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Unpaid invoices. Contact a Debt Collection company?
Thread poster: Clarisa Morales
Clarisa Morales
English to Spanish
Aug 24, 2004

Hello everybody.

As everybody else, I have very much unpaid invoices, after doing translations for several translation companies, and I thought of sending my outstanding invoices for collection to a debt collection agency. My regular reminders hasn't helped me. Maybe everything you need is to contact a third party (the debt collection agency) to state that you are serious and are ready to fight for your money...

I've found a debt collection agency called Debta ( who state on their web site that they work with the principle "No collection - No fee", i.e. if they don't collect your invoices, you don't pay anything.

My question is if it would be a good idea to send all my unpaid invoices (around 15, due for at least 6 months ago) for collection to them. There is no fee for me if they don't succeed collecting.

Thanks for your anwers.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:10
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No fee - no effort. Aug 24, 2004

Clarisa Morales wrote:

I've found a debt collection agency called Debta ( who state on their web site that they work with the principle "No collection - No fee", i.e. if they don't collect your invoices, you don't pay anything.


I tried one of those "no fee" agencies and my experience is that if they don't get paid, they will also not put in much of an effort. From their point of view, if the invoices are not worth at least $5000 dollars or so, it is not worth the trouble. All this agency did is what I had already done myself, check the registry to see if the company still exists and call and fax.

Before you try this company, I would suggest a) checking carefully how much of a percentage of the proceeds they would take, b) what exactly they propose to do, and c) getting some direct references from previous clients.

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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Take action Aug 24, 2004

I don’t know about this particular collection agency, but my experience with them over the years is that they will send the usual form letters to your clients, and if they receive payment, they get a percentage. If nothing works, they will suggest hiring one of their attorneys and initiate legal action. The cost is generally prohibitive.

Here is what has worked for me:

Contact the agency directly and let them know that unless you receive payment in full within 48 hours you will take the following actions:

1. You will list the in all the payment practices forums in the internet
2. If they are a publicly traded company, you will write to everyone in their Board of Directors and the Securities and Exchange Commission telling them about the non-payment.
3. You will contact the original client and demand payment directly from them.
4. If they are in your State of residence, you will file action in Small Claims Court.
5. You will report them to the Better Business Bureau
6. If they are foreign companies, that you will file a complaint with the embassy of the country in which they reside.

If they still do not pay, make sure that you do everything you said you would do. It has always worked for me. Remember, if somebody doesn’t pay you for your work, they are crooks, and they deserve anything you do to make sure that they don’t do it to anybody else.

Good luck,

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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:10
German to English
+ ...
Clarisa, I don't understand Aug 24, 2004

why you have so many unpaid invoices. Don't you check the companies out before accepting jobs from them?

What reasons (if any) do they give for nonpayment? Or don't they answer your emails/phone calls/faxes at all??


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:10
French to English
+ ...
Agree with Ricardo Aug 25, 2004

Basically, the threat of a debt collection agency or action which may in any way risk the good name of the agency usually works for me - I have threatened such actions in the past, but have NEVER had to follow through on them as the threat was always enough. In most cases, I receive e-mailed replies almost immediately saying the cheque is in the post.

Normally, I send an e-mail along the lines of:

Dear XXX,

Despite constant reminders, the sum of £XXX which you owe me for translation jobs XXX and YYY still remains unpaid.

If you do not contact me immediately by return of e-mail with a confirmation of payment, I will have no other alternative but to take this matter further.

As I am sure that you do not wish the situation to become so extreme, (these measures, after all, can be very detrimental to an agency's reputation), I hope that you will see fit to pay me the outstanding amount immediately.

Looking forward to hearing from you,


That is the standard mail I use, and it always works for me. It is firm but polite, and gets reults!

Good Luck!!

Paul ;0)

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Clarisa Morales
English to Spanish
Another kind of impression Aug 25, 2004

Thank you very much for your kind replies.

I understand that it would be easier to try to send your own reminders to the client, everybody does, and I've already done it without results. Don't you think that there will be another kind of serious impression if there would come a letter from a good agency, or even better, that someone calls? Isn't it worth a try?

My line of argument is that even if the agency takes a percentage of the collected amount, it's better to get 90% of your money than nothing...


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