Are 45 days EOM payment terms legal in France??
Thread poster: Jenny Duthie

Jenny Duthie  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:41
French to English
Nov 25, 2011

Hello, just had a rather unpleasant conversation with a PM from a French agency I shall not name, he was quite aggressive because I've turned down a job due to their poor payment history here on Proz Blue Board. They are linked to another agency who I'm chasing payment for, both companies share the same accounting dept. He told me that their 45 days end of month payment terms are legal in France, I told him all my other French clients (other translation agencies) pay after 30 days date of invoice. Does anyone have more information about the law stating whether (or not) payment terms of 45 days EOM are actaully legal in France, because I can't find anything about this. If these terms are illegal then I'd like to let him know.

 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:41
English to French
+ ...
Yes Nov 25, 2011

90 days are not illegal in France.

Reminder: you need a CONTRACT with your customer. If you don't like the terms, either negotiate or walk away.


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Flemish to English
+ ...
No Nov 25, 2011

No. The late payments directive of the E.U. (look for it on these forums), which stipulates 30 days, has been implemented into French law long ago.

 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:41
French to English
Essentially, yes. Nov 25, 2011

http://www.economie.gouv.fr/dgccrf/Les-delais-de-paiement

60 days from invoice date OR 45 days EOM is my understanding

"Ce choix de point de départ ne doit néanmoins pas conduire à un délai final supérieur à 60 jours calendaires ou 45 jours fin de mois à compter de la date d'émission de la facture."


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Flemish to English
+ ...
Here we go again.. Nov 25, 2011

The new directive. A reference to the old directive, which still applies, also in France can be found in the old one.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:048:0001:0010:EN:PDF

I am not going to copy the text again which clearly says 30 days (unless otherwise agreed-it is up to you to stand up for your rights), after which you are entitled to charge the interest rate of the ECB.


 

Simon Mountifield  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:41
French to English
Wise decision Nov 25, 2011

I know exactly which agency you are referring to, and regardless of the payment terms that they were offering, I think it was a wise decision to turn them down, based on their growing inability to pay on time (as you say, they all share the same accounting department). I can assure you that you are not the only one chasing payment and on the verge of taking legal action!

Most of my customers pay 45 days EOM and they always pay on time, so I don't really have a problem with that. As long as I know that there's not going to be any problem with payment being made on time, 45 days wouldn't bother me, as opposed to an agency that promises 30 days EOM and then constantly needs to be chased up.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
True, but Nov 25, 2011

Williamson wrote:

No. The late payments directive of the E.U. (look for it on these forums), which stipulates 30 days, has been implemented into French law long ago.


They have certainly accepted the EU directive, but this does not make longer payment terms illegal. You can agree to anything with your client. It is only if no mention has been made that the default term is 30 days (not sure if that is 30 net or 30 EOM).

Of course, they can't make you accept 45 days. However, if you agreed to do the job but you didn't state your own terms, and you failed to read their fine print somewhere on the back of their business card, then you are bound by their terms.

Sheila


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:41
French to English
Directive 2011/7 not yet transposed Nov 25, 2011

I believe....?

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/single-market-goods/fighting-late-payments/index_fr.htm

Which I think means the 2008 law is the most recent French domestic legislation which actually counts, and I suspect this is the stance your client is adopting.

And quite frankly, with clients of this kind, it wouldn't actually matter if you got Sarkozy himself to send him a handwritten letter instructing him to pay you within 30 days, he'd still take 45, and wouldn't thank you (or Sarko) for pointing out the error of his ways. So you need to decide to either accept that or not, pragmatically speaking, I would say.


Edit to emphasise this is mainly a response to whether 45 days are legal in France, as asked. Clearly for cross-border contracts, we should be looking to enter into the spirit of the thing, and falling into line with EU Directives. Should.... I imagine like most French agencies, his T&C stipulate the contract is governed by the laws of France, hence the 2008 legislation inter alia.

[Edited at 2011-11-25 16:48 GMT]


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 20:41
English to Russian
+ ...
Nothing is inherently illegal Nov 25, 2011

Directive 2000/35/EC stipulates 30 days from invoice date unless otherwise agreed between the parties. The 30-day term applies only by default, if you don't have it specified in the contract.

