The agency from which I was expecting payment absolutely disappeared. What to do…
Thread poster: AA_Rajabov
AA_Rajabov
Uzbekistan
Local time: 09:10
Member (2010)
English to Uzbek
+ ...
Nov 11, 2008

Dear Colleagues,

Currently I have a money related problem with a US-based agency and to determine what the next step is for me to settle this, I found asking advices from collogues here might work.

I completed a 20 000-word translation on July 15, 2008 and the payment was due by 15th of Sept. 2008. However, nearing the due day, the outsourcer contacted me and informed me that the DTP company that took responsibility of DTP stage of the project messed up all the work so the end client sent the work back to them.

She told the payment, therefore, would be delayed,. In addition, the outsourcer said that she was not sure when the payment would be going to be made out.

In that context, the outsourcer went silent for a couple of months now; no reply to my emails.
A few days back I called her, but a woman replied me saying that it was a wrong call.

Based on my research on the agency, it seems that the agency is run by a sole entrepreneur. Now the web site and email address of the agency is not working. When I try to open the web site, I am seeing the information that the domain name of the agency is on sale. All of my emails since Sept 16 have failed to be delivered to the outsourcer’s email.

Anyway, the outsourcer has been a good payer until now. Now I do not know what to do

I would appreciate your advices/opinions about how to deal with the situation.

Thanks!


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Zamira*****  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:10
Member (2006)
English to Uzbek
+ ...
BB Nov 11, 2008

Have you checked their Blueboard page?

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AA_Rajabov
Uzbekistan
Local time: 09:10
Member (2010)
English to Uzbek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
the BB is fine Nov 11, 2008

The BB is 5 with 1 positive entry.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Yes Nov 11, 2008

Zamira wrote:

Have you checked their Blueboard page?


Yes, if they have a Blue Board page, the first thing you should do is post a generic negative comment there and give the agency a vote of 1. Your comment should be non-specific: something along the line of "I am currently experiencing problems with this outsourcer" and inviting others to contact you by email if they want more information.

In my opinion this usually has a salutory effect on outsourcers who don't play fair and square.

You have also done the right thing by starting this thread.

You can be fairly certain that the outsourcer in question is reading it, and is therefore aware that we are discussing their unacceptable behaviour.

Some of us may already be emailing you privately, to develop the discussion between ourselves, and openly mention the name of the agency.

Above all make clear your intention to pursue this in every way possible, until it is resolved.

So you've made a good start. Now settle in and be prepared to initiate a process that will lead to you getting paid.



[Edited at 2008-11-11 17:55]


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AA_Rajabov
Uzbekistan
Local time: 09:10
Member (2010)
English to Uzbek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The problem is to clearify if the agency still exists or not Nov 11, 2008

Thanks, Zamira. They have a very good reputation, in terms of BB entries.

Thanks, Tom. As you said, negative BB entries, forum threads or private emails among translators might work. But the question is that I am not sure if the outsourcer is running the business still or already closed it. If she is not doing business, then it is going to be very hard or maybe impossible to get paid.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
No, you will not get paid if the outsourcer has gone out of business Nov 11, 2008

Unfortunately, all the signs also seem to be there that the outsourcer has gone out of business. Your description of the scenario makes that quite clear, especially if you even had a strange woman answering the telephone, who had been allocated an old number that was no longer in use by the previous company with that number.

Of course, a company that has gone out of business has no need to be concerned about Blue Board entries.

You have to be careful about who you are working for at the moment. In the past few months, I believe, a number of agencies have become poorer than they used to be. Some will survive and others will not.

I sincerely hope you are wrong about the company having gone out of business.

Well, what you can do: you can extend your investigations, to find out for sure the status of the company. If it is in liquidation, I expect you need to find out who the receivers are and notify them of your claim against the company, to be added to the list of claims of creditors. If the company is, however, struggling, but still in existence, then you need to go through the legal procedures of debt collection which exist for your country, while there is still time.

Astrid


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:11
German to English
+ ...
One BB entry is not reliable Nov 12, 2008

That is really a shame, AA!

1. Just a word of caution: A single entry COULD have been posted by a friend or associate, so that is not a reliable benchmark. This is not to say that is always the case, just a possibility. Personally, I only accept jobs from a clearly well-established entity with a rating no lower than 4.5 or so and a good number of ratings.

2. Being from the US, I follow politics and economics very closely there, and the economic situation is really, really bad at the moment. President-elect Obama will be inheriting an economic crisis that has not been seen since the 1930's, when the US was suffering from the Great Depression. Banks, auto manufacturers, and many more businesses are failing, Americans are losing their jobs, their homes, everything. So I would recommend being extremely careful when accepting a job from the US in general for the time being. It could very well be your client went bankrupt, as it is very common now and can happen very suddenly.

I know this doesn't help you, and I'm afraid I can't give you any comforting reassurances, but it could prevent other translators from having the same bad experience in the future.

Naturally, I hope this dire situation can be turned around quickly, but I'm not optimistic.

Good luck.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:11
German to English
+ ...
whois lookup, zabasearch, BBB? Nov 12, 2008

I would be trying to collect as much information about this person/company as quickly as possible. A few ideas:

- whoislookup: You can often find alternative email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, etc. with a whoislookup on the domain name. I like betterwhois.com. If the domain is already for sale, the info on the previous owner may no longer be available, but sometimes there is a transition period of 1-2 months, so if you hurry you might get lucky. It is possible to suppress that information when registering a domain, so there may not be anything available. I believe there are some sites that offer historical information (whowas) but it looks like you have to pay for this. I would check this immediately and keep a record of what you find.

- zabasearch.com: You said this person is a sole proprietor? I'd run a search at zabasearch.com on their personal and business names. This won't necessarily help if they are simply ignoring you but it might give you a new phone number to try or an address where you can serve papers for small claims court. (I don't know very much about small claims court, except that it is a possibility; maybe other colleagues can elaborate.)

- Better Business Bureau: The BBB seems to be mostly for companies (Inc., LLC) but I do see some sole proprietors listed there. You might search for the name in their database. You could also "threaten" to file a complaint there in addition to the Blue Board, but I'm not 100% sure if the BBB accepts such complaints in this context. Do other colleagues have experience with this?

- Other: In Germany there is a database where one can check on personal and company bankruptcies throughout the country (www.genios.de, click on Bundesanzeiger). I wonder if there is something similar in the US?


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