Suggestions on payment reminder
Thread poster: Carol So

Carol So  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:35
Member (2008)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Sep 22, 2008

I have this little query on how payment reminder should be written. I am thinking about sending a reminder to someone I have worked for, and havent paid me yet. It's been about a month and a half since the invoice was sent, and I wonder if they just forget to pay me.

Personally I believe that they will pay and we have a good cooperation so far, so I am not sure how the reminder should be written. I want it to be polite and obviously do its job at the same time.

So what would you write normally if you have to send a payment reminder? How can I be polite and make myself clear enough? When will you send the payment reminder normally?

Sorry this sounds a silly question, but I would like to be professional, and really dont want to ruin the relationship or sound too pushy.

Any ideas, comments and suggestions are welcomed.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:35
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Polite reminder Sep 22, 2008

Well, to begin with, I'd email them saying something like "When checking my bank account today I noticed that you have not yet paid me the €XXX due to me for your order number YYYY that I delivered to you on [date], as agreed. This sum is now somewhat overdue and your settlement would be welcome. I attach the corresponding invoice as a reminder. Please let me know what is happening about this".
Then, if you receive no reply, you should telephone them.
Best of luck,
Jenny


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Short and sweet Sep 22, 2008

Hi Carol,
I just wrote one of these yesterday. It went like this:

Dear XXXX,
According to my records, I have a payment from your company that was due on September 15 that I haven't received yet:

[Then I wrote the details about the job, attached invoice, etc.]

Could you check this for me please?

Thanks!

Amy Duncan


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Lenah Susianty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:35
Member (2004)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
simple to the point Sep 22, 2008

Usually I just say 'dearxxx this is a friendly reminder that the payment of my invoice xxx is due now, thank you for your attention'
That's the first reminder, the second and third will sound more serious .

Lenah


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Salima Post
United States
Local time: 20:35
English to French
Friendly reminder Sep 22, 2008

This is the template that I have used so far.

To whom it may concern, or Dear XXXX

I write to inform you that I have not yet received payment of invoice XXX for the amount of XXX due on XXXX

I have enclosed a full statement of your account as of today. (if applicable)

I'm sure you must have mistakenly overlooked this but could I ask that you give it your prompt attention now.

If payment has already been sent, please disregard this letter. If you have any queries about your account, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,


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Carol So  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:35
Member (2008)
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Sep 22, 2008

Thank you very much for all your input.

I find that some project managers tend to deal with the invoices only after they have finished all other things, and so sometimes they just forget / too busy to deal with payment (if the same person has to manage the payment as well as the projects), and so a friendly reminder would be very useful.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:35
Italian to English
+ ...
My take Sep 22, 2008

I always say "According to my records I have not received payment of invoice no. .... I would be grateful if you would check your records". This avoids the aggression of "you haven't paid me" - which may not be true: bank errors do happen - while still reminding them that you exist and you're waiting to be paid.

So essentially the same as Amy - avoiding any hint of them being at fault, at least at the first reminder stage.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:35
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
I'd rather phone Sep 22, 2008

At least you can get an immediate contact of some kind that way; emails can be ignored. And I usually leave the option open for them to think that it might be my fault - if they've paid, could they please send me the details so I can get my record-keeping straight. It almost always works.

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Caryl Swift  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:35
Polish to English
+ ...
Polite and friendly Sep 23, 2008

If it's a client with whom I either already have a good working relationship, or with whom I'm hoping to establish long-term cooperation, then I write something along the lines of:

Dear X,

I have just been checking my records and I have no record of having received payment of my invoice for work carried out for (name of company/agency) in (whatever month it was). Could I ask you if you would be kind enough to look into it for me?

I have attached the invoice again, for ease of reference. It was originally sent to you on (date it was sent).

So, much the same as Amy and Marie-Hélène - and so far it seems to have worked (touch wood!)

Good luck!

Caryl

[Edited at 2008-09-23 01:41]


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:35
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good suggestions Sep 23, 2008

This thread has a lot of good advice.

I think most people use email first. Phoning is another good option. The first time should be polite.

Does anyone have a good standard "reminder" text in Spanish?


