Blue board outsourcer not paying. What to do?
Thread poster: Carla Avenia Koency

Carla Avenia Koency  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 17, 2010

I've only been an "official" Proz member for a few months, so please forgive me if my question was asked before or if I'm not posting it "in the right place", although I do hope I am.

In any case, I worked for several Blue Board outsourcers so far, and I have not had any problems at all, except with this one outsourcer who has -for the last week- been ignoring my emails.

I completed the job in July and the payment, according to their terms, was due in September. When I did not receive it, I emailed them and they replied saying they had some delay in their clients' payments, so I should be getting my payment at the end of September. I didn't. I gave them a week (first week of October) to see if it came in. It didn't. So I emailed them twice. In the first email, I explained the inconvenience of the situation, and in the second, I proposed to set up a payment plan if they could not afford to pay me in full. Both emails remain ignored.

What do I do? Can anybody give me any advice?


 

Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:12
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Blue Board entry Oct 17, 2010

This may seem obvious, but have you already made a Blue Board entry for this company?
Of course, this still doesn't solve your problem but a) it prevents others from getting trapped and b) as far as I know, the company is informed about new BB entries, so in some cases this might be an incentive for them to speed up payment...


 

Carla Avenia Koency  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well... Oct 17, 2010

I did think about it, but since this is my first "encounter" with a non-paying outsourcer, I felt a bit bad about it. But the idea of others having similar problems with this outsourcer also makes me feel bad for them, so, I will.

I also contacted other translators that have worked with them to be able to conclude if this was a rare occurrence or more of a pattern. I'm still waiting for their answers (I JUST messaged them

Hopefully this will motivate them to pay. Is there anything else I could or should do?


 

Abdurrahman Asal  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 14:12
English to Arabic
+ ...
A debt collection agency Oct 17, 2010

Simone Linke wrote:

This may seem obvious, but have you already made a Blue Board entry for this company?
Of course, this still doesn't solve your problem but a) it prevents others from getting trapped and b) as far as I know, the company is informed about new BB entries, so in some cases this might be an incentive for them to speed up payment...



I do agree with what Simone said, Of course the first thing you should do is to make a negative Blue Board entry for this company. You may also send a complaint to Proz staff about this outsourcer as they can ban him from posting any more jobs if this wasn't first time.

As regards collecting the value of your invoice, you can ask for the services of a debt collection agency to have your invoice settled and get your money collected.


Wish you good luck!


Regards,

[Edited at 2010-10-17 20:32 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Are they still solvent? Oct 17, 2010

Hello Carla,

The most important thing to do in this situation is to find out if the company is still solvent. You don't say where the agency is based. I know that here in France you can find out quite easily (and even get the basics for free) if the company is experiencing real financial difficulties.

If they have called in the receiver, you need to write to them (the lawyer, rather than the company) to make sure your invoice is included in the payout. Unfortunately, people like us figure very low in the list of vultures and you may receive absolutely nothing for your work. There's no real need to alert the rest of us as the receiver will ensure that all invoices from now on are honoured.

If there's no evidence of insolvency, and particularly if the company is still commissioning work, then you should certainly alert the rest of us. Then proceed with the necessary steps to recover the money. There are many possibilities, depending on the situation.

Remember that they may well have cash-flow problems and these may have resulted in blocked emails, blocked calls, etc, etc. So don't assume that because you have emailed them that they have received the email. You must try every method available to you i.e. telephone, email, personal visit, letter, registered letter to the HQ address.

This last one is obligatory in France prior to taking court action - I suspect that is true of Europe as a whole. If you are both in the same country, you probably have a small claims court and there is a Europe-wide SCC nowadays, too. I found that the French SCC was easy (wow!icon_smile.gif) and cheap - in fact free as all costs were paid by my client! Alternatively, you can call in a debt collection company.

