Mobile menu

How do you collect an outstanding payment?
Thread poster: overseas

overseas
Local time: 01:54
English to Korean
+ ...
Dec 21, 2007

I got an email from a person in Israel back in March 2007 and provided English into Korean and Chinese translation services. He said he got my email address from ProZ.com and although there was no detailed information about him such as phone number, address, etc. except his email address, based on a good faith, I did perform translation for several projects in that month and he told me he would wire transfer the payment through Western Union in 30 days after he got my invoices.

I have not heard from him since early May 2007 (one month after I submitted my invoice). There has been no reponse from him no matter how many times I sent him inquiry emails. I thought about retaining a collecting company but since it is about US$20.00 shy from the minimum amount (US$500.00) the collecting company would consider taking the case, I could not pursue that venue. What can I do in such case? Just hit my head against the wall and tell myself to be more careful from now on?

Well, it was my tough luck to have yet another case like it in May 2007 ("My Hard Learned Lessions in Year 2007!). Luckily, this time I know it is a company from Norway. I don't know which branch office of the company it is, though. The communications went well until I delivered the translation (they found me from Proz.com and asked me to edit a Korean translation that their client complained about the translation quality. Although I am very "reserved" in giving my opinion about fellow translators' translation qulaity, believe me, it was really bad and I had to overhaul the translation. The price for editing was agreed upon by both sides before I started editing). The project manager did not acknowledge reciept of the files, my invoice, etc. And so far, there have been no responses to my inquiry emails about the payment either. The communication stopped completely the minute I delivered the files! I tried to find excuses for them, such as perhaps my emails got blocked by their email server, the project manager has left the company, etc., but still, it does not make any sense that there has been no sigle response for 6 months.

Any suggestions, folks?



[Edited at 2007-12-21 21:11]

[Edited at 2007-12-21 21:11]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

IOAN Ciurdaru  Identity Verified
Romania
Romanian to English
+ ...
same happened to me Dec 21, 2007

Unfortunatelly I was the victim of this situation too, and the invoice was worthing 150 USD. It is true I have contacted the client and saw all information about him, includind address, telephone number and so on. But after 30 days from sending the invoice no sign of this person. The email account was suspended and I started to call the number displayed on his profile, but surprise, there was no such person but a travel company. So in case you're not sure the company or the client will not pay, simply ask for a down payment for security reasons or simply refuse.
Con people is everywhere so at a certain point maybe it should be logic to ask if one bad incident is an exception or the rule. I decided to go on without asking advance payment bu everytime I am suspicious I refuse a client.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 07:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
See BlueBoard Dec 21, 2007

... Luckily, this time I know it is a company from Norway


I cant comment (because I dont know). You should have (had) a look at the BlueBoard. One look at BlueBoard alone can pay the cost of a full membership. In any case, BlueBoard is a great help in such cases - actually before such cases as yours.

Regards


[Urejeno ob 2007-12-22 07:11]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

James O'Reilly
Germany
German to English
+ ...
Information Sharing about Client Payment Behavior & Organizational Capability Maturity Level Dec 21, 2007

I am compiling a document in this theme area in order to comply with
EU Translation Service Requirements 4.1 EN-15038:2006 (EN), and
some risk management considerations:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dg9xxrf5_86crm48d

Things are still in process, but feel free to make your contributions.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:54
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
"Overseas" and Vito, please edit your posting Dec 21, 2007

and remove the the outsourcer's name.

Outsourcers may not be discussed specifically. Posts or comments regarding a specific outsourcer (identified by name, reference, link or other means), whether positive or negative, are not permitted. (To indicate their likelihood of working again with a given outsourcer, site users should use the ProZ.com Blue Board.) http://www.proz.com/siterules/forum/8#8

Best regards,
Attila


Direct link Reply with quote
 

overseas
Local time: 01:54
English to Korean
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the reminder Dec 21, 2007

Attila Piróth wrote:

and remove the the outsourcer's name.

Outsourcers may not be discussed specifically. Posts or comments regarding a specific outsourcer (identified by name, reference, link or other means), whether positive or negative, are not permitted. (To indicate their likelihood of working again with a given outsourcer, site users should use the ProZ.com Blue Board.) http://www.proz.com/siterules/forum/8#8

Best regards,
Attila


I already removed the company name.
I believe I should utilize BlueBoard more diligently from now on.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 07:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Oh well... Dec 22, 2007

and remove the the outsourcer's name.

The original message was not vetted, but I did not realize it. I was in offside with my left foot only(g).

