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Translator charging extra 20 EUR to his invoice as a bank fee
Thread poster: Ebru Kopf

Ebru Kopf  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:30
English to Turkish
+ ...
Dec 14, 2010

Hi everyone,

my case might sound a bit old fashioned may be but I do really need some advice and opinion here, I will be grateful for every contribution. Here is the case;

My husband needed a translation help (I don't do translation for him ) but helped him to find a translator thru proz. I made the initial talks with the translator and did not push for a lower price (it is higher than many of us, believe me). All okay upto here, right?
After he recieved his payment he informed my husband and cc'ed me that he recieved wrong amount. I suggested to talk to his bank for their fees. The answer was clear, it was his bank who deducted, not my husband.

Now, he adds extra 20 Eur to his invoice as a bank fee!!! I wish I can find such clients who does not bargain and pays extra for the bank. He does not agree to work with Paypal or else by the way...

I have never worked like this, and I really never heard 20 Eur bank fee for 90.- Eur payment.
I would like ask my husband to pay his invoice and write back to him that we won't be working anymore with him (or I will do it anyway).

So, what do you all think? Is it a normal procedure (if so, since when) to add extra bank fee?

Thnx in advance to all of you


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Signe Golly  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:30
Danish to English
+ ...
Client pays fees on their end Dec 14, 2010

In my (limited) experience, the client pays whatever fees occur on their end (for wire transfers, paypal, etc) but the provider is responsible for the fees they may incur at their own bank or when money arrives in their paypal account.
My bank here in the US charges a flat fee of $20 when I receive an international wire transfer, regardless of the amount, so it doesn't sound completely unlikely that a European bank might charge a similar flat fee of $20. Sounds like the provider would have been better off with the paypal fees since it wasn't a big amount. Since he chose the payment method, it really should be his problem.
Not sure if it's worth the headache to argue though...


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Ebru Kopf  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:30
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thought so Dec 14, 2010

Sgolly wrote:

Since he chose the payment method, it really should be his problem.
Not sure if it's worth the headache to argue though...



trust me, when you discuss the same thing with the provider than your mail box or phone will explode, bitter experience but thnx a lot, it at least helps that I am not out of my mind yet...


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GerSi  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 18:30
Member (2010)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
fees for international transactions can be very high Dec 14, 2010

Hello Ebru,

I sympathize with you on your story. Theoretically both of you should determine the rates beforehand but we all know that already.

If the translator lives in another country the bank fees can be 20 EUR or even higher (depending on the country).

In my experience with translation agencies they inform the translator in advance that they will deduct the bank fees from the amount to his loss if the translator can't be payed by PayPal. In this case the translator is basically the one who pays the fee and can wait to collect a higher amount, because bank fees for higher amounts are lower.

In case of direct clients, however, the clients are usually not aware of this and the translator can take advantage of this and charge more to cover the bank fees as well.

I guess in your case neither of you knew about this fee, otherwise I presume the translator would warn you about this and make it clear in advance.

I know it is painful but higher rate does not automatically mean the translator should cover the costs.

I don't know, however, what would be the right standard procedure in such cases, since this is practically a legal case, when neither of the parties know about an issue (or one of them or both knew about it but kept quiet). I believe in practice the translator usually backs off.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Suggestion Dec 14, 2010

I think it reasonable for the translator to assess this fee, but it really should have been discussed and agreed upon in advance. Since it was not, why not agree upon a Solomonic solution of splitting the fee so that you pay half and the translator pays half?

This would seem eminently fair to me, under the circumstances. Yet I also think it would be reasonable for you to stand your ground and refuse to pay any extra fee, since no extra fee was previously discussed.

Good luck.


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Sabine Akabayov, PhD
Israel
Local time: 19:30
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
client pays the fees on his side Dec 14, 2010

unless you agreed otherwise before the job.
And since you already paid the 90 Euro, you would have to send another 40 Euro to cover the old fees and the new fees associated with the second payment. For me that would be worth the headache


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Translator's job to make things clear Dec 14, 2010

Ebru Kopf wrote:
Now, he adds extra 20 Eur to his invoice as a bank fee!!!


What did the translator specify in the quote or any other correspondence entered into before work started? If it was the translator who insisted on bank transfer, and he didn't explicitly demand that the client (your husband) pay all fees, then the normal procedure must apply: each party pays the fees at their end.

As a translator, I've been there and I kicked myself for being so stupid as to have put myself in the posiition of accepting 70€ for a 90€ job, but I certainly wouldn't have sent a second invoice to the client!


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Ebru Kopf  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 20:30
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thank you so much Dec 14, 2010

for Robert & Gersi: Yes, indeed that was the case that this info has just arrived with the invoice, and yes, I do agree with Solomonic terms normally. I will offer to split only this time and will thank him for his services. That is the best way I think.
As a translator myself, I do not discuss with the clients about this fee since I tell them my price might half a cent higher but covers all unforeseen fees and I am the one who offers a bid and wait for approval. That's why I did not expect from this guy such an attitude since I did not offer a bargain when he offered such a price, I though he covers all.

