Debt recovery from Finnland agency (I'm located in UK)
Thread poster: Ieva_Kupruka

Ieva_Kupruka  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:12
Member (2006)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Apr 29, 2008

Hello everybody!

Debt recovery is quite a frequent subject, however some suggestions would be very helpful. I have a problem with a Finnish agency, who owes me more than EUR 1200, and my invoices is overdue more than 6 months. I was patient and nice long enough, and I have tried all here discussed measures. No results. Really, now it's more question of principle as the money matter, as I feel this situation as "slap in my face". During the work process, I nearly every day communicated with agency owner (also translator, by the way), as some source texts had quite poor quality, and our relationships seemed almost friendly, plus she was very happy with my job. Now my e-mails and calls are ignored, and I'm blocked in Skype contact list.

Can somebody recommend some reliable debt collecting agency, which works with Finland? Maybe some other way related to this country? What about a court action? I have read that there's possible only electronic submission of all proofs and documents, though information in English is quite restricted.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:12
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
A couple of links Apr 29, 2008

I have no personal experience but here are a couple of agencies:
http://www.lindorff.com/
http://www.malinenpartners.fi/international/

Good luck!


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:12
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Here's one Apr 30, 2008

http://www.aktivkapital.fi/en-gb/

They work in all EU-countries as far as I can see.
You can search google for "perintä" and will find lots more.

Have you send reminders to the outsourcer?

Finnish debt recovery is very swift. I had overlooked a bill of 10 Euros and had to pay 45 Euro three weeks later to the agency in charge.

Regards
Heinrich


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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:12
Danish to English
+ ...
Patience and niceness Apr 30, 2008

Sorry, but why on earth do you feel you should be 'patient' and 'nice' for SIX MONTHS???

On Day 31 you should have been hassling them for the money. I bet you delivered your translation on time. So why should they not pay you on time?

This comes up again and again - translators are far too 'nice' when it comes to recovering their money. It's a great shame because if translators started viewing their work more as a business rather as a few agencies doing them a favour by giving them work, things would improve across the board.

I have just received an e-mail from a client whose payment is delayed because they've 'moved to a brand new building'. This is just the latest in a long line of 'accountant on holiday', 'new system implementation', 'end client not paying', 'death in the family', 'lost invoice' (particularly popular), 'new payment policy', etc etc that I've heard over the years. They'll all try it on. They've already got six months' credit out of you.

Best of luck!

Tina


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:12
Finnish to English
Patience doesn't work Apr 30, 2008

Hi

Never be patient and nice when people owe you money and do not appear to be willing to pay up

There are several options:

1. threaten to expose them to the translation community

2. threaten to refer the matter to the EU Ombudsman, or any other Ombudsman for that matter

3. threaten legal action

4. ask any professional organisation you belong to to intervene on your behalf

5. check their website and see if they belong to any organisations and contact them

6. in future, always chase outstanding invoices early on (after two months); use diplomatic but firm language and don't come on as someone who it is easy to swindle

best wishes

spencer


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nice translators finish last Apr 30, 2008

Tina Colquhoun wrote:


Sorry, but why on earth do you feel you should be 'patient' and 'nice' for SIX MONTHS???

On Day 31 you should have been hassling them for the money. I bet you delivered your translation on time. So why should they not pay you on time?

This comes up again and again - translators are far too 'nice' when it comes to recovering their money. It's a great shame because if translators started viewing their work more as a business rather as a few agencies doing them a favour by giving them work, things would improve across the board.




A voice of reason and common sense in a "Kumbaya" profession. How refreshing.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:12
English to German
+ ...
Stand your ground, and assert your position - do not threaten Apr 30, 2008

Hi Spencer,

Never be patient and nice when people owe you money and do not appear to be willing to pay up

There are several options:

1. threaten to expose them to the translation community

2. threaten to refer the matter to the EU Ombudsman, or any other Ombudsman for that matter

3. threaten legal action

4. ask any professional organisation you belong to to intervene on your behalf

5. check their website and see if they belong to any organisations and contact them

6. in future, always chase outstanding invoices early on (after two months); use diplomatic but firm language and don't come on as someone who it is easy to swindle


Fully agree with your introductory statement, and in particular with point 6.

Using threats is not a good idea - asserting your position is.
You may want to note BB rule no. 9; threats are not permitted from either side.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:12
Danish to English
+ ...
Too long Apr 30, 2008

Spencer Allman wrote:

6. in future, always chase outstanding invoices early on (after two months);



Sorry, but I still think that 'after two months' is far too long. 30 days is standard and reasonable. Unless the rules are different in Finland, what is the reason for waiting ANOTHER MONTH to ask for people to pay up as contracted?

Tina


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Ieva_Kupruka  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:12
Member (2006)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Positive attitude sometimes can help, but this wasn't the case Apr 30, 2008

Thanks for suggestions, I will definitely try to contact some of the recommended agencies.

I suppose, I was reasonably 'nice', and through, I didn't chase my money during first few month (it's also my unpaid time to chase debtors, as well as it's my first negative experience with non-payments ), I get worried, when - in the third month - when I get blocked at their Skype contact list.

