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Spanish Agency won´t pay
Thread poster: Tracy Mackay

Tracy Mackay  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 15:35
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 4, 2011

Hello everybody:

I translated a book for a Spanish agency in March 2010. They were supposed to pay me in May, but in June I got an e-mail from them saying they were having money problems, and that they would not be able to pay me until September. In september I got another email saying October, and so on. I haven´t seen a dime yet.

I was wondering if anybody has been able to solve a problem like this in Spain and if I could get some advice. I don´t know the laws in that country or where I can go for help.

Are there any organisms that help people with this type of issues, or maybe an important newspaper where I can write?

So far, the only possibility they have given me is to contact a lawyer, but I don´t have the money for this.


Thanks in advance.

Tracy

[Edited at 2011-01-04 17:57 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-01-04 17:58 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Think twice before posting in the Blueboard Jan 4, 2011

I completely simpathise with your struggles, but may I use this opportunity to remind everyone to use the Blueboard very carefully?

Never post a good opinion in the Blueboard until you have had at least a year of experience with an agency.

[Edited at 2011-01-04 17:10 GMT]


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:35
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Tracy Jan 4, 2011

First of all, you are not allowed to name translation agencies in the forums. (You can edit your original post re this problem without giving the name of the agency.) Secondly, it is absurd that you entered a rating of "5" for the agency in question back in March, before even getting paid!

The non-payment by the agency is inexcusable, but behavior like yours really does nothing more than encourage agencies with corrupt tendencies to mistreat translators. It is like putting a "kick me" sign on the back of your trousers.

You should learn from this experience, and adjust your behavior in the future accordingly.

[Edited at 2011-01-04 22:03 GMT]


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:35
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Group action Jan 4, 2011

The agency has three BB entries —three 5's, including yours. All of the entries were posted during the first semester of 2010. I suspect the other two colleagues that joined you in giving this agency a rating of 5 are in the same predicament. You could try contacting them to inquire about their situation. If they have not been paid I guess you can kiss you money good-bye, or try some sort of joint collection effort.

I agree with Robert and Tomás. What was that rating of "5" for? Maybe for being "nice" and corteous? Beware, and do not post on the BB until you have done 3 or 4 projects and have received payment for all.


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 20:35
English to German
+ ...
Hi all Jan 4, 2011

What Spanish agency is it? Has it ever be mentioned in this forum (an then removed by somebody)?

[Bearbeitet am 2011-01-04 19:36 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2011-01-04 19:37 GMT]


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:35
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Forum rule Jan 4, 2011

Robert Forstag wrote:

First of all, you are not allowed to name translation agencies in the forums. (You can edit your original post re this problem without giving the name of the agency.)



Those who saw the original post know what the agency is; the rest can figure it out, with a little bit of ingenuity and creativity.


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 20:35
English to German
+ ...
@Luisa Jan 4, 2011

I didn't see the original posting, that obviously was removed by somebody. How could I figure it out now?

[Bearbeitet am 2011-01-04 20:01 GMT]


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:35
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
@Rolf Jan 4, 2011

As Robert mentioned, it is against the rules to name agencies by name. Notice that Tracy's post was edited, by Tracy herself, to comply with that rule. I did not see the post in its original form either.

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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 20:35
English to German
+ ...
@Luisa Jan 4, 2011

Aha. So this should probably have been a matter of a bluebord entry concerning said agency, not a forum entry. Then I would have been alerted if it was one of the Spanish agencies I am following in bluebord.

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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:35
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
agreed, Rolf Jan 4, 2011

N/C

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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
I actually don't see why it's such a crime to mention the agency by name Jan 4, 2011

After all, it takes about 15 seconds to look at BlueBoard Activity on the asker's profile and find out what it is.

If they owe you less than EUR3,000, you could try the small claims procedure:
http://ec.europa.eu/civiljustice/simplif_accelerat_procedures/simplif_accelerat_procedures_spa_en_claim.htm

i don't know if you're eligible living in Chile.

You could also look up debt collection companies, either in Chile or in Spain. They can take court action on your behalf if they reckon the company has any assets, and will charge around 35-40% of whatever they collect.

