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an agency postponing the payment and making ungrounded accusations
Thread poster: Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI

Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:58
Member (2008)
English to Czech
Nov 6, 2008

I'm not sure if this is the most suitable category for the topic, but let's see.

On September 5, I submitted my proofreading job for an UK-based agency (currently 4.2 on BB, was a bit better then).
For this job, no glossary of approved terms was provided to me.
On the same day, I e-mailed the invoice and they confirmed receipt thereof.
Payment date was in mid-October (they had 40 - 60 days in their Terms, "providing all contractual obligations are met").

In mid-October, they sent out a message (it was part of a bigger project where more languages was involved) that the client is unhappy with some texts etc. and that the payment is delayed and they will discuss with the client.

Today, they sent another e-mail saying that according to the customer, except other problems with various texts, Czech delivery had "glossary inconsistency" that the proofreaders are not paying attention and that "inconsistency issue should have been raised up"; and they will talk to the customer next week again etc. to see if any discounts will apply.

I got back to them immediately, saying the glossary was empty for Czech (their instruction was: "if NO Glossary found in your language tab, which mean NO glossary provided and please feel free to correct the translations if there is any"), saying I don't understand why should I be held responsible for that "mistake" and so on. (No response this far.)


I don't like how this whole thing evolves; I made nothing that could be the reason for payment delay, but what bothers me perhaps even more - I find it bizarre that they take the client's word and don't bother to check if the glossary was actually provided by them first before they distribute the complaints. Make your own mind how professional is that.

Anyway, I would like to know your opinions or experience:
1) Is it normal that the agency blames the customer for the delays? I mean, I made my work on time and in standard quality and why should I care the client is not happy with some other part and delays the payment? They had 60 days to discuss the latest detail. I made a deal with the agency, not with the client, and I fulfilled all my obligations.

2) Are there any universal legal penalties (surchages) in the UK that can be applied for unreasonably postponing a payment? They have some penalties in Terms for the translator if the deadline or quality is not OK, i. e. the Terms are broken; I assume the rule of "contractual obligations" should work the other way round, too, shouldn't it?
(They will obviously not deliver the money within 60 days, i. e. yesterday; then of course I would not travel to a UK court for that small amount or anything like that, it's just that with their current "lovely" attitude - blaming me of unprofesionalism without any reason and threating with discounts - I'm losing last bits of understanding, patience and friendly passivity (like when I made two small updates requested by them without any additional charges) towards them. Frankly, I'm kind of fed up with these "little dances".)

Sorry for a negative post, I just wanted to share myself...

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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:58
Spanish to English
You have all my sympathy Nov 7, 2008

I'm afraid I can't advise you except that you might think of making a Blue Board entry if you are breaking their agreement with you. Really, as you say, your deal is with the agency, not the Client.

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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:58
Member (2003)
French to English
Interest on late payments Nov 7, 2008

Have a look at this site for information on late payment legislation in the UK:

There's also information on the same site on late payment legislation in the EU (Directive 2000/35/EC).

If it gets to that point, take a look at the UK courts website Some claims can be made online - you'd need to read up to get the details but it might be worth having the information to hand so you're aware of the facts when negotiating with your client.



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