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how long should I wait before sending a final notice
Thread poster: ashley
ashley
Local time: 21:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 9, 2007

I know that this topic has been rehashed several times in the forum, but I have a couple more queries and would be really greatful for other translators`opinions.
I have been doing some work for a UK agency since May and despite them stipulating that they pay within 30 days of receiving the invoice, I have yet to receive anything. I have four invoices with them in total, 2 of which are VERY out of date and a couple of which are now just a couple of days late. I have emailed my contact at the agency several times and keep receiving "I`ll get back to you about this by..." and then nothing.
The agency has received a couple of positive feedbacks on translator websites but I am quite anxious as their address looks like a PO box, there is not phone number on their website and although some of the work I did for them was given to me by another agency, I was told to bill my original agency contact!
Do you think it is unreasonable for me to send a final notice threatening court action now, or should I leave it until the last couple of invoices are even more out of date?

Advice much appreciated...


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Yvette Neisser Moreno  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
What did you do... Aug 9, 2007

What did you do after 30 days had passed with the first couple of invoices (besides send queries)?

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ashley
Local time: 21:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
late payment Aug 9, 2007

I waited a few days and then sent an email informing my contact that I had not been paid and could he please look into it. I was told that he would indeed look into it and that if I had not been paid (which I hadn`t!) then he would ensure that all of my invoices (including the ones which were still within the 30 day deadline) would be paid at once.
I contacted him a couple of weeks later saying that I had still received no payment. He said that he would "look into it and get back to me that afternoon"... This was the last I heard from him and was about 2 weeks ago. Since then, I have resent my invoices, this time pressing for a payment date. No reply!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:58
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Keep phoning Aug 9, 2007

ashley wrote:

I waited a few days and then sent an email informing my contact that I had not been paid and could he please look into it. I was told that he would indeed look into it and that if I had not been paid (which I hadn`t!) then he would ensure that all of my invoices (including the ones which were still within the 30 day deadline) would be paid at once.
I contacted him a couple of weeks later saying that I had still received no payment. He said that he would "look into it and get back to me that afternoon"... This was the last I heard from him and was about 2 weeks ago. Since then, I have resent my invoices, this time pressing for a payment date. No reply!

Dear Ashley,
You must keep on telephoning them. Don't wait for them to call you back - they won't. As my late Mum used to say, "It's the squeaky wheel that gets oiled".
At this time of year the excuse often is that the bookkeeper is on holiday - bookkeepers seem to take more holidays than average. It's no reason not to pay, though. I'm sure the staff get paid whether the bookkeeper is on holiday or not.
They are especially keen on this excuse in France where the whole country seems to shut down for August.
Best of luck,
Jenny.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 23:58
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I think a couple of weeks Aug 9, 2007

I wait 10 working days (a couple of weeks). Well, no need to urge after 1 day of delay - maybe people just want to pay, but sometimes there are some organizational things - why make yourelf and them nervous. And if it is 2 weeks already, this is already serious and has some reason for a formal friendly question "Where is my money"...

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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 22:58
English to German
+ ...
Keep pestering them... Aug 10, 2007

Dear Ashley, so far I have always received all the money clients ever owed me.

The best way is writing emails or phoning. Admittedly, one has to be quite creative these days to get one's hard earned pesetas/dirhams/Euros.

One of my more creative emails is this:

Suggest sending your old father (who is a heavy smoker) to collect the money at their office personally. Tell them that he is quite obstinate and won't leave the office until he has the money.

This was a bit of joke, I wrote this once just to see the reaction. The lady did not like that at all and told me that my father would not come into her office w/o her permission and that it was up to her to decide who smoked in her office...

Fact is she paid within two more weeks of my pestering her.

One other hard-core late payer simply ignored my emails. Now that's something that makes me see red, so I turned the whole thing over to my lawyer friend. A good lawyer is really worth a million (find one who really represents your interest in the first place and not his/her own). They paid the same day they received the letter from my lawyer.

Agencies are really pushing it these days, so generally (with a few exceptions, there are pleasant agencies, too) it's not much fun working with them. On top of bad rates, I cannot and will not start sending reminders, they either pay reasonably punctually or no more work, fullstop.

Admittedly this is a sure-fired way of loosing clients, but then you win and lose, that's life I am afraid.

I am an underpaid freelancer and can't afford to waste time for tracking invoices...


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:58
Finnish to English
Be direct Aug 10, 2007

There is no need to be polite. Be direct and threaten to take legal action within a week from now

You might get a cheque


If you don't you can probably get some free legal advice from this site or eslewhere - and you should expose them

I would anyway - it is YOUR money which they have now as good as stolen from you


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:58
English to German
+ ...
Why work for them? Aug 10, 2007

All the above advice is fine if you have the agency's contact details but apparently Ahsley hasn't got a proper address or a phone number. Dear Ashley, that amounts to lending money to a total stranger who tells you they'll pay you back in 30 days.
I'm always very firm with accounts staff and don't accept any bull. One once went crying to her boss. The boss than rang me to say I upset their accountant. I just told her, no reason to get upset, just pay my invoices.
So far, I've alway been paid and never had to wait very long.


