Non-payment
Thread poster: ForeverTrans
ForeverTrans

Local time: 02:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Apr 16, 2008

Hello! Can you please tell me what can a translator do if an agency doesn't pay for the translation and/or proofreading services he provided? Thank you.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:46
English to German
+ ...
Provide (some) more details, and search the forums Apr 16, 2008

Hi Karina,
It would be useful if you could add some more details, such as the country(ies) involved (please do not discuss the outsourcer specifically, or by reference - thanks).

Sadly, there have been numerous discussions on such issues in the past - may I suggest you search for items such as "non-payment" (well, obviously...) or "collection agency".

Best regards,
Ralf


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
US company not paying interpreters Apr 16, 2008

I worked briefly for a US based company as a telephone interpreter.

On advice of friends who are attorneys I resigned; they advised me that if someone for some reason did not like the interpreting or would be angry about something else I could be sued; so I resigned, however I had to give 30 days notice, which I did, and worked during those 30 days, as agreed in the contract;the contract also said that interpreters would be paid "net 60 days after invoice date", I did not like that, but OK, I signed the contract.

My first invoice, over January 2008 was supposed to have been paid on April 5th, by direct deposit.

No payment, so I sent e-mails, no answer; I call, leave messages, no return calls (wow, why would I be surprised, eh?)

I sent them an e-mail yesterday, telling them that I will call their clients if I don't get payment, as agreed.

Now I receive a response by e-mail (I love it that all is in writing!) that they have handed my e-mail over to "legal council"

I answer that "legal council" is not going to pay me, but "accounts payable" will and that if this is to intimidate me, they are barking up the wrong tree.

I have already talked with my attorney and he is just amazed at their shameless attitude.

I was also asked the person who wrote the e-mail, an employee, if he and all the other employees have been paid, and if on time, and if the agreed upon amount? or if they just worked there because they are nice people and have no bills to pay, no groceries, etc. to buy?

I ended demanding payment of the invoice due no later that this Friday, the 18th, and the other two invoices have to be paid in full on their 60 day due date.

I also asked, why, if others have been paid (the employees), the interpreters are not being paid? The interpreters are THE main ingredient in their business, without us there is no business for them.

We'll see what the response will be, probably from "legal council" they always try to intimidate, but I don't get intimidated and I expect them to play by the rules in the contract THEY wrote!

Anybody else had such a problem?


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:46
English to German
+ ...
Post an entry on the Blue Board Apr 17, 2008

What you should do in any case is to post a Blue Board entry (assuming that you fulfil the conditions defined in BB rule #2).

There is no guarantee that this will, in fact, get you paid, nor does ProZ.com act as a collection agency. But we have seen numerous cases where the fact that a provider is prepared to stand up and assert his/her rights has convinced an outsourcer to pay.

Best regards,
Ralf


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 04:46
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
one suggestion Apr 17, 2008

A couple of years ago I had a malignant non-payer agency from USA. Later on it turned out these people were NOTORIOUS non-payers (some 40-50 people even created a special yahoo group how to collect money from them, discussed how to apply to a court of law and so on). And my amount was substantial - almost 5000 USD. After numerous emails, numerous phonecalls (where they "did not know" who I am every time I phoned) when the payment was overdue for several months, I lost my hope and addressed my lawyer in my country for help (amounts for USA lawyers like several thousand are not interesting). He offered me a simple thing at first by saying "Let's write them a letter of demand/final reminder, and if they still do not react, we will see what and how we can solve that.".

I prepared a formal letter in English in the name of my lawyer company demanding them to settle payment (giving them a certain period of time). Wrote like "Dear plapla company, I am a lawyer this and that, representing my client this and that, the client requested our services for money collection from you via a court of law. We would like to ask you if you are going to settle the payment by ... [date]. If we do not receive payment of ... [amount] by ... [date], we are prepared to initiate legal procedures for money collection via a court of law. Please inform us if you are still intending to settle your debt without legal procedures, otherwise we will have no other option as to start money collection that would add substantial extra costs for you (for lawyer services, court procedures, and etc.). This is the FINAL reminder". My lawyer signed it, and we sent it to them by fax (and I paid the lawyer the very minimum for this service as sending a fax took just several minutes). That really helped a lot - money was received by an URGENT bank transfer in 3 days (usual transfer takes ~ a week) and a lot of apologies and a page of explanations of technical reasons why it happened.

