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How to make sure they pay?!
Thread poster: Elke Fehling

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:19
English to German
+ ...
Mar 5, 2004

Hi everybody,

About a week ago I answered to a job posting on Proz. Just a few hours (actually, 7 am German time on a Saturday) later the agency (in California) sent me a short email with two texts attached. They asked me to have a look at the text and to start translating - if I wanted to.

I was kind of flattered to have received such a huge project from a new client, but I still felt a bit insecure. All they knew about me was my CV and my price per word. They didn't know my delivery date, and I - on the other hand - didn't know their address (their webpage didn't mention it!) and hadn't received a PO.

So I sent an email with a detailed offer and also asked for address and PO. The agency sent me an address in California and told me that they didn't do POs... They didn't actually react to my offer.

OK. It was a fun translation to do and so I started to work on it. I knew that there was a risk that this agency wasn't serious (though they do have 1 very good BB rating), but I was willing to take that risk.

I finished and delivered my translation yesterday evening.

Today I received two more texts from this agency. They asked me to translate one file (just one page) for Friday pm, they didn't send me any instructions on the other file.

All in all this agency doesn't appear so very sophisticated and serious to me and I am not sure if I want to translate any more for them before the first translation isn't paid (and that will take a couple of weeks, even if they are quick). On the other hand, the texts they send are easy and fun to translate and I am sure I would lose this client if I denied working for them until the first invoice is paid.

What do you think? Does this sound like a serious agency to you? Whould you take the risk to work for them? I wouldn't like to mention the name of the agency here, but maybe we could talk about our experience with this agency by mail?



[Edited at 2004-03-05 09:36]

[Edited at 2004-03-05 09:48]

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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:19
German to Romanian
+ ...
Ask for the first payment Mar 5, 2004

I would not be ashamed, and If they are serious they will understand.
Many people ask for advance payments when it comes to new clients. I also did that once, for a 240 EUR job, and there was no problem at the client's end. They only said that I would have to pay the charges for the first payment, which I thought was reasonable, as I preferred to spend some money on bank transfers rather than not seeing any money at all.
So, since you did not ask for an advance payment, I think it is justified that you tell them that you have seen so many things about bad payers and even though you do not assume that they will not pay, you'd appreciate it, if they could pay for the first job before you take on new assignments. Maybe you can tell them that you've had a negative experience once and this has made you more cautious.
There are many things you could say, to ask for the payment immediately.
That's what I would do, if I wasn't sure.
(Of course you'd have to formulate your message very carefully )
As I said, if they are serious, they won't have a problem with that.

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