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Forced Paypal payment
Thread poster: Ivana Bojcic

Ivana Bojcic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Member (2011)
German to Croatian
+ ...
Dec 21, 2015

Hi,

I issued an invoice to a translation company from Spain. It was around 1000 EUR. The invoice clearly said "Bank transfer ONLY", but I received a Paypal payment minus around 40 € for fees.
Now, I just sent them the money back, but Paypal didn't refund the entire amount. 40 € was lost.


I sent an e-mail to the agency stating that I want my payment as the invoice says - via bank transfer.
I didn't receive any answer.

I think this could become an issue and that they won't pay at all, or they won't pay full amount. To think about that really pisses me off.
Any advices for me regarding this situation? Are there some legal actions I can take? How should I act?

Thanks


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:22
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
I do not accept payment via Paypal neither Dec 21, 2015

I understand that you are angry, but quite a lot of agencies prefer to pay via Paypal.

I do not accept payment via Paypal neither but as nobody knows my account, that's no problem.

How did they happen to know yours?


 

Ivana Bojcic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Member (2011)
German to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Because... Dec 21, 2015

once upon a time I used to write Paypal address on my invoices for them. But that was 3 years ago.

 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Pay-not-pal Dec 21, 2015

I always agree with the client up front how to get paid. For modest amounts, I accept PayPal if it's the only reasonable solution.

If you use PayPal's 'refund' feature, you get the fees back. What not to do is to refund by making a new payment in the opposite direction. Now the client would have to refund your refund, and then you'd have to refund the client to cancel out all the fees.

They may be unaware Croatia is an EU Member State, and that they can pay by SEPA transfer at no cost to them.

I'd call them and try to sort it out.


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 02:22
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Re-issue Dec 21, 2015

I would re-issue the invoice and clearly state that you do NOT accept PayPal payments. But I wonder how they could pay by PayPal if you don't have an account?

 

Natalia Postrigan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:22
Member (2016)
English to Russian
+ ...
Nothing wrong with PayPal but... Dec 21, 2015

The issue seems to be not them using PayPal, but them passing the transaction fee to you. In fact, it could have happened just as well if they wired the payment to your bank account. I had sizable transaction fees withheld from the payment made by a Swiss client. If your client doesn't have an account in the same bank as you, someone gotta pay the fees.
A reputable client would discuss it with you upfront.
Try to get in touch with their accounting office directly. Accountants are typically less frivolous about payments, and either way they would have a more formal response for you.


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
No, bank fees could not have happened in euro Dec 21, 2015

Natalia Postrigan wrote:

The issue seems to be not them using PayPal, but them passing the transaction fee to you. In fact, it could have happened just as well if they wired the payment to your bank account. I had sizable transaction fees withheld from the payment made by a Swiss client. If your client doesn't have an account in the same bank as you, someone gotta pay the fees.


As you're in the US, you may not be aware that in the SEPA area (EU + EFTA + Andorra + San Marino), bank transfers in euro are not subject to intermediary fees, and any fees charged cannot be higher than the fees for a similar, domestic transfer. In practice, no or very low fees (€0.20 for example) are charged. As both Croatia and Spain are in the EU and the SEPA area, it's really dumb, and must be based on ignorance, that the agency didn't pay by SEPA transfer, provided that the invoice was denominated in euro.


 

Natalia Postrigan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:22
Member (2016)
English to Russian
+ ...
Thank you Dec 21, 2015

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

As you're in the US, you may not be aware that in the SEPA area (EU + EFTA + Andorra + San Marino), bank transfers in euro are not subject to intermediary fees, and any fees charged cannot be higher than the fees for a similar, domestic transfer. In practice, no or very low fees (€0.20 for example) are charged. As both Croatia and Spain are in the EU and the SEPA area, it's really dumb, and must be based on ignorance, that the agency didn't pay by SEPA transfer, provided that the invoice was denominated in euro.


Didn't know that. Then the agency really hasn't been smart. I hope the OP gets it sorted out to her satisfaction.


 

Marius Reika  Identity Verified
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
... Dec 22, 2015

Tina Vonhof wrote:

I would re-issue the invoice and clearly state that you do NOT accept PayPal payments. But I wonder how they could pay by PayPal if you don't have an account?



The poster doesn't say that she doesn't have a PayPal account. Also, there is no need to clearly state anything about PayPal on an invoice - if the invoice contains only wire transfer details, it is clear that the payment must be done via wire transfer - unless agreed otherwise beforehand.

Also, it is possible to pay via PayPal just knowing an email address, the receiver doesn't even need to have a PP account - he/she can create one after receiving a message about pending funds.

The payer can also send money to a person's contact email even without knowing the particular email of the receiver's PP account - the receiver just needs to add the email to which the money was sent to his/hers PP account and the money deposits automatically after a simple verification.

[Edited at 2015-12-22 02:52 GMT]


 

Ivana Bojcic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Member (2011)
German to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly Dec 22, 2015

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

As both Croatia and Spain are in the EU and the SEPA area, it's really dumb, and must be based on ignorance, that the agency didn't pay by SEPA transfer, provided that the invoice was denominated in euro.


