Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
umpteenth late payment frustration
Thread poster: Daniela Zambrini

Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:00
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
May 12, 2006

I'm feeling so frustrated!

I am experiencing constant difficulty in getting paid on time: despite clear payment terms (max 30 days, end of month after invoice) some customers (agencies and direct clients) seem to need many reminders before actually proceding with bank transfers.
I am getting so fed up with this attitude: I write a polite but firm reminder after a few days, I get an answer saying "We’ll settle everything tomorrow”, a few more days go by and after another reminder I might be requested to send my invoice again because it seems to have been “misplaced", otherwise I'm given promises and excuses and then finally, possibly weeks later, I'm paid!

Why is a payment deadline not considered as strict as a delivery deadline?

I honour my commitments, I deliver my work on schedule. I need the cash flow because I want to pay my bills on time.

I have never experienced a non-payment, only many, too many, late payments.

Thanks for listening. I needed to vent my rage!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Richard Hall  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:00
Italian to English
+ ...
Vent, vent and then go with the flow... May 12, 2006

If your customers are in Italy, that's just the way things are and there's not much you can do. In fact, it's precisely for this reason that I am very reluctant to accept Italian source work. For your information payment discipline in other European countries is very good. In some Northern European countries invoices are settled within a week!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:00
Italian to English
+ ...
Drop/penalties/call May 12, 2006

Hi Daniela,
A couple of ideas - I'm sure you probably do them all already but they might help.

If you are having repeated problems with one client then maybe it might be time to drop them from your list (?). Perhaps the threat of doing so might make them tighten up their payment practices.

Do you charge interest on amounts remaining unpaid after 30 days, for example? This may get things moving. I know that Italy has a reputation for very long payment terms (60-90 days etc.) but in my experience this is unfounded and most Italian clients pay me within the 30 days I stick on my invoice. Provided you've agreed on payment terms and possible penalties for late payment before starting work you should be sorted.

Lastly, I'd say call them, don't just e-mail. And ask to speak to the accounts department. PMs often don't have a lot of control over payment matters. Oh, I forgot...if you make sure you get a delivery receipt/confirmation e-mail etc. when you send your invoice then your credit terms should still apply if the client mysteriously "loses" it.

Best,
Amy

[Edited at 2006-05-12 12:43]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:00
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Sad but true May 12, 2006

Richard Hall wrote:

If your customers are in Italy, that's just the way things are and there's not much you can do. In fact, it's precisely for this reason that I am very reluctant to accept Italian source work. For your information payment discipline in other European countries is very good. In some Northern European countries invoices are settled within a week!


And not only in this field. This seems to be a typical Italian attitude (which suxx, of course), "you get paid when and IF I get paid", which applies from the second ring of the daisy-chain working downward.

I think that (generally speaking) in Italy there is very little respect for other's people work, regardless of its complexity.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:00
Flemish to English
+ ...
Knock on the door and password on the text.. May 12, 2006

In the days of cheap airfaires, can't you sent them a mail that if you are not paid within say a week, you will come and collect your money at their door so that payment will not get lost or can not be forgotten. I would not hesitate to fly to say Milan and ask for my payment at the door of an agency situated in that city.
My previous suggestion to put two encrypted passwords on your text has been classified on this forum as "unethical" and "unprofessional", but it helps in case of agencies who you know they will linger with payment. In fact, you are paid immediately.

Italy must really be the country of "la dolce vita". If you get electricity bills and other utility bills you pay them, when you feel like it? Your phone bill, maybe you pay it, when you feel like it.? Or am I mistaken.

[Edited at 2006-05-12 14:34]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:00
German to English
+ ...
umpteenth late payment frustration May 12, 2006

I would be interested to hear what other colleagues in Italy have to say about this.

Is this a sectoral problem, i.e. Italian translation agencies are generally unreliable/untrustworthy?

Or is it, as Gianni says, a national problem, i.e. businesses in general in Italy take a cavalier attitude to paying their suppliers, and Italian agencies are as much the victims as the cause?

If the former, then the answer is obviously for translators to begin working directly for end clients, or to set up agencies or co-operatives of their own to do so.

If the latter, then perhaps it's time for a few well-placed letters or articles by translators in the media pointing out how damaging this situation is to Italy's image abroad. Or am I being naive, and Italians have resigned themselves to their image as mafiosi?

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:00
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
reminders and penalties May 12, 2006

Amy Williams wrote:

If you are having repeated problems with one client then maybe it might be time to drop them from your list (?). Perhaps the threat of doing so might make them tighten up their payment practices.


The problem is, it's a general attitude. And it seems to be spreading like the plague


Do you charge interest on amounts remaining unpaid after 30 days, for example?


No, I have never considered applying interest, but maybe I should start writing something along the line when I accept the P.O. How should I calculate it? Do you have a standard sentence or calculation to share?


Lastly, I'd say call them, don't just e-mail. And ask to speak to the accounts department.


I do, I do....maybe I'm a little naïve but I tend to believe them when they say "we'll settle this tomorrow". Maybe I shouldn't worry too much about sounding pestering....and call them every single day!
You see, the money gets there in the end, but days or weeks later, and never without a reminder on outstanding payments.