The most important thing is to show such scams that you are not just barking a lot. You have to make them understand that you might bite too - you are ready for REAL ACTION even already started the legal formalities - such a letter from a lawyer (or it can be a simple phonecall from a lawyer) is ALREADY the start of the legal process.

[Edited at 2008-04-17 16:28]


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Fabiana Zardo  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Same here... Apr 17, 2008

I'm having a problem similar to that...it's not a lot of money, but it's mine! I worked hard to earn it.
I sent e-mails everyday....it took them a week to answer.
Then, they told me they'd pay me the day berfore yesterday....guess what? They didn't!
I think that the ammount is not worth hiring a lawyer...but even so I'm sending e-mails all the time, "just to refresh their memory".

[Edited at 2008-04-17 18:36]


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
Continuing non-payment... Apr 18, 2008

Thank you all for your empathy and suggestions.

Yes, I will have my lawyer send them a letter anyway.

I have sent them another e-mail today, telling them that they better not get "legal council" - the guy responding on their behalf cannot write a decent word of English at all!, which I told him today - because they cannot afford legal counsel!; they cannot pay me so an attorney is beyond their means!

I also told them that "word gets around" and nowadays we live in a very small world.

I already received a private message inquiring about the name of this company, because this interpreter was being recruited by several of these telephone interpreting agencies and would not like to get into the same situation I am in now. I gave this interpreter the name of this company.

I will write them an e-mail every day, before and after my attorney sends them a letter, till they pay me in full.
IF this would get to court, I will have it all documented.

Thanks again for your empathy, and beware of unscrupulous agencies.

The reason I posted about this affair, was to send a warning to all of you.

By the way, how and where do I post this on the Blue Board?, I just googled the company and see that they are mentioned on this website and on the Blue Board it has a box with this text, that I copied:

"July 7, 2007, 7:34 am
This outsourcer has been banned from posting jobs at ProZ.com."

I guess that that means something!

Take care!

[Edited at 2008-04-18 01:03]

[Edited at 2008-04-18 01:06]

[Edited at 2008-04-18 01:52]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:46
English to German
+ ...
Posting a BB entry Apr 18, 2008

Hi again,

The reason I posted about this affair, was to send a warning to all of you.

Hence my suggestion to post a Blue Board entry.

By the way, how and where do I post this on the Blue Board?

I provided a link to the BB in my previous posting. There is a search function on that page: once you have opened their BB record, use the Make an entry option on the left-hand side. If you post an entry with an LWA (=likelihood of working again) level of 1 or 2, the system will prompt you whether you wish to submit a non-payment complaint. Please do so - this will save moderators from separately having to ask you the items which the system will check in that process. (Note that there's no collection service - we record non-payments for the purposes of the Termination Policy.

This outsourcer has been banned from posting jobs at ProZ.com."

I guess that that means something!

It does indeed - looks like you should have checked that BB record before accepting work from them.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
Banned outsourcer..... Apr 19, 2008

Ralf, thank you for your suggestions.

I was already working for that company, way before finding this website. So that doesn't change anything.

It amazes me that that company was in business for about 25 years - I researched them before accepting to work for them - and I still find all kind of accolades for them, and then they behave this way with their interpreters, it doesn't seem to make sense!

I have made an entry on the Blue Board, just as Ralf suggested; thank you.

I am talking with my attorney on Monday again.

Have a great weekend everybody.

[Edited at 2008-04-19 01:48]


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
Class action lawsuit.. Apr 23, 2008

I discovered today that there is a class action lawsuit against the company that owes me money. I am calling the attorney to see what is happening with that suit.

I also saw that they have a history of non/late payments.

I am going to try to take this to national TV, and really embarrass them! and try to get them out of business.

I am also going to talk to the big corporations they have as clients.

That company has been messing with the wrong person!, no one messes with me in this way without due punishment!

I will be exacting punishment for all the interpreters and translators who have been their victim.

I will keep you all updated!


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