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Use of Blueboard when payment problem arises
Thread poster: B D Finch

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Dec 31, 2008

I seem to have been very lucky so far, judging by reports from other translators. Practically all my clients pay up on or before time without reminders and those few requiring reminders have paid immediately once reminded.

However, I have just had to contact an agency with an excellent Blue Board record about the first (quite small) job I have done for them and for which payment is 2 weeks overdue. I had no reply to the e-mail reminder I sent them 4 days ago. When I phoned the PM, I was told that they would be paying in early January. I said that the payment had been due 19th December and was told that their client had not yet paid because the job had been split between myself and another translator and there was a quality problem with the other translator's work. The PM assured me that there had been no problem whatsoever with the quality of my own translation.

I am, needless to say, unhappy about this. While the sum involved is small, the agency should have paid me on or before the due date of my invoice which was 30 days after issue and over 30 days after delivery of the translation. Had there been a problem with my work, that would have given them plenty of time to raise the matter. A problem with another translator's work or with the agency obtaining payment from their client is not my problem. On the other hand, the Blue Board record shows this agency as paying promptly and I feel I should not cut them out for this one experience, particularly as the job was interesting and the field was one in which I want to do more work. If I accept further work from them, I shall certainly insist, when accepting, upon their need to honour terms of payment .

Should I hold off Blue Board comments for the moment and wait a few months to see whether a) they give me further work and b) if they do, whether they pay promptly and without excuses?


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ST Translations
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:54
French to English
Wait a bit longer Dec 31, 2008

Why should you suffer because of another translator? It's a very poor excuse. The agency knew the payment terms and coming up with excuses like that is not very professional of them. However, given that you liked the work and they appear to have a good payment record, my advice is to give them till early January (this one time). If they still do not pay up then make a comment about them on the blueboard. Happy New Year and good luck!

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:54
English to German
+ ...
Post now, update when you get paid Dec 31, 2008

Hi,

However, I have just had to contact an agency with an excellent Blue Board record about the first (quite small) job I have done for them and for which payment is 2 weeks overdue. I had no reply to the e-mail reminder I sent them 4 days ago. When I phoned the PM, I was told that they would be paying in early January. I said that the payment had been due 19th December and was told that their client had not yet paid because the job had been split between myself and another translator and there was a quality problem with the other translator's work. The PM assured me that there had been no problem whatsoever with the quality of my own translation.

This is either a rather stupid excuse, and/or their business is not sufficiently capitalised, particularly if the sum involved is small. Bad news either way.

A problem with another translator's work or with the agency obtaining payment from their client is not my problem.

Precisely.

On the other hand, the Blue Board record shows this agency as paying promptly and I feel I should not cut them out for this one experience, particularly as the job was interesting and the field was one in which I want to do more work. If I accept further work from them, I shall certainly insist, when accepting, upon their need to honour terms of payment .

Let me get this straight: they let you down on a small amount - would you really like to try their business approach with more money at stake? As interesting as the work might be, I assume you wouldn't want to work for free.

Should I hold off Blue Board comments for the moment and wait a few months to see whether a) they give me further work and b) if they do, whether they pay promptly and without excuses?

In my view, you should post right now (not least as a sign that you are prepared to assert your claim) - make sure in your comment that you appreciate the type of work, but identify the payment issue at the same time. (Don't forget to mention there were no quality issues with your work.) If you post an LWA of 1 or 2, you can lodge a non-payment report at the same time. This will only be visible to the outsourcer, ProZ.com staff and moderators, but will not be shown publicly.

Once you have received payment, update the entry. At any time, the entry should reflect your likelihood of working again for that outsourcer: payment practices are an important element of that probability, but not the only one.

HTH, Ralf

[Edited at 2008-12-31 11:12 GMT]


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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Workikng for free? Dec 31, 2008

[quote]Ralf Lemster wrote:

Let me get this straight: they let you down on a small amount - would you really like to try their business approach with more money at stake? As interesting as the work might be, I assume you wouldn't want to work for free.



No, I certainly wouldn't work for free, but the agency concerned is a French one and so I would be able to take action against them if they didn't pay up for a future job. However, if they have such serious cashflow problems that they can't afford to pay my little invoice, then they might not be around for long enough to give out any more work!


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:54
Member
French to English
+ ...
Post first, edit later Dec 31, 2008

I agree with Ralf's suggestion: post your comment right away, and then by all means update it later.

This happened to me earlier in 2008 with one company, and they contacted me about payment within ½ hour of my Blue Board posting's appearing!

I then got paid within 10 days (though that was still 90 days after completion of the job!)


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 06:54
German to English
+ ...
wait a little it's end of year Dec 31, 2008

Some agencies wait to make payments for tax reasons. Unless you are having a serious financial problem at this time, I would be accomodating. Hopefully, one day you will be facing end of year and you will prefer to have your income shifted to next year. Then, I think, you will really understand what's going on.