What really nags me is the fact that I make it a point of honour to deliver on time, and I am unable to accept the idea that, as Gianni mildly put it, I am not treated with the same respect.

I still believe that there should be NO NEED to remind anyone that payment is overdue.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:00
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
general practice, unfortunately! May 12, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:

Is this a sectoral problem, i.e. Italian translation agencies are generally unreliable/untrustworthy?

Or is it, as Gianni says, a national problem, i.e. businesses in general in Italy take a cavalier attitude to paying their suppliers, and Italian agencies are as much the victims as the cause?
(...)
Or am I being naive, and Italians have resigned themselves to their image as mafiosi?


Hi Marc, generally speaking I would say that there is a general sloppy attitude towards service providers.
It's not so much to do with reliability or tustworthiness or being mafiosi or not, I would say it is more about not being businesslike, not keeping track of things until they catch up with you, and then solving the problem with a last minute flourish!

Sad and frustrated in Rome, D.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 09:00
French to English
Pretty generalized in France, too. May 12, 2006

The handful of French agencies I work for pay on time 90% of the time with no reminders.

The late payers are SMEs, large corporations, universities, and resarch labs.

Like Daniela, I have always been paid, but I think some of the smaller firms play it a bit fast and loose in terms of their cash flow....In other words, they buy stuff without having the money to pay for it.

C'est la vie!

Sara



[Edited at 2006-05-12 15:16]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:00
Member (2004)
Italian to English
How I empathize May 12, 2006

Hi Daniela,

I week or so ago I wrote a very similar forum post. Of course, I finally got paid after the rigamarole of sending reminder after reminder. I definitely think it has become par for the course here in Italy to have to send several payment reminders, with only a few exceptions, and I definitely think it is an Italian dilemma. While I need to send a payment reminder to an agency outside of Italy every now and then, here it seems to be just part of the routine. At the risk of opening up a can of worms, I think it's just a reflection a generally inefficient, and often irresponsible way of doing business here, which I see reflected in many other ways, in addition to my work as a translator.
What can I say but Chin up- It's a good thing the food's so great here...

Jennifer


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:00
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I worked for an Italian agency a few years back May 12, 2006

They insisted on 90-day payment terms, and they took about 5 months to pay one invoice, that was literally only for a few coppers.

After the 5-month episode I did not work for them again.

Astrid


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:00
Flemish to English
+ ...
Utilities May 12, 2006

As I understand it this sloppy attitude also applies to utilities (water, gas, electricity). In some countries, if you do not pay your phone bills or electricity-bills on time, you get a reminder, fines and in the end electricity is cut off or reduced to the very minimum.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alison High  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 09:00
Member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Same problems different country Mar 6, 2007

Hi, it may be a year later, but I am still having the same problems as you all - late payers and unpaid bills because of them, and that's not fun.

Here's my system:

-On first contact I send a table with different rates for different payment deadlines and types of text (basic text and payment within 7 days is cheapest, an urgent legal text paid in excess of 60 days is the most expensive);

-I clearly state that these days (7 days, 30 days, 60 days) are calendar days;

-The email has a footer that states that late payment charges and interest are payable if the agreed payment deadline is exceeded.


Sounds pretty clear, huh?

When the translation is accepted, I send an email to confirm the payment deadline, the tariff and the delivery deadline, and ask for my contact to confirm before I start. They say "that's fine"


But I'm still sitting at home waiting for payment on 4 different contracts from 2 agencies - UK and Belgium - it is all a whole lot of rigamarole. And this is the norm.

Sending a new invoice with charges etc, often prompts people to pay, but has been also blatantly ignored on occasion... and can we really enforce it? Credit cards do, and immediately if we don't pay them on time, would love to be able to do that sometimes.

I've had late payers from France (lots of them), Canada, UK, Malta and so on, so I don't think its just an Italian problem. At least now with the clarity of emails they don't wait until day 45 of a 30 day payment deadline to tell me they pay in 60 days only, or that I sent them the wrong invoice 45 days earlier!


Is there really no friendly way of encouraging people to pay on time?

To finish on a positive point, there are people who pay on time, early or even immediately... THANK YOU to them! There is no greater mark of appreciation of a job well done.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

the Train  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:00
English to Arabic
+ ...
Late.. what about never Mar 6, 2007

I think late payment has become the norm. I was in an ITI forum when I found many colleagues from the UK complaining that they never get paid. The non-payers are sometimes leading organizations that should set an example, not waste our time and earnings.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Clare Forder
Local time: 08:00
French to English
+ ...
Same in the UK too Mar 8, 2007

I am experiencing this issue too and finding it very frustrating! I have been chasing a payment since the end of November. I've had the same "we lost your invoice" and "we didn't receive your emails" excuses and now I've just been told the old favourite - "your cheque's in the post" - will have to be seen to be believed! I also hadn't thought about charging interest - what would be an acceptable rate?

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

umpteenth late payment frustration

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs