Is "payment" by a dud cheque illegal in Germany?
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:45
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Nov 5, 2009

I did a job for a company in Germany last February, foolishly without checking them out on the Blue Board first, where their record is appalling. They are now banned from posting jobs on ProZ.com.

Two or three reminders were ignored, but last month I got a cheque from them. I deposited it in my bank, and some time later was notified that the check was unpaid by the bank on which it was drawn for reason "Refer to Drawer", i.e. the cheque bounced. The bank's letter enclosed the cheque. It is stamped in German: "Bei dem bezogenen Kreditinstitut vorgelegt und nicht bezahlt."

From the Blue Board record I see that hardly anyone has succeeded in getting paid by this agency. One or two have, but after much time, hassle and expense, which I am reluctant to get involved in for a comparatively small sum.

But I wondered if sending such a cheque is in itself illegal. If so, is there some authority in Germany to which I could report this?


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:45
English to German
+ ...
Just a link... Nov 5, 2009

I´m a bit in a hurry, so please excuse me for answering shortly with just a link, but I think maybe it helps:

http://wirtschaftslexikon.gabler.de/Definition/scheckbetrug.html

(You´ll find several similar comments in law-related forums when searching through the net for informations about the situation in Germany. If you want to report it, you'll have to provide a proof that the bouncing of the check was a real scam trial, not an accidental coincidence.)


[Edited at 2009-11-05 19:51 GMT]


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Franco Cappelletti
Local time: 19:45
English to German
+ ...
You should have checked beforehand... Nov 5, 2009

With no disrespect, Jack, but with 50 years of experience in our profession (as per your profile), you ought to have sorted this out beforehand. Your invoice is of February, and they sent you a (bad) cheque now??? So you still work for companies/agencies unknown to you without checking their reliability, or demanding an upfront payment? It wasn't a major job, I suppose...

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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:45
English to German
+ ...
might be fraud (Betrug) Nov 6, 2009

You can report an offence (Strafanzeige stellen) to the police of the "Land" where the agency is located. Apparently you can do this online now in some cases.

Payment by cheque in itself is unusual in Germany. I'd never accept it from any client outside the UK. Only VG Wort send me a cheque every year. I hate cheques! What's wrong with bank transfer? My German bank charges EUR 0.50 per bank transfer to my UK account (and my UK bank charges GBP 15 for transfer to my German account!).


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:45
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for the information Nov 6, 2009

I'll look into these possibilities.

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Monika Elisabeth Sieger  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:45
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It is fraud Nov 6, 2009

Well, let it say me like this: it is clearly fraud but to prove this will be difficult and means a lengthy procedure.
From the lawyer's point of view I must say think about making a 'Strafanzeige' or go to a civil court where the agency is situated. But both means a lot of effort, time and money.
It depends on how much they owe you. You will have weigh up between your claim and the costs which will be arising. German solicitors are as expensive as in England and charge you even more as they certainly will argue with the international relevance of the case.

Even getting a title in the way of a 'Mahnverfahren' won't help you very much as they obviously have no money on the bank account anyway. And it will cost you as well. A claim is only possible above a certain amount. So your claim should be at least more than 400-500€ otherwise it is not worth your time, effort and money.
Cheques are nowadays unusual. My local German bank doesn't even have them anymore for more than two years!


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Jasrin
Local time: 23:15
Spanish to English
Is it also Fraud Nov 10, 2009

Hi Guys

Same happened with me. I did translation from Spanish to English for a company in Germany this year. They had to give me amount of 548 USD. First they let me wait for so many months and after that they said they have not got my swift details. Then I sent them my swift details again and then they said they have transferred the money into my bank as TIPA transfer. But my bank didnt receive nay money. Then they sent me a cheque of 311 EUR only which was less than the actual amount. After 2 months now their cheque also bounced and I am writing mails since 5 months.
What can be done in this case.

[Edited at 2009-11-10 10:56 GMT]


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