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How to deal with an old customer who cannot pay
Thread poster: ksbtranslation

ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 15:07
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Dec 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

In the past few months our Portuguese translator was assigned to rush a localization job ordered by an Israeli translation agency. The owner of this agency is a very old Jewish translator. He was very good to us even though our country has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Still We trusted him with all our heart.

However, this friendship is too good to be true. Although we had completed all rush jobs before the due time, he delayed our payment for weeks. He said he had to create an account in Moneybookers and was having a problem with his credit card issuer. At that time, I could understand this situation as it was impossible for him to use bank transfer or Paypal. FYI, Israel has no diplomatic relation with Indonesia and we cannot use our Paypal account to receive the payment. Upon sending him several reminders he finally sent the payment by Western Union.

A few days later, he offerred us to continue the previous localization job. In fact I was reluctant to accept this offer by reason of the previous experience. However, I felt pity on him and tried to be professional. I accepted his offer on condition that he would pay in due time by Moneybookers. He agreed with us.

Well, it is just like a De Ja Vu. It has been more than 2 months from the due date he failed to send the payment. Here is the reason: "We are in a dire financial situation. I believe that we shall be able to revive, but it may take some weeks. I confirm my debt to you and undertake to discharge it as soon as is financially possible."

If he was in a dire financial situation, how dare he assigned this job to us? I tried to call him but it never got through. It was strange that he always replied our mails after he received our missed calls. He promised to send the payment by MoneyBookers like we asked or through a bank transfer from the United States. He said he would have someone else transfer it to us on his behalf from a different Moneybookers account. But it never happens until now.

So What should we do? Should we make a negative comment on his Blueboard or wait until he pays? As for the 1st option, I have no heart to do it. He is too old and I am worried that he will not pay us at all. As for the 2nd option, we have been too long to wait for his payment.

This agency has a clear address and telephone no. but their Blueboard is still blank.

Thanks in advance.


Best regards,
Iwan
Project Manager


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:07
English to German
+ ...
You did pay your translator, right? On time, right? Dec 28, 2007

That's the main thing.

Otherwise your statement would apply to yourself: "how dare he assigned this job to us?"

It's the business risk that you take when you outsource / forward jobs.

One client of mine once got stiffed on the payment for an entire website (very ouch, huge amount). I had hired a web developer because this stuff was beyond tricky. I had paid this person immediately after delivery. My client paid me on due date. My client paid me out of pocket even if they didn't receive a cent themselves. Great people!

You do have a problem here, I just hope you didn't "propagate" this issue to your Portuguese translator who had to do a rush job...


Greetings!

Wonderful holidays to you!

Nicole


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 15:07
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The translator was paid Dec 28, 2007

Nicole Schnell wrote:

That's the main thing.

Otherwise your statement would apply to yourself: "how dare he assigned this job to us?"

It's the business risk that you take when you outsource / forward jobs.

One client of mine once got stiffed on the payment for an entire website (very ouch, huge amount). I had hired a web developer because this stuff was beyond tricky. I had paid this person immediately after delivery. My client paid me on due date. My client paid me out of pocket even if they didn't receive a cent themselves. Great people!

You do have a problem here, I just hope you didn't "propagate" this issue to your Portuguese translator who had to do a rush job...


Greetings!

Wonderful holidays to you!

Nicole



Yes we paid him.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:07
English to German
+ ...
That's great! Dec 28, 2007

I hope the problem with your client will work out fine. I cross my fingers and I wish you the best of luck!

N.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 15:07
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Blueboard is the answer Dec 28, 2007

Nicole Schnell wrote:

I hope the problem with your client will work out fine. I cross my fingers and I wish you the best of luck!

N.


I hope so. Well I guess I have no choice. I should write a bad comment on his blueboard although he is an old man. Isn't that right, Nicole?

Cheers.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:07
English to German
+ ...
Post on the Blue Board, together with a non-payment complaint Dec 28, 2007

Hi Iwan,

I hope so. Well I guess I have no choice. I should write a bad comment on his blueboard although he is an old man.

Age has nothing to do with payment obligations - yes please, do post on the Blue Board: if you're posting an entry with a level of 1 or 2, the system will prompt you whether you wish to submit a non-payment complaint. Please do so - this will save Jobs/BB moderators a bit of work.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:07
Dutch to English
+ ...
Beggar for punishment? Dec 28, 2007

ksbtranslation wrote:

However, I felt pity on him and tried to be professional.


In law we'd call this a "contradictio in terminis".

Age, nationality, religious beliefs, diplomatic relations or lack of them, pity, etc - none of this has any bearing on the issue. Act as you would with any defaulter, starting with what Ralf suggests.

