Laurens Landkroon wrote:

Dear Evert,

interesting point; what should I do to submit such a report; and what is a
"proven non-payment report" ?


Laurens.


When you enter a low record for an outsourcer, you'll see the following text:

"You entered a low LWA for this outsourcer.

If you have not received payment and would like to report a non-payment for this outsourcer, please click here.


Note: If you are reporting non-payment for work that you performed as agreed, if you have documentation to support this, and if there are previous non-payment reports, please contact a Jobs Moderator..ProZ.com termination policy"

HTH


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Ligia Dias Costa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:58
Member (2008)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I have the same problem Oct 6, 2008

Outsourcer in France did not pay me. Entered Blueboard. Did the thing of non-payment. Contacted site support and have been told that ProZ.com is only a venue and not envolved in payment collection.

Still haven't received my money...


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Report in the Blue Board... and pray that it does not happen to you again Oct 6, 2008

I honestly think that, unless we are talking about a month's worth of your income, it's better to let it be and pray that it does not happen again. I mean: don't sue these people or it will cost you more than the invoice. Debt collection companies might be an option... at least to warn this company that you are hiring one!

But of course please report it in the Blue Board so that other people don't suffer the same situation in the future!

[Edited at 2008-10-06 10:29]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Flemish to English
+ ...
With most Italian customers : Be patience or buy an airline ticket Oct 6, 2008

Laurens Landkroon wrote:

Sorry for that;

the agency is based in Italy (I only recently learned that Italy appearantly is the worst country in regard to payment policies -and I thought France was bad- .......)

Thanks.


Laurens.


Ah, that evokes "good"memories of payment after 136 days. T from M. So either you are willing to wait that long or take a Ryanair flight to Milano or Rome and knock at the agency's door to pick up your money.
That did the trick. When I proposed to pick up the check myself, so that the check would not get lost, payment suddenly appeared on my account two days later.
Never worked for Italians again.

[Edited at 2008-10-06 11:34]


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Laurens Landkroon  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks!! Oct 6, 2008

Thanks all for your input (so far).

my opinion / answers to a couple of your questions:

-I expect an amount of over 2000 EUR.
-In future, I will only work for an Italian company if they can agree to strict conditions, such as payment in advance or delivery of the work in instalments.

The best idea so far: try to see if they are happy to see me turn up on their doorstep (or possibly someone else who means business -if you know what I mean....-); but seriously, this really sounds like a good idea; is there anyone else who has either considered or actually executed this option ??

thanks Williamson for that idea!!
(also a good opportunity to go to Italy again......)

Laurens.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 10:58
French to Dutch
+ ...
No other idea Oct 6, 2008

Laurens Landkroon wrote:
The best idea so far: try to see if they are happy to see me turn up on their doorstep (or possibly someone else who means business -if you know what I mean....-); but seriously, this really sounds like a good idea; is there anyone else who has either considered or actually executed this option ??

This is the best idea, and sometimes it works, but only if there is a real door and a real office... not if it is only a postal address (you know, those companies where you rent a business address for some euros per month).

Debt collection agencies take about 10%-15% of the outstanding amount with a minimum flat fee for administrative costs. But if you have to hire a lawyer or legal advice, it will cost you lots more.

My advice: send two or three registered letters, the third one if possible on an official paper (if you have a friend who is a lawyer or who hss an official function), then try a debt collection agency.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:58
English to French
+ ...
house of companies in Italy ? Oct 6, 2008

I don't know Italy but there migt be some kind of House of companies where you can check if a company is registered, if it is still operating and other relevant information.

This could be usefull before spending money with registered post, lawyers etc..

Post a question on the Italian forum, I am sure they can help.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 11:58
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
My suggestion Oct 6, 2008

Even if you do not have their PO (you said you do not have a contract), I'd suggest you the following:

It seems that this should be a small agency - they probably did a big job for some client who does not pay (about the reasons why the client does not pay to them you should not bother as long as they did not make any claims to you before the due payment date). Now they are (probably) under all those procedures chasing the non-paying client and trying to get the cash from it. And they do not have a reserve to pay for the translators.

Do it simple - be friendly, patient. Call or write to them and ask what would be a REALISTIC date for payment settlement. Say, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months etc. Tell them you understand the situation and try to make an agreement for payment in installments. Say, from now till the new year. And put this agreement on paper "this and that agency has an overdue payment to Laurens, the agency obligates to settle payment by December 31st by installments". As long as you have this paper and if they are not against that (meaning they really have some temporal solubility problems and do not want to cheat you), they will sign that paper. Then you go and pray they do not get bankrupt by that time and if they do not pay by that agreed date (stated in that formal doc), then your hands are untied for money collection without any disputes.

P.S. Your deal with that agency was a mutual one. I.e. it does not matter for you if their client does not pay to them, moreover, the reasons their client does not pay to them - it is their own problem. NOT yours.


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Laurens Landkroon  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"on paper" Oct 7, 2008

Thanks Marius!

by putting the agreement "on paper" and sending this to them, you mean to send a hard copy, yes?

Still, the idea of going to Italy sounds much better, but sending them a letter and getting it back signed is watertight proof that no court can ignore (well, at least I hope they can't).

and about your other suggestions: I already did all of that (and more).....

Best,


Laurens.


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