People are generally uninformed and stupid. I'm used to questions like "How's it going in Yugoslavia?".
...
I hope they'll transfer the amount during the day.
First I wait the payment for 2 months, then they do this.

icon_mad.gif


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:22
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Use the BlueBoard Dec 22, 2015

I suggest you make a BlueBoard post about that agency, to warn anyone who's thinking about working with it in future.

 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:22
Member (2014)
English to German
Transaction fees Dec 22, 2015

I am aware that many translators do pay for fees imposed on them by agencies, however, I don't quite see why.

If I receive an invoice from anybody then I assume that they expect to receive the invoice amount into their bank account, not 40 Euros less. They are not interested in how it gets there and how much it costs, they just expect their invoices paid.

So why should translators put up with such nonsense?

I have never tried to charge my bank fees to anyone else either thoughicon_smile.gif


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:22
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Other reasons to avoid PP in some places Dec 22, 2015

Natalia Postrigan wrote:

The issue seems to be not them using PayPal, but them passing the transaction fee to you.


There are plenty of other reasons for people in certain countries to avoid PayPal. In many places, it is still a considered a "non-standard" payment method, and the tax authorities do not have a well-defined method for the treatment of PayPal receipts. As a consequence they issue (either from different offices, or the same office over time) conflicting guidance as to how it should be handled. Even worse, they can insist that it be treated like cash, requiring a business owner who does not normally accept cash receipts to set up an entire additional, much more complex fiscal infrastructure to handle it.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A matter of making an agreement Dec 23, 2015

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

I am aware that many translators do pay for fees imposed on them by agencies, however, I don't quite see why.

If I receive an invoice from anybody then I assume that they expect to receive the invoice amount into their bank account, not 40 Euros less. They are not interested in how it gets there and how much it costs, they just expect their invoices paid.

So why should translators put up with such nonsense?

I have never tried to charge my bank fees to anyone else either thoughicon_smile.gif


I let all my clients and prospects know that I keep translation costs and financial costs separate, since the latter in my country may be quite significant.

PayPal is (still?) owned by - and hence was developed for - eBay, not for translators. In order to protect their business, they have a strict policy that any payee (= seller, in our case, translator) surcharging the payer (= buyer, in our case, client) with the PayPal fees may have their account frozen. IOW if you charge these fees to the client and PayPal finds that out, they'll simply scoop the entire balance in your account and wait for you to sue them. As you accepted their T&C to use PayPal, you entitled them to do it.

Since PayPal set up their operations in Brazil, they have been deducting 6.5%-7.5% of the amount received as 'fees', and they openly adopt a 3.5% lower-than-market foreign currency exchange rate. So receiving via PayPal is tantamount to giving a 10% discount.

Agencies love PayPal, because it's very simple to operate. Only two "variables" are involved: the amount payable and the payee's e-mail address. Also, no "visible" fees on their side, as they'll always be deducted on the payee's side. This saves considerable labor to agencies.

Considering the above, I state my "standard" rate, considering payment as being via PayPal within two weeks from delivery. If the client wants to pay me via any other method, they'll immediately get a 10% discount (= PayPal cost), and I explain them so. The trick here is that PayPal canNOT penalize me for "surcharging", since that was my stated standard rate. If the client chose to have that discount for not using PayPal, the latter will not have been a party anywhere in the transaction. They can't forbid me to grant discounts to anyone I wish, especially when they are not at all involved.

Regarding bank transfers, it is a matter of freedom of choice on BOTH sides, viz. I choose my bank, clients choose theirs.

My bank of choice, named Itau, charges me BRL 60 to process each wire transfer received, regardless of the amount involved. On the other extreme, some local colleagues have told me that HSBC charged them BRL 200+ for the very same service.

One client of mine in California pays USD 10 (not sure, I think it was BoA) to make me a wire transfer. We agreed that, to simplify their accounting, I'd cover that, so they send me the total, and I receive $10 less. I have another one who charges USD 25, however that was taken into account when we negotiated my rates for them.

However I've seen translation agencies stating that PayPal is free, but they charge (USD/EUR/GBP???) 60 to make a wire transfer to any vendor. I simply don't accept that. I don't think I'm entitled to tell them to use a less greedy bank nor to pay their accounting staff from their own pocket. So, as I pay my BRL 60 on my side, I expect they pay whatever it costs on theirs. Of course, we can alternatively agree to have this extra cost included in my fees.

Brazil has an additional problem, the time value of money, aka interest rates. Putting it into a nutshell, the MPR (monthly) in Brazil is numerically close to the APR (annual) in the USA. Therefore, as my standard rate is stated for payment within two weeks, clients willing to pay COD (I make it two business days) get an additional discount.

Bottom line is that I have three main rates, basically depending on payment method and term. Unlike many colleagues, I don't feel at all insulted when asked about my best rate. As my translation rate doesn't change, I interpret "best rate" as a request to cut all the unnecessary financial costs embedded in them.


 

Ivana Bojcic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Member (2011)
German to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Dec 24, 2015

After few exchanged e-mails, they paidicon_smile.gif Via bank transfer, normally.
Their explanation was this: "We know Croatia is a EU-member, but our bank charges a commission for each transfer and so for us it's better to pay through paypal."


No, thanks.


 
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