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trouble with a non-paying client
Thread poster: mnis1
mnis1  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:19
English to Japanese
Dec 20, 2006


I'm new to Proz as well as this type of job transaction taking jobs from unknown client from other countries.
So, I may be a little naive.
Anyway, I have been having a trouble with a non-paying client.
In mid August, I was contacted by a person named "E" via E-mail about the job to translate "5000 English text" to Japanese for the Indian translation company.
I finished the job on time and delivered it via e-mail.
Then, right after that, "E" stopped responding my mails regarding payment.
By beginning of September, I contacted the account department of the Indian translation company.
What she told me was, the price that "E" promised me to pay was not the company's standard price. The actual price was much lower (as low as 0.03 per word). At that time, "E" was out of office and not available to contact at all.
Anyway, after the discussion, the account person of the company finally agreed to pay the price "E " promised to me.
The she asked me to send an invoice, so I did it right away. But by the end of September, there was no deposit to my bank account from the company.
I asked the account person again about the payment. Then she asked me again to send her the info of my bank account. (which I already gave to them with invoice though)
So, I sent to her all the info she asked again. But by the beginning of November, there was no payment arrived from that Indian company to my bank account.
Finally when I asked the account person again, she said that she already sent the money through the Indian Bank called "C" in mid October (which has no US branch).
I contacted to my US Citibank's wire transfer specialist and asked any money arrived from the Indian bank. And I was told there was none.
By the end of November, I asked my US Citibank again, and I was told that there was no money arrived from the Indian bank. I contacted the Indian bank about the payment, and they said that they were sure to send money to my Citibank account on Nov. 1st.( the amount was $20 short from my entire fee, they subdued as a wire fee) .
Since no money arrived to my account for a month after they wired, I was advised by my Citibank's wire transfer specialist to ask the Indian translation company to send the funds again. Because the funds did not reach the Citibank and will return to the Indian bank eventually.
I asked the account person of the Indian company again in the beginning of December, and she said she will send again.

And now, on Dec 20th, still there is no money arrived from the Indian company.
I am exhausted with this asking and investigating, etc., for months. I did the job in August and now is almost end of the year.

If they won't pay the fee forever, can I sue them legally?

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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
BLUEBOARD Dec 20, 2006

Hi mnis:

Sorry to hear about your humiliating experience with this company. One question: did you look up its track record on the Blue Board before accepting the job?

I am very cautious in this respect and, so far, have had no diffiulties.

All the best,


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:19
English to German
+ ...
Check their payment instructions Dec 20, 2006

I would ask your customer to forward a copy of their payment instruction, and/or payment confirmation - to verify that (i) they did, in fact, instruct payment; and (ii) used correct details.

It is your customer's duty to ensure their payment reaches you; therefore, they will need to trigger an investigation with their bank. (Very often recipients are asked to get their bank to investigate - which is close to impossible, as the audit trail starts from the paying bank.)

If the problems persist, you should post an entry to the Blue Board.

Best regards,

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Local time: 12:19
English to Urdu
+ ...
We cannot do any thing !! Dec 20, 2006

First of all, please let me make it clear to you, mnis 1, that I have no intention to discourage you by writing that in my experience, we, the translators can hardly do any thing in order to get our money from the dishonest agencies who are determined not to pay. These black sheep in our industry know 101 methods to linger on and play with the translator using various excuses which apparently seem to be true. The translators (who are basically innocent and honest) keep on believing and following what they tell them. They are mostly successful in prolonging this correspondence until, in most cases, the translator gives up and tries to forget his money. The legal procedure is normally not adapted due to being too expensive.

I, too have a bitter experience of losing $ 136.72 from an Indian agency. The other swindler to which I fell prey was from Ireland and the amount was near about $ 900.00. He was more cordial and faster in replying my mails but spoke more lies than the former.

While praying for you to succeed in your efforts, I am looking forward to the time when some concrete steps will be taken by the sites like or any other International body to safeguard our interests.

Thanks and Regards,

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Mahmoud Helmi  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:19
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
An important question, for me at least Dec 20, 2006

Sorry, Aburiaz
I would like to know the percentage of those fraudulent clients compared to that of the real honest ones that you worked for, in terms of both the due money or the number of clientele? or, if figures are not possible, is their percentage tolerable or not?
Also, Do you find anything in common among those fradulent clients? like vague or no addresses at all? no sites on the internet? certain traits or characteristics that might be - if closely examined- visible in their e-mails, their way of contacting you, the kind of their offer ? having free e-mail accounts? etc..
I'll be glad as well to hear other replies for the same question from other translators in this forum, especially those who worked for many years via the internet.