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xxxLucyPatterso
English
I just don't understand Aug 11, 2007

I am quite new to all this but do not understand all these comments.

As translators, we are given strict deadlines. An agency says "I want this 100% perfect, no typing errors, no misinterpretations of this highly technical mechanical translation by 16.43 on Monday". The translator delivers a perfect translation on time, or even early.

The agency then has A MONTH to pay the amount they have agreed. They do not manage to keep to their deadline.

People here say "best not to upset anyone, wait 2 weeks before even bringing it up". The landlord won't care his rent is late. Forget about eating. Just don't upset the agent...they might want to wait 6 months before paying or change their company name and not pay at all.

I cannot understand why translators put up with this unequal situation. what would the agency do it you sent back your translation a week late??


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Partial member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
You are perfectly right! Aug 12, 2007

LucyPatterson wrote:

I am quite new to all this but do not understand all these comments.

As translators, we are given strict deadlines. An agency says "I want this 100% perfect, no typing errors, no misinterpretations of this highly technical mechanical translation by 16.43 on Monday". The translator delivers a perfect translation on time, or even early.

The agency then has A MONTH to pay the amount they have agreed. They do not manage to keep to their deadline.

People here say "best not to upset anyone, wait 2 weeks before even bringing it up". The landlord won't care his rent is late. Forget about eating. Just don't upset the agent...they might want to wait 6 months before paying or change their company name and not pay at all.

I cannot understand why translators put up with this unequal situation. what would the agency do it you sent back your translation a week late??


To new customers, I e-mail an inquiry just one day after the invoice is due, so they see that I pay attention to the payment terms, just like they would do if I did not send them my translation on time (this never happened, though, and THEY would anyway not wait a whole day, I am sure!:-)). Three days later, if I didn't get my money in the meantime, I send my first reminder. With customers that normally pay on time, generally I wait one week, not more!

[Bearbeitet am 2007-08-12 09:18]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 23:58
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
show enough of patience before the legal action Aug 12, 2007

LucyPatterson wrote:

I am quite new to all this but do not understand all these comments.

As translators, we are given strict deadlines. An agency says "I want this 100% perfect, no typing errors, no misinterpretations of this highly technical mechanical translation by 16.43 on Monday". The translator delivers a perfect translation on time, or even early.

The agency then has A MONTH to pay the amount they have agreed. They do not manage to keep to their deadline.

People here say "best not to upset anyone, wait 2 weeks before even bringing it up". The landlord won't care his rent is late. Forget about eating. Just don't upset the agent...they might want to wait 6 months before paying or change their company name and not pay at all.

I cannot understand why translators put up with this unequal situation. what would the agency do it you sent back your translation a week late??


Dear Lucy,

The world is not an ideal place. My suggestion is to show "enough of patience" just to show to the court of law (if it turns for that) that you REALLY waited long, gave them reasonable dates to settle the things. Just to show that YOU WERE TOO PATIENT enogh and now you used all possible means to settle this issue mutually. The court will take that into account. I think it is much better instead of shouting aloud and threatening in each email with the legal action.

And my suggestion for the thread poster (after the expiration of the final payment settlement date you gave to that agency). Simply send a very formal letter stating you have exausted all possibilities for a mutual and amicable settlement of the matter and that from NOW ON you will go the legal way. Best to mention that you have a friend in the UK who can represent you at the court of law. At least it worked very well in my case many years ago when I had a similar situation. And if the agency is a non-existing one (a fake one), well, even worse for them (not worse for you). You can already iniciate the proceedings based on the CRIMINAL law, not the civil law and they can have serious consequences like a non-existing agency working illegally and cheating people...Based on that you can already apply to the police for the criminal investigation of the matter. I do not think they should be so dumb not to understand that and what can follow, esp. if it is not only you whom they cheated in such a way.








[Edited at 2007-08-12 09:37]


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Partial member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
The court is not supposed to judge your human qualities Aug 12, 2007

MariusV wrote:

The world is not an ideal place. My suggestion is to show "enough of patience" just to show to the court of law (if it turns for that) that you REALLY waited long, gave them reasonable dates to settle the things. Just to show that YOU WERE TOO PATIENT enogh and now you used all possible means to settle this issue mutually. The court will take that into account. I think it is much better instead of shouting aloud and threatening in each email with the legal action.



i. e whether you have been "patient enough" or not, but just whether you and/or your customer fulfilled the duties.

Of course, nobody will sue a customer just for having been one week late:-) You have to send, as far as I know, at least three reminders, the last one by registered letter, and give him a reasonable time to pay. No charitable patience involved here

And then, if the customer did not intend to pay you, do you think he will if only you'd be patient enough? No, he still won't!

So, I definitely don't feel like being patient in such a situation!

[Bearbeitet am 2007-08-12 14:22]


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