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Help on payment problem
Thread poster: fuchsia
fuchsia
United States
Local time: 11:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
Jul 27, 2005

Hello all,

I did a translation job (over $1000 in fees) for a translation agency in March 2005 and I still didn't receive payment yet. This is my first job with them. This is also my first payment problem in 10 years.

I followed up with them in May, June and July and got nowhere because I only got their voice mail when I called and my e-mails were not returned, and their 800 # has also been disconnected. Something doesn't smell right.

What are my options? Should I file a claim - but with whom? Should I file a complaint with the local government etc.?

Any advice will be appreciated.


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Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Blueboard first and then... Jul 27, 2005

Where is the company located? You can file with the Better Business Bureau if it is here in the US or you could take them to small claims court. It might be worth doing some research to see if the company still exists, under what form and who its owners are. If you have that information, it will be easier to know what to do next.

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Vivian Bynum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
French to English
Contact your local Consumer Protection Service Jul 27, 2005

It's a shame that we get shafted for rendering services in good faith.

You may be able to get some redress from your local Consumer Protection Bureau (not the same as BBB)if you have an address for your slippery client.

These are some of the concerns I have in dealing clients thru the internet.

I hope you are successful in getting paid.


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fuchsia
United States
Local time: 11:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the input Jul 28, 2005

Thanks for the input. I called the Consumer Protection Bureau and was told that since I am a vendor and not a consumer, the law doesn't apply. I can still fill out a form, but they will take it for informational purpose only.

Better Business Bureau is not affliated with the local government so they can't take enforcement actions. I am sure the non-payment situation occurs a lot and there ought to be some action that we can take to protect ourselves.

Any other ideas? Thanks.


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Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Apart from legal action... Jul 28, 2005

The reason I suggested the BBB is that it affects the company's credit rating, something any soluable company that is still in business really cares about (or anyone in the US who plans to have a credit card, mortgage, cell phone, et al). But you are right, they are not going to make the company pay you. I don't think that there is any group that can do that unless you want to take the company to small claims court. Otherwise, you could always consider a collection agency but if the company is out of unbusiness or you have no contact information for them, you are pretty much out of luck so far as I know. Sorry I can't be more helpful. The only silver lining (and it isn't much) is that you can claim bad debt on your taxes. Good luck to you and make sure to add these people to the BlueBoard!
Lindsay


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 19:36
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Not easy to avoid Jul 29, 2005

Unfortunately, it's not easy to avoid meeting bad payers completely. And in your case I'm afraid this will continue to be a non-payment.

I have previously been able to drive in a long overdue payment by notifying the co. that I would make their non-payment known on all translators' websites know to me, and that I would take appropriate legal action - after two reminders saying that this would be the final outcome if the invoice was not paid.
However, I have recently had a client who doesn't seem to care about this, and then there is little left to do. Mind you, my claim was less than 100 euros, and it would be too costly to attempt to drive in the money.

Have you tried to find a collection agency in the co.'s country? Some of them might be worth talking to since your claim is so high.

Some advise for the future:
You should always check out the co. on the Blue Board and as many other black-and-white lists you can gain access to. This elliminates some of the non-payers.

I hope you eventually get your money.


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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Contact Real Client.... Jul 29, 2005

Do you know the actual company the translation was for? I mean not the agency but the real people.....you might want to contact them.
I am in a similar situation but I'm not clear yet whether it is non payment or they just forgot although they haven't answered my e-mail. If I confirm they are not going to pay I know the final client I did the service for and will try contact them....whether it is worth or not.
Goog luck.


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fuchsia
United States
Local time: 11:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jul 29, 2005

Thanks again for the input.

The real client is a law firm - this is a legal translation job. I also checked the blue board at that time and this agency had a 5 rating with many posts praising them on how fast they pay. But now there are 4 posts complaining about non-payment. I e-mailed one of the 4 posters but didn't get a response.

This is my 1st bad experience in 10 years as a translator. But still, this kind of behavior should be punished.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:36
English to German
+ ...
Have you posted an entry yourself? Jul 30, 2005

Hi fuchsia,
I also checked the blue board at that time and this agency had a 5 rating with many posts praising them on how fast they pay. But now there are 4 posts complaining about non-payment. I e-mailed one of the 4 posters but didn't get a response.

Did you post an entry yourself? Note that if you enter an LWA (likelihood of working again) level of 1 or 2, you will be asked whether you wish to report non-payment. If you use this, moderators will see the report, and will be able to take action under the ProZ.com Termination Policy.

This is my 1st bad experience in 10 years as a translator. But still, this kind of behavior should be punished.

Well, the maximum 'penalty' ProZ.com can take is to ban an outsourcer from posting jobs - that is being enforced (provided that (i) those affected take a moment to post an entry, and (ii) report non-payment - do use the reporting form, it saves moderators a lot of time and effort). You can, of course, take legal steps, but that is your own responsibility - seek advice regarding the costs involved before you embark on a legal battle.

Best regards,
Ralf


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