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Late payment with debtor out of business
Thread poster: Khalid W
Khalid W
Local time: 18:58
Arabic to English
+ ...
Sep 26, 2007

Hi,

In early May, I did an Arabic translation job for a Texas-based translation company worth about $990 dollars. Though I promptly invoiced them, I did not receive payment, even after the 45 day period specified by the company. Over the summer, they did not respond to two or three e-mails asking about when I could expect the payment. In early September, I decided to call the company, but found that their phones were now out of service, and their website down. I assume that they've gone out of business, but I haven't found any record of them filing for bankruptcy such that I could file with the court to receive compensation.

Also, I don't have a phone number for the owner (who was my contact there), a personal e-mail address, or his home address, so I'm not sure if a collection company would be able to track him down easily. Googling his name, I did find mention of him...currently in an Arizona criminal court, but I'm based on the East Coast, and the court wasn't able to give out any details on the case, of course.

Any suggestions on what I should do next? Is there any chance of getting some or all of my money back, or should I just give up and not waste more time on this? Any advice specific to US law would be especially welcome. Thanks,

Khalid



[Edited at 2007-09-26 19:36]


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Diminishing returns Sep 27, 2007

I would leave this one alone given legal fees in the US, but maybe someone else with better knowledge of the system can advise you on this.

Also, pay $80 for six months of proz.com membership so you can get involved with a community of translators and get to know more outsourcers!! This isn't just a plug, it has actually worked for a lot of people.

Good luck.


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casey
United States
Local time: 18:58
Member
Japanese to English
$990 is a hefty sum of money Sep 27, 2007

I'd be inclined to pursue this. In my opinion, at least, $990 is a lot of money. It would be worth it to try to get the payment.
You might be able to find some details by doing a whois search on the expired domain name. It may still have contact details.

Khalid W wrote:

Hi,

In early May, I did an Arabic translation job for a Texas-based translation company worth about $990 dollars. Though I promptly invoiced them, I did not receive payment, even after the 45 day period specified by the company. Over the summer, they did not respond to two or three e-mails asking about when I could expect the payment. In early September, I decided to call the company, but found that their phones were now out of service, and their website down. I assume that they've gone out of business, but I haven't found any record of them filing for bankruptcy such that I could file with the court to receive compensation.

Also, I don't have a phone number for the owner (who was my contact there), a personal e-mail address, or his home address, so I'm not sure if a collection company would be able to track him down easily. Googling his name, I did find mention of him...currently in an Arizona criminal court, but I'm based on the East Coast, and the court wasn't able to give out any details on the case, of course.

Any suggestions on what I should do next? Is there any chance of getting some or all of my money back, or should I just give up and not waste more time on this? Any advice specific to US law would be especially welcome. Thanks,

Khalid



[Edited at 2007-09-26 19:36]


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Alp Berker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:58
Turkish to English
+ ...
Find out where he was incorporated Sep 27, 2007

Hi Khalid,
If you can find out where he was incorporated, you might be able to track down if he has filed for bankruptcy. If he has filed for bankruptcy, you should be able to get your money when his assets are liquidaited, but you would need to file.
I would contact the Secretary of State's Office in Texas or the Attorney General's Office for that state. Go to there website to get the contact details. At least file a complaint about your loss, you might end up getting your money. At the minumum they might at least point you in the right direction to pursue.
I hope you get your money.
Alp


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 18:58
German to English
Try a national collection agency Sep 27, 2007

If the deadbeat files bankruptcy, you're out of luck as an unsecured creditor, as you'll have to get in line behind other unsecured creditors including credit card companies. Many small business deadbeats don't even bother to file for bankruptcy.

There are national collection agencies, such as Dun & Bradstreet that for a fee + a portion of the recovered amount will try to collect the debt. This works well with a going concern, but is less successful when the business has shut down and skipped town.

My sympathies.


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John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
good luck Sep 27, 2007

I would certainly pursue it at least as far as getting a clear idea of what your options are. I was recently stung by an agency in Switzerland for nearly €4000, they are still trading but I suspect not for long. I contacted the local chamber of commerce and they said I need to have a representative in the country; another proz member has made enquiries via a lawyer and apparently the owner has lots of debts, not just to translators. As such it looks like there's not much chance of getting any cash, and I'm reluctant to throw good money after bad. I have thought of contacting his clients and letting them know the work they have received ahs not been paid for.
A lesson to be learnt: although I have been working for this agency for nearly 2 years, there have been notices on blue board about them for the last six months. I only checked last month when I was getting concerned; if I had checked when the first invoice wasn't paid on time, I could have cut my losses then.


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