Need advice in a very peculiar situation
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 05:56
Aug 3, 2011

I did a mini job (25 Euro) for a Swiss agency at the beginning of 2010. Since I did not receive payment 2 months after invoicing them, I entered a Blue Board entry for this agency with the following remark:

No payment received for a small job delivered on 04.01.2010.

Though they did pay me later, somewhen in April (have to check my bank account), I decided not to change my entry. I didn’t lie about them because when I made the entry, I hadn’t received any money yet.

And today, out of blue, after more than one year, I received another 25 Euro from them, which I have to transfer back.

In order not to receive further payment from them, must I, unwillingly, delete my entry?

How do you see the whole thing?

Bin


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Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 10:56
English to French
+ ...
Keep the "late interest" and add a note about late payment in proz.com Aug 3, 2011

If I were you, I would keep the extra 25 euros as late interest (and moral damage) and add a note on the proz site saying that you finally received the payment in April. I do not know what the agreed payment delay was, but you might add how long after the agreed delay they paid you. If they do not claim the extra 25 euros back, leave the situation as it is - no?

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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:56
Member
French to English
+ ...
Change comment, not rating Aug 3, 2011

Do you know why they sent the second 25 EUR? Was it related to your BB entry?

In any case, you might consider changing your BB comment to reflect the fact that payment was eventually received, albeit XX months late. I'm fairly certain that you can change the comment without changing your rating, which is what would seem most appropriate to me.

Changing the comment will let colleagues know that you were eventually paid; maintaining your initial rating will show the company (and others) that you are not willing to work with them again.

Best,
Jocelyne


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:56
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Do not worry... Aug 3, 2011

"Change the comment or we will keep sending you money!" does not seem to be the most effective of threats

I suppose they have overlooked that they have paid you already - probably the initial delay was the result of sloppy management as well. I do not think it is related to the comment at all.

Unless they insist, keep the money - if you send it back, the banking/transfer fees will probably exceed the amount anyway.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:56
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Return the money, no change in the BlueBoard Aug 3, 2011

The BlueBoard is not (or should never be used as) a collection method. You posted a truthful comment about the situation with this customer, and that helps other people be careful and make sure they are paid on time. So the BlueBoard comment is perfectly valid. If you want to reflect the current situation of your pending payment, you could delete your comment but keep the low rating.

I would simply politely return the money they incorrectly paid again.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 10:56
German to English
+ ...
Possibly unlawful Aug 3, 2011

If you receive money that you know you are not entitled to, it might constitute theft or a similar offence if you keep it (depends on the laws of your country). Even if it is not theft, it is certainly dishonest. Unless returning the money will actually cost you (and within European countries it shouldn't), you should do so and explain that they have made a mistake.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A suggestion Aug 3, 2011

You could offer them a credit for the overpaid amount if returning the money would cost you bank charges.
They may never take up your offer, by sending you a job worth the equivalent amount, but at least you'd have done the "right thing".
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:56
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Return the money Aug 3, 2011

David Wright wrote:

If you receive money that you know you are not entitled to, it might constitute theft or a similar offence if you keep it (depends on the laws of your country). Even if it is not theft, it is certainly dishonest. Unless returning the money will actually cost you (and within European countries it shouldn't), you should do so and explain that they have made a mistake.


I agree with David. Since you know that you are not entitled to the money, certain legal consequences follow (depending on the applicable law). At the very least it constitutes unjustified enrichment and you should return the money to avoid complications, unless the agency gives you express permission to retain it when you contact them.


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:56
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
... Aug 3, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

You could offer them a credit for the overpaid amount if returning the money would cost you bank charges.
They may never take up your offer, by sending you a job worth the equivalent amount, but at least you'd have done the "right thing".
Best wishes,
Jenny


However it would be quite against "Not willing to work again" wouldn't it?


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
True, but ... Aug 3, 2011

Stanislaw Czech wrote:

Jenny Forbes wrote:

You could offer them a credit for the overpaid amount if returning the money would cost you bank charges.
They may never take up your offer, by sending you a job worth the equivalent amount, but at least you'd have done the "right thing".
Best wishes,
Jenny


However it would be quite against "Not willing to work again" wouldn't it?


That's true, Stanislaw, but (theoretically at least) the OP has already been paid for the possible small future job, so it's not really a question of "working for them again". My suggestion was meant as a way of her avoiding being seen as keeping money to which she is not entitled.
Jenny


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jenny's suggestion seems prudent Aug 3, 2011

We're talking about a fairly trivial amount of money here, and I don't think the agency is going to threaten to take Bin Tiede to court or ruin her professional reputation over the matter.

So send a polite note that they have overpaid you and say that, to avoid unnecessary expense and (further) wasting of your time, you will apply the monies as a credit against any future job that they give you.

And to resolve the apparent contradiction re "willing to work again" that Stanislaw raises, I would point out that Bin Tiede's rating represented her feelings as of whenever she posted it, and can be changed in the future. So if the agency in question does decide to offer her more work, and actually pays her on time, then she may in turn change her rating. If the agency should raise the issue of the low BB rating in the context of possible future work, I think it would be entirely fair to make this point to them directly.

P.S.
You could also offer the option of returning, say, 10 euros of the 25 they sent you, keeping the other 15 for your "time and trouble." Their mistake, in the wake of having jerked you around on payment for a small job is, after all, hardly your problem.

[Edited at 2011-08-03 17:41 GMT]


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Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 10:56
French to English
Honesty is the best all-around policy Aug 3, 2011

Robert Forstag wrote:

So send a polite note that they have overpaid you and say that, to avoid unnecessary expense and (further) wasting of your time, that you will apply the monies as a credit against any future job that they give you.



I agree, Robert. I was also overpaid for a job once - quite a bit more than 25 euros, but nonetheless from an agency that also pays late habitually - and I informed them that I was crediting it to their account for further work. As they had other backed-up invoices to pay, I told them I considered that these were paid for, and that they would have so much left over as credit for future work. They immediately agreed - thanking me for my honesty - and sent more work right away.


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Mary Stefan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:56
Member (2006)
Romanian to English
+ ...
Why not settle it with the accounting department? Aug 3, 2011

As Robert suggested, send them a message. Maybe this happened in the past as well (one never knows!), and the accounting department could suggest a good solution for both parties.
As for the BB, the question comes down to whether or not you would work with them again.

I disagree with offering the option of returing just X amount. This sounds more like coercion: you've paid me twice, tough luck! It might have been just an honest mistake. Unless stated on your invoice, charging interest is not the way to go here

Hope all works out.

Mary

[Edited at 2011-08-03 17:49 GMT]


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:56
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Credit or return Aug 3, 2011

verslanglais wrote:

Robert Forstag wrote:

So send a polite note that they have overpaid you and say that, to avoid unnecessary expense and (further) wasting of your time, that you will apply the monies as a credit against any future job that they give you.



I agree, Robert. I was also overpaid for a job once - quite a bit more than 25 euros, but nonetheless from an agency that also pays late habitually - and I informed them that I was crediting it to their account for further work. As they had other backed-up invoices to pay, I told them I considered that these were paid for, and that they would have so much left over as credit for future work. They immediately agreed - thanking me for my honesty - and sent more work right away.


I agree. And I add: if they rather have their money returned, ask them to pay the bank charges.


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