I DID send quite few friendly reminders (before and after the above mentioned fact), as I believe that positive attitude helps and if debtors are offered a possibility 'to put themselves right with somebody' and settle a debt without feeling, they're labelled as 'bad', they're often motivated to meet their engagements.

Then, after about 3 months, I was lucky enough to hear back from them, and, with several excuses, f.e. non-paying target customer, which is quite a big Finish company, they promised to make the payment, however no payment was received and after one more month, I was blocked from Skype contact list one more time.

I did write more strict letter and implied I can post negative feedback in BB etc. and/or start a legal action, but nobody still answered my phone calls and e-mails, and the recorded letter I sent was returned.

I'm afraid international debt recovery is quite difficult, but getting in touch with debt recovery agencies you can win, and you can lose. One more time.

Furthermore, I can't provide the proof in the form of official PO (only hundreds of e-mails, with discussed projects and price offer), what's, of course, other my mistake...


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:12
Finnish to English
Nothing wrong with threats to take legal action May 1, 2008

Ralf quotes a ProZ rule concerning threats but I do not see how this sort of thing concerns ProZ

It is acceptable and standard business practice to write something like the following in an email or letter when an invoice is outstanding and reminders are ignored:

"If you fail to reply to this message and pay the monies owed me I shall have no other option but to seek redress in the courts"

or some such thing


best

spencer


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:12
English to German
+ ...
Blue Board May 1, 2008

Spencer,

Ralf quotes a ProZ rule concerning threats but I do not see how this sort of thing concerns ProZ

One of your points was to "threaten to expose them to the translation community". Using the Blue Board as a threat is one of the ways in which this can be done. As I pointed out, this is not permitted (note that, for example, the same applies to outsourcers trying to get a BB entry removed by making payment conditional upon removal).

It is acceptable and standard business practice to write something like the following in an email or letter when an invoice is outstanding and reminders are ignored:

"If you fail to reply to this message and pay the monies owed me I shall have no other option but to seek redress in the courts"

or some such thing

Fully agreed.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
Late payments May 1, 2008

I truly wish you luck in getting your money - although I must admit my first reaction was surprise that a Finnish agency should behave this way, as Finns are usually very conscientious in money matters and swift payers! But there's always an odd exception, I guess...


I fully agree with everything Tina said -
Tina Colquhoun wrote:
Sorry, but why on earth do you feel you should be 'patient' and 'nice' for SIX MONTHS???

On Day 31 you should have been hassling them for the money. I bet you delivered your translation on time. So why should they not pay you on time?

This comes up again and again - translators are far too 'nice' when it comes to recovering their money. It's a great shame because if translators started viewing their work more as a business rather as a few agencies doing them a favour by giving them work, things would improve across the board.

I have just received an e-mail from a client whose payment is delayed because they've 'moved to a brand new building'. This is just the latest in a long line of 'accountant on holiday', 'new system implementation', 'end client not paying', 'death in the family', 'lost invoice' (particularly popular), 'new payment policy', etc etc that I've heard over the years. They'll all try it on.


The thing is, when my payments have been late, I've always hassled to my best ability (as Tina said) right on Day 31 (I'm not such a patient person), and as a result, I've got some angry comments from the contact persons in question, and never received work from them again... Of course, it is doubtful I'd have wanted to work myself with such agencies again anyway; but the strange thing is those agencies have had glowing 5's in the Blue Board...!!

[Edited at 2008-05-01 12:41]


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:12
Finnish to English
Oh I see May 1, 2008

Yes of course - now I understand

s


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Els Spin  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:12
Dutch to English
+ ...
No idle threats May 4, 2008

Spencer Allman wrote:
"If you fail to reply to this message and pay the monies owed me I shall have no other option but to seek redress in the courts"

or some such thing


Good advice, if all else fails. But if you threaten anyone, you should also be prepared to do as promised. If you don't even know a debt recovery firm, you probably won't know how to go about going to court either.

My standard practice, advised by a debt collection agency, is 2 reminders, then threaten:
30 days - first friendly reminder (it might have slipped your attention blabla),
30 days later - second reminder: due within 14 days
14 days later - threaten: due within 14 days, otherwise debt collection.

The first time a client didn't pay, I used my original invoice as a reminder. Just changed the date and put 'reminder' at the top.

But I already had a gut feeling that this client wasn't going to pay. So I googled for some debt collection firms the same day. When I had found the one I liked (no creditor costs!), I googled their name for good (or bad) references and then contacted them. They advised me to do as above. They also told me how to go about things if it really came to it: what paperwork they needed and such.

I also asked them the exact, formal wording of the threat to avoid problems later. It's about charging the client for the costs involved when settling out of court. (If you settle in court, it's up to the judge.)

I was right about the client. The next reminder wasn't paid either.
But as soon as she received the final, threatening one, she called me and paid the same day.

Since then, it is the first, now friendly, reminder that seems to do the trick. Some clients even email their apologies!

Good luck!

Best regards,
Els


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