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Kindly Advise as client did not pay me
Thread poster: Mohamed Mahmoud

Mohamed Mahmoud  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:27
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Nov 10, 2011

Dear Friends

This is my first time to post so I would appreciate your help to the most.
In last August, a client posted a job on proz with blue bord record up to 5. I did the legal translation after agree to the fee and sending me po. They pay term is current+ 60.
Though I did not like this long term but I needed work so I accepted.

After delivering first PO, they sent me 2 more jobs with total 890 $ for all the work.
My first invoice was due Nov-1 but they did not pay me till now.

I contacted PM who replied that he has no update and that I shall contact accounting directly
I kept sending mail to them. After 15 mails, finally they replied as follow:,




Back to their Blue Board, I found that there are 3 translators complaining that they do not pay them their dues on time and complain for long period with poor or no communication at all

Now I need my fees and also feels that they may not pay how shall i act to preserve my fees specially as I am going to have a surgery on my eyes soon.



Best Wishes and Kind Regards







Mohamed Taha Mohamed Mahmud

"Certified Accredited Sworn Translator"



Translator of best seller scientific book "My Einstein",
National Center for Translation, Cairo, Egypt


Translator at the national center for translation, Cairo.
Certified Translator Authorized by Egyptian Translators Association EGTA & International Federation of Translators FIT and UNESCO.
Member of Egyptian Arbitration Legal Center.
Member of Egyptian Translators and Linguists Association ELTA.
Member of Arab Translators Network-Arab Professional Translators Society -ATN-APTS- based in Beirut, Lebanon.

Proz Certified Member - Porz Profile : www.proz.com/profile/687952"


 

Andrea Melletat
Germany
Local time: 13:27
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Legal seat of client - which country? Nov 10, 2011

Depends all very much on the country in which the client has got its seat. Is it Europe?

 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Can you be more specific? Nov 10, 2011

When did you send your invoice(s) and what exactly was the reply from Accounts (it hasn't shown up)? Have they confirmed that they received your invoice(s) and that they have all the information they need on it(them)?

 

Mohamed Mahmoud  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:27
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Kindly Advise as client did not pay me 2 Nov 10, 2011

Thanks for reply

The client is located in both USA\ Israel

As for Invoices, I sent them directly after finishing the project (Since 79 days)
Then again in the first of November ( Due day)

I sent many mails till they finally replied on Nov- 9 as follows:

Hello Mohamed,

Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for the delay. We are suffering financial problems here , therefore we cannot resolve the outstanding invoices at this moment.

We are currently working on a payment plan, and will keep you updated to when you should expect your payment.

Sincere apologies,
The Point that there are many complaints about them through the last 2 months


Yours
Taha


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Hebrew to English
Initial thoughts Nov 10, 2011

The fact that they are having "financial problems" has nothing to do with you. They entered into an agreement with you, with payment terms included (as far as I can gather). Therefore there should be no attempts at squirming out of payment, for whatever reason (except for the quality one which isn't being invoked here). They should have enough liquidity to be able to pay their translators. What kind of business are they running?

 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Was just checking the due date Nov 10, 2011

Ok, it sounds as if there is an actual problem. I was first trying to establish if the invoices were actually due since a common payment term is end of month+60 days so if you did the job in August and didn't invoice until September the due date would be the end of November.

I can't advise much since the client is in the U.S. and Israel. Hopefully someone in one of those countries will come along soon and advise the correct process to follow. In the meantime have you mentioned the Blue Board to them?


 

Mohamed Mahmoud  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 13:27
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
reply Nov 10, 2011

Dear TY

This job was at first 7.000 words
Then after delivery they sent another 14.000
then after delivery they sent another 8.000

The source text was a handwritten police minutes with horrible format and scan

I helped them to the most but now they even do not reply to my mails


Kindly advise

Yours


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Hebrew to English
First step - Nudge them Nov 10, 2011

I think a gentle first step should be to "encourage" them to respond by mentioning the Blue Board (as Lisa has suggested). 9 times out of 10 this is enough to get an agency to loosen their tongue. If this fails, more direct and forceful measures should be considered. (i.e. legal action). - But attempt to resolve the conflict diplomatically if it all possible before resorting to the law.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:27
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Reminders and the Blue Board Nov 10, 2011

Hi Mohamed,

As Lisa suggested, please check the actual due dates on your invoices to ensure that they are in fact due/past due.

When I was in a similar situation (even with two different clients) as you are in now, I first sent them a reminder with a copy of the original invoice attached to the email, requesting to please initiate the payment transfer. (Just in case the original invoice hasn't arrived or been "misplaced".)

Neither of the clients replied, so after a few more days I sent another reminder, again including the original invoice. That time, however, I announced that there will be a late payment fee in the case invoice(s) are not paid within a couple of days. And also that after another 10 days without payment having arrived, yet another late payment fee will become effective.

After those "couple of days" had passed, I sent another reminder, that time mentioning a possible, not too favorable entry in the client's blue board record.