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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What about my tax? Dec 31, 2008

Peter Manda wrote:

Some agencies wait to make payments for tax reasons. Unless you are having a serious financial problem at this time, I would be accomodating. Hopefully, one day you will be facing end of year and you will prefer to have your income shifted to next year. Then, I think, you will really understand what's going on.


I might want payment this year for tax reasons. They didn't even have the decency to tell me there was any problem or to reply to the chase-up email.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
French to English
System issue(s)? Dec 31, 2008

Reading between the lines and making some (not entirely baseless) assumptions, I wonder:

a) whether this shared job is in their system as one job? If so, then perhaps the whole job has not yet been flagged as accepted by the client and payment will not be triggered until it has. Not fantastic system design, but plausible enough.

b) what date the invoice has in their system? I work with several agencies who count any invoice as being effectively dated on the last day on the month of the date actually written on the invoice. They then apply that "x jours fin de mois" stuff. In other words, if I gave them an invoice dated mid-November, the first half of Jan is exactly when I would expect payment. Yes, it's stretching the terms.
I found this out the hard way, invoicing for a month "M" on the first day of M+1 and dating the invoice accordingly; I finally got the money in early M+3. Anyway, if you ask people to explain their admin procedures, the good ones are usually happy to do so. You can then decide whether you can live with it or not.
Entirely up to you - I know many on here would probably argue that you should set every single term and condition and any client who fails to bow to your every whim should be consigned to agency hell for eternity. Me, I can go with the flow.

Happy New Year and all that.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:54
English to German
+ ...
Exactly. Dec 31, 2008



No, I certainly wouldn't work for free, but the agency concerned is a French one and so I would be able to take action against them if they didn't pay up for a future job.

Provided there's something left to take action against.

However, if they have such serious cashflow problems that they can't afford to pay my little invoice, then they might not be around for long enough to give out any more work!

You see, that's why I don't 'buy' the story: even if payment by the end customer is delayed, I would never put my reputation at risk for a minor amount. In my view, funding ongoing projects is part and parcel of an intermediary role.

Let's hope this is just a clerical issue that will be resolved quickly.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:54
English to Norwegian
Give them a break. Dec 31, 2008

B D Finch wrote:
I might want payment this year for tax reasons.


Your tax will be related to the fiscal year your invoice is dated. Does not matter which year you actually get paid. Personally I would give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them this one mistake (just one delayed payment) before I give them a bad review.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:54
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
tax year in France for freelancers Jan 1, 2009

Per Magnus wrote:

Your tax will be related to the fiscal year your invoice is dated. Does not matter which year you actually get paid. Personally I would give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them this one mistake (just one delayed payment) before I give them a bad review.



Not really, in France we freelancers ("profession libérale" ) have a "cash" book-keeping system, which means that the money is recorded the very day it arrives on our bank account, even if the invoice is 3 months old or so.

Th system you describe applies only to companies, not freelancers.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Always small payments.... Jan 2, 2009

Every time I check ratings of companies in the Blue Board, I notice that in many cases trouble relates to a small job: either you never get a payment (the payer says it was not good, but only says so in the Blue Board, after many reminders) or the payment takes ages because the payer has a minimum amount for bank transfers or wants to save on bank fees. There is always trouble with small jobs.

That's why in several times in the past we decided to offer a small translation as a freebie (as long as it did not take more than roughly 2-3 hours of work) instead of having to worry and get angry about a small amount. Peace of mind can be very expensive!

In this particular case, I would do as Ralf suggests: add an entry now if the company is not paying as agreed, and edit it later when the matter is settled.


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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I Did Post Blue Board comment Jan 2, 2009

I was thinking that I checked out their Blue Board record (many entries and very highly rated) before accepting the job. If people only gave positive feedback then this would not be very informative. I note that very soon after my comment and rating of "2", somebody else gave a rating of "5" with no comment. If they pay early Jan, then I can review my rating and comment.

In the meantime, I sent a reminder to another agency on 30th December about a large amount due that day. This was an agency I hadn't previously worked for and I accepted a large job from them, trusting them because of their Blue Board record and the status of the end client. I negotiated with them that they would pay 50% early and the rest 30 days "fin du mois". I was a bit nervous about whether it would be considered rude to send a reminder when the first stage payment was due only that day, but it made a difference to get it in 2008. In this case the payment arrived in my account on 31st December and when I sent them a thank you email, I got a really nice reply.


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Sushan Harshe
India
Local time: 16:24
English to Hindi
+ ...
Charlie Bavington's explanation is more logical! Jan 3, 2009

“I know many on here would probably argue that you should set every single term and condition and any client who fails to bow to your every whim should be consigned to agency hell for eternity. Me, I can go with the flow” nice thinking!!

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