What to do when payment overdue
Thread poster: OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:58
English to German
+ ...
Oct 1, 2002

I live in the UK and payment by two of my new UK clients is slightly overdue. I am a bit nervous because I don\'t know what to do in such a case. It never happened to me before! My question is not so much about these cases because I\'m still hopeful. But in general: When do I react? How do I react? Do I charge interest and if so, how much? Is there a legal tool, something like the German \"Mahnbescheid\"? I\'d be grateful for some advice by UK residents or people who have some experience dealing with bad payers from the UK.

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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:58
Finnish to English
Be polite and firm Oct 1, 2002


It depends what you mean by overdue. UK clients/agencies generally pay at the end of the month following the month in the date the invoice is received. Thus, if they received your invoice today 1.10. they should have forwarded payment by 30 November. If you haven\'t had your money one week after that date send a reminder email. If you get no reply send another in 24 hours. It is essential to be polite but firm; if translators do not chase their invoices they may be perceived as unprofessional by industry and the translation industry too. If they still ignore you I would refer the matter to any relevant association or organisation you are a member of, and tell the client that is what you intend to do.

This should get things moving. In the case of a client who is a private person, then let us hope the job you did was not too big.



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Claudia Andreani  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Send an invoice Oct 1, 2002

Send and invoice through Dunn & Bradstreet (http://www.dnb.com/ ). You pay a fee and they will look for the company and request payment.

This is one possibility

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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:58
German to English
Payment practices mailing lists Oct 2, 2002

Hi Olaf,

After I hadn\'t been paid for over 4 months and after many friendly reminders, I once told a chap who runs an agency in Vienna that I intended to post a message on a payment practices mailing list (Zahlungsmoral).

I don\'t have any experience with the one listed here, but whether you belong or not, the threat might work. It did for me.


Cheers, Kim

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:58
German to English
+ ...
Slightly overdue is par for the course! Oct 2, 2002

I wouldn\'t panic just yet. Most British agencies don\'t pay bang on time, unfortunately!

If the payments are a week or two overdue, I would ring up and ask politely what was going on. Rather than storming in and demanding immediately payment, I generally just ask when I can expect payment and check that there were no problems with the invoice. I\'ve always found a telephone call more effective than an e-mail, as people have a habit of ignoring e-mails they don\'t want to deal with!

I\'ve never had any serious problems with UK agencies, but I\'ve also rarely had one pay on time! If these companies are genuinely very overdue, there are other avenues you can explore, but I would be wary of using them before you are sure it is the only way to go.

Are the agencies on the Blue Board? If they\'re not, it might be worth posting their names to see if other translators have had similar problems.

HTH, and good luck!


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:58
Dutch to English
+ ...
Payment Oct 2, 2002

I agree with Mary:

I\'ve never had any serious problems with UK agencies, but I\'ve also rarely had one pay on time!

I also live in the UK.

Twice agencies have been very late in paying (one in the UK and one abroad). After calling and sending e-mail messages several times, I wrote them a letter threatening to expose them on various lists (Payment Practices specifically). This worked beautifully because they paid within two weeks. I don\'t work for these agencies any more.

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What to do when payment overdue

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