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Payment delays - what is going on?
Thread poster: Elena Robles Sanjuan

Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:56
English to Spanish
Oct 30, 2007

Hi all,

I have just had a chat with one of the agencies I collaborate with about delayed payments. This is a very serious and professional agency which has never been behind payments for years. Right now, it´s not the only agency I´m having trouble with due to delayed payments.

The three agencies in question justify this situation explaining that their own clients are also delayed in their payments. These seem to be either big companies or public institutions in the three cases.

Is anybodu experiencing the same problem and also due to the same type of non-paying clients at the very end of the chain?


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-10-30 16:30]

[Edited at 2007-10-30 16:49]


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Marian Vieyra  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:56
Member (2007)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Request Immediate Payment Oct 30, 2007

Elena Robles Sanjuan wrote:

Hi all,

I have just had a chat with one of the agencies I collaborate with about delayed payments. This is a very serious and professional agency which has never been behind payments for years. Right now, it´s not the only agency I´m having trouble with due to delayed payments.

The three agencies in question justify this situation explaining that their own clients are also delayed in their payments. These seem to be either big companies or public institutions in the three cases.

Is anybodu experiencing the same problem and also due to the same type of non-paying clients at the very end of the chain?


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-10-30 16:30]

[Edited at 2007-10-30 16:49]


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Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:56
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Of course, but... Oct 30, 2007

Hi Marian,

Needless to say I have put my foot down to demand payment, but what worries me is whether this is a trend that we´re all bound to suffer or whether this is a temporary situation I will be able to forget about.

I can tell by now between bad business practices and a genuine explanation. And this time I´m concerned that the agencies are in trouble themselves, but I can´t find the real reason for this...


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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Their non-paying clients are *not your problem* Oct 30, 2007

You do not have a contract with their clients; they do. You have a contract with them, and they are obligated to pay you whether they receive payment from the client on the other end, or not.

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Marian Vieyra  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:56
Member (2007)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Request Immediate Payment Oct 30, 2007

Hi Elena,

I think you should point out to your agencies that your contract is with them and not the end client which is why they get a cut of your income! An agency's role is to act as an intermediary between services required and services offered, that's where they make their profit. You have no contract to provide services to the end client. It's their cash flow problem, not yours.

Good luck,
Marian


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Marian Vieyra  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:56
Member (2007)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Great minds! Oct 30, 2007

Sorry Jim, I pressed the 'post reply' button too early before I said what I wanted and just gave a brusque reply to Elena. We are in complete agreement. This is a legal issue, no excuses.
Jim Tucker wrote:

You do not have a contract with their clients; they do. You have a contract with them, and they are obligated to pay you whether they receive payment from the client on the other end, or not.



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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:56
Italian to English
+ ...
I think Elena's point is, is there something more serious underlying? Oct 30, 2007

I.e. are a large number of companies (our clients clients so to speak) experiencing serious cash flow problems with the risk of defaulting, and this wave of bad debt and default passing through the entire market with us being the last elements in the chain, and hence the ones least likely to be paid?

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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 09:56
English to Swedish
+ ...
The collection agency business is definitely booming! Oct 30, 2007

The EU standard is 30 days, stick to it!

***********************
Sven Petersson
Medical translator
Web site: www.svenp.com
***********************


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Anne Key
Local time: 08:56
Dutch to English
+ ...
Experiencing similar problems Oct 30, 2007

Hello there Elena,

I'm sorry to hear about your payment problems, I hope the situation is resolved amicably.

I'm experiencing a similar problem with one of my regular clients (an agency based in the Netherlands).

This year, they seem to be getting into the habit of paying 60-90 days from invoice date (e.g. payment of June invoice delayed until September).
Their reasons? "Payment difficulties with clients" and "We only have enough liquidity to pay our in-house staff".

They take 1-2 weeks to respond to email requests, and are well-nigh impossible to contact (this never used to be the case, so it appears to be a recent development).