[Edited at 2006-12-20 19:14]

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mnis1  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:19
English to Japanese
Thank you all. (This is reply to all people who kindly gave me the advice) Dec 20, 2006

Thank you all for responding me.


Thank you for the advice. I didn't know about the blue board by now. Thank you for letting me know. I'll check it before taking any jobs.


AS a proof of payment, they sent me a copy of small slip titled "Foreign Transaction advice."
On the slip, there was none of my bank name or account info.
There were just the translation company's address and the bank's address, my name, and the amount of money in Indian Currency and USD.

I asked their Indian bank "C" the question through the bank's website's customer service board. Then the bank sent me the short answer as "we sent the fee to your bank" via E-mail.

The Indian translation company itself promised me to investigate, but they seemed they had done nothing. They never apologize me for the delay either.

At this moment I have no idea that the company will pay me or not.

I'll bring to blue board, if nothing progress in a month. Thank you.


Thank you for telling me your thought.
I am very busy with other jobs now and I sometimes think that I should give up the fee as a bitter lesson, just you did.
I knew that they were not honest people since their word count was actually bit less than I declared in my invoice.
Anyway, since they have been responding to my e-mail each time as "we will find out and get back to you," I have nothing but hoping now.


Thank you for responding.
I trusted the Indian company because they have a decent website, also, the "5000 English document" they asked me was about the US State agency's report. The job itself seemed decent enough.
But I think I will be a lot more cautious about taking jobs from now on with unknown customers.

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
my simple advice for the "naive translator" Dec 21, 2006

The best thing (just to be sure there will be no problems with the client) is to take a look into Proz BB. I do not even bother replying outsorcers whose ratings are less that "4". And best to work for oustorcers who have above "4.5" (of course, multiple-entry "5" is the best).

That is my Nr. 1 step to ensure that there will be no payment problems. And it really works.

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Local time: 12:19
English to Urdu
+ ...
Non Payers are not much Dec 21, 2006

Thank you Mahmoud, for taking interest in my reply.

In my experience, the non payers are not much because I have found that most of the agencies do pay and keep on sending you the work if they are satisfied with the quality of your work. I am working with another Indian agency since a year and have no complaint regarding the payments.

The answer to your questions regarding the number of agencies and the amounts etc. is given in my previous post.

Thanks and regards.

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mnis1  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:19
English to Japanese
Problem Solved! Dec 22, 2006

Thank you all for the valuable opinions and kind advice.
After I brought this matter to BB, the payment was made immediately.
Thank you again and Happy Holiday.

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Dittrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:19
English to German
+ ...
non-paying agency Dec 30, 2006

I have a problem with a non-paying Indian company as well.
One entry at the Blueboard: positive!!!

Maybe they have gone bust meanwhile or “died”.

The Indian Embassy here in Berlin advised me to get in touch
with the German-Indian Chamber of Commerce at their place in India.

The International Chamber of Commerce can be of some help.

I even have a PO signed by them. Thought that would be safe enough.

I never had such problems before.

I have read that in case of a huge order you can demand – or rather should!! (especially in
case of a first work – ask for an advance.

Best regards and Happy New Year


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Should we add more to the checklist? Jan 16, 2007

Reading all these bitter experiences makes me worried. Now our agency is working on a very big job totalling 1000 pages from an Indian client. I have checked their website, telephone numbers and blueboard entries and found that this is a good agency. But still, I am worried that this agency is "one of them." As it will be dealing with approx. USD 7500, who will be responsible for the payment if they run away? Our agency will go bankrupt anyway.

A long time ago I had such a bitter experience with a Hong Kong client. At first they were so nice and friendly to us. They always called us when they quoted their jobs and their first payment was on time. However, in the second job, they failed to settle the payment and ran away. We could not reach their contact numbers and their website has no longer been updated.

As a result, we decided to blacklist all Hong Kong clients and request a Downpayment from all of our new clients. However, just a couple months later I met a Hong Kong client who was very nice, friendly and willing to pay in advance. So I think we should not judge agencies/clients from their countries.

Should we add more to the following checklist to prevent us from becoming the victim of such a fraudulent client?
- Native Country
- Website
- Telephone number(s)
- Blue Board Entries
- Profile Page
- Formal purchase order/work order
- Down payment

Kind regards,

Project Manager

[Edited at 2007-01-17 01:24]

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