Chasing payment in Hong Kong?
Thread poster: Carolin Haase

Carolin Haase  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:44
English to German
+ ...
Dec 17, 2011

Hi everyone,

I am part of a group of translators working for an online storage service. They also have online blogs about different topics that are to be translated into different languages.
When we started working for them last year they promised to pay once a month (that was the deal) and this really happened a couple of times. But then payment became more and more infrequent, communication with the person responsible is a thing of the past and now they haven't paid since early October.

Some of my colleagues are owed thousands.

E-mailing, reasoning with them, all to no avail. Hardly any response at all.
And we know that they are still in business, the company has produced a music video starring P. Diddy, etc. so money can't be so scarce.

I am really annoyed and dissapointed, especially at their utter lack of respect for us translators.

Has anyone any idea on how to chase payment in Hong Kong? Has anyone ever done this before?

Carolin


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hong Kong... No Kong Dec 17, 2011

Carolin Haase wrote:
Some of my colleagues are owed thousands.
...
I am really annoyed and dissapointed, especially at their utter lack of respect for us translators.

I'm affraid I cannot help in the question you ask. However I must say that my scarce dealings with Hong Kong companies did not go quite OK either. I stopped working for Hong Kong companies completely, and that was when they were still "the UK". I don't want to think how the situation must have worsened since they are part of China.

I just wanted to say that it was probably risky to keep working for a company that does not pay regularly and is difficult communicate with. It would have been a lot safer for you and your colleagues to stop working for them completely when they started to pay late and disregard communications, since those two signs are enough to assume that bigger trouble was coming up, as it finally happened.

I really hope you find a solution!


 

XX789 (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:44
English to Dutch
+ ...
Impossible Dec 17, 2011

The only way to get your money there is by having a *local* representative of your company at court. That means that you need to fly there yourself or need to make someone from Hong Kong your CEO.

As these demands are absolutely ridiculous for the amounts of money we need to chase for (note that these are the demands for the Small Claims Court!), I've stopped doing business with Hong Kong altogether. The country and therefore its inhabitants can't be trusted.


 

Dagmar Gove  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:44
English to German
Good luck!! Dec 17, 2011

Good morning Carolin,

As you know, I was working for this company from November 2010 until June 2012.

I sent some friendly reminders - no reaction. When I sent a not so friendly reminder I received my notice...... Quote:

"Why are you so demanding? The next payment would be scheduled soon. It is very evident that we are paying our translators regularly, but it seems that you don’t trust us and therefore we don’t like to continue to work with you any anymore. And yes you will still get paid for your work that was done so far, but at our time and not at your time!"

I did receive all outstanding invoices in full afterwards.

I really feel for you and the other colleagues. Good luck!!!

Dagmar


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great! Dec 17, 2011

Vixana wrote:
"Why are you so demanding? The next payment would be scheduled soon. It is very evident that we are paying our translators regularly, but it seems that you don’t trust us and therefore we don’t like to continue to work with you any anymore. And yes you will still get paid for your work that was done so far, but at our time and not at your time!"

Fantastic result. You got paid and got rid of them! Perfect. Sometimes a harsh message does wonders.

I wonder however whether it would make sense for you to add a Blueboard about this firm, reflecting their lack of reliability as a business partner. A low Blueboard score is more than enough, and you do not need to add a comment. It would help others not to fall in their trap.


 

Jing Nie
China
Local time: 19:44
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
You are so lucky Dec 17, 2011

Vixana wrote:

Good morning Carolin,

As you know, I was working for this company from November 2010 until June 2012.

I sent some friendly reminders - no reaction. When I sent a not so friendly reminder I received my notice...... Quote:

"Why are you so demanding? The next payment would be scheduled soon. It is very evident that we are paying our translators regularly, but it seems that you don’t trust us and therefore we don’t like to continue to work with you any anymore. And yes you will still get paid for your work that was done so far, but at our time and not at your time!"

I did receive all outstanding invoices in full afterwards.

I really feel for you and the other colleagues. Good luck!!!

Dagmar


Most of translators are cheated and get no money , including me. I have cooperated wtih a very big Company in Shanghai. The headguarter of this company is in Germany , and this company have branches all over the world. It is one of the 500 biggest company in the world, so I trust them at first. This company is my direct client. I worked for them for about 10 projects. At first, they paid , but usually after 3 months. But only after a few projects. They never paid anymore, when I called them , they would say " I 'll check with the account department" , but each time I got the same answer"I 'll check with account department".
And I never get my money back, they owned about 1800 USD.

