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How can I make an agency pay?
Thread poster: Aida González del Álamo

Aida González del Álamo
Spain
Local time: 04:45
Member (2004)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 24, 2007

I have had problems with payments before, unfortunately this is not a new issue for me, as for many translators, but this time the situation is critical. I have worked for the agency for years without big problems, ok, there have been delays but nothing serious, they always paid. Right now I have all the invoices for the whole year unpaid. After lots of emails they sent a 10% of the money they owe me by check but today the bank has informed me that the check was not valid and I have been charged by my bank for the operation. So instead of getting more than 800 euros I have lost 70 euros.

I live in Spain and the agency is in France, is there any way I can make them get paid? I never checked the blue board about them because I have never had problems with them but now I have seen lots of negative points and I am sure telling them I will cast a bad vote won´t have effect on them.
I´ve heard about companies that help you get paid and things like that but I have never needed them like I do now, so if anyone knows of a way, please let me know, my whole holidays and rent depend on it.
Thanks!


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Why did you wait a year? Jul 24, 2007

I would have stopped working for them long before. I mean, if 800 euro is just 10% of what they owe you, you stand to lose a hefty amount if they don't pay.
In Italy you can face prosecution for bouncing a check, as it is illegal. I'd contact a lawyer in France, since you need to work within that legal system. Maybe you can press charges for the bounced check, in addition to filing a claim for your money.
And do use the BB to warn other translators!
Catherine


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:45
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Bouncing cheques illegal in France too? Jul 24, 2007

cbolton wrote:

I would have stopped working for them long before. I mean, if 800 euro is just 10% of what they owe you, you stand to lose a hefty amount if they don't pay.
In Italy you can face prosecution for bouncing a check, as it is illegal. I'd contact a lawyer in France, since you need to work within that legal system. Maybe you can press charges for the bounced check, in addition to filing a claim for your money.
And do use the BB to warn other translators!
Catherine


Dear Aidagda,
I sympathise with you. I think I'm right in saying that it is also illegal to issue a bad cheque in France too. Perhaps you should put your question in the French forum and one of our colleagues in France could advise you. There must be debt-collection firms in France and Spain as well. Have you tried contacting the Chamber of Commerce of the city where the defaulting agency is based? You might find its contact details on the Web - again French colleagues could perhaps advise.
I wish you luck,
Jenny.


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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
Collection agency Jul 24, 2007

I would first tell the client that you intend to hand the case over to a collection agency. That is often enough to make the client pay. Then I'd find a collection agency. Some take a cut or a fixed percentage only if they are successful in collecting the debt. Stand your ground and claim the money that's yours. Good luck.

Jørgen


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Odile C Delos  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
Italian to French
+ ...
Cheque sans provision Jul 24, 2007

It is absolutely illegal to draw a cheque in France without enough funds to cover the amount (penal code). Apparently you could try and cash the cheque a second time and then write to their bank..
Let the agency know you are going to do this and see what they say.
Good luck
Odile


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:45
French to English
My advice Jul 24, 2007

You can do an "injonction de payer" without going through a collection agency. The fees for this procedure are not too expensive.

First, you must start by sending a registered letter to the agency, as a "final reminder" (mise en demeure) detailing all the invoices due, and state that if they don't pay within 8 days, you will begin recovery proceedings. Your letter should be in French.

http://www.infogreffe.fr/infogreffe/jsp/ip/fonctionnementIP.jsp

This link gives detailed instructions on how to proceed. You can contact me privately if you need any help deciphering the French (I see on your profile that it's not one of your working pairs).

First, you might want to run a check on the main infogreffe page, using the agency's N° de registre de commerce. You will be able to see immediately if they are going through bankruptcy proceedings, and you might learn some other details about the company this way.


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Aida González del Álamo
Spain
Local time: 04:45
Member (2004)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jul 24, 2007

Lori Cirefice wrote:

You can do an "injonction de payer" without going through a collection agency. The fees for this procedure are not too expensive.

First, you must start by sending a registered letter to the agency, as a "final reminder" (mise en demeure) detailing all the invoices due, and state that if they don't pay within 8 days, you will begin recovery proceedings. Your letter should be in French.

http://www.infogreffe.fr/infogreffe/jsp/ip/fonctionnementIP.jsp

This link gives detailed instructions on how to proceed. You can contact me privately if you need any help deciphering the French (I see on your profile that it's not one of your working pairs).

First, you might want to run a check on the main infogreffe page, using the agency's N° de registre de commerce. You will be able to see immediately if they are going through bankruptcy proceedings, and you might learn some other details about the company this way.