The worst thing to do is to just wait, and wait, and wait. Either write it off as a bad debt and move on (whilst learning from the experience) or chase the debt like a terrier and refuse to quit until you have satisfaction, or at least the knowledge that payment is impossible.

Good luck and keep us informed.

Sheila


 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:12
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Telephone Oct 18, 2010

Hola Carla.

Freelancing 101: Whenever you have a misunderstanding or problem by email, pick up the phone and call them.

¡Suerte!

Edward


 

Gustavo Martínez
Australia
Local time: 22:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
No excuse... Oct 18, 2010

I agree with Edward. Give them a call.

Going back to your original post, you say that they told you that their client had not paid them. This is not an acceptable excuse. I'm willing to bet they don't go to the supermarket, walk out with their groceries and tell the cashier that they'll pay up when their client pays them... Same applies to freelance service providers.

In future, you may want to apply a part-payment upfront policy to new clients. I know it's hard to apply because we're always scared of losing the customer, but think about the following points:

1) a part payment (50% or 60% upfron, the rest according to whatever agreement you reach) shows good will. Refusal shows the opposite. Once your first job for that new customer is settled, you may want to negotiate new conditions.

2) Even if they refuse to work with you because you demand (partial) upfront payment, how would you feel if you worked for free for a week and, because of your commitment to them, had to reject other jobs, possibly from known paying clients?

I also believe you should report this on the BlueBoard and on any translation mailing lists you participate in.

Good luck.


 

Carla Avenia Koency  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Updates Oct 19, 2010

Well, what I did was A) leave a negative BlueBoard entry B) contact other translators that worked with this company before and ask them about how it was for them and C) email the company again with a firm threat: if I don't receive my payment by Monday at 5 pm, I will go to the local authorities that handle these kinds of cases, to report them.

What I did find out from action B) is that paying their translators very late is a common occurence. They normally do pay, but about 6 to 8 months late. The translators I contacted also reccomended to not work with this outsourcer again. Wish I had known this earlier.

About action C)... well, I got a VERY quick reply (after 2 weeks of being ignored) saying that they were on vacation and that they would talk to me on Friday when they got back. I don't know what to make out of this... ?

In any case, thanks for all the advice and help. I've definetely learned my lesson and from now on I'm issuing PO's, asking for partial payment upfront and charging interest rate for late payments to all non-regular clients.


 

Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:12
German to Dutch
+ ...
non-payment report Oct 19, 2010

I had a similar issue. After filling out a blueboard comment and a non-payment report(*), and informing my client that I am initiating debt collection procedures, I suddenly got paid.

(*)When you complete a non-payment report, the client cannot create new job ads on Proz.com until you withdraw the non-payment report (i.e. when the matter is resolved you report to Proz.com to cancel the non-payment report).

Good luck.


 

Dijana Evans
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
Member (2009)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Actions against bad payers Oct 20, 2010

Unfortunately, many of these type of companies only understand threats of action and the resulting potential impact on their business, which isn't in the vocabulary of most translation intellectuals who go about their work properly and therefore expect to be treated professionally; the same way they would treat others.

I had a similar situation recently with a company I had worked with before. They had traditionally paid me for my work, albeit a little on the late side. However, the first 'big' job that came up, and suddenly they had 'problems' with their paypal, and 'problems' with their wire transfer. I had a queue of translators as long as my arm who had helped me on the project, and they all needed paying too. As soon as I started putting negative feedback on Proz and all the other major translation forum websites, they gradually started to be more cooperative and the PayPal payment finally came through.

I also said I would contact their end client directly (as they had mistakenly revealed the name to me) to warn them that they were conducting their business fraudulently. I don't like making that sort of threat, as I highly value the confidentiality of my clients, however - a client is someone who pays you for something, so if they don't pay they shouldn't expect you to hold to your side of the agreement when they won't hold to theirs. Fortunately it never came to that.