But now, I can sleep better, for this thnx for your replies


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 17:30
Japanese to English
Do what feels right Dec 14, 2010

You are well within your rights to refuse to pay any extra fees. It's the translator's bank, he insisted on being paid via bank transfer and he forgot to check if there would be any fees. What kind of 'professional' fails to do that? Robert Forstag's solution to split the cost is the nice way out, but even then I would add a note that says "It's not my responsibility, but I'm doing this to be nice." Of course, if you like his work and foresee yourself ever needing his services again, then maybe you should swallow this bitter pill and just pay up.

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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:30
English to Dutch
+ ...
It depends... Dec 14, 2010

Ebru Kopf wrote:

Hi everyone,

...

Now, he adds extra 20 Eur to his invoice as a bank fee!!! I wish I can find such clients who does not bargain and pays extra for the bank. He does not agree to work with Paypal or else by the way...

I have never worked like this, and I really never heard 20 Eur bank fee for 90.- Eur payment.
I would like ask my husband to pay his invoice and write back to him that we won't be working anymore with him (or I will do it anyway).

So, what do you all think? Is it a normal procedure (if so, since when) to add extra bank fee?

...


Hi Ebru,

I have seen this happen before and it is in my opinion just how people approach things differently. I live in France and receiving a cheque in a foreign currency costs me quite a lot so I adjust my rate when I know a customer will pay by cheque (banks seem under the impression that whatever happens, they must get their pound of flesh, if you think about it: that is rather arrogant). Personally I think it is not clever to mention payment method surcharges on invoices (the way you responded to such a situation speaks volumes: it leads to disgruntled clients) but that is probably a culturally determined stance, not a business issue.

In your situation (or rather your husband's situation) I would point out that the translator should have mentioned bank fees prior to accepting a deal, but truth be told: how important is the document that is translated, is it urgent and is it worth the risk of delay over bank fees? I appreciate that EUR 20 is quite a hefty sum for some people, but is it really worth fighting over?

Apart from all the good advise given already: I never make a problem of payment method surcharges when confronted with them but I will only come back for more of the same when Easter and X-mas fall on the same day...


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Fees already split? Dec 14, 2010

Robert Forstag wrote:
why not agree upon a Solomonic solution of splitting the fee so that you pay half and the translator pays half?


Ebru hasn't said so, but I expect fees have already been paid by the client - his own bank's fees, which could equal or even exceed those that the translator wants paid.

When an Indian agency wanted to deduct their bank charges from my invoice, I gave them a very definite "no way!" as I was going to have to pay my own fees. Personally, I would say "no way!" to this supplier, but then I'd rather accept having a headache than a bad taste in the mouth.

To me, it would be a point of principle - you don't move the goalposts once the game has started!


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:30
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Money paid or money received? Dec 14, 2010

I think there are two things here, first of all there is the distinction between money paid and money received, you paid an amount and it should not be your problem how much the person receives, they should have checked that.

The translator should have checked with his bank and he should have known what his bank charges for receiving transfers, then he should have just added this to his quoted price. By the way I don't know how this works in other countries but certainly in Spain you can negotiate with your bank and completely eliminate any fees for receiving foreign bank transfers (as I have done).

Also you should always tell the client they should pay for their bank's fees (some banks pass on their client's fee with the payment and don't pay out the amount they received without notifying the client of the fee they are charging).

Second there is the question of a mistake or omission being made in which case I think it is a question of being professional, if you are a professional you give your client a price and stick to it, if you made a mistake you put up with it, pay for it and learn your lesson for next time and certainly you never ever pass it on to your client (unless the mistake is so big it will cause you financial distress).


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cwanaszynka  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:30
English to Polish
+ ...
business registration Dec 14, 2010

if the translator has their business registered and is using a business banking account
the fee will not be as large
banks in the UK don't charge new businesses at all
and the old businesses (over 2 years) are not charged as heavly as the non-business customers
at least this is what i am led to believe from a recent conversation with my bank manager


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:30
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
In any commercial transaction... Dec 14, 2010

One pays his own bank fees, in almost 30 years in the business I never heard that my client must pay my own bank fees.

Bank fees can be very different depending on the bank and a client cannot be responsible for said choice.

IMHO if one knows they are high, the best thing to do is to agree the cheaper method.

Some years ago, for example, I had to pay 15 euros to cash a US check of 30 dollars, it was the first and last time, I then agreed another method with my client (which with USA still remains paypal); but I surely did not ask to my client to refund me my bank fees.

Have a nice day, evening!


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Romeo Mlinar  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:30
Member (2009)
English to Serbian
+ ...
SWIFT Dec 14, 2010

It's all about SWIFT instructions. There are three tags that determine who pays the transaction fee:

BEN - beneficiary. A translator pays all the expenses, which can be very high, esp. with many banks included. The sum is subtracted form the money sent.

OUR - An agency pays all the expenses; they are calculated beforehand and a translator receive a full sum.

SHA - shared expenses. An agency pays for sending money, and after the money leaves the bank, a translator pays intermediary banks' fees.

For us translating outside the EU, banking fees are very, very high.

It was OK of the translator to ask for transfer charges. It was up to the paying party to accept the due charges or not.

Most agencies are aware of SWIFT instructions, but they just say "we did pay our expenses, we see no problem, ask your bank". They won't bother, especially when sending money out of the EU. (In case you have problems regarding this, just ask the agency to send you the SWIFT log form the bank, and look for BEN/OUR/SHA.)

That is why I prefer Moneybookers.


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