End-client does not pay, so the translator is not paid either
Thread poster: Ugne Vitkute

Ugne Vitkute  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 02:14
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Aug 15, 2010

Hi, all,
I am in a strange position when I am not paid because the agency in the UK explains they did not get payment from their client. So, as long as they do not pay, I am not paid either. Nowhere in the PO such thing is mentioned, on the contrary, they state they pay all invoices right away (now seems a total lie). The only one who is still SOMETIMES responding to my emails is the same PM who gave me the job. No other emails respond. The PM says her GM is away and cannot be contacted (for 1,5 month now) and that they lack an accountant. That is completely not my problem, I think. I entered LWA 1 in Blue Board, it is their only entry. Little reaction, except another promise to be paid when the end-client pays.

Any advice? Is that normal not to be paid because of the agency's problems with non-paying clients, extended holidays of thei GMs or missing accountants?

Where can I find a list of 'blue board' type sites where I could enter a negative comment?


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:14
English to German
+ ...
Assuming you have concluded the contract with the agency Aug 15, 2010

they are obliged to pay you. The end client is not your problem.
I'll send you another black&white list by mail.

Gudrun


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Ugne Vitkute  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 02:14
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I have their PO Aug 15, 2010

I have their PO (very serious looking one). I usually do not work for new customers without being paid in advance. But this one called me, sent a good looking PO and their site that I visited looked so serious, I decided to risk. I shouldn't have.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not your problem Aug 15, 2010

Ugne Vitkute wrote:

....I am not paid because the agency in the UK explains they did not get payment from their client......they state they pay all invoices right away


Rather than express your anger (since that will certainly not help to get you paid) I suggest you write a polite letter.

At the top of the text of the letter (after the "Dear Sir" write WITHOUT PREJUDICE in capitals, centred.

Then write your letter, reminding them of

(a) what they ought to know: that it is not acceptable business practice, and may be illegal, for them to withhold payment from you on the grounds that they have not been paid by their client. Point out that you are not responsible for their relationships with their clients, but that they are responsible for their relationship with you.

(b) that having stated they pay all invoices straight away, they may make themselves liable for making false statements if there is any delay whatsoever in paying you.


Write the letter in absurdly polite terms, using language that makes it seem that you may have consulted a lawyer before writing it.

In fact this is what you may need to do, so it is important that you keep your correspondence short, brisk, businesslike and polite: stricly all on one page and absolutely as short as you can make it. Do not express any emotions or make any personal remarks about anyone.

Then wait and see what happens.

The "without prejudice" will let them know that you may take this matter further and may initiate legal process to obtain payment. But don't say that. Let them work it out for themselves. That way, it will be more effective.

[Edited at 2010-08-15 14:16 GMT]


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Ugne Vitkute  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 02:14
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Whom to address such letter? Aug 15, 2010

Who should I address such letter to? None of the emails except the PM's seem responsive. Should I sent it by snail mail to the GM 'on vacation', if he exists?

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TO their official address Aug 15, 2010

Ugne Vitkute wrote:

Who should I address such letter to? None of the emails except the PM's seem responsive. Should I sent it by snail mail to the GM 'on vacation', if he exists?


Yes - snail mail. Address the letter to the person who commissioned the work from you, and use their official postal address, which should be on their website, or may be in their emails to you.

[Edited at 2010-08-15 14:19 GMT]


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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:14
Member (2010)
English to Polish
+ ...
@Tom Aug 15, 2010

In this case, I really do not see any difference between e-mail and snail mail. Moreover, physical addresses often do not exist.
Ewa


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Aude Sylvain  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:14
English to French
+ ...
snail mail - registered letter Aug 15, 2010

Tom in London wrote:

Yes - snail mail. Address the letter to the person who commissioned the work from you, and use their official postal address, which should be on their website, or may be in their emails to you.

[Edited at 2010-08-15 14:19 GMT]


I fully agree with all Tom's recommendations.

The official address should also appear on the PO they sent you.

An email can easily be modified and, depending on the jurisdiction, may not be accepted as an evidence (of your good faith and of your efforts in trying to resolve the issue amicably) should an actual litigation arise.

Also, I'd rather send it by registered letter. It will both reinforce the strength of the letter towards the agency (this + the "without prejudice" mention) and allow you to have a proof in case you need one in the future.


[Edited at 2010-08-15 22:30 GMT]


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Bilbo Baggins
Catalan to English
+ ...
Snail mail - of the more expensive kind Aug 15, 2010

Aude Sylvain wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

Yes - snail mail. Address the letter to the person who commissioned the work from you, and use their official postal address, which should be on their website, or may be in their emails to you.

[Edited at 2010-08-15 14:19 GMT]


I fully agree with all Tom's recommendations.

The official address should also appear on the PO they sent you.

Also, I'd rather send it by registered letter. It will both reinforce the strength of the letter towards the agency (this + the "without prejudice" mention) and allow you to have a proof in case you need one in the future.


[Edited at 2010-08-15 22:30 GMT]


If this was Spain, I'd send it by what is called "burofax", which is the only communication truly valid in Spain in a court of law. The cost for Spain is about 30 euros, it's probably more for a foreign address.

You should investigate a similar system in your country and pay what it costs, becuase in the end, it is likely to suitably impress the recipient with the fact that you are serious and will thus save you time sending mails, searching payer lists, worrying, etc. Send it - and sleep easy. Most times, taking some initially serious step like this will pay off.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 06:14
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Frequent problems Aug 16, 2010

I met with this dilemma out of many new translation agencies. I was partially successful by writing to the final client on the matters. Some agencies still failed to pay after a long time. My Blue Board entries record most of them.

Best regards,

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Non-payment by end client is irrelevant Aug 16, 2010

I agree with all the points above, especially that of sending a formal letter by snail mail, and pursuing the agency legally for the money owed to you.

I would just like to add that under no circumstances does non-payment by the end client have anything to do with your payment by the translation agency. Your contract is with them alone and they must pay you for work duly delivered. I ran a translation agency for many years, and can remember circumstances such as an end-client going bust and our not receiving payments owed to us. When that happened we, of course, paid our translators the moneys due and on time, and took the hit ourselves as a company. There are absolutely no two ways about this. This is the law.

[Edited at 2010-08-16 09:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-08-16 09:04 GMT]


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Scoundrels or criminals Aug 16, 2010

Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak) wrote:

In this case, I really do not see any difference between e-mail and snail mail. Moreover, physical addresses often do not exist.
Ewa


Physical addresses always exist. However, some individuals choose not to make their physical addresses public on their websites and emails. Such individuals are scoundrels or criminals (even if they sometimes pay invoices).


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Smantha  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 02:14
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Your contract is with the translation agency... Aug 16, 2010

The end client is not your problem. Your contract is with the translation agency – you did your part, they had no complaints regarding the quality of the delivered translation, thus you must be paid. They are paid their cut to be an intermediary between you and the end client. As to what you can do to receive your money is, perhaps, write to them that if they fail to pay you within certain time, you will turn to a lawyer/a collection agency, etc.

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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:14
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Blue board entry!!! Aug 16, 2010

Immediately, as said you work for the agency, not the end-client, unless there is something wrong with the quality of your work, they MUST pay.

Ed


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