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What to do about a late payment? (German agency)
Thread poster: Yolanda Bello

Yolanda Bello  Identity Verified
Mexico
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 16, 2009

Hello prozians!

I finished a translation project last December (2008) and I am still waiting to be paid.
I made the relevant Blue board entry a couple of days ago and have been writing to the agency and their HQ offices.

So far, the accounting area has not been kind enough to reply back and the Project Manager who was in charge of the project no longer replies back.

What else can I do to make sure I get paid eventually?

Any ideas will be welcome

Kind regards,

Yolanda


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:27
Finnish to English
Do all you can Mar 17, 2009

Hi

Here are the stages of the procedures I use to get paid when an invoice is overdue:

1. Insist that the answer my email within 24 hours on the understanding that if they don't, 'further action' will be taken.

2. Contact my professional organisation (in the UK that is the ITI) and ask them to intervene. Do you have a transltors' organisation in Mexico that could email them on your behalf? (There may also be a translators' association - I am sure there is - in Germany you could contact).

3. Threaten to take legal action (I don't know how that would work between Mexico and Germany, of course). I would contact some relavent body. In the UK we have the Small Claims Court - but I don't know if it works beyond the borders of the UK.

4. Suggest that there are other measures you can take to expose them (Blueboard, etc.) but I would not threaten them directly with this. (They deserve it but you have to be careful I suppose.)

5. Warn other translators about them. (Even after you get paid)


Best wishes and good luck - I expect you will get a load of other advice here too.


Spencer


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asyouwish_dew  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:27
Member (2009)
English to Chinese
+ ...
We are in the same boat... Mar 17, 2009

Same here. I am still waiting for the payment for a project finished last year.... All I can do is waiting, for the custmoer said they were waiting for their customer's payment. ...

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Don't just wait - do something! Mar 17, 2009

You've already given them months and months of free credit.

Two pieces of important information that we don't have at the moment:
1) Is it a sum that's worth battling for? (assuming that the battle itself is going to cost something)
2) When was the latest date of payment for the invoice?

Have you done any research into the company - in other words do you know if it is actually solvent or is it in difficulty? There's unfortunately no point throwing good money after bad if the company can't pay its debts.

I don't know anything about Mexican laws, so I don't know what's in place for debt collection, but here in Europe there are small claims courts in most (all?) of the EU member countries, plus an EU-wide court. For you in Mexico to claim against a German company will no doubt be more complicated.

The other route is a debt-collection agency.

You could just start off with a registered letter from a lawyer promising action in nn days if payment has not been received - that shouldn't cost you too much and might be sufficiently official for them to take notice. They obviously aren't taking the slightest notice of you!


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:27
Dutch to English
+ ...
Pick up a phone ... Mar 17, 2009

... it often works wonders. It's easy to ignore your emails, less so you when you're at the other end of the line. Call the accounting department directly as the PM will (and can) only say he/she has to speak to them. If that fails, speak to management.

No need for calls to Europe to cost much if you use Skype, etc.

If this proves unsuccessful, hire a lawyer or debt collection agency, depending on whether the amount involved warrants it.

Good luck
Debs


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:27
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, first the telephone Mar 17, 2009

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

... it often works wonders. It's easy to ignore your emails, less so you when you're at the other end of the line. Call the accounting department directly as the PM will (and can) only say he/she has to speak to them. If that fails, speak to management.

No need for calls to Europe to cost much if you use Skype, etc.

If this proves unsuccessful, hire a lawyer or debt collection agency, depending on whether the amount involved warrants it.

Good luck
Debs


I agree with Debs. The first thing to do is to telephone them, having all the information about the job in front of you, and be persistent if "the right person" is "not there". If the bookkeeper won't speak to you, isn't there, etc., ask for the name of the managing director and try to speak to him/her. If that doesn't work, send a registered letter containing all the details of the job concerned and setting a date by which they should reply, failing which you will be obliged to instruct a collection agency, etc.
All this, as Sheila says, depending on whether the sum concerned is worth fighting for.
Buena suerte,
Jenny.


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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 06:27
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Small guide on recovering debt from German clients Mar 17, 2009

The guide is in French and it was published as part of the "Bad payers" project of FIT-Europe, the European Regional Center of the International Translators Federation. The document was compiled and offered by ADU Nord, one of the German professional associations.
http://www.fit-europe.org/vault/badpayers/payer-de.pdf

HTH


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Yolanda Bello  Identity Verified
Mexico
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Mar 17, 2009

Fellow prozians,

Thanks a lot to each one of you who has taken the time to reply to my post. Your ideas, suggestions and resources are very useful and highly appreciated.

Finally, the agency replied yesterday.

Best regards from Mexico City,

Y


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dd dd
Local time: 12:27
English to Chinese
+ ...
Fortunately Mar 18, 2009

Forunately this German agency has not gone bankrupt after all these 3 months.

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