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Help with a company in Spain
Thread poster: Pawel Gromek
Pawel Gromek  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:52
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Feb 18, 2009

Hello all,

I have been in the translation business for a while and have never had any major problems with non-payers until now. I have worked for this small company in Spain. Invoice comes down to around $800. She doesn't reply to emails or answer phone calls. I have already reported her on BB, TranslatorsCafe, Aquarius, etc. I guess she is still not going to pay so I was thinking of taking her to court/collection agency. Do you guys know what works best in Spain? I would appreciate if someone from Valencia could help me out on this one. I really want to take her down. I have wasted too much time writing all these emails to her without any response.


Also, I did some important marketing translation for her. Do I have all legal rights to these translations as I have not been paid thus far? Can I tell her clients that they cannot legally use my work?



Please give me your thoughts.


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Katrin Lueke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:52
Member (2006)
English to German
EU collection procedure Feb 18, 2009

Hi,
since both you and the agency are in the EU, you could try the new EU collection procedure, which is new since the beginning of this year. I have not tried it myself (yet), but here is a link you might find useful:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/judicialatlascivil/html/sc_information_en.htm

If you do not feel confident to use this procedure without assistance, a collection agency in your country/town should be able to help you to get your money on the basis of this new procedure. Find one that does not ask you for money upfront! Also, the best would be, if the collection agency does not take a percentage of your money collected, but imposes fees on the debtor instead, so that you get all your money.

Act fast, there might be others who have claims, too. And do not give up, do not let them get away with this.

Good luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Bad publicity, your best option Feb 18, 2009

Well, as a Spanish citizen it is very sad to do so, but I must report that the chances to see your money are really low given the state of justice in Spain. If you go to court, you will have to appoint a lawyer, visit Spain at least once, pay a notary to allow the lawyer to act in your name, and follow a quite long, costly process until -if you are lucky- you are paid in 3-4 years time. And from your US$ 800 the lawyer and case office will take the most part, or maybe you will have to pay in the end. If you are OK with that just to drag this person to court, I would go to court, but is US$ 800 worth 3-4 years being angry?

So unfortunately I have to recommend to be more careful next time and ask for a payment in advance from a company you don't know. And of course make as much bad publicity as you can about this agency, making a clear statement in the Blue Board and informing as many colleagues as possible about the kind of people they are facing.

If you know the name of this person and maybe her VAT number, you could of course warn her that you will pay a full-page ad in her local newspaper with her name and company details explaining the situation. If her "honour" is at risk, she might react.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great advice Feb 18, 2009

Katrin Lueke wrote:
Hi,
since both you and the agency are in the EU, you could try the new EU collection procedure, which is new since the beginning of this year. I have not tried it myself (yet), but here is a link you might find useful:


I did not know about this one. It might work! At least there will be a court ruling against the agency. I would go for it!


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Potential problem? Feb 18, 2009

The new EU sytem is certainly a good idea (in principle) but it will be adminstered by local courts within the relevant jurisdiction, presumably.

If they are already deadly slow (as Tomás indicates) then the new EU procedure won't be very much different I suspect. The wheels of justice turn slow in any event (unless you're loaded and can afford high-flyers).

Still, I would look into it all the same, wouldn't do no harm.

Added: Oh yes, and good luck with it.

[Edited at 2009-02-18 11:06 GMT]


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Nigel Greenwood  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:52
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Justice in Spain is SLOW !!!! Feb 18, 2009

I work as a a translator for a lawyer based in Valencia, (like I am) and we have cases that are waiting a court decision for more than four or five years.

Beside, placing negative BB reports, you could also try the ASETRAD (Spanish National Translator's Association - www.asetrad.org) and XARXATIV (Valencian Translators Association - www.xarxativ.es)

If the lady in question is a member of either of these associations, they can suggest how you can force her to pay.

Otherwise, you should get a collection agency onto the case, but they are also limited in their enforcement. Basically, if she does not want to pay, she won't.

I am sorry, but that is how things are in Spain.

Best reagrds and good luck,
Nigel.


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:52
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Copyrights Feb 18, 2009

The copyrights to your translation are yours, if you have not been paid and the end client does not have the right to use this translation. If you can identify the end client, it might be worth getting in touch with them and pointing this out. You might get somewhere with them. Even if you have signed a confidentiality agreement with the agency in question, they have most definitely breached it by not paying you so I do not think they can complain about you contacting the end client. Seeing as everybody else considers your case lost, this might be an option. Do let us know if you get anywhere with this though and good luck!

Ines


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