I have noticed that the more emails get exchanged in these cases, the more belligerent and accusative this sort of outsourcer becomes, almost trying to make you feel that it is your fault that the money has not been received! Once stung by this sort of company, never go back to them, and warn as many people as possible. It's sad that there are companies out there profiting by abusing the system.

It's a real shame that we have to deal with these sorts of people. Please update this forum thread when you have been paid to let us all know that it's resolved.

Your colleague,


Lloyd Evans


 

Carla Avenia Koency  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Still waiting... Oct 25, 2010

Well, today I filed a "Non-Payment" report for this outsourcer. I hope this will bring some sort of reaction from their part, since they were supposed to get back to me last Friday to talk about the situation and they never did.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just bargaining for time... don't let them fool you! Oct 25, 2010

Carla Avenia Koency wrote:
About action C)... well, I got a VERY quick reply (after 2 weeks of being ignored) saying that they were on vacation and that they would talk to me on Friday when they got back. I don't know what to make out of this... ?

Nothing. I know that kind of statement. They are just bargaining for time. If you mean it, do file a Small Claims procedure NOW. You can always take it back of they pay you quickly (and only if they pay you; don't be fooled by a promise to pay), but at least time will play in your favour since courts just take long for everything.


 

rostoll
Spain
Local time: 14:12
English to Catalan
+ ...
The same with the same outsorcer Oct 26, 2010

I'm in the same situation as Carla.
I did more than 10 jobs for this outsorcer in 2 months, the first one in May. When I sent her the invoices, she never confirmed the emails. At the beginning, I thought she was very busy to answer me about this "silly" thing. I waited until the end of August thinking that maybe she was on holiday, and payment should be done at the end of this month, but... nothing.
I started sending her emails, making phone calls and calling her through Skype but she absolutely ignored me.
I posted a negative comment on the Blue Board, and then, she came alive, telling me "Marta, I told you that you would be paid in September, didn\'t I? What is this, then?"
I had never received any email according the payment, but with this reply to me, she becomes a "reliable" outsourcer and I don't have the right to reply this was false.icon_frown.gif

Some days ago, I sent her a message threatening her to contact the final client (no confidential agreement was signed) and she told me that she had been on holidays and couldn't reply to my emails. In a week I should have been paid.
Some days later, after claiming again for the payment, I received another email, telling me that the client had gone bankrupt!
She told me that, after beeing more than 15 days abroad on holidays!!! This is incredible.
From more than 780 € in debt I have only received 72€.
After seeing your replies, I think that my next step will be to contact the final client to explain the practices of this outsourcer. I will not get my money back, but for sure, she will not get more jobs from this clients.

And then, she writes in forums boasting about the creation of a Spanish professional association of translators to avoid pey practices...

Seeing is believing!
Sorry for beeing so exhaustive but this is my last option to let everybody know how this is this outsourcer and her excuses for not paying.

icon_frown.gif(


 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
It makes no difference to debt Oct 26, 2010

Marta Giralt wrote:

I'm in the same situation as Carla.


icon_frown.gif(


Your client's client may have gone bankrupt - but this has nothing to do with you. Your client still owes you the money - regardless of whether her client pays, doesn't pay, goes bankrupt, goes on holiday for six months, or is elected Pope. This is the way the capitalist world works.



[Edited at 2010-10-26 11:18 GMT]


 

amanda solymosi  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 14:12
Hungarian to English
+ ...
On holiday but can pick up the phone......... Oct 26, 2010

Hmmm........but can't deal with the problem until Friday, however they are available 'when on holiday' to speak. Don't delay with firm action.
Also a job completed in July with payment promised in September, what kind of payment arrangement is that? I wouldn't advise working for anyone who cannot pay within the month (very rarely should you have to wait even 2 months).
Also: If they can't afford to pay their 'staff', how can they afford to be on holiday, or even to take a break, shouldn't they be trying to earn some money?
Amanda Solymosi

[Edited at 2010-10-26 11:04 GMT]


 


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