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Classic excuses for delayed payment
Thread poster: Narasimhan Raghavan

Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
English to Tamil
+ ...
Aug 2, 2005

One of my clients in New Delhi, India, gave me a very novel excuse. He owed my payment for my invoice dated March 2001. In May 2001 I shifted to Chennai, my native place.

I went on sending emails to him, phoning him now and then (a costly exercise, that). He paid me with bad grace in Dec 2001 and he explained his delayed payments due to cash flow problems arising out of 9/11 world trade center attack!

Since then I have been more fortunate in that my Chennai clients are more reasonable. But then I see that there are translators out there who get delayed payments all the time. What are the classic excuses given by a client for delayed payment? Has anyone collected them with possible fitting replies to such excuses?

It will be interesting to compile a list of them, so that others can benefit.

Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Kirsty Mason  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
German to English
"Waiting for payment from end client"... Aug 2, 2005

..seems to be the favourite excuse if working via a third party/agency. Sometimes for smaller agencies/clients with whom I have a good relationship this is understandable, but most of the time I don't find it an acceptable excuse.

Last year one agency tried a number of "classic" excuses all for one payment - first my invoice was lost, my reminder e-mails "didn't arrive", the accounts department "had screwed up", and finally two cheques mysteriously went missing in the mail.

Funnily enough, 6 months later when I offered to visit the agency in person to collect a cheque (it was a local customer), the full payment arrived the next day in the mail. All that for a couple of hundred Euros..

[Edited at 2005-08-02 11:33]


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 07:25
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Excuses I liked best Aug 2, 2005

I heard few years ago- all uniform and all from our local clients within a space of one month- about 5 clients told they cannot pay right now, as their accountant is giving birth

Uldis


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Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 07:25
English to Romanian
+ ...
Another excuse Aug 2, 2005

Another excuse used by a client of mine was that "I forget to print the invoice" (sic). No further comments

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Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 07:25
English to Romanian
+ ...
Accountants... Aug 2, 2005

Uldis Liepkalns wrote:

I heard few years ago- all uniform and all from our local clients within a space of one month- about 5 clients told they cannot pay right now, as their accountant is giving birth

Uldis

Maybe they were using the services of the same poor accountant?...


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Ziad Marzouka  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
English to Arabic
+ ...
. Aug 2, 2005

The best excuse is: "Who are you?"

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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:25
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Delinquent payers Aug 2, 2005

I recall three excuses from agencies:

1. "We did not receive your invoice." (Even when they acknowledged receipt of it by email).

2. "Awaiting payment from end client." (Even when neither their PO's or Agreeent mentions such a thing; well, they dont' dare.)

3. "Our client went bankruptcy." (...and they sent you a link to a web page where the supposed fact is described; delinquent payers make up any foolish excuses).


Best regards,

Elías


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
English to Tamil
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Another reply from the same Delhi client Aug 2, 2005

This refers to the time I was still living in Delhi.

The agency in question is a husband-wife team named A and B respectively. Accountant was one C and the records clerk was one D.

I phoned asking for A. I was told that he had gone to bank. Asking for B brought the response that she too had gone out with him. Then in desperation I asked either for C or for D and the reply? You guessed right. They too had gone to bank with A and B! The bank manger should have been intrigued with an invasion by this force!

Regards,
N.Raghavan

[Edited at 2005-08-25 12:46]


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:25
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
No PO number / invalid VAT number Aug 2, 2005

This was for an agency. I translated a contract for them, which was for internal use. So, it did have a PO but no PO number. They normally paid on time, so I was a bit taken aback when this particular invoice did not get paid. I sent them a few reminders. In the end they came back to me: "The invoice includes a job without a PO number". Hey, who decided not to issue the ·$%&/ PO number in the first place? It got paid in the end, but did they contact me or the PM for the job when they found out they "could not" pay it? No, they did not...
Another nice one is (Client in another European country): "Your VAT number is not valid." Says who? Foreigners in Spain have a funny X (EXtranjero..) as a prefix in their NIF - which is called NIE - but I cannot help that. Send your complaints to the Spanish Tax Authorities...
I still like the one about the accountant giving birth though....


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Rachel Vanarsdall  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:25
Member (2004)
French to English
the person who signs the checks isn't in the office today Aug 2, 2005

This was a good one. The payment was already very late. They assured me a check would be issued to me on a certain date. When I had not received it over a week later, I called and was told that yes they did indeed keep their promise to write me a check on that date - but the check was still in their office, unsigned, because the person who signs the checks wasn't in the office.

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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
My favourite Aug 2, 2005

But it's for a lot of money! (between 1,500 and 2,000 euros).

Yes, I know! It took me some time to do all the work covered in the invoice.


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Claudio Chagas
Brazil
Local time: 01:25
English to Portuguese
+ ...
unable to proceed with the transfer because we did not have your bank details Aug 2, 2005

That was a poor excuse, since I put my bank details on the invoice. I questioned that, of course, and found out later what was the real cause for the delay.

"all the sign off/transfer procedures had to be transferred to the new people. Our new financial director needs to be set up for any bank transfer procedure (direct payments into bank accounts, be it international or within UK)"

That was probably a legitimate excuse, but I had to insist to get through to the Purchase Ledger, who gave me this explanation.

I got paid in the end, and had no further problems with this agency since then.


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 21:25
English to French
+ ...
The accountant is out meeting with a client Aug 2, 2005

I used to get this one a lot in Paris. Do they really think we're that stupid?

Another one, that only happpened once so far: your bank details are wrong, the system did not accept them. This particular customer finally paid me after 6 months and numerous phone calls to Dublin.


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:25
French to English
+ ...
name mix-up Aug 2, 2005

Mine happened a few years ago. Apparently there was another Bertelsen in their computer system (you know, because there are so many of us Bertelsens working as freelance translators in France...) and my cheque for several thousand francs at the time was sent to her instead. Apparently, my "twin" was able to cash the cheque and they couldn't pay me until they received payment back from her. As if!
I never did get paid, and I still shake my head with disbelief at the whole scene.
Luckily, this is my only non-payment experience.


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NataliaElo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:25
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
The bank details you gave us are incorrect Aug 2, 2005

I never write bank details on invoice. I always copy and paste it from my online bank.

Strangely enough other clients at the same time were able to pay bills with exactly the same bank details.

By the way, the bill is two months old tomorrow and I still haven't got the money.


Natalia

[Edited at 2005-08-04 16:12]


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