I recently completed an assignment for them, and am still awaiting payment. The 30-day payment deadline is approaching, so I have sent them a friendly reminder. This will be followed up by tougher measures next week if payment is not forthcoming (including a mention on the Blue Board).

Rather worryingly, this agency recently relocated; they have not forwarded details of their new address. Hmmm...

To cut a very long story short, I have decided to listen to my "gut instinct", and to reject all future assignments and prioritise the fast payers.

Again Elena, I hope your non-payment problem is rectified soon - good luck!

Anne


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Worldwide??? Oct 30, 2007

Alexander Chisholm wrote:
I.e. are a large number of companies (our clients clients so to speak) experiencing serious cash flow problems with the risk of defaulting, and this wave of bad debt and default passing through the entire market with us being the last elements in the chain, and hence the ones least likely to be paid?


I find it hard to believe that this could happen worldwide, as Prozians have a really global coverage of the market. Today's (Brazilian) newspaper says something about a general excessive liquidity around the world.

Maybe the market is being invaded by lower-grade translation agencies, that take the risk of defaulting on translators, or simply don't bother enough to have a formal, legally binding, PO from the end client. Some of these agencies might be reoutsourcing work from other agencies...

Until I'm proven wrong, my telltale indicator of such shady enterprises is a payment term longer that 30 days. They desperately need the extra cash flow.

My direct clients pay me in something between 48 hours and 7-10 days. For sworn translations, COD is the practice. The fellow translators who now and then hire me to relieve their work overload usually pay me within minutes from delivery, to make sure I'll be available for them next time they desperately need a backup.

But 99% of outsourcers pay within 30 days. They are probably paid by the end client within 1-2 weeks. With this kind of cash flow, there is no excuse to delay the payment to the translator.


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Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:56
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Accept no excuses Oct 30, 2007

As José Henrique says, there is no excuse to delay the payment to the translator.

Others have mentioned it: your contract is with the agency not with the end customer, so it has nothing to do with you whether they pay, the pay late or do not pay at all.

Whenever a customer comes to me with this kind of lame excuse the same thought comes to my mind: 'And if they don't pay you, you won't pay me? That's not the kind of customer I need, thank you very much'.

If they cannot run their agency, they should stick to freelancing, that's my opinion. One customer may pay late, but others have paid at some other time and they should have the cash to pay providers for their work.

Best of luck!

Rosa


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Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:56
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Having said so... Oct 30, 2007

I would like to add that if it's really just this time and your experience with them is ok so far, then, well, no need to drop the customer or be too harsh on them or anything like that.

It's just that it really annoys me when I hear that excuse...


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Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:56
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly ! Oct 30, 2007

Alexander Chisholm wrote:

I.e. are a large number of companies (our clients clients so to speak) experiencing serious cash flow problems with the risk of defaulting, and this wave of bad debt and default passing through the entire market with us being the last elements in the chain, and hence the ones least likely to be paid?


You´re absolutely right, Alexander. Regardless of what I should do to get my money, there is something there that I can´t underpin...


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:56
Italian to English
Try raising your prices Oct 30, 2007

Elena Robles Sanjuan wrote:

You´re absolutely right, Alexander. Regardless of what I should do to get my money, there is something there that I can´t underpin...


Try raising your prices, Elena.

The clients that appreciate the value you add with your translations will stay with you and the bottom feeders will disappear as if by magic.

Many payment problems are self-inflicted. All too often, suppliers - not just translators - stick with bad payers because they are afraid to lose business instead of ditching the deadbeats and concentrating on clients who are willing to pay for quality.

FWIW

Giles


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Kerati Kuaimongkol  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 15:56
Partial member (2007)
English to Thai
They've got some profit, that's why thy have to take risk.... Oct 31, 2007

It've never been good to hear this kind of problem, how can we prevent it?

The agency gain some profit from our work, in turn, they give us work and take risk with their clients.

Anyway, hope you resolve it soon.


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