Agency\'s terms and conditions confusion
Thread poster: xxxxxxxxxR_R
xxxxxxxxxR_R
English to Malay
+ ...
Mar 31, 2003

I am currently on a project translation 5000 words with an agency. I didn\'t ask for payment up-front (before starting) but instead started translation and emailed them 25% of the completed project with an invoice stating \"payment must be made within 14 days upon receipt of this invoice\".



My problem is:

1) After I submitted the 25% work and an invoice asking them to pay me and THEN I send them the project, they told me that they can only send me the payment in 2 days and want to have the project delivered before that. So I asked them to give me a written proof via email/fax.



Instead they sent me a Purchase Order and in it it explicitly said \"Terms of Payment\" - This PO is payable within 30 days upon completion and delivery of work to xxxxxxx.



I wrote back to them asking them to change the Terms of Payment to - This PO is payable within 2 days upon completion and delivery of work to xxxxxxx - as stated in my invoice.



Was this the right thing to do or I should have just accepted the PO? It feels weird as I am the \"seller\" in this deal and it sounded like I am \"serving\" them instead, if you know what I mean.



They also stated this:

\"By signing this purchase order, you agree to deliver the final and complete translation to xxxxxxx by the delivery date specified. Instructions and guideline provided to the service provider should be strictly followed. Any rework caused by ignoring instructions and guidelines will be at the service provider\'s own expenses.\"



Sounds like a VERY one-sided agreement .



Raina











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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 20:26
French to English
Unfortunately it is a bit late to negotiate... Mar 31, 2003

That\'s why you should always get an agreement in writing before starting any project.

If I were you I would just accept the PO now and consider it a valuable lesson learned if it does end up costing you anything in the end.

Sometimes it seems silly to wait for a purchase order before doing small jobs with short deadlines, but I think it is always better to be safe than sorry.

I hope it works out OK for you in the end.

Regards,

Sara



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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:26
French to English
Those are standard conditions Mar 31, 2003

Hi Raina,



The terms given to you by the agency are standard for North America and parts of Europe. In some countries (like Belgium, Italy, Spain), the terms are 60 and 90 days!



I\'ve never heard of a translator delivering 25% of a translation with an invoice, especially for a 5,000-word project (which isn\'t that long).



I can understand asking for payment upfront in some situations (perhaps if you found out that the agency is a bad payer), but this is certainly not one that would apply.



In my opinion, you\'re going to have to loosen up your terms if you want to work with agencies. They just don\'t work that way and you might find yourself not getting offers.



Also, if you didn\'t tell them about your terms upfront, then there\'s not much you can do. At least you have a purchase order, which is usually a good sign. Accept their terms, send an invoice *after* delivering the translation and then keep an eye on the payment.



Good luck,



Erika



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Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Italian to English
+ ...
What you received is pretty standard... Mar 31, 2003

Assuming I\'ve understood you correctly. I routinely bill at Net30. I\'ve NEVER asked for payment in less than 30 days, but a couple of agencies have paid within 2 weeks - and that was their choice.

I\'m not at all familiar with your market, but in the US and parts of Europe, 30 days is the norm (well, in theory )

The last clause you quoted is also quite standard. All it is saying is that you should correct any mistakes that you may make, not the agency.



R.

==



Quote:


On 2003-03-31 09:57, Raina_R wrote:

I am currently on a project translation 5000 words with an agency. I didn\'t ask for payment up-front (before starting) but instead started translation and emailed them 25% of the completed project with an invoice stating \"payment must be made within 14 days upon receipt of this invoice\".



My problem is:

1) After I submitted the 25% work and an invoice asking them to pay me and THEN I send them the project, they told me that they can only send me the payment in 2 days and want to have the project delivered before that. So I asked them to give me a written proof via email/fax.



Instead they sent me a Purchase Order and in it it explicitly said \"Terms of Payment\" - This PO is payable within 30 days upon completion and delivery of work to xxxxxxx.



I wrote back to them asking them to change the Terms of Payment to - This PO is payable within 2 days upon completion and delivery of work to xxxxxxx - as stated in my invoice.



Was this the right thing to do or I should have just accepted the PO? It feels weird as I am the \"seller\" in this deal and it sounded like I am \"serving\" them instead, if you know what I mean.



They also stated this:

\"By signing this purchase order, you agree to deliver the final and complete translation to xxxxxxx by the delivery date specified. Instructions and guideline provided to the service provider should be strictly followed. Any rework caused by ignoring instructions and guidelines will be at the service provider\'s own expenses.\"



Sounds like a VERY one-sided agreement .