Best of luck
D



[Edited at 2007-12-28 10:43]


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 15:07
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This is our culture Dec 28, 2007

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

ksbtranslation wrote:

However, I felt pity on him and tried to be professional.


In law we'd call this a "contradictio in terminis".

Age, nationality, religious beliefs, diplomatic relations or lack of them, pity, etc - none of this has any bearing on the issue. Act as you would with any defaulter, starting with what Ralf suggests.

Best of luck
D



[Edited at 2007-12-28 10:43]


Our culture makes me act like this. We pay respect to the elderly people. It has nothing to do with anything you call in law. Otherwise I should have submitted a non-payment complaint and should not have posted this topic in this forum.

Thanks.

[Edited at 2007-12-28 11:18]

[Edited at 2007-12-28 11:21]

[Edited at 2007-12-28 11:23]


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Silvestro De Falco  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:07
Member (2006)
Italian to English
+ ...
Default is a big word Dec 28, 2007

The way I see it is that a two-month payment delay does not a default make.
Sometimes business relationships are like a marriage. You go through thick and thin together and it's good to exercise judgment by keeping cool-headed.
Just wait and see for a while; who knows, maybe he will be back on his feet and continue to give you business.
Silvestro


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:07
English to Norwegian
Please, make a comment on Blueboard. Dec 28, 2007

If everybody were prompt to make entries in BlueBoard (and the half a dozen other similar places), people and companies would start to pay us translators on time. As it is, it is far too much late payers out there – and too often they get away with it.

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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 15:07
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You are right Dec 28, 2007

Silvestro De Falco wrote:

The way I see it is that a two-month payment delay does not a default make.
Sometimes business relationships are like a marriage. You go through thick and thin together and it's good to exercise judgment by keeping cool-headed.
Just wait and see for a while; who knows, maybe he will be back on his feet and continue to give you business.
Silvestro



Yes you are right. I hope he could solve his problems.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:07
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
write a kind of neutral comment on the BB Dec 28, 2007

Together with a 2 or 3 mark, something like "paiements are becoming late in the last few months"
It is important to warn other translators, you don't need to be rude or agressive towards the outsourcer.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:07
English to Dutch
+ ...
Honour your culture and the past Dec 28, 2007

Silvestro De Falco wrote:

The way I see it is that a two-month payment delay does not a default make.
Sometimes business relationships are like a marriage. You go through thick and thin together and it's good to exercise judgment by keeping cool-headed.
Just wait and see for a while; who knows, maybe he will be back on his feet and continue to give you business.
Silvestro



Since you've had no reason not to trust him before, give him a chance. You had a good relationship with someone you could trust; that should give him some credit.
Ask him to keep you informed about when and how he is going to pay you; if it's a big sum, you could propose an arrangement for him to pay you in monthly terms or something like that.
Tell him you do this out of respect for him. Also tell him you will not take on any more work from him until this has been sorted out.
If his Blue Board is totally blank at this time, I wouldn't post just yet. A blank record does not make a terribly good impression as is. If payment has not been (partially) received in another two or three months, I'd make an entry, not before.

I think you need to act in accordance with your culture. Sometimes to act who you are and honor your culture - in this case, show respect to an elderly person, even if it's not perceived as businesslike or wise by others - is the best thing to do. You need to live with your own conscience. Don't do anything you'll regret for a long time after.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:07
Dutch to English
+ ...
Very laudable Dec 28, 2007

ksbtranslation wrote:

Our culture makes me act like this. We pay respect to the elderly people. It has nothing to do with anything you call in law.


It's very laudable that your culture pays respect to the elderly. Actually many others do too, it's not that unique.

However, the age of your debtor remains irrelevant. After all, you're in business not a charity organisation. He is a debtor, whether 21, 81, black, white, heterosexual, homosexual, Jewish or Hare Krisna and irrespective of whether his head of state is on speaking terms with yours.

And so, if your culture respects women are you going to refrain from taking action against female defaulters too? Where do you draw the line if you want to stay afloat?

If you want to do global business, you have to adopt that attitude or you're going to get taken for a ride again and again. Unfortunately not everyone else in the world is as respectful as you.

You are asking for suggestions and are free to take them or leave them. Nobody is knocking your culture here, just trying to give advice from a different perspective.

If acting as suggested really makes you uncomfortable, don't do it. But, be warned, this is probably exactly what your shrewd debtor is banking on.

Best of luck
D



[Edited at 2007-12-28 14:53]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:07
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nothing "big" about it Dec 28, 2007

Silvestro De Falco wrote:

Default is a big word



It simply means a failure to pay a debt when it becomes due.

The elderly gentleman in this story is a defaulter. Period.


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