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Collecting a debt from a Swiss company
Thread poster: baroni

baroni  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:10
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 6, 2004

Dear colleagues,

I have been translating for a swiss customer since 2001. I have never had problems with payments except for last time. Between June and July I translated a big project for him. I waited a couple of weeks before invoicing him (as usual), in the meanwhile I paid my proofreader, but till now I haven't received any payment yet. Yesterday I called his account office and the secretary told me she was still waiting for an OK (maybe from the bank, I was so shocked that I did not ask from whom the ok should be). I am afraid they are going broke. Does anyboddy know whether there are societies in Switzerland to collect debts? Or does anybody have any good suggestion?
I really trusted this company because I have already been in its headquarter 3 times, I know a lot of people who work there, it is not very far from here and I have never had problems (swiss punctuality with payments!).
Any help is welcomed!

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Russell Gillis  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:10
Spanish to English
You have the "home court" advantage Oct 6, 2004

If this company is really in financial trouble, I think you have a number of things in your favour:

1) You have been to their office.
2) You live close by.
3) You have maintained telephone contact.

I can say from experience (and from what I have read in these forums), that you have a greater chance of collecting if you live in the country and are able to visit the office. Nothing applies more pressure than having to face a translator in person.

I know from personal experience a translation company that didn't pay a number of translators, but the translator who lived in the city (a friend of mine) was successful in getting paid, because she continued visiting their office until she got paid. Unfortunately, those translators unable to do so were not paid.

Even though this might not be a guarantee, I think your chances are good. Make sure you keep applying pressure by telephone and even personal visits.

Best of luck!


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baroni  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:10
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
I am in Austria, they are in Switzerland Oct 6, 2004

Dear Russell,
thank you for your positive words.

Unfortunately, although I live close to this Swiss company I am on the other side of the boundary, I am in Austria, they are in Switzerland (two different law systems and I cannot afford any Swiss lawyer).

I am going to wait till next week, if the payment does not arrive:-(:-( I will call them again and pay visit to them (although I am afraid that I will be stopped by their receptionist, and won\'t meet anyone).
I have already contacted an Austrian society which collects debts...let\'s see!


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