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Client has "disappeared"
Thread poster: Mari Noller
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
English to Norwegian
+ ...
May 14, 2005

I've done a medium large (15 000 words) for a new client. After I sent back the work she said she wanted to discuss some of the words I've chosen but was going out of town and would contact me when she got back.
It's been three weeks since she said she would be back. I've sent her three e-mails but haven't heard a word. The payment date is getting very close now, and I'm worried she won't pay.

Of course I have her companies full name and a signed service agreement, but I still find it suspicious when I can't get into contact with the company at all.

What should I do? Wait till the payment date is here, contact them by phone/fax?

I'm going away around the payment date so I wanted to get this sorted out before I leave.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:38
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Several things to do at this point May 14, 2005

I'm sure you will get plenty advice from the people of Proz.

You should always try to find out as much as you can about a new client before working with them. Even now it is not too late to find out more about them. If they seem credible to you might cut them more slack.

If I were in your spot, I would make a very focused effort to get in touch at this point. I would especially try to call every day. More frequent emails are in order at this point as well. Also, you should send a fax explaining that you have tried several times and several different ways that you have been trying to contact them.

At this point I would continue to be very polite and proper with the communicaton. There may be some explanation for the lack of contact. Of course, whatever explanation is given, leaving you hanging for three weeks is not good - at the very least they ought to apologize for that.

This could end up being either one of your best clients or one of your worst. I wish you the best.

[Edited at 2005-06-25 20:07]


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
Call them May 14, 2005

I would try calling them on Monday. If they are not a one-man show, there will be someone else who can at least tell you what's going on (for example, she went on holiday and broke her leg and is now at home).

I wouldn't panic at this stage but as Edward says you need to establish some kind of communication with them ASAP - a phone call is not something they can ignore.

Do you have any reason to believe they may not pay?

Good luck


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esoft
Canada
Local time: 08:38
Italian to English
Call on other contacts at your client's company May 14, 2005

Your contact is not responding and payment due date is fast approaching....will they pay?

Indeed your contact did mention that he/she would be out of town

so, what to do?

Edward Potter has already said much of what I would have said.

In any event, here is a friendly sequence of contact.

Situation A) Your client is a company with several employees:
Since payment due date is approaching and you have not managed to reach your contact, I would call on other contacts at the same company; if your contact was part of a reporting structure, I would call on his/her manager to get an update: I am expecting the payment on X date and I am calling to make sure that the invoice is not on hold because he/she is away..... In addition, I would call Accounts Payable to ask when I can expect payment; the administrator will tell you if they have entered your invoice in the system and should also be able to let you know when to expect payment.

By calling on other contacts in the organization, you can strengthen your position with your client. This situation may just be a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your customer service skills...

Situtation B) Your client is a one-man show:
I would call on the telephone until I can finally understand the situation and I get paid....

In any event, call them; be polite, understanding and assertive;


Good luck

Antonella

dinamin wrote:

I've done a medium large (15 000 words) for a new client. After I sent back the work she said she wanted to discuss some of the words I've chosen but was going out of town and would contact me when she got back.
It's been three weeks since she said she would be back. I've sent her three e-mails but haven't heard a word. The payment date is getting very close now, and I'm worried she won't pay.

Of course I have her companies full name and a signed service agreement, but I still find it suspicious when I can't get into contact with the company at all.

What should I do? Wait till the payment date is here, contact them by phone/fax?

I'm going away around the payment date so I wanted to get this sorted out before I leave.


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:38
German to English
+ ...
Have you checked them out? May 14, 2005

Have you checked the client out on the various payment practices lists? There are several in addition to the Blue Board.

Trudy


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well.. May 14, 2005

It's difficult to check their payments as it's not an agency, but an end-client.

But I will give them a call on Monday.. See what happens.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:08
English to Tamil
+ ...
Phone the office of the company in question May 15, 2005

Try to phone the office of the company and ask for the accounts department. The bill may well be under process. If you do not get a satisfactory reply, try to get in touch with the CEO of the company listing out the details of the case. If it is a genuine company, this will definitely help. The CEO will pass on your letter to the concerned department and the response to such a query will be prompt.
With a new client, I ask for 25% advance.
Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Finally May 21, 2005

I heard back from the lady. She had some poor excuse about being too busy to check her e-mails (however, sending her a fax seemed to work).
She had some dispute about the quality of my translation, this because she's a native Danish speaker and did not understand my Norwegian translation. She pointed out that I had entered one wrong word in the translation.
I'm really unhappy about this situation, especially as she is threatening to contact a different translator and not pay me. I could point out that I gave her a 10 day period to get back to me with any comments or request changes. But since it's a large amount of money I offered to do some editing on the text till she was satisfied.
I probably should have requested pre-payment, but I think she would take the translation and give it to another translator for editing without paying me.
I can add that I have a signed service agreement with her, I gave her notes on the translation, and she has not been in touch with me for over two weeks (which means the payment date is overdue).


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
... May 21, 2005

dinamin wrote:
I can add that I have a signed service agreement with her, I gave her notes on the translation, and she has not been in touch with me for over two weeks (which means the payment date is overdue).


Hi again,

I'm sorry to hear that it's not going so well. First of all, do you feel that her criticism has any merit? Have you tried showing your translation to someone else for evaluation?

Secondly, that service agreement you signed (she signed it too, right?)... does it say anything about non-payment in case of unsatisfactory quality of service? If it doesn't, she has absolutely no right to withhold payment regardless of her opinion on quality. However, if you feel that you did make a few mistakes you may consider reducing your invoice total in order to get this over and done with.

If you feel that you did a good job (and someone confirms your opinion) you could offer this lady to send off your work for independent evaluation...

HTH

[Edited at 2005-05-21 18:51]

[Edited at 2005-05-21 18:51]


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes May 21, 2005

We have both signed the agreement and the agreement states "in case of dispute, the client shall inform the translator what the dispute is in regards to, and the translator will edit the text accordingly. If the dispute still stands the translator will contact a freelance proofreader".
But my service agreement also states that this is only for the first 10 days after the translation is sent back.
This lady waited almost three weeks before she made a complaint.

And no, I can't see where she's coming from. There's only one word I would like to change in the entire translation. As I can see it she is trying to read the translation from a "Danish point of view", which you cannot do.


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
what I would do May 21, 2005

I'd send her a a very polite and thorough explanation of why your translation is correct. Don't spend ages doing it but give her a few examples which she contested and explain why she's wrong.

Having done that I would remind her the terms of our agreement and insist on full and immediate payment.


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