The message anyhow is Use Blue Board

[Urejeno ob 2007-12-22 05:27]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 07:54
English to Norwegian
+ ...
agree Dec 22, 2007

Blue Board is great.
First thing I do, whenever I am approaced by a new client, is to look for them in the Blue Board. If they have a lot of negative comments, especially about payment, I turn them down.
THis has worked fine for me all year - none of my clients have turned out to be non-payers. Some of them are late - but I have always got my money in the end. And I have not sent out a single reminder yet.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:54
Member (2003)
German to English
You need to rethink your business plan Dec 22, 2007

Yes, a good session of hitting your head against the wall and telling yourself to be more careful from now on seems well in order.

There are two components to your question. First: how to deal with the direct issue of dunning a client who lives far away and for whom you have only very limited information. On this point I have little help, other than perhaps seek a collection agency in Israel, not the US, who will apply the screws for contracts less than USD 500.

The larger issue to my mind: why in the world are you working for a client who lives far away and for whom you have only very limited information? The Blue Board is a helpful tool here--I use it religiously when evaluating new clients, and is worth the price of admission to this website--but it is only one tool. Common sense should play a bigger part here.

Specifically, you need to stop thinking of yourself solely as a linguist and remember that you are running a small business. And a major component in business is risk assessment. In this case at least you have done a poor job of risk assessment. You have a potential client living in a far away country, for whom you have no hard information and for whom you haven't checked the blue board (or else you'd have more contact data). Those are three major strikes. (Far away is not inherently bad, except that it makes collection very difficult.)

You haven't indicated why you decided to take this job--maybe things are slow, maybe you're just getting established, maybe you're someone who can't say no--but if this is the standard way you go about business, you'll have quite a few more of this unpleasant situations to look forward to. I fall on the other end of the spectrum--with 3 kids to feed solely from my income as a translator, I am quite risk averse and conservative with new clients. If I can't get hard information about a given client or agency, preferably including blue board information and definitely not with a free email address (e.g. yahoo, gmail, hotmail) then I ask for pre-payment or take a pass. Your family situation may well be different from mine, but the same principle applies: assess your risk tolerance and act accordingly.

Good luck!

Steven


Direct link Reply with quote
 

overseas
Local time: 01:54
English to Korean
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Dec 22, 2007

Thanks, folks, I certainly got some insights from your comments.
In particular, Steven's comments provided me with an opportunity to have a hard look on my "business practice," namely, risk assessment.
Proz.com forum is such a helpful tool, and I have learned a lot in one day!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

[Edited at 2007-12-22 13:04]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Lawyers are more useful than collection agencies Dec 22, 2007

If you only have the client's email address, you can forget it.

But if you know the true identity of a debtor,
you can threaten him to pass the case to a local lawyer,
who has the same means available as any collection agency.

The difference is that a lawyer first wants his fees from you
and later collects them from your debtor,
while a collection agency will take 30% from you instead
of from your debtor, in case they will succeed.

So you can barely threaten with the costs of a collection agency,
but your lawyer will be very supportive to threaten with his fees,
even if your originally invoiced amount is to small too be impressive.

It worked quite well for me in the one case I needed it.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gina Ferlisi
Local time: 07:54
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
place a ripoff report..it may work Dec 26, 2007

I threated to put a ripoff report on internet, http://www.ripoffreport.com
assure to them that you will file a Ripoff Report (possibly after monitoring complaint escalation in steps) and then file a Ripoff Report, then fax them a copy, offering them a chance to rectify the unacceptable situation that they have produced. Explain that then, and only then, you will UPDATE your Ripoff Report in a positive way, if deserved. Sometimes it works..


Direct link Reply with quote
 
juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:54
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
My doubts Dec 27, 2007

Vito Smolej wrote:
You should have (had) a look at the BlueBoard. One look at BlueBoard alone can pay the cost of a full membership. In any case, BlueBoard is a great help in such cases - actually before such cases as yours.


Do you seriously believe that these ripoff merchants use their own name - or the same name even when pretending to be an agency - for all their scams? In other words, Joe Blogs may have an entry on the Blue Board, but Jane Blame, who may contact you tomorrow will not.

I am not advocating to ignore the Blue Board, but when it comes to the real fraudsters, it's usefulness is limited. Bevare and take care, particularly when the name doesn't turn up on the Blue Board at all!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nitin Goyal  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 12:24
Member (2007)
Panjabi to English
+ ...
Any debt recovery agency in CANADA? Jan 2, 2008

Any debt recovery agency in CANADA?

I also have a bad outsourcer located in Canada. He has not paid me for two consecutive jobs.

The most frustrating part is that he not responding to my mails at all. I have already made an entry in the blueboard, but no response still.

Can somebody suggest me, what else can I do in this matter?

Some legal/ debt recovery agency in CANADA?

Nitin


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How do you collect an outstanding payment?

Advanced search


Translation news





Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs