old client outstanding invoice
Thread poster: Paola Guzzetta

Paola Guzzetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:43
English to Italian
+ ...
Aug 7, 2010

dear fellow translators,

I have been working for about 6 years for an agency and got delayed payments; I noticed a constant decrease in assignments and got a last job almost 2 years ago; I sent invoice but never got payment.
I would like to apply interests on the total amount, does anybody know the actual interest rates?
What else can I do apart from asking lawyers which I cannot afford?

thanks in advance

Paola


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InfoMarex
Ireland
Local time: 17:43
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Unpaid invoice Aug 7, 2010

Paola,

I think you are on a lost cause here, sorry! Forget about the invoice and move on. There are some deplorable agencies around, and some good ones as well.

If the Agency which did not pay your for your work is on ProZ, go to LWA and give it a very poor rating.

Adding interest to your bill, or engaging lawyers unless the amount is over €2,500 is a waste of time, energy and money.

I speak from experience.
Kind regards,

Michael J McCann
InfoMarex


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:43
German to Swedish
+ ...
Small claims procedure Aug 7, 2010

Small claims procedures are not necessarily complicated or expensive. You need to find out what they are in your client's jurisdiction. You almost certainly don't need a lawyer for this.

Once you've done that, politely and briefly explain to the client how you intend to proceed if they don't pay up. If you come across as determined and well-informed, they may pay up to avoid the hassle.

(At this stage it might be a good idea to correspond by registered letter.)

The overdue interest rate may or may not be defined by local law, usually some reference rate + X percent. It's fairly common practise to set out the overdue interest rate on invoices.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 23:43
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Collecting agency and payment issue red flag Aug 7, 2010

Joakim Braun wrote:
Small claims procedures are not necessarily complicated or expensive. You need to find out what they are in your client's jurisdiction. You almost certainly don't need a lawyer for this.
------------------------
The overdue interest rate may or may not be defined by local law, usually some reference rate + X percent. It's fairly common practise to set out the overdue interest rate on invoices.

1. I recommend a collecting agency in certain countries (some agencies have bad reputation as well!). Check Internet for good ones. Or use a minor collecting case in some legal courts (applicable to many countries.)
2. Smaller and smaller assignment is a red flag your should be in preparation to switch to other agencies instead. Some translation agencies abuse this manner against oversea freelancers.

Best regards,

Soonthon L.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Maybe too late Aug 7, 2010

Joakim Braun wrote:

Small claims procedures are not necessarily complicated or expensive.


I agree entirely - I've been this route and it cost me next to nothing (postal and phone charges only) as legal expenses are taken from the client, poor dear.

However I suspect that you have left it far too long, Paola. Certainly in France the claim needs to be made within 3 months or so of the bill being due.


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Dinny  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 19:43
Italian to Danish
+ ...
Agency located where? Aug 7, 2010

Paola, I agree with Joakim that it doesn't necessarily cost a fortune to get your money. In many countries they have easy procedures to collect debts, especially since it is the customer which is not paying that will have to cover any legal costs.

In Italy, it's a piece of cake, go for an "ingiunzione di pagamento", and I think that in other EU countries the procedures are as easy.

Good luck!
Dinny


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Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:43
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Another way... Aug 7, 2010

Since you don't expect any work from this agency, you may as well send it a nice letter saying that unless you receive payment by the next (usually 10) days, you will forward the invoice directly to the client (I assume you know who it is). It may very well ressuscitate the dead...

I don't know for Italy, but in Quebec, you have 3 years from the date of the invoice to file a legal action to the Small Claims Court.


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Paola Guzzetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:43
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
outstanding invoice Aug 14, 2010

Thanks to all those who contributed with good ideas. Replying to Dinny the agency is located in India; I have already sent the agency several messages and also told I would put it on the LWA and of course did it. However I never got a reply.
I do not want to apply to a collecting agency since the amount due is not worth it.
This is not a new agency for me so I relied on it and expected politeness. Now my question is how can a translator defend his/her work from such issues.
Here in Italy it is also possible to ask money in advance before starting the job.
Regards,

Paola


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Olli Leroy
Other
Local time: 17:43
English to Dutch
+ ...
Never wait that long Aug 15, 2010

Paola Guzzetta wrote:

dear fellow translators,

I have been working for about 6 years for an agency and got delayed payments; I noticed a constant decrease in assignments and got a last job almost 2 years ago; I sent invoice but never got payment.
I would like to apply interests on the total amount, does anybody know the actual interest rates?
What else can I do apart from asking lawyers which I cannot afford?

thanks in advance

Paola


Much depends on your invoice date. In Belgium there's a 10-year limitation period and the maximum interest rates that businesses can charge their clients are set by the government. So, I doubt that they're the same in all countries. My first step would be an accountant or a union for the self-employed but I think your problem is a bit more advanced, so perhaps a collection agency would be more efficient. Some collection agencies have the debtors pay all the costs. If you have confidence that it will help you get your money back, you should consider it.

Next time, don't wait this long.


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