late payment fees
Thread poster: teddd76
teddd76
Local time: 03:01
English to French
Jun 26, 2006

I have trouble getting paid by one of my clients.
They didn’t complain about the jobs, received my invoice and the whole thing was done according fo their payment policy.
Though they’re nice people, they reply my emails, call me to apologise, I know they’re just buying time by giving me the lamest excuses ever. The payment is not that late (it’s going to be 30 days overdue), but I feel they’re taking the piss and honestly I have other things to do than put up with they sweet talk.
Has anyone heard about Directive 2000/35/EC to combat late payment ?
According to this directive one is entitled to apply a 7% late payment fee after a 30 days period.
Could you please advise on how this works ?.
Does it work ? If not it might at least speed up the process !
Thanks for your feedback !


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:01
French to English
+ ...
late fees Jun 26, 2006

Hi Tedd76,

Don't know about the directive (but will look into it!), but yes, when a client is past due I do tell them that they will be subject to a penalty of 1.5 times the "taux en vigueur" on all sums. This mention is on my bill.

Though I don't often have them pay it, it is a useful reminder. I had one client lately with a 60 day payment who managed to be past due and I was doing another translation for them.

I told them calmly but firmly that I would not be in a position to accept another job until both of these were paid in full. After all, they expect the job done in time, my bills are immediate payment, I am not a bank!

And poof! From now on they will pay me in 30 days. I know they do pay, they just need tweeking to get it done and, like you, it isn't worth my time having to keep track of it all.

Patricia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 03:01
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
I know it, and I find it's working! Jun 26, 2006

I have employed this is a standard with one of my clients, because payment was always very late, and I was wasting my time having to remind them endlessly to make the payments on time....and it has worked like a charm.

It works like this:

*When payment is 30+ days overdue (meaning 30+ days since the date of payment came and went without payment), you can charge a late payment fee.

*As I understand it, you are actually allowed to charge the discount rate in the country of the client plus up to 7% points on top of it for late payment.
I have also simply stuck to the 7%, because this way I would never be charging too much ;o)

I hope this will work for you also, good luck.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 04:01
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
if they are people with a real intent to pay Jun 26, 2006

I do not think I'd bother too much if these people are really willing to pay and if they really speak and say "sorry that we are late". Neither would demand any "late payment fee". Maybe they are a small agency and the situation is very simple - they are out of cash for the moment waiting for the payment from their "own" client and simply cannot settle exactly as agreed, BUT are going to settle some time later. They do not hide, they do not ignore your emails, they answer your phonecalls, they are kind and friendly. We are all human beings and human beings can agree by talking and understanding each other in a civilized and friendly way. I'd ask them as when they can really pay, fix the date and that is it (give them a possibility to indicate themselves when they can REALLY settle). Well, if they do not keep their word again, then another issue.

I think you will win more under such an approach - you will not waste your energy and get yourself irritated, and these people will understand you and will say "thank you for your patience"...





[Edited at 2006-06-26 10:31]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:01
English to Spanish
Just adding an account of my experience Jun 26, 2006

Hi all,

As I find the Spanish case an extreme of what Teddd76 describes, I would like to add a bit of my experience.
I have just been through something similar (the agreed date for payment of my translations was 30 days after the delivery of the invoice). The client is now over a month overdue, but when I extremely kindly reminded them of this fact early this morning, they turned around and told me that they would not work with me again because of the pressure I´m putting them under.
I have done a good job -they say- but basically I have failed to be just like all the freelance translators they work with, and they gave me examples of how some wait for up to three months!.
I hadn´t ever tried to apply the late payment fee, but now I find it´s the only resort I have. Whether some Spanish companies will respect it it´s a different matter.
Spain is certainly improving in many ways from the last time I lived here, but the "mañana" syndrome still holds sway.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Vauwe
Local time: 03:01
English to German
+ ...
Good to mention Jun 26, 2006

I think fees for late payment is good to mention on the invoice so they are aware you know your rights. But I don't think I would apply them. Like Elena said, it makes bad feelings if they are willing to pay and you want to work with them again. If they are not really willing to pay, fees are no real thread. 7% for 30 days overdue makes around about 50 cents per 100 Euros.
If I have the feeling they have no intention to pay me I would go the hard way with legal means and say goodbye to the client.

[Bearbeitet am 2006-06-26 20:11]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 04:01
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Look how much they charge you when your Jun 26, 2006

electricity or phone bill is late. The same practice is applicable to your customers, but it has to be stated in the invoice.
I charge 1% per month.
Regards
Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:01
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
People don't have to pay at all unless they want another translation from you Jun 26, 2006

Considering the limited financial value of most translations, we cannot make people pay, in any case, if they choose not to. The only problem they will have if they do not pay is that they cannot ask for another translation. However, some may not want another one. An end customer, for example, might only want an odd translation; a small agency, that gives you a job in the summer because their usual translator, who doesn't charge as much, is on holiday, may also have only wanted the one translation.

That shows the difference from the electricity and telephone people. The electricity and telephone people can charge you what extra they like, if you do not pay up early, because you are not going to translate on paper, by candlelight.

Late payment fees cannot be enforced at all. Payment of any sort cannot be enforced (not on our usual scale, at least). If I charge someone a late payment fee or reminder fee and they ignore it, or even deduct the same amount from the original invoice (which does happen, too), it is invariably not one of my regular customers, but someone who does not need another translation. Therefore I see no point in getting involved in the matter of late payment fees and reminder fees. I am not an electricity board, and, if I waste time calculating fees that nobody is going to pay, I will only be wasting my own valuable time.

