Non paying client based in Italy
Thread poster: xxxTIL Ltd
xxxTIL Ltd
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:37
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 19, 2011

Hi guys,
Last summer I have done some projects for client based in Itally n July (as a freelancer)
I signed a PO and invoiced them regularly.
The first invoice was due in December, therefore I had tried to contact their acc dept then.
Their accountant said that my bank details were wrong and he could not make the payment.
After a week, I tried again but this time the accountant could not make the payment again as he did not have the details with him!
After about 40 calls, they never paid the amount due (around 2,000 €) and now they do not even answer the phone (voicemail is on).

I am a bit worried, is there anyone able to help me?
Should I go legal?
What's the best procedure?
Thanks in advance for your help


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:37
French to German
+ ...
These are the symptoms... Jan 19, 2011

of a "sinking ship", if you ask me.

Don't you have some trusted local contacts to determine what is going on over there?


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
Free translator Jan 19, 2011

Perhaps on a parallel social network the following posting has appeared:

Free translator based in London.

Seriously, six months credit for a foreign client is just asking for trouble.


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Chris Dawe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:37
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Not jumping into the deep end.... Jan 19, 2011

I wonder if this was a new client, in which case I would never take on a volume of work equivalent to €2000. I'd accept a smallish job first as a tester (assuming they had few BB entries or were not on the BB at all) and then watch what happens post invoicing. You say you did the work over the summer, but the first invoice only fell due in December, well into winter. That's allowing them far too much leighway, in terms of extending credit, chancing your arm a bit too much (sounds like 90 day payment terms to me, which is typical of many Italian agencies!). The accountant is almost certainly lying. If payment is late and they then say you sent the wrong bank details or they do not have the details to hand, that speaks for itself.

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Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
And again, people just like to jump at the victims Jan 19, 2011

Once more there is a cry for help from a fellow translator. Whatever he/she did or didn't do is not the point anymore. She is asking for help or advise.

I would advise to contact any translation organization that you can find over there and ask them for help. You could also send them a bureaufax (at least in Spain it has some legal value) and tell them they are to pay you immediately or you will take legal action.

Hope this helsp.

Paula


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Chris Dawe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:37
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No Blame-game Jan 19, 2011

I'm not trying to compound her misery at all here.....just elucidating how the predicament came about, as I see it, for the future benefit of the Asker, and others. I think that's a fair statement.

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xxxTIL Ltd
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:37
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks guys Jan 19, 2011

Did anyone the same problem in the past? Shall I report the agency to the Italian authorities.

The agency is not listed in the BB. Can I create a new entry?
Thanks


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xxxTIL Ltd
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:37
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
in the meantime Jan 19, 2011

another translator contacted me after reading my post!
Is there anyone else who had the same issue?
Thanks


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:37
Member (2006)
English to French
Blueboard entry Jan 19, 2011

ValInLondon wrote:

The agency is not listed in the BB. Can I create a new entry?
Thanks


Yes, if you go to the Blueboard page, you will see the option "add outsourcer". Then follow the instructions.

Stéphanie


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
3 points Jan 19, 2011

ValInLondon wrote:
Shall I report the agency to the Italian authorities.


Depends on who you mean by "authorities". As Paula says, it would be a good idea to contact a/the Italian translation organisation. If the company is a member, the organisation may be able to offer a lot of real help. Even if there's no membership, they should have some good advice for you.

The agency is not listed in the BB. Can I create a new entry?


Yes you can.

Third point:- you can probably chase them through the European Small Claims Court if all else fails. In theory, this is cheap and efficient, although it won't get you money for you if the company has gone bankrupt.


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Frances Leggett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:37
Italian to English
+ ...
Some info on the legal route in Italy Jan 19, 2011

I'm so sorry to hear that you have not been paid by this client.

I did some work over the summer in 2008 for an Italian client (non agency). They were to pay me after 30 days in 2 instalments. The first instalment arrived, they never paid the second. After contacting them several times in the following 2 months, all contact ceased and they wouldn't answer the phone any longer. I sought legal advice and he said I shouldn't let the outstanding sum (€2000) go and they should be made to pay. In Italy, clients have 6 working days to contest the quality of your work or put forward reasons as to why they will fully or partially withhold payment.
If you do decide to go the legal route, the client will be responsible for paying all legal fees if your case is successful (which it should be if you present all the evidence proving that they owe you this money and a contract, even emailed agreement, between yourself and the client). The downside is that you might have to forward some money to the lawyer as ongoing legal expenses until the case is resolved.

The first thing I had to check was that the company was still operating. My lawyer checked this for me and found that it was.
So we proceeded with a first letter of warning - no response.
Second letter of warning - no response.
The case was then filed at court and the company was given a chance to respond or contest the money that they owed.
There was no response. The judge ruled in favour of me given all the evidence that was presented.
My lawyer then decided to contact my client directly and had a phone call with the director of the company. They acknowledged that they owed me money, that there were no problems with my work and that there was no reason to withhold payment. He said he would pay. My lawyer sent a letter summarising costs. No response and no payment.
So my lawyer proceeded with the bureaucracy for forcefully seizing the funds from the client's bank account. He has obtained legal rights to do so and will forcefully seize as soon as possible I hope.
If the client has no money in the bank account, the lawyer will proceed with seizing assets to the value of what is owed... if the company is still operating today...

In summary:
Good points - you have the right to this money and the client should pay all legal fees.
Bad points - my case started in November 2008 and is still ongoing. I have yet to receive my money. The Italian legal system is EXTREMELY slow... and fiddly.

Hope it all works out.


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Paula Mangia Garcia Terra  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Since June 2010 Jan 19, 2011

Same here with an Italian agency. I don't no what I have to do to receive my payment.
At the first time, they paid me on time. But now I'm waiting for my payment since June 29 and no one answers my e-mails.


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dulmini22  Identity Verified
Sri Lanka
Local time: 06:07
English to zzz Other zzz
+ ...
Take legal action Jan 20, 2011

I had the same problem for 800 USD from a Chinese Client and they never paid. I didn't try to take legal action. But I entered a negative entry in the blueboard and asked my fellow translators to do the same.

Now I have the same problem for about 4000 USD, for an Indian Client, whom I have visited his office as well to do the job. It has been 6 months and the responses are discouraging.

This time I think of taking legal action even if it may be costly.

I advise you to take legal action and do whatever possible to punish the client. Though you may have to incurr reasonable costs you and other translators will benefit from it and the client may not continue this habit.

In the future never take huge volumes from new clients. If you want to at least check the Blue Board of proz.com. But the Blueboard is not a 100% gaurantee as I checked BlueBoard before accepting my job which was not paid for.


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Non paying client based in Italy

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