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Non-Paying Client
Thread poster: dnewby19
dnewby19

Local time: 18:25
May 25, 2004

I'd like to see if anyone has any advice on how to collect from a rather, ah reluctant client. I did a small job for a lawyer about 6 months ago, and have yet to be paid. As far as I can tell (he hasn't given said this in as many words, but has hinted at it) his excuse for non-payment is the fact that his client hasn't paid him the money in question yet. As far as I know, that's not a legally-acceptable excuse for non-payment, and I certainly never agreed to it. He or his staff have promised payment (either "today" or "within a week") three times over the past 2 months, and one of the promises was on a voice mail message that I saved. I've been calling his office, as politely as possible, regularly for 2 months with no action. Any advice on where to go from here?

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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:25
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Small claims court May 26, 2004

I hope you have a purchase order, a contract, or (at least) an e-mail from your customer that confirmed that you would be tasked with doing the translation, spelling out the terms (rate, price, etc.).

If you do have that, it should be fairly easy to go to small claims court and win a judgement in your favor.


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Pawel Bartoszewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:25
English to Polish
+ ...
How about a written call for payment? May 26, 2004

Before you go to court, it would be more practical to sent that lawyer a written call for payment stating particulars of the job. It would be even better if you had another lawyer look at your call for payment before you send it - it is a lawyer you're dealing with after all.

[Edited at 2004-05-26 08:55]


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Jane Lamb-Ruiz  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Tell him you will call the Japan Trade Office May 26, 2004

[I assume you are dealing with a lawyer who deals with Japanese clients. IF that is the case, tell him you are going to call the Japan Trade Office for further advice re non-payment. That should get him hopping. I don't know what city you are in ....OR tell him you will list him on a site for shyster lawyers..there are such sites. You just have to find them. Or take him to small claims court. That is not good for business!

Good luck!


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dnewby19

Local time: 18:25
TOPIC STARTER
Non-Paying Client May 26, 2004

Thanks, everyone for your advice.

I've got a signed letter by the client describing the job and requesting a translation. It doesn't mention the amount I charged, but I do have another letter from him which mentions it. I also have a fairly detailed list of my contacts with him, and a voicemail message from his office promising payment. I believe that this should be enought, and I'm going to run it by a lawyer friend some time next week.

As far as I know, this client doesn't do much Japan-related work-- this job was a simple divorce between an American man and a Japanese woman. Do you have any other ideas for professional or consumer organizations that I could contact for help? I've got very little doubt that he's done this sort of thing to other people.


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Casey Butterfield  Identity Verified
United States
Spanish to English
+ ...
could the BBB help? May 29, 2004

You may be able to enlist the help of your local Better Business Bureau in this situation (don't know if attorneys must hold business licenses, but I imagine so)

Good luck!


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dnewby19

Local time: 18:25
TOPIC STARTER
Success! May 29, 2004

It looks like I won't need to take any further measures-- I got my check today. In this case, a steady stream of somewhat nasty calls to his office was enough. Thanks to everyone for your advice!

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