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Credit control: when counter-attack huge payment delays with drastic measures?
Thread poster: Estefanía González

Estefanía González  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 7, 2005

Hi everyone,

I suppose we all know how to differentiate between abiding agencies that might eventually pay a with a tiny delays normally due to administrative issues, and those, which depending on the translator’s reactions, will stretch the payment months beyond the agreed terms.

Like we all know, diplomacy is the best way when tackling debt collection, and in my previous experience, a polite email has been enough to solve any delay or payment issue.

However, I came across one agency that paid an invoice of May in Mid-August (agreed payment terms 30 days!!!). They finally paid after a phone call (emails remained unanswered), and they had to cheek to say that I didn’t have to worry, that they would pay me some other time!! Fortunately they paid me the following week.

However, I still have one invoice of the same agency, which was issued in June for a job completed before my first invoice became past due, and which according to my phone conversation with the client, it would be paid together with the first one.

I sent again a couple of emails that remained unanswered, so I gave them a call. To my disgust, not only did they start with “don’t worry, we will pay you some other time”, but they were also irritated and they added that at least my first invoice was paid!!!

Again, they promised payment for this or next week, but it is really frustrating to run after your own money, which is due for 3 months already, and come across with such cheeky answers and reactions.

In such cases, when is best to resort to not so diplomatic measures such making the client aware that payment practice lists exist, as well as debt collection agencies, etc.?

When do you feel that polite remainders and phone calls are not enough?

Thanks for your wise piece of advice,


[Edited at 2005-09-07 11:41]

[Edited at 2005-09-07 15:42]

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:58
English to German
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When politeness no longer works Sep 7, 2005

Hi Estefanía,

When do you feel that polite remainders and phone calls are not enough?

As soon as these aren't being taken seriously.

Best regards,

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Alayna Keller
Local time: 03:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Extremely drastic measures Sep 7, 2005

Fortunately, I've not had a lot of trouble with agencies here in Madrid, but I did have a very bad time with the translation department of a major utilities firm. Over a period of a couple of years, and after a couple of corporate mergers, their payment system became so baroque that not even they knew what they had paid. Eventually, I wound up spending several months sending e-mails, and then phoning them, trying to get payment of a bill for less than fifteen euros (!). At the end of the year, they had the tremendous cheek to send me one of their tax certificates, to prove that they had paid income tax on my bill. This was the last straw. I sent a letter by registered post to the person who was supposed to be in charge of payments, enclosing copies of my e-mails, the original bill, another bill I issued after they had lost the original, etc., plus a list of everybody I had talked to on the phone, telling them that I was offically marking the bill void but would be informing the Tax Agency that their certificate was false, as it referred to a non-existent payment. Within days, I received a telephone call and a transfer of the required sum. After all the grief, however, I had started to look forward to getting them into hot water with the tax authorities! I don't know if any other countries have legislation obliging agencies to send the tax authorities certificates of their payments to you. It really is a last resort, though.

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United States
Local time: 19:58
English to German
+ ...
collection agency Sep 7, 2005

Estefanía González wrote:
“don’t worry, we will pay you some other time”

I once had a client who told me that he would pay me sometime after he gets back from vacation (at this time the invoice was more than 60 days overdue). I got a collection agency involved and got paid within days.

[Edited at 2005-09-07 16:38]

[Edited at 2005-09-21 19:55]

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Local time: 03:58
English to Dutch
Check out the possibilities with collection agencies Sep 8, 2005

I had two troublesome payers earlier this year (eventually they both paid and are now out of my system) so I contacted some collection agencies. And that sounded interesting to me. Some offered an annual subscription for a fee of about 350 euros and would take care of everything, up to court cases. Now this is in the Netherlands, but I'm sure they provide similar services in other countries as well. I haven't done it in the end, because I have decided on a slightly different approach to my own business (working with reputable clients in the Netherlands alone), which saves a lot of communication problems.

Good luck

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