Payment blocked
Thread poster: Bilore

Bilore  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:46
English to French
+ ...
Jun 19, 2009

One of my "clients" (a one person agency) hasn't paid the work I did for him in february (over €4000!).

I thought he had gone bankrupt and had disapeared with the money but the story is different.

The man has gone bankrupt, this is a fact.

BUT he sent my translation work to the end client and never asked any payment for it (which would be seized by the French tax authorities anyway).

After contacting him and the end client, he said he would write a letter to the end client so I can get paid instead of him.

The end client (big company) agrees but needs something official and now the man has disappeared! The end client is now a direct client of mine since he is in need of translation services but how can I be paid for the first job I had done through this fraudulent agency/person?

If I go to court, they just won't find the man anymore. I sent someone to his flat to have the letter signed, he was there but didn't open his door. I cannot understand why since giving me an official letter would cancel his debt.

Does someone have an idea?

Thanks


 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Get face to face Jun 19, 2009

I am no lawyer - but your case seems straightforward.

If your former agency client did not invoice the end-client for the translation, then the client should be able to issue you with an order and pay you for the work already performed and delivered. No need to get a blessing from the ex-agency.

Somebody in the company (accounts department?) is probably dragging their heels because this all sounds a bit irregular (which it is).

Your best chance of resolving this is to get around the table with your client contact and his or her boss. If such a meeting ends amicably with a handshake and promise to sort things out - then the client will probably pay immediately. It would also be a good opportunity to establish a better relationship with the client.

So ... get face-to-face and use a little charm!


PS: I am assuming that all contact so far has been electronic - as is too often the case with translators and their clients.


 

Bilore  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:46
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your input John Jun 19, 2009

Most discussion with the end-client is done over phone since we both live in France but I' in the south and the company is in Paris.

I have discussed with the man in charge of the translation works and he said that the problem was with the accounting department. At that time, we were still expecting for the "agency" to find a solution (i.e. send a letter explaining things).

Now I can understand the accounting department is reluctant to pay me directly since they have a pending contract with the agency.

I'll try to talk directly to the accountant, maybe he prefers waiting until the agency is officially declared bankrupt.

I also think a simple solution is possible; the end client doesn't mind paying me or someone else but they want the matter to be legal.


 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Go as soon as you can Jun 19, 2009

I wouldn't leave this for too long.

Go see them, reach an agreement, and write an email of confirmation the next day.

For €4000 it's worth the drive!


 

Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
It's not as simple as it seems Jun 19, 2009

Bilore wrote:

If I go to court, they just won't find the man anymore. I sent someone to his flat to have the letter signed, he was there but didn't open his door. I cannot understand why since giving me an official letter would cancel his debt.

Thanks


If he has been officially declared bankrupt, he is not in any legal position to waive amounts owing to him by the end-client (regardless of whether he has invoiced them or not) or to 'cancel debt', as you put it.

If he were to enter into such an arrangement with the end-client, he would effectively be favouring you over his other creditors (known as undue preference in insolvency law). The receiver (bankruptcy trustee) of his estate could have the whole thing set aside quite easily.

It's not a question of getting or needing his blessing. The law is clear. If he has been declared bankrupt, you have to file a claim and stand in line like everyone else and get whatever dividend is due to you at the end (as an unsecured creditor, this will quite often be little or nothing).

If the end-client goes ahead and pays you under those circumstances, the receiver can later recover that payment from you (for fair distribution among everyone) or even insist that the end client still pays him.

Now you understand why everyone is jittery.

I'm over-simplifying the process, and although I don't know the specifics in French law, I practised as an insolvency practitioner for a long time -- the first step is to confirm he has actually been declared bankrupt and to get in touch with the receiver handling his affairs. I can't provide you with any legal advice, as it's against site rules, but I don't want you rushing all the way to Paris before you've established your debtor's exact legal status.

Best of luck
Debs


 

Ines Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:46
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
I am not a specialist in legal matters Jun 19, 2009

but as far as I know (and it has been discussed in various forums here) the end client actually does not have the right to use your translation, if you have not been paid since the copyrights still belong to you. You only sign them over once you get paid for the work done. Mind you, it probably complicates the matters even more.

Good luck,
Ines


 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Get personal Jun 19, 2009

I am sure that Debs' observations are perfectly valid - but if was my money and my relationship on the line then I would meet the client and try to reach an agreement. In my experience, you can gain more moral leverage face to face than over the phone. Standing patiently in line is unlikely to be profitable. Learning how some of the legal procedures operate won't do any harm either.

 

Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
By all means ... Jun 19, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:

... if was my money and my relationship on the line then I would meet the client and try to reach an agreement.


... in fact so would I, and successfully if it got to that point -- but I'd certainly do my homework first and make sure my debtor hadn't already been declared bankrupt. It doesn't help to enter into an agreement only to see it set aside a few months down the line if he has. Some may say take your chances now -- a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, as they say -- but the purpose of my post is simply to point out the legal consequences of doing so.

If he has been declared bankrupt, standing patiently in line will almost certainly not prove profitable but -- like it or not -- that's the law.


 

Bilore  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:46
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Jun 20, 2009

From the only experience I had, filing a claim would be of no use. I'll just receive a nice letter stating I can't get my money back because there isn't any money left.

In my last experience of the kind, the liquidator sold the equipement of the firm that was declared bankrupt to its own owner for a symbolic amount. This was then sold on e-bay for his own profit. I got to know that months later so I'm not very confident in justice.

My only chance is trying to find an arrangement with the end client because, as Burrell said, he has no right on my translation.

I'm going to check about the official bankrupcy first.


 


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


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

Payment blocked

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



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