Astrid


Direct link Reply with quote
 
teddd76
Local time: 03:01
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
how can you enforce late payment fees Jun 27, 2006

What I see really is that translators have no protection against bad payers.
If I drop them I’ll lose a good client, which I don’t want. If I start applying late payment fees then again I might lose them because an agency can get you off their list simply on a whim. There are so many translators out there…
If they don’t pay, then the only recourse you have is bite the bullet until they pay or hire a lawyer (with all the costs implied).
As for the EU directive, I agree it might be a serious deterrent for bad payers but I can’t see how it could be enforced on a practical plan !


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:01
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Your statement strikes me as contradictory ... Jun 27, 2006

teddd76 wrote:
What I see really is that translators have no protection against bad payers.
If I drop them I’ll lose a good client, which I don’t want. ...


... rather on a side note, how can a bad payer ever be a good client? IMHO you need to get rid of such poor payers, over time, in order to be able to win clients with better payment practices.

Also, it is just not true that we, as translators, have no protection against bad payers. Refer to appropriate sources of web-based, payment-related information to be found in various mailing lists and other Internet venues, e.g. the ProZ.com Blue Board. Benefit from the details indicated there and make the necessary checks before you enter into a business relationship with a new client whose payment practices you are not yet aware of.

My 2c,
Steffen


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:01
French to English
+ ...
Contradiction it seems Jun 27, 2006

Tedd,

In the same sentence, you say they are a "good client" and "a bad payer".

To me, that does not go together.

Of course, no one wants to risk loosing a source of regular revenue.

But, if you calculate how much time you spend stressing over late payment, actions needed and implemented to get paid, time on the forum to discuss it (this is not a criticism by any means!), cost of registered mail, research on the European directive, etc..., I would suspect you total a nice bunch of hours the client is "costing" you in addition to what you've not been paid.

You are running a business, you are a professional, it is up to you to have others treat you in a respectful and professional way. When one allows a client to develop "bad habits", these will remain. Moreover, you risk not being taken seriously since they can see they can do whatever they wish, you'll bend in order to not loose their business. And like in this instance, you'll do the work and risk not getting paid.

Sure, there are lots of translators out there. But an agency, like translators, would rather work with a regular reliable pool of tested and vested translators they are happy with than to have to continously search for someone to do a job in a pinch. That time, that risk, costs them money.

It is up to you to set your terms and to have them respected. Of course, your terms have to be in harmony with general business practices (ie, if the majority of businesses in any field pay at 30 days, it is unrealistic to impose an immediate payment policy).

It saddens me to see how many freelancers (translators or other fields) deal with prospects and clients from a position of fear or weakness rather than from a position of confidence and strength.

Courage! Don't let yourself be manipulated!

Patricia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 03:01
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Not a "per annum" rate - it's a late payment fee. Jun 27, 2006

Vauwe wrote:

If they are not really willing to pay, fees are no real thread. 7% for 30 days overdue makes around about 50 cents per 100 Euros.


This is not how it works.
It's not calculated as a per annum rate, but as a one-off fee
on the amount invoiced, which you charge fully e.g. on your next invoice or however you choose to invoice this.

Admittedly, for an invoice of only 100 Euros, this would only make up 7 Euros, but still it makes sense to me.

I have implemented this Directive for one client, who has a rather poor rating due to sometimes extremely overdue payments, and now I get my money on time, everytime!
So in my case, I believe it works like a charm.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
teddd76
Local time: 03:01
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
yes but... Jun 27, 2006

A good client is among other things one that provides a steady amount of work.
On a different note I prefer a late payer to a no-payer !
But enough complaining !

I still think the actions a translator can take in case of no or late payment are quite limited.

-The blue board is a very effective way to select new customers but the fact that outsourcers with 1 marks can post jobs, offer rates of USD0.04 and still get quotes proves that it’s not the nuclear weapon it’s supposed to be, the same thing goes for PP_dist.

Concerning the EU directive : how can you enforce it ?
After 30 days, can you just send a revised invoice and tell the client that if he does not comply he’ll lose the privilege of working with you ?
And it becomes all the more complicated when the outsourcer is in a different country!

Is there a better way to make them « cough up » ?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 03:01
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Just one of a couple of measures. Jun 27, 2006

teddd76 wrote:

Concerning the EU directive : how can you enforce it ?
After 30 days, can you just send a revised invoice and tell the client that if he does not comply he’ll lose the privilege of working with you ?
And it becomes all the more complicated when the outsourcer is in a different country!

Is there a better way to make them « cough up » ?


What I do, is this:

*First, I send a polite reminder saying something like "I'm sure there has just been some delay in the system, so if you could send me the payment details, I will have my bank track the payment".

*Second, (and first for known late payers) I send another reminder a few days later, where I state at the very end that:

1) I will be charging a late payment fee of 7% of the total amount invoiced in case of any further delay in payment

2) In case of non-payment, I will take any necessary legal action, report the non-payment on all translators' sites I know of, and that the translation is illegal for them and everyone else to use until I have been paid in full (not necessarily in this order, though).

I think you must believe in it yourself to have half a chance of getting your money. If you believe you have a lost cause, there is no point in taking any further action, because the client will smell this right away!
If, on the other hand, you behave as if you have an ace up your sleeve, you just might shake someone's confidence.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
teddd76
Local time: 03:01
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Injunction to pay Jun 28, 2006

OK, FYI my personal case is settled now but I'm still interested in the matter.

What about the "injunction to pay"?
I think the procedure is described in a different post.
Basically it's a court order commanding someone to pay.
In France it can be used by filing an application with a local court but I suppose the same concept exists in various European countries
Has anyone tried this successfully?

[Edited at 2006-06-28 08:15]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


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


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

late payment fees

Advanced search







SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



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