When I was, once again, faced with "silence" I made the BB entries into their records. It was amazing how fast payment arrived - along with the request to remove the unfavorable BB entry (which can only be done by ProZ.com moderators).

I know that this is a long process with a lot of additional (and unnecessary) work, but it eventually produced the desired results without the need for legal action.

Best of luck!

Thayenga


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:27
Member (2008)
French to English
"Can't pay" vs "won't pay" Nov 10, 2011

The fact that they have admitted to having "financial problems" has a great deal to do with how you need to approach them. In general when collecting late payments, you need to separate bad payers into two categories - "can't pay" or "won't pay". "Won't" payers deserve no patience, you can throw the book at them.

"Can't" payers are another story and since your client has admitted to "financial problems" they fall into this category. In fact, this is the most alarming part of this situation, the 10 days late isn't all that unusual. In this case you want to ensure that they do eventually pay. A payment plan that you can both agree to and live with is better than not getting paid at all. The fact is, if you sue a client that is unable to pay you still won't get the money - in fact it could bankrupt them and eliminate the chance of ever getting paid.

When encountering a "can't pay" situation it might be advisable to work with them to get payment, get commitments for every step and follow them up. For instance, when they say they are "working on a payment plan", you could agree with them on a couple of days to "work on it" (or to accept your own plan) and then follow up for the result. If they are not ready, get a commitment for a couple more days and follow it up.

Clients that are having "financial problems" have to make choices as to who they are going to pay first. By being firm yet fair your goal is to get to the top of the list.

[Edited at 2011-11-10 14:36 GMT]


 

SPI-Trad
Local time: 13:27
Czech to French
+ ...
Propose your own payment plan Nov 10, 2011

Something similar happened to me last year. I allowed the client to pay me 50% immediately and the rest when possible.
Surprisingly, it worked and I eventually got all my money. They just had a lack of working capital and some late-paying end-clients.
Good luck to you !


 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:27
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yes but... Nov 10, 2011

I always prefer to take one step at a time, ensuring you leave the trump card to the very end. Be firm. Let's say the client IS going through a tight financial patch, they could still have been more communicative with you rather than putting you in a position where you had to send them umpteen reminders. I would stress the importance of communication and prompt agreement on a MUTUALLY acceptable payment plan.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Make your claim for payment official Nov 10, 2011

Firstly I must second everything John says, particularly:
John Fossey wrote:
When encountering a "can't pay" situation it might be advisable to work with them to get payment, get commitments for every step and follow them up. For instance, when they say they are "working on a payment plan", you could agree with them on a couple of days to "work on it" (or to accept your own plan) and then follow up for the result. If they are not ready, get a commitment for a couple more days and follow it up.


If they have real problems, things like threatening negative BB entries are really not going to impress them, nor are demands for instant payment of your invoices. I imagine they may well be receiving hundreds of emails demanding money and just don't have anything they can add to previous replies.

I would do everything you can to discover the situation this company is in. I don't know how things work in either the USA or Israel, but I do know that there is a register of companies in a lot of countries and this is normally accessible online (perhaps not free, though). People who posted the other BB entries may be able to help.

Then I think it would be helpful to post a specific BB entry - not that this company is **** but that this company is experiencing temporary problems. When you have been paid in full you can update it.

But perhaps the most important thing is to make a formal request for payment. Of course, that is what your invoice was, but you need to make another now, regarding your overdue invoice. This should be sent the old-fashioned way to their head office, by registered mail so they have to sign for it - this provides you with an audit trail.

Lastly, as John said, it's far better to accept a payment plan than to hold out for full immediate payment. If they really deserved their good BB record until now, they might well survive this hiccup and be a very good future client. On the other hand, if they fold you will be lucky to get anything at all.

Good luck.

Sheila


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates Nov 10, 2011

Also, I think that you would attract better clients if you would at least triple the rates on your profile.

.09 to .15 is a much better range for Arabic than .03 to .05.

Why do five times the work for .03 when there are clients and agencies paying .15 - .25 a word (and that pay on time and treat their translators with respect)?

[Edited at 2011-11-10 18:40 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:27
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Respect Nov 10, 2011

Jeff Whittaker wrote:


Why do five times the work for .03 when there are clients and agencies paying .15 - .25 a word (and that pay on time and treat their translators with respect)?

[Edited at 2011-11-10 18:40 GMT]


Respect and an ongoing communication are the key points of any good business relationship.

As I have mentioned in more than one case, if a client is in a "can't pay" situation they should inform the translator and leave the decision up to her/him (communication). As has been stated by our colleagues, payment problems of an agency should not become our problem after both parties have entered into a legal agreement.

However, when an agency doesn't pay on time and all communication dies the moment an invoice becomes due, and then, after an X-number of reminders, claims that they can't pay you because their (end) client hasn't pay them, but you happen to know this client (e. g. a certain company has been, let's say, your Internet provider for decades and has even paid you for the time the Internet didn't work) and have, therefore, well-grounded doubts about the truthfulness of such a claim, then the matter takes on a different shine (respect).


 
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