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CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:35
English to French
+ ...
Can you forward/resend the email w/the invoice attached ? Sep 26, 2008

Dear Carol,

I fully concur with the other respondants, as the first reminder has to be rather soft.

Sometimes, for reasons that are difficult to understand, the file with the invoice (sometimes, the file with the translation) arrives in the Spam box. Everything is possible.

What I tend to do is the following:

I resend/forward the original email with the invoice: hence, the client can see the date when it was sent, that may be important for them to check the records.
And, before the original message appears, I write a short message like :

"Dear XXX, as far as my bank statement shows, the invoice YYY for ZZZ EUR, due on TTT, has not been paid yet. I send you again the original file and the invoice, so you can check your records. I thank you in advance for your prompt payment. Please find my bank details / paypal details below.
Thanks and best..."

Sometimes clients want to make sure you sent the invoice on time, so if you don't send the original message again, there may be some additional delay.

Another thing that works fine is, at the end of each month, to send a "reconciliation of invoices": you send each client the list of all invoices which are due on the last day of the month, with the job reference, invoice nb, amount, and, of course, the total.
If the client has difficulties to pay you, they'll let you know then. If they are good clients, it can be manageable to consider payment by instalments.

Good luck,

Best

Coralie.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Why be soft? Oct 12, 2008

I can't see any reason to be soft. If they haven't paid you within the agreed deadline, I don't see why you should be nice to them. Is it the fear that they might not pay you?

Nor can I see any reason to let them off the hook because someone in the office might be too busy to deal with payments. If that's the way their office works, then they need a good kick up the **** !!!!

[Edited at 2008-10-12 09:22]


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steven fung  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:35
French to English
+ ...
Exactly... Mar 6, 2013

Tom in London wrote:

I can't see any reason to be soft. If they haven't paid you within the agreed deadline, I don't see why you should be nice to them. Is it the fear that they might not pay you?

Nor can I see any reason to let them off the hook because someone in the office might be too busy to deal with payments. If that's the way their office works, then they need a good kick up the **** !!!!

[Edited at 2008-10-12 09:22]


I can't imagine that many agencies or companies willing to be "soft" on translators for handing in work even just a few hours late. We should likewise expect timeliness and professionalism from clients.


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 00:35
Japanese to English
No need to rush Mar 7, 2013

Tom in London wrote:

I can't see any reason to be soft. If they haven't paid you within the agreed deadline, I don't see why you should be nice to them. Is it the fear that they might not pay you?

As someone else mentioned earlier, there's always the possibility that a bank error or similar circumstance could be responsible for your failure to receive the money. I personally know one or two cases where an intermediary bank was to blame for a payment delay.

If it is a client who regularly pays on time and you wish to keep working with them, I see no reason to pull out the heavy guns from the get-go. You can always escalate things later if the situation calls for it.

steven fung wrote:

I can't imagine that many agencies or companies willing to be "soft" on translators for handing in work even just a few hours late. We should likewise expect timeliness and professionalism from clients.

I dunno, that sounds very "tit-for-tatty" to me. If I were an agency, I'd give the same benefit of the doubt to a normally reliable translator who runs into unexpected problems.


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:35
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Transafrique and Marie-Hélène Mar 7, 2013

If it is the first payment reminder, there is no need to be brash or accusative. It may be due to a mistake and you could have received the payment and simply not seen it. We may be translators but we are human too and not infallible.

I would definitely advise including everything possible in the e-mail that someone could possibly need for the payment so that there is no excuse to ask you for something else and so that nobody needs time to look things up in files unnecessarily.

This means forwarding the original e-mail with the payment reminder and including all your bank details.

I would say something along the lines of what Marie-Hélène has said.

To Edward, in Spanish I would say something like this:

Estimado/a XXXX,

Estoy revisando mi contabilidad y no encuentro el pago por XXX traducción que realicé el día XXX, correspondiente a mi factura de fecha XXX que adjunto a este correo.
¿Podría por favor verificar su contabilidad para ver si se ha realizado este pago y, en cuyo caso, decirme en qué fecha se realizo? Si no se ha realizado el pago aún, ¿me podría decir en qué fecha se realizará para que pueda mantener al día mi contabilidad?

Muchas gracias


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