Finally, do impose a credit limit on all your customers - even those you've been dealing with for years. That way, if things do go pear-shaped, you're limiting your losses.

Good luck!


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Christopher Fitzsimons
Switzerland
Local time: 20:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Persevere... Jan 5, 2011

Hi Tracy,

This is a very unfortunate situation and as others have said you really should not have made a blueboard entry until you had been paid. The other thing I think is odd is that you waited until you heard from them, until after your payment was due, to worry about the overdue invoice and then you accepted their excuse and waited longer which, unfortunately, has probably reduced your chances of ever getting paid for your work even further, at least judging by my experience. It is important for outsourcers to realise that any and all payment delays are unacceptable. These are lessons to learn for the future and lessons that I had to learn the hard way as well, because unfortunately there are dishonest companies out there who will try everything to avoid paying their service providers for their hard work.

Regarding what you can do at this stage:

Firstly I would search through the proz.com forums for previous threads on this same topic. You may be able to use methods such as the "Proceso Monitorio" or the "EU small claims" procedure. There is some good advice here:

http://www.proz.com/forum.php/money_matters/151328-another_spanish_agency_unwilling_to_pay.html

The other thing you should do is to request proof of payment if they tell you they have paid, i.e. a transfer receipt, so that you know they are not lying. You can also report the agency to any professional organisations of which you are a member and let the agency know this. They probably won't want their reputation to be damaged.

If you do try all the methods you possibly can without success I would consider contacting the end client and informing them that you have not been paid for your work and that the agency is withholding your payment. I understand this goes against client confidentiality protocol and would violate a basic tenant of a professional business relationship BUT this agency has already broken their part of the agreement by refusing to pay the invoice they owe so you have little to lose in reality. At the very least telling the agency that you are going to contact their client may get a reaction from them. If not and you do choose to contact the client, at least they should break off their relationship with the agency. I've just seen that you managed to change your bb entry-well done! Leaving negative feedback has worked well for me in the past when agencies have refused to pay the money they owe. Just be sure not to let them bribe you into changing it in return for payment! It's important that other translators don't waste their time with these people in the future. Best of luck with sorting this out.


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 21:35
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
Such behaviour is against netiquette Jan 5, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Never post a good opinion in the Blueboard until you have had at least a year of experience with an agency.


Blueboard? Why are Tomás and others speaking about the Blueboard here? At the moment I don't see any Blueboard mentioning in the starting posting.

As far as I can guess while editing her posting Tracy has removed not only agency's name (which is OK) but also the fact that she has entered a positive Blueboard entry about the client in question before even getting paid.

Perhaps the removal of author's remark on the early Blueboard positive entry in the starting posting makes Tracy look a little bit less unprofessional but at the same time it makes the whole conversation sound somewhat stupid... Don't other colleagues feel the same?

Nikita Kobrin


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The conversation is pertinent Jan 5, 2011

Nikita Kobrin wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Never post a good opinion in the Blueboard until you have had at least a year of experience with an agency.

Blueboard? Why are Tomás and others speaking about the Blueboard here? At the moment I don't see any Blueboard mentioning in the starting posting.
As far as I can guess while editing her posting Tracy has removed not only agency's name (which is OK) but also the fact that she has entered a positive Blueboard entry about the client in question before even getting paid.

Indeed this is what happened. And indeed Tracy's decision of posting a positive Blueboard entry even before being paid was foolish, and damaging to other people who might have started working for the company in the interim.

This should be food for thought for other people, and I think the conversation makes a lot of sense.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
@Tracy Jan 5, 2011

About the Blueboard entry, the first thing I would do is to request its deletion by means of a support ticket.

I think that the policy was that anything entered in the Blueboard stays there for a year, just to keep people from using the Blueboard as a payment collection method (issue a negative comment and then change it once you have been paid).

Given the situation, you probably want to request that Proz.com considers this some kind of exception and deletes your Blueboard entry, before other translators get mislead by your positive entry and start having trouble with the same outsourcer. However, Proz.com does not have an obligation to break the rules for your case...

Please think twice in the future!


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