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Client payment practice
Thread poster: biankonera

biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 18:10
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
Oct 16, 2007

For a while Ive been working with a client who has rather lazy payment habbits. They kind of state that translator must allow up to 8 weeks for payment to be made. Im a patient person but what bugs me is this - my first payment arrived after 18 (!!!) weeks and ONLY after I sent an inquiry when the first 8 weeks passed and there was no sign of my money. Now the second invoice of mine faced a very similar fate (this time when he first 8 weeks passed they told me - ops, we forgot to send it for payment...). I dont know if they treat other translators the same way (their BB rate is 5 BTW), but its a bit suspicious that both times something happens to my invoice.

What Id like to ask is how do you, dear colleagues, deal with such lazy payers? I was suggested to make an inquiry directly to the person in charge of the payment, but the client is a huge corporation with offices in different countries and even if I know where the main office is Ive no clue how to find accountants (or whoever is in charge of paying me) in there. So if anyone could share their experience I will be very grateful.:)
Thanks!


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 10:10
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
2 months after last day of the month on the invoice Oct 16, 2007

Some companies have outrageous payment policies. I'm in the same boat as you are, I did two jobs for an agency that pays 2 months after last day of the month on the invoice. So I deliver the first job on 07/03 so I was suppose to receive the payment early in October. But after several days I wrote them asking them about the status of the payment and they reply that the payment will be made in November because they're low in cash.

So on top of having to wait 2 months, I have to wait one extra month. I accepted the payment terms, so I knew I had to wait longer than usual. What bothers me the most is that they didn't even tell me they were gonna be late, I had to ask.

Taking new clients is always a risk, I'm going to think twice before accepting any jobs from this agency, or maybe not and I'll just decline it.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:10
Swedish to English
+ ...
Payments can be mislaid when different departments/offices are involved BUT Oct 16, 2007

bramasole wrote:

They kind of state that translator must allow up to 8 weeks for payment to be made. Im a patient person but what bugs me is this - my first payment arrived after 18 (!!!) weeks and ONLY after I sent an inquiry when the first 8 weeks passed and there was no sign of my money. Now the second invoice of mine faced a very similar fate (this time when he first 8 weeks passed they told me - ops, we forgot to send it for payment...).



I would never have accepted a translation on those terms. I, the supplier, stipulate the terms on which I conduct business - generally 30 days from date of invoice.

I now work mainly in-house for a large company with many departments and offices abroad. On a few occasions when I've outsourced work, I've been contacted by the freelancer complaining that they have not received payment. On those occasions I feel very embarrassed and head straight down to accounts to sort the situation out.

That, after you made the company aware of the situation, it still took a further 10 weeks before you received the payment is ridiculous. I personally would not have accepted another assignment from them.



I was suggested to make an inquiry directly to the person in charge of the payment, but the client is a huge corporation with offices in different countries and even if I know where the main office is Ive no clue how to find accountants (or whoever is in charge of paying me) in there.



I assume this suggestion came from your contact person. Easy way of passing the buck.

In your shoes, my first instinct would be to contact this person again and remind him/her of with whom you agreed the contract (which it is regardless of if an actual contract has been signed). It's up to this person to sort the situatin out. But it's probably easier just to kindly ask (demand) to be given the contact details of the person/department which is supposed to make the payment.

Sorry about the rant - had a horrible day with 'Transport for London' (TfL for those who aren't forced to commute in this lovely city), at the office, with a translation agency and, finally, with a lazy teenage son.


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 18:10
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So true Oct 16, 2007

Thanks a lot for your comment Madeleine! (and no worries about the rant - it happens to all of us especially on dreadful days )

I agree with you and should have done that myself - no more assignments from them but they happened to give me job when I was in between projects and thought some extra money would come in handy. But it sure is true - such long payment terms are ridiculous while they seem to be not bothered by that at all. Anyway, I guess I will have to finally learn to say no to them because even if an attitude can be relaxed this time its getting way too relaxed.


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 17:10
English to Norwegian
+ ...
no reason to accept any more projects from them Oct 16, 2007

if you can avoid it at all.
If they insist on having a 60 day payment schedule, the least they should do is pay up without reminders.
If they don't - they are probably gambling on you forgetting the whole thing or giving up.
Find some other clients if you possibly can.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Completely agree with Madeleine Oct 16, 2007

I can hardly imagine putting up with such treatment. And even if conditions are not particularly rosy for translators in Latvia, it is hard to imagine that you cannot find agencies/clients that offer more favorable payment policies. Even if you were are paid a somewhat lower rate than this agency that comes across with money only after more than three months, it would probably be a better deal for you.



[Edited at 2007-10-16 22:02]


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:10
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Chase them until you receive the amount, charge interest and drop them Oct 17, 2007

I'd suggest to phone them up at regular intervals, say, twice a week, until you finally receive the amount.

Depending on the magnitude of the amount outstanding, I'd even be inclined to crack down hard on them, send formal reminders (in fact, you should have done this long ago), charge interest for the period following the due date, and take legal steps if required. Following collection of your receivable, I'd most probably tell them in no uncertain terms that this is the end of the business relationship.

For me, the fact that payment arrived way past the due date in the previous instance is a clear sign of the company having cash flow problems, no matter how lame the excuses are they come up with. (A "big international corporation" should have proper - monthly - payment routines in place.)

My 2c,
Steffen

[Edited at 2007-10-17 06:38]


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 18:10
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not the case Oct 17, 2007

Robert Forstag wrote:

And even if conditions are not particularly rosy for translators in Latvia, it is hard to imagine that you cannot find agencies/clients that offer more favorable payment policies. Even if you were are paid a somewhat lower rate than this agency that comes across with money only after more than three months, it would probably be a better deal for you.



[Edited at 2007-10-16 22:02]


Its not the case of lack of clients or low payments. They didnt come accross with money like some good fairies. It was simply the case of me having some free time and them having a job in my favorite field. But Ive sure learned my lesson no worries there.


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