Raina













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xxxxxxxxxR_R
English to Malay
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Should I always demand a deposit before starting? Mar 31, 2003

Ok, I understood your explanation fully. One more question, should I always demand a deposit before starting? I read on other threads that translators always ask for payment up-front. But what if the client can only pay by cheque? Should I wait or start? (still a newbie in e-business)







Quote:


On 2003-03-31 14:02, Rick Henry wrote:

Assuming I\'ve understood you correctly. I routinely bill at Net30. I\'ve NEVER asked for payment in less than 30 days, but a couple of agencies have paid within 2 weeks - and that was their choice.





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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:26
French to English
Deposits Mar 31, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-03-31 16:03, Raina_R wrote:

Ok, I understood your explanation fully. One more question, should I always demand a deposit before starting? I read on other threads that translators always ask for payment up-front. But what if the client can only pay by cheque? Should I wait or start? (still a newbie in e-business)





The only way a translator can get a deposit on a job is if they accept credit cards, but in any case, it\'s not common practice to ask for a deposit for small jobs. If a translator had a job that would take months and would prevent them from accepting other jobs (like 50,000 words and over), then it would be reasonable to ask for 1/4 or 1/3 of the total upfront, and perhaps another portion halfway through and the rest on delivery.



I think that the translators you\'ve read about in other threads are being overly cautious. This business (like many others, I\'m sure) is based on trust. That doesn\'t mean, however, that we should let our guard down. There are resources available to check out potential clients (Payment Practices mailing list, Translation Client Review (TCR) list, plus some others). It might be a good idea to subscribe to them.



Erika



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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:26
German to English
+ ...
Deliver, then send your invoice Mar 31, 2003

Here in Europe, or at least in the countries I do business with, it is not usual to expect payment, or a deposit, before starting a job. There are exceptions, such as when a customer is a notorious bad payer. If you are working on a very large job, it is normal to negotiate payment in instalments, but then you may well be expected to deliver in instalments, too. I have had customers ask me, for budget reasons, for an invoice at the end of the tax year for a job which was not yet finished (hello Olaf, if you\'re reading this ). If I were translating an order for a private individual (as opposed to a company) AND the customer was a complete stranger AND the job was large, I might ask for payment up-front.



From some translators\' comments, you might think that refusal to pay is common, but that is not my experience. I lost around $500 to a Belgian customer in 1995 who went bankrupt; otherwise, no customer has ever failed to pay, in nine years. Agencies often have a cash-flow problem and are unable to pay promptly but I believe that those who have no intention of paying are in a very small minority.



I wonder who has been telling you that deposits are normal.



Marc



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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:26
English to German
+ ...
I was actually reading... Apr 1, 2003

And nobody has begged me for invoices so far, shame, but there is still hope.



Anyway, I have never asked for advance payment and I think it is just not done but I have to add that I\'ve never accepted a job via email. All my clients, existing, new and potential ones, have always rung me, even those from abroad. I think it is very important to have a little chat, with new clients in particular. You establish a personal relationship and I think you\'ll notice if there is something fishy going on. My clients pay either within 30 days or 30 or 45 days after the end of the month when I sent the invoice. When ever payment is late I start pestering them by email or telephone from day one and I threaten to charge interest and a debt recovery fee which I am entitled to in the UK. I think the longest I\'ve ever had to wait was 10 days after payment was due. And I never work for a customer if a payment is overdue. One client once sent me a cheque by special delivery because I refused a job.



But there is no guarantee that a client will pay, that\'s the risk of running your own business.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 14:26
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
What do you think of an agency Apr 1, 2003

who sends a sarcastic e-mail because \'it has come to his attention\' that I looked him up on the PP\\TCR list?

His invoice is just over 100 dollars US, and he makes a sarcastic point of this: your whopping $122, he says... but his invoice is over 100 days due, I worked New Year\'s Day to meet his tight deadline, he agreed to the rate and accepted the translation, and now, instead of paying me... he berates me (by private e-mail) for checking him out (after his invoice went past 3 months).

What do you think of that? PS No comments on any of the lists, including Proz\'s own BB.


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xxxxxxxxxR_R
English to Malay
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Non-paying client Apr 1, 2003

Maybe you should warn him by telling him that you\'d report him to a debt collection agency? i.e. if he\'s based in the US, tell him you\'re gonna pass it to a debt collection agency over there?



There\'s a very good posting related to your problem on ProZ, here\'s the link..



http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic_id=6474&forum_id=8



All the best to you..



Quote:


On 2003-04-01 16:28, NancyLynn wrote:

who sends a sarcastic e-mail because \'it has come to his attention\' that I looked him up on the PP\\TCR list?



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