Non-payment in Canada. Advice on possible legal action and Blueboard payment report
Thread poster: Natalia Lis

Natalia Lis  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
English to French
+ ...
Jun 12, 2008

Hello,

I have an issue with a company that owes me several thousands dollars for several projects. I sent the invoices in October...

I worked for this company for over a year. Their payments were always late and increasing so. They gave me a lot of work, so on one hand I was hesitant to quit, but on the other hand, with the payments always late my motivation was not always great. I was falling behind with my invoicing too. Not a rational response, I confess. Finally, I sent all the outstanding invoices in October.

They acknowledged the receipt of the invoices and the only response I'm getting is "next week", "soon", "the papers are on my desk", etc. Whatever any other issues they might have had (for example, we had a dispute over quality with one client for one project) - they never brought it up.

I started pressuring them more aggressively in March and April and for a few weeks I was getting no response at all which really irritated me (they are quite active on proz.com and post a lot of jobs so I know they are in business). I told them that I was going to put a negative comment on BlueBoard, and they responded (with the usual "we will send it soon" line). Nothing happened, my emails were again ignored, so I finally posted the negative comment. They asked me to remove it (because "we worked together for so long"), I told them I might edit it if they act, and it's the silence again...No response to my last email.

Should I post a non-payment report? My issue is that this relates to multiple projects and I don't want the agency to come and respond "hey, we had this one client who complained about quality so you should not have checked all the boxes on the report". (They never said they were not going to pay me for this job however)

Other than that, what are the legal options? I started to think about the small claims procedure. Does anybody has any experience with that?


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:52
Member (2000)
French to English
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MODERATOR
Non-payment complaint valid unless outsourcer states refusal to pay sub-par job in a timely fashion Jun 12, 2008

Unless the outsourcer notified you in a timely fashion that you would not be paid for the sub-par job, you are entitled to file a non-payment complaint. If you decide to do so, please contact a Jobs moderator to request deletion of your current Blue Board entry for the outsourcer in question, so you can submit your non-payment complaint along with your LWA (= your Blue Board entry stating your Likelihood to Work Again for that particular outsourcer).

Yolanda Stern Broad, Ph.D.
ProZ.com Moderator

[Edited at 2008-06-12 03:23]


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Natalia Lis  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Yolanda Jun 13, 2008

What exactly is the effect of the non-payment report?

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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:52
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
ProZ.com's Termination policy Jun 13, 2008

You can read about the Termination policy here:

http://www.proz.com/termination_policy


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Natalia Lis  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Yolanda. Jun 13, 2008

I read about an outsourcer complaining about his account being blocked after a report, but I couldn't find any specific information.

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Stephanie Sirot  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:52
English to French
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If the agency is also in Canada, call a collection agency Jun 14, 2008

If you are both in Canada, you could ask a collection agency to assist you, before going to small claims court.

I am afraid that making commentson the Blue Board might not be enough in your case.

Stephanie.


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:52
Member (2006)
Swedish to English
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The non-payment solution Jun 14, 2008

This is one of the reasons why I sell all my bills to a billing company right away. Regardless of where in the world my customers are, I can send the invoices to the billing company. I get the money in my account on the same day and then it is the billing company that has to worry about collecting from the customer. I don't have to think about it again.

Right now, my billing company takes 5 % of the revenues. It may seem like a lot of money, but it is worth it to avoid having to wait 30 - 60 days for payment and then chasing down non-payers.

So that is my advice for what you should do from now on.

Now as to your current predicament, I would not go to court myself at this point. Send the overdue bill to a collection agency. I only had to do this once, and the collection agency takes 20% upon successfully getting the payment. Expensive, yes, but it is better than getting nothing. If need be, they will be the ones to go to court and do all the chasing down leaving you your valuable time to do more important work.

[Edited at 2008-06-14 00:20]


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:52
Member (2006)
Swedish to English
+ ...
And if the company is not in Canada... Jun 14, 2008

stephanie45 wrote:

If you are both in Canada, you could ask a collection agency to assist you, before going to small claims court.

I am afraid that making commentson the Blue Board might not be enough in your case.

Stephanie.



I just saw your comment now, Stephanie.

I would add that if the customer is in another country that you can contact a collection agency in his country. In my own experience, the customer was in France (and probably did not think I would be able to get to him.) There was no problem in that respect.


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Natalia Lis  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I haven't thought about collection agencies Jun 14, 2008

Does it matter if I don't have purchase orders?

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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:52
Member (2006)
Swedish to English
+ ...
No purchase orders? Jun 14, 2008

Natalia Lis wrote:

Does it matter if I don't have purchase orders?


It might make things more difficult, but not impossible. In fact, I had the purchase order for that case in France, but I did not send it along at first to the collection agency.

Just send all the email or other correspondence you had between the two of you.

The last thing a collection agency wants to do is to have to go to court. But they will chase after your customer to pay for a long time before then. Hopefully, the customer will get sick of the constant calls from the collection agency and just pay up.

If your case does go to court, it might be problematic without the purchase orders, however if your email correspondence and the work are shown to a civil court (with a lower burden of proof) you will likely prevail.

At worst, if the collection agency fails to get you your money, you don't pay them anything.

My advice is to get onto a collection agency in your customer's country now.


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Lynda Tharratt  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
try the Better Business Bureau Jun 19, 2008

Hi Natalia,

I suggest contacting your local Better Business Bureau and filing a complaint about the company. You can file a complaint online here:

www.ccbbb.ca/

They will check your complaint and contact the company on your behalf and then reply to you with the outcome.

It says in their rules that they will not accept requests to engage in debt collection activities but I think that you can still file a complaint for non-payment.

Please let me know if this helps and good luck!

Lynda


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