US/Canada based agency "vanishes" - unsettled payments
Thread poster: Vedado
Vedado
English to German
Oct 25, 2011

This is my first time posting in this forum and I hope it will be kind of a help.
I've been working for 6 years for a US/Canada based translation agency (with an office in Madrid as well) for press releases (I'll disclose the name upon request). While during the first years everything went fine, they started being late with payments in 2009. Last year they were 8 months behind, but kept on paying eventually.
Now I've received an obscure letter some days ago stating that the company is closing as of 1st November and that "part" of the long-term outstanding payments will be paid within the "settlement process" of the closure. Current outstanding payments will be paid by the acquiring company (name upon request).
The outstanding sum they refer to is just a fraction of the actual one (several thousands of US$).
All my e-mails and phone-calls as a reaction to this letter have remained unreplied, plus the person who sent this letter is quite obscure being referred to as "the third party".
Does anyone know what one can do in these cases?
And are there other translators being in the same situation?? I'm sure if they read this they know immediately which agency I'm talking about..

Thanks for any help,
Elisabeth


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:33
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Receivership Oct 25, 2011

Hi Elisabeth

At a guess, I'd say the company has gone bankrupt and is being wound up by Receivers, who are amassing the company's remaining assets and paying everyone whatever they can, in proportion. I would suggest that you write to whoever is writing to you, with a breakdown of the amounts you are owed and laying claim to full payment.

If this agency has a BlueBoard entry perhaps you should add something there.

[Edited at 2011-10-25 10:16 GMT]


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Vedado
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
already tried.. Oct 25, 2011

Hi Tom,
thanks for your reply.
I've done exactly what you said so far, problem is that they seem to "disappear", not answering to anything...
Regards from Vienna,
Elisabeth
P.S how does this BlueBoard work?

[Edited at 2011-10-25 11:06 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:33
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Sounds like receivership Oct 25, 2011

Hello Elisabeth,

I'm really sorry to hear of your problem. It must be difficult to stop trusting a company that has been such a good partner for so long, so I can sympathise with you allowing them to build up the sort of debt that you wouldn't accept from a new partner.

I agree with Tom that it sounds as though they are in receivership, although when I was in the same position (as you, not the company), the third party I received a letter from was clearly a lawyer. I was told that the date the receiver was called in marked a cutoff. Any invoice received after that date (in the past but also into the future) was 100% guaranteed - no business risk at all as it was the lawyer's office paying the bills. However, the one outstanding invoice from before that date (about 400 USD) could not be honoured by the receiver. It would be paid by the company if it managed to re-establish itself or by a takeover company. So, I worked for them for a few more months, receiving prompt payment of all my invoices. Then the company left receivership to start trading again. They urged me to continue doing business with them but said they couldn't pay the outstanding invoice yet. It seemed to me that "not yet" probably meant "never" so I decided to cut my losses. I hear they folded not long after, so I think I made the right decision - along with many other suppliers, I don't doubt.

I hope you'll be luckier, if indeed you are in the same position. Unfortunately, if they stop (or have stopped) trading due to bankruptcy, then there's absolutely nothing you can do - nobody can get money out of a dead company unless the official channels hand it out. In the final share-out it's the banks, the government and the utility companies that get first pickings, then hire purchase companies and employees, more or less in that order - I'm no lawyer. What I do know is that small suppliers like us are right at the bottom of the list.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you - let us know if there's any good news.

Sheila


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Vedado
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
no letter from lawyer Oct 25, 2011

Hi Sheila,
I'm afraid I'm even unluckier than you..everything seems quite obscure, starting from that letter that was sent from an obviously just for that intention created gmail account and not even signed..the name of the person sending it was just stated in the e-mail. the attached letter was a plain word doc...no firm name, nothing. clearly not from a lawyer..
Honestly I thought that I'll get feedback from other translators in the same situation, there must be quite a few out there..
I'll keep you posted.


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:33
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Don't expect much Oct 25, 2011

...or anything. The assets of a "translation company" is a couple of desks and old computers. Won't be enough to pay their rents. They took the money until the last payment from their own clients and then declared bankruptcy, it happens all the time.
========================

On another note, I spotted, in a picture from the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, the face of a specific project manager from an agency - in the morning she tries to reduce the payment of Translators by reducing their rates to the absolute minimum and increase the profits of the large corporation, and in the evening she protests against the rich on the streets.


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