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Problems getting paid from old client
Thread poster: Esbed Cavazos

Esbed Cavazos  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 1, 2015

Hi everyone,

I'm having serious problems to get paid my last jobs for a client I 've been working with for about four years. He has regularly been a slow payer and usually I'm not in a hurry for getting paid either, so we were fine that way. But now it has been five months since my last payment, he owes me a significant amount of money and he's not answering my mails or calls anymore. I must say I'm talking about a company that has really big clients, so it's not that they don't have the resources to pay me. I'm getting worried about it. Have you been in a situation like this? What would you advise me to do?
Thank you very much in advance!

Esbed


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:03
Russian to English
+ ...
I am not sure what to tell you Apr 1, 2015

I have a problem with one, seemingly reputable, client as well. I do not know what to do in such cases when the client is abroad, in Europe. I could send my cousin there, but I would like to avoid it, or try to file a lawsuit. It is not as much about the money as about the principle. I may even donate the money to some charity, but I will not let it go unresolved.

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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:03
English to French
+ ...
get information Apr 1, 2015

From what you are saying, this appears to be a large company.

Maybe your contact left, was promoted or rotated into another department, is sick (maternity leave?), etc.

Do you have other contacts at that company that you could contact to find out what is going on?

How about calling the general number and asking to speak to your contact.

If all else fails, a letter sent to the CEO, general manager, or whatever manager you can identify, might be necessary.

Have you searched in the business media to see whether the company might have difficulties?


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Esbed Cavazos  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Worst thing is that I do need the money now Apr 1, 2015

Right now I'm near to take "extreme" actions, meaning make public my claim in Twitter and other social networks and tools. Do you think that could work?

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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:03
German to Swedish
+ ...
European payment order Apr 1, 2015

https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_order_for_payment_procedures-41-en.do

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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:03
German to Swedish
+ ...
No Apr 1, 2015

Esbed Cavazos wrote:

Right now I'm near to take "extreme" actions, meaning make public my claim in Twitter and other social networks and tools. Do you think that could work?


Is that what your electricity company would do if you didn't pay your bills?

You should do what your electricity company would do: hire a debt collection agency or get a payment order and go to small claims court.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-04-01 20:08 GMT]


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Esbed Cavazos  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I have asking for information Apr 1, 2015

Thanks for answering!

I do have been seeking for information and reached other people I had worked with in the same company. The payment contact still works there, I've been told "nobody" is above this person in the chain of command, I've been told "Let me see what I can do" and then nothing, I've been told "I'm really sorry you're having this problem", but no real help. I don't know who is the CEO, but I will try to get the name, thank you.

Thanks Joakim, I'll check the link, but I'm in Mexico and my client is a US-LA company, I'm not sure it will be useful for me but I'll see.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:03
German to Swedish
+ ...
Oops Apr 1, 2015

Esbed Cavazos wrote:

Thanks Joakim, I'll check the link, but I'm in Mexico and my client is a US-LA company, I'm not sure it will be useful for me but I'll see.



Oh, sorry - then of course it doesn't apply. But the basic advice does: delinquent debtors should be taken to court (after sending a reminder or two by registered snail mail). Even in the U.S. this procedure might be a lot more straightforward than you think.

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/

[Bearbeitet am 2015-04-01 20:26 GMT]


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:03
English to French
+ ...
Small Claims Court Apr 1, 2015

Joakim is right: you need to go to Small Claims Court. That is what SMC is designed for.

Filing is free, but you (or someone you trust) must attend the hearing.

If the company is found guilty, they run into a lot of banking trouble, such as difficulties in getting loans, among other things.


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:03
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Blue Board Apr 1, 2015

The Blue Board is not just for reporting your experience doing jobs for translation agencies, it's a place where we can share our translation-related work experience for all our clients. If no Blue Board record currently exists for your client, please create one. There may be other folks out there who've also had experience with the same client.

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Esbed Cavazos  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cannot attend to hearings Apr 2, 2015

Unfortunately, I cannot attend to the hearings, in case of sending my case to a small court, as I said before I'm in Mexico.

