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Non-paying client - what to do
Thread poster: Mariana Moreira

Mariana Moreira
Portugal
Local time: 19:27
Member (2004)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 3, 2008

I have done a large translation job last November and although I've been sending mails and calling I can't get any answer regarding the long due payment.

By now I believe they are not going to pay me at all. It's a Germany located agency and I live in Portugal. My question now is: shall I get a German layer to take care of it, my Portuguese one or is there any other way of making them pay?

All opinions and advise is welcomed.

Mariana


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is it a company present in Proz.com? Jun 3, 2008

In that case, make sure you use the Blue Board to reflect the lack of payment. That way you will be helping others.

You might also want to tell the company that you will publish their name and address in Proz.com and other sites explaining that they are not paying. Maybe they feel more inclined to pay if their good will is in danger.


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Andrei Yefimov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 21:27
English to Russian
+ ...
maybe this will help you Jun 3, 2008

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/104158-success_stories_about_collecting_money_abroad.html

Regards,
Andrei


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:27
English to German
+ ...
Search for "Mahnverfahren" Jun 3, 2008

...or "Zentrales Mahngericht". You should find quite a few topics dealing with the official German reminder service. And of course, do post a BB entry.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Germaine07
Local time: 14:27
English to French
+ ...
I will go with Thomas on this one Jun 3, 2008

I worked for the same type of delinquent company in the past. I contacted one of the company excecutive and told him about my plan to add thier name on my social networking group and proz as delinquent. From there the process went really fast and I was contacted within 3 hours by the project manager, then by the finance department.

I would not hurt to take that type of action before looking for a more legal one.


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Stephanie Sirot  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:27
English to French
+ ...
Threaten them with legal action Jun 3, 2008

With agencies, I believe it should be "the hard way" when it comes to outstanding payments. Usually being nice and patient doesn't work, as they just don't care.

I don't know what you told them, but you should say that you are going to take legal action, even if you live in a different country. And also tell them you will inform other translators of their practises on Proz and any other forums you can think of.

Also tell them you won't hesitate to contact the end client.

Usually it works.

Stephanie.


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Maurice Devroye
United States
Local time: 14:27
English to French
Lessons learned in a "pro se" procedure in the US Jun 3, 2008

Dear Colleagues,

To summarize my just ended success story: it took almost one year to get a French client to write a proper check for some 20 long medical studies I translated in 2007. This client is not a translation agency, which may explain the very long delay. It’s an online publication group registered as an LLC in the US and as an SPRL in France. I ended up suing and using what’s called a “pro se” procedure (without a lawyer). I should mention that the summons exceeded $5,000.00 (the limit set in the US for “small claims”). I am pleased to report that the summons issued by the civil court of the City of New York produced the desired results. End of that story.

Having learned a few lessons in the process, I will be happy to pass them on to any one facing a similar predicament. The procedure is fairly simple and not too expensive. For details and pointers, do not hesitate to contact me.

This comment is posted in the thread mentionned above. I realize it's a little bit off topic in this one. Unfortunately, non-paying clients will always be there, but so also legal procedures.

Here is where you can find the EU directive on this topic:

Eur-Lex

Cheers!


[Edited at 2008-06-03 23:11]


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Atena Hensch  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 08:27
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Dept Collection Agency Jun 4, 2008

One time I had problem with an agency in Australia and I told them "if I don't receive my money within next 10 working days, I will send the Dept Collection Agency". They transfered the money within 2 hours after sending the email. It worked

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Peter Bajorek  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:27
French to English
+ ...
Who is your contact? Jun 4, 2008

I recently had a problem with getting payment from a client.
I agree with others that you should make a Blueboard entry, and also threaten to take legal action. Even if you don't know what legal action to take, or if it is even possible, the threat can be effective.

One tactic that was successfull for me was to email multiple people at the company.
In the past, I had been only dealing with the one project manager. When she stopped responding to my emails, I found the company's website and scoured it for other alternative addresses.
I then emailed the project manager, copying in all of the other addresses, and threatened legal action.
The response was immediate.

There is always the possibility the a PM is trying to cover up a mistake, so involving more people at the company could help.


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Mariana Moreira
Portugal
Local time: 19:27
Member (2004)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
email sent yesterday Jun 4, 2008

Yesterday and using a template that one of our collegues sent me I send them (3 different people) an email threathening them that I would post a negative feedback in all possible translators sites if I wasn't paid within 3 working days.

I received the read confirmation but so far nobody even cared to reply, so slowly I am feeling this is going to be much harder.

Thank you so much for everyone's support
Mariana


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:27
English to French
+ ...
One other threat Jun 4, 2008

Among the different threats that can be used (if you are at that stage), let's not forget about copyright issues. At this point, it can also be effective to tell the client "Oh, by the way, the copyright is transferred to you only after full payment has been made, which is not the case and so the copyright is mine. If, in the meantime, you published my translation, then this is not a non-payment issue anymore - it also becomes a copyright infringement issue, which I will gladly sue you for as well." Or something along those lines...

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