I have to thank you all for the good ideas, I am going to write the letter informing them because the email I sent has not been answered. And I have asked my bank for all the details about the check just in case.
I know I waited too long but I have worked with them for a long time without any problem, so when my PM told me they were having cash flow problems but that they will pay all invoices in July I trusted her, she had never lied to me before. I am sorry if I did not express myself clearly, I was a bit nervous when I wrote the post, they owe me 800€ and the check that I received was for the 10% of that.
It´s good to know that it is illegal in France to do this, that could help, hopefully.
IS there a page with information about collection agencies? I´m sorry to ask so many questions but this situation is horrible and I have never ever thought it was going to get this bad.
Of course I will leave feedback in BB, no translator should go through this ever...I am thankful for this forum, makes me feel a little less alone in this profession.
Lori thanks for the advice, I might ask for help with the language, French is not one of my working languages, I worked with this agency translating ENG-SP...
Thanks!


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Add in the bank charges! Jul 24, 2007

aidagda wrote:

I am sorry if I did not express myself clearly, I was a bit nervous when I wrote the post, they owe me 800€ and the check that I received was for the 10% of that.
It´s good to know that it is illegal in France to do this, that could help, hopefully.


Goodness! You had to pay 70€ for an 80€ check??
When you contact them, be sure to tell them they now owe you 870!
Catherine


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Stanislaw Semczuk  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
Another world collection agent Jul 24, 2007

Wait with this until other options are exhausted.
Take someone Russian speaking and find some collection agents in Russia (preferebly based in the city of Kaliningrad) or in Ukraine (preferably based in Odessa).
Select the one looking most sinister. Send a paper memo with registered mail to your debtor informing that unless paid in 3 days with interest and bounced cheque charge, the debt is to be sold to this agent. I think even a Sicilian translator agent would think twice before ignoring such a request. Be careful not to form any threats (this is crime under most jurisdicitons). But you can legaly sell your receiveables to anybody. If contacted about that, be elusive, but suggest that you can get about 20% of the value (this rate builds up the collector reputation).


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Alina Barrow
France
Local time: 04:45
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Another world collection agent Jul 24, 2007

http://www.cabinet-arc.com/index.php?wysistatpr=sl_overture_wysistatautokeyword
http://www.espacedevispro.com/crce.php
http://www.groupe-jm-conseil.com/


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:45
Member
English to French
Make sure they still exist Jul 24, 2007

by phoning them and deal with this immediately with the advice provided in previous posts.
I don't want to frighten you, but a bouncing cheque is often the very last resort to buy time before bankruptcy.
I would advise not to hesitate to fly there if you think it may be worth it. A plane ticket is very little compared to many thousands of euros.

The only and last time I experienced a bouncing cheque (from an agency in France in 2001), the agency had gone down the pan before my cheque (partial payment of 2400 euros out of 3700) had completed the clearing process. That is, in less than 3 weeks.

Hurry hurry hurry.
Philippe


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Aida González del Álamo
Spain
Local time: 04:45
Member (2004)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There seems to be a possible solution Jul 24, 2007

I do not want to be too optimistic till I get the payment but following your advice I informed the agency about what I wanted to do and the response was immediate. We are talking about the best way to solve it and I am sending all the copies of the data...I cross my fingers, but I think that maybe this will be solved sooner than I thought. My PM seemed interested in solving it, at least that is something. Nevertheless, all the information has been real useful and I am keeping it stored just in case this doesn´t end so good or for future times (let´s hope not)
I think there is not enough information about this things, at least I had no clue but thanks a lot for your kindness and help, I´ll let you know how it ends and I will leave feedback.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:45
English to French
+ ...
Thanks for the info on collection agencies Jul 24, 2007

Just a quick note to say thanks for the collection agency info posted by a few of you. I am keeping the info - never know when I'll go through this again. Been there once - if I ever have to again, this will come in handy.

Thanks!


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 05:45
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
do a simple thing Jul 28, 2007

At least it worked in my case. Write a very formal letter to the agency mentioning possible legal actions. When the period for payment indicated in your formal letter expires, ask a lawyer (if you have a friend who is a lawyer) to call that agency and just tell him to ask those people if they are going to pay ("like I am a lawyer from company this and that, and I am representing my client [you] who wants to initiate legal procedures at us for money collection). That would really work - they just have to understand that it is really serious ("his/her lawyer just called us - better we pay him/her as he/she can really go to a court of law)...And this costs only phonecall rates...Give a try.

[Edited at 2007-07-28 22:18]


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:45
English to French
+ ...
Finally... Aug 10, 2007

MariusV wrote:
ask a lawyer (if you have a friend who is a lawyer) to call that agency and just tell him to ask those people if they are going to pay ("like I am a lawyer from company this and that, and I am representing my client [you] who wants to initiate legal procedures at us for money collection).


Indeed it works,
I once had to resort to using a friend (not a lawyer...) who put the fear of god into someone from Italy who owed me 1200 EUR. It was just beautifully worded with all the right jargon.

Two days after, I got paid! And what's more, he sent me more work AND paid for it normally!

Finally, if anyone has problems in France, I would be very happy to help find a debt collector at the right place and to help with the French. I too, was a victim of that notorious French agency who kept sending reassuring e-mails, but which finally went bankrupt. I got in touch with a debt collector: if he does not get your money back you pay nothing. You only pay a certain percentage of the recovered money. that is how it works.


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