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agency not willing to pay and ignoring calls/emails
Thread poster: Pilar Caballero-Alías
Pilar Caballero-Alías  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 16, 2008

I have done an interpreting job for an English agency in July. Although I had a contract with them and I invoiced them (also I know that the client paid for the services) the agency has not paid me. I have insisted and they ignore my messages and calls.
Is there a body in the UK that can respond to cases like that and can push the vendor of services to pay freelance translators/interpreters? What should I do?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Are they in the Blue Board? Oct 16, 2008

If so, you should add an entry for other not to fall in their trap.

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Martha Schwan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Hey... That's intense!! Oct 16, 2008

October 16, 2008.

Hi,

Although I have been trying to get my first job with a Translator Agency, I have felt really bad about their payment policies and also they tend to send payments after 30 or even 60 days after delivery.

So, how can I know I'll be paid?? There is no garantee whatsoever that I will

I feel really insecure about working for a Translator Agency. I like to work with private clients better. The deadlines are longer anyways.


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Dr. Andrew Frankland  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Small Claims Court Oct 16, 2008

Dear Pilar,

This would be the best way of getting paid. You should search the forums as there are have been several discussions regarding small claims. Feel free to contact me privately if you need any further help,

Andy

PS I've just noticed you're resident in the UK so this is easily the best option. Contact the agency, tell them you'll be starting a small claims action within x days (invoices must be paid after 30 days according to UK company law and I suppose that period has passed) and then wait. If they still don't pay, the claim can be done on-line (takes about 20 minutes) and should be resolved within two to three weeks. If you win, all fees and interest are added to the amount owed.

[Edited at 2008-10-16 12:06]


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Benoit Bertin  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:02
English to French
+ ...
Not surprising Oct 16, 2008

Hi,
the sad scenario explained above is a thing that lots of agencies like to play....

Unfortunately, to my knowledge and at least in France, there is no sure protection against it (true, there are some blue boards and black lists, but can we really prevent some "truant" agency from writing a wonderful comment about themselves under another identity???)

The same as you explain happened to me last month, and last year a german agency did the same to me (but that agency they said me "if you wanna be paid then you have the right to dream"...as they were abroad I have not been able to sue them.... ) ....

I think such a practice (ignoring mails and phone calls is a "good" strategy for them : as they give no sign of life at all then they think they won't be able to be charged for "contract breaking" ...... I think such agencies should be denounced publicly.... But the law seems to be different and not always in accordance with practical situations.... So i Think I "have the right to dream"..... -)

However I have heard a european law would come into force in december 2008, which would counter the "ghostly disappearing bad payers" from every EU country... can anyone confirm?

That is at least my opinion...


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:02
English to German
+ ...
Some protection is available Oct 16, 2008

Hi Benoit,
(true, there are some blue boards and black lists, but can we really prevent some "truant" agency from writing a wonderful comment about themselves under another identity???)

Not 100%, but you should be aware that every Blue Board entry is vetted by a team of ProZ.com moderators. When we see a suspicious entry (brand new user profile, unclear comment, etc.), we look into this. I'd say we catch most attempts for self-rating, but naturally, not all of them.

The same as you explain happened to me last month, and last year a german agency did the same to me (but that agency they said me "if you wanna be paid then you have the right to dream"...as they were abroad I have not been able to sue them.... ) ....

You have access to a court-based dunning procedure, at least as a first step - search the forum for "Zentrales Mahngericht".

Best regards,
Ralf


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Pilar Caballero-Alías  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Blue Boar and client Oct 16, 2008

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

I have written a comment about this company in the Blue Board, for my surprise it seems I am not the only one in this position.
The worse case scenario is when I did a translation for an american agency and they still owe me 1000 dolars. Moreover the agency disappeared, so I have no chance to chase them.

In the case of the UK agency, I am aware that their client (the one I went to do the interpreting job) has paid them 70% more money than what they still owe me, since I gathered this information in an informal meeting after compliting the job. So they have got the money, but they do not want to pay me for my job.

Just unbelievable,


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:02
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Check BB record before accepting job Oct 16, 2008

It is one of the features available to you as a full member. That is what it is there for.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Make sure you keep a full audit trail Oct 16, 2008

Dr. Andrew Frankland wrote:
Contact the agency, tell them you'll be starting a small claims action within x days


Just make sure you send it by recorded delivery, and keep copies of all correspondence. I've just applied to the small claims court here in France, with success. The good news is that there will by a Europe-wide system in place soon.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely!! Oct 16, 2008

Luisa Ramos wrote:
It is one of the features available to you as a full member. That is what it is there for.


Yes!! We recently got a couple of customers via Proz, and we checked the BB even before replying to the email! Colleagues were right and no problems so far with these two firms rated 5 in the BB!


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Small claims court not much use if in the end they don't pay Oct 16, 2008

The small claims court is a time-waster if in the end they don't pay. I hear that's quite common.

It might be more effective to let them know you will be appointing a debt collection agency to deal with the problem.

I did this the other day and they paid within about 20 minutes.

Debt collection agencies put the fear of God into people.

[Edited at 2008-10-16 18:12]


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Benoit Bertin  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:02
English to French
+ ...
thanks Oct 17, 2008

thanks a lot for the informations...

Yes I guess the strategy of such agencies consists in making us renounce to our wish to be paid, using several strategies to "discourage" us , such as saying our text was "bad " (and paying not the totality but a percentage......a not very honest strategy.....), or profiting from the geographical distance, thinking we would think it is difficult/ impossible to sue them abroad...

Sheila, have you got further informations about this project for France? ( I ve heard of it , it was to take into force next december...but since then I got no further informations....))

Thanks


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In the USA... Oct 18, 2008

Pilar Caballero-Alías wrote:
The worse case scenario is when I did a translation for an american agency and they still owe me 1000 dolars. Moreover the agency disappeared, so I have no chance to chase them.


Too bad you can't chase them, otherwise you might get your money pretty fast.

According to American laws, money owed and unpaid is taxable income. I mean, if Mr. Smith owes you $ 1,000 and doesn't pay, he had a $ 1,000 income, and should pay taxes on that. I'd bet he didn't mention that in his income tax return, so he's in debt with Uncle Sam too.

If you search the web you'll find a lawyer in Chicago, IL, who sells a complete package with everything you need to do it. But you may find the information and the specific form to snitch on Smith to the IRS (US). The result is that auditors will go over all his income tax returns with a magnifying glass, and start an investigation on who else he owes money to, on which he should have paid income tax.

By simply explaining the client your awareness of all this, most American debtors pay on the same or next day. Nobody in any country wants their tax statements scrutinized by government auditors.

One client in the USA was procrastinating my payment for maybe six months. The day I wrote her about all this, I got paid right away.


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Sofijana Stamenkovic  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 04:02
Member (2007)
English to Serbian
+ ...
Agree Oct 19, 2008

Luisa Ramos wrote:
Check BB record before accepting job
It is one of the features available to you as a full member. That is what it is there for.


With a new clients, I first check the BB and look if there are any entries.
It was helpful more than once!

[Edited at 2008-10-19 12:28]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Sorry, Benoit - didn't notice the question in your post Oct 19, 2008

Benoit Bertin wrote:

Sheila, have you got further informations about this project for France? ( I ve heard of it , it was to take into force next december...but since then I got no further informations....))

Thanks


Here's a link to a previous thread (the last on the page is the post you want) giving the official text:-

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/113809-small_claim_against_a_uk_bad_payer_is_it_worthwhile.html#944942

and here's a press release where it's discussed:

http://www.eu2007.de/en/News/Press_Releases/June/0613BMJSmallClaims.html


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