Directive 2011/7 does not come into effect until 2013.

[Edited at 2011-11-25 23:36 GMT]


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Flemish to English
+ ...
Why accept 45 days-60 days? Nov 26, 2011

Anton Konashenok wrote:

Directive 2000/35/EC stipulates 30 days from invoice date unless otherwise agreed between the parties. The 30-day term applies only by default, if you don't have it specified in the contract.

Directive 2011/7 does not come into effect until 2013.

[Edited at 2011-11-25 23:36 GMT]


Why accept 45-60 days? Try to do the same with any utilities provider and you won't be able to translate any more, because your Internet-provider has cut off
Why are we so meek? Why not set up an escrow-account at your bank on which the client puts more or less the estimated value of the translation and pays the rest after the translation has been delivered.



[Edited at 2011-11-26 08:28 GMT]


 

Jenny Duthie  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:41
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all your repllies unfortunately for me their terms are in small print in the PO Nov 26, 2011

I'm refusing to work with them again because they are late payers, unfortunately for me the payment terms 45 days EOM are in small print on their POs, I don't mind these payment terms if an agency pays on time b& is reliable, but a company with long payment terms who is late paying, no way, had my fingers burnt and it won't happen again.

 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:41
French to German
+ ...
There you go, Charlie Nov 26, 2011

Article L441-6
Modifié par LOI n°2010-853 du 23 juillet 2010 - art. 35
(omitted parts)
Sauf dispositions contraires figurant aux conditions de vente ou convenues entre les parties, le délai de règlement des sommes dues est fixé au trentième jour suivant la date de réception des marchandises ou d'exécution de la prestation demandée.

Le délai convenu entre les parties pour régler les sommes dues ne peut dépasser quarante-cinq jours fin de mois ou soixante jours à compter de la date d'émission de la facture.


In other words: unless agreed otherwise by both parties before works commences , the legal payment terms by default are 30 days nett and cannot exceed 45 days EOM or 60 days nett if and only if longer payment terms have been agreed upon beforehand (always by both parties of course).


 

pascie  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:41
English to French
+ ...
Not so fast.... Nov 26, 2011

In response to Charlie, who included an excerpt of said-law.
As a linguist, whose job is primarily to read, process and use any information and words, I am always astonished to see that those wearing this hat, do not make the difference between 'goods' and 'services'.
By definition, the only legal term for payment of services is COD. A very long time ago, I remember the gal from this England-based agency (still in business but with a very bad rating here on the BB) asking me what this acronym stands for??? Ask your plumber, your garagist, or whoever runs a business.
Moreover, these statutes only apply to the situation where one is employed, and it is true, unless proven there is a change, France is maybe the only one country in Europe where employees get paid after 30 days, and not biweekly.
Another fact to consider is that 'Freelancing' is not part of the French culture. In regards with banks, you are employed or not. Is that simple??? Even in the US where it is more common, when you go the bank and say 'I am a business owner', their response would be 'Yes, you are a freelancer'.
Therefore laws are not updated, or to say the least this way of working has not been standardized yet or completely recognized or both.
Nothing will change unless freelancers stand up for their rights and refuse to 'play' the big companies owners when they can't financially sustain it. What I mean is if you don't have a well established office space with a big sign, you should not take the risk of those who do.
Most of translation agencies use this trick, not to be compliant with the laws, but to incurr delay in payments.
You are not generating millions of sales a month, like Carrefour, or other big corporations, to accept these not so legal terms. Another fact to consider is that those using the 60-day period for payment are more interested in having interests running in their bank account than to pay the freelancer.
Keep in mind you are not a credit card company, but if payment is not received within 30 days, then you have the right to occur an interest of 10% or the same interest you are getting from your credit card. As the vendor, you are the one establishing your rates and terms. Not the other way around. But all of this was explained in my book published a few years ago (Translation - A Flawless Career).


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:41
French to German
+ ...
@ pascie Nov 27, 2011

Credit is indeed a privilege and not a right.

 


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