So be more careful in future, in the past 8 years, I have been cheated about 7-8 times and lost about 4000 USD in total.

My suggestion is :
1. Be more careful for clients from certain countries, including my country.
2. If they are delay in pay, push them , do not be afraid you will lost payment, maybe you will lost more if you continue work for them.
3. Escrow is necessary for some clients, for some clients , you may consider Ebay 's escrow function.


BTW, I never worked for any HK agenies now, their quality demand is even more strict than my America client, but they are only willing to pay me one third of my Americal client.





[修改时间: 2011-12-17 14:35 GMT]


 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:44
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
You got paid. Horray! Dec 17, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Vixana wrote:
"Why are you so demanding? The next payment would be scheduled soon. It is very evident that we are paying our translators regularly, but it seems that you don’t trust us and therefore we don’t like to continue to work with you any anymore. And yes you will still get paid for your work that was done so far, but at our time and not at your time!"

Fantastic result. You got paid and got rid of them! Perfect. Sometimes a harsh message does wonders.


I second that. You got paid and got rid of them. You should be ecstatic.

And do clue us in on the Blue Board, please.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:44
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What about the German Consulate in Hong Kong? Dec 18, 2011

German Consulate in Hong Kong, China
Address: 181 Yongfu Road, Shanghai 200031
City: Hong Kong (Standard time zone:UTC/GMT +8 hours)
Tel.: +86-21 3401 0106
Fax: +86-21 6471 4448

Good luck!


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 12:44
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
What about hiring a Hong-Kong lawyer? Dec 18, 2011

As the amount owed to you and your colleagues is quite high, basic legal costs could be acceptable. Maybe a letter from the lawyer, warning about legal consequences of non-payment, would be sufficient. I have personal experience (within EU) with long-delayed payment fully settled one day before scheduled legal proceedings in the matter.

But in your case, it would be advisable to wait till the end of the year, maybe the company will want to settle all unsettled payables in order of tax base reduction.

Carolin Haase wrote:

Hi everyone,

I am part of a group of translators working for an online storage service. They also have online blogs about different topics that are to be translated into different languages.
When we started working for them last year they promised to pay once a month (that was the deal) and this really happened a couple of times. But then payment became more and more infrequent, communication with the person responsible is a thing of the past and now they haven't paid since early October.

Some of my colleagues are owed thousands.

E-mailing, reasoning with them, all to no avail. Hardly any response at all.
And we know that they are still in business, the company has produced a music video starring P. Diddy, etc. so money can't be so scarce.

I am really annoyed and dissapointed, especially at their utter lack of respect for us translators.

Has anyone any idea on how to chase payment in Hong Kong? Has anyone ever done this before?

Carolin


 

Jing Nie
China
Local time: 19:44
Member (2011)
English to Chinese
+ ...
The address is in shanghai, not Hongkong. Dec 20, 2011

Teresa Borges wrote:

German Consulate in Hong Kong, China
Address: 181 Yongfu Road, Shanghai 200031
City: Hong Kong (Standard time zone:UTC/GMT +8 hours)
Tel.: +86-21 3401 0106
Fax: +86-21 6471 4448

Good luck!


 

nadwahpress
Hong Kong
Local time: 19:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
almost same problem now Feb 1, 2012

i live in hong kong but i'm not chinese. i'm willing to help you chase that company, at least by calling them and getting a definite answer from them when they can pay you. i'm in the same situation as you now. i translated a catalogue for a british guy who has a company in the uk. but after i finished the translation he said he was waiting for some funds to come in to pay me! i felt very surprised because if he has no money to pay me, why he asked me to translate such a big catalogue?! i called his other office in hk, no reply. i called his mobile and no reply either. only when i hid my number did he reply and said he would pay me next week. but maybe next week he will be gone out of hong kong already!!! of course i'll sue him in the small claims tribunal, but such a headache and a waste of time! so, i know your situation and i think you should threaten that company that you will sue them. if they don't reply, email me their telephone number and the person i should talk to. i'll call them and maybe threaten them, too, that you will sue them in the court. yes, we need to be patient but there is a time we need to be tough and fight for it. my email is nadwahpress@yahoo.com.

 

Anna ZANNELLA
Italy
Local time: 12:44
Italian to English
Yep Mar 11, 2013

I've just come to this forum post wondering how on earth you sue for non-payment in Chinese Hong Kong.

Its amazing how companies who mess you aroud all act the same. Im currently having to chase a HK company for an agreed target word count???? so that I can invoice them, 2 weeks after the work was finished. This has got to be the first excuse of this kind.

I initially didnt bother to check the company out as they have