I'm sorry if I didn't explain all the details from the very beginning. I guess I'm not thinking very well. The sad news is that the payment contact is the CEO and owner of the company. I just knew this. I'm in Mexico and this company has offices in US, Mexico, Colombia and other country, but the Mexico office says they can't do anything (of course!). I started to work with the Colombia office but now they are not in charge of the translations and they can't do anything either (of course again!). I'll check the option of a debt collection agency, I hope that works. If not, I'm still thinking in making public my issue.

Thank you very much for your replies!


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:03
German to Swedish
+ ...
... Apr 2, 2015

Esbed Cavazos wrote:

Unfortunately, I cannot attend to the hearings, in case of sending my case to a small court, as I said before I'm in Mexico.

I'm sorry if I didn't explain all the details from the very beginning. I guess I'm not thinking very well. The sad news is that the payment contact is the CEO and owner of the company. I just knew this. I'm in Mexico and this company has offices in US, Mexico, Colombia and other country, but the Mexico office says they can't do anything (of course!). I started to work with the Colombia office but now they are not in charge of the translations and they can't do anything either (of course again!).



It's immaterial who the payment contact is, what they tell you on the phone, what other offices the company has and what other companies the people behind it run. The company that incurred the debt has a registered address. That's where you send your payment reminders by registered mail, with a brief formal letter stating that you intend to go to small claims court in the company's jurisdiction if they don't pay up.

The mere indication that you understand what your legal options are will likely get you more attention than threatening Blue Board reports.

If the debt isn't big enough to be worth a trip to L.A., this might actually work in your favor - the company may pay up rather than face potentially expensive court action.

(But if you want to appear serious about collecting your debts, don't work for their Colombia branch...)


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Richard Foulkes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:03
German to English
+ ...
Legal action Apr 2, 2015

I would send them a final e-mail saying if payment is not received you will have to take legal action and then be prepared to follow up with a letter from a lawyer since the small claims option is not available to you.

This will obviously damage the relationship but I think you would be better off without clients who pay 5 months late. I would write off the client and seek new ones. I assume you're not still doing work for them while invoices are outstanding. New clients are also an opportunity to revise your rates.

Don't forget, even if the client pays today, you have still been without that money for 5 months during which you could have invested it or paid bills, etc. Instead, you've had the stress of waiting for it and wondering if you're ever going to see it. You've posted here because you're concerned that you won't. But really, this thread is just another form of procrastination when you know you should be taking action. It's unlikely anyone is going to post anything here that you don't already know, so make a decision now and act on it.


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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:03
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Hire a collections agency Apr 2, 2015

It's easy enough to do in the US, and they keep a percentage of what they collect (if they don't collect, you don't pay).

I used a French collections agency to go after a longstanding client that stopped paying (I don't think they thought I would pursue them). The agency kept 20%, but managed to collect almost all of a EUR 3,000 debt. So I was pretty happy with the result. The fact that you are located in Mexico shouldn't be an issue - you provide the agency with your bank details and they deposit what they collect, less their fee.

Additional fees may be involved if the collections company takes them to court (you would need to authorize this). But you'd be surprised at what persistent letters and phone calls from a third party can achieve. And you don't have the stress of dealing with it.

Laura


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:03
Russian to English
+ ...
An attorney can do it for you, perhaps pro bono, Apr 2, 2015

Esbed Cavazos wrote:

Unfortunately, I cannot attend to the hearings, in case of sending my case to a small court, as I said before I'm in Mexico.

I'm sorry if I didn't explain all the details from the very beginning. I guess I'm not thinking very well. The sad news is that the payment contact is the CEO and owner of the company. I just knew this. I'm in Mexico and this company has offices in US, Mexico, Colombia and other country, but the Mexico office says they can't do anything (of course!). I started to work with the Colombia office but now they are not in charge of the translations and they can't do anything either (of course again!). I'll check the option of a debt collection agency, I hope that works. If not, I'm still thinking in making public my issue.

Thank you very much for your replies!


if you find a nice one, maybe with some Mexican-American organization in the US. Otherwise, they charge a lot of money. They have to go to court only once. The Small Claims Court, and you would have to send them all the supporting evidence.

[Edited at 2015-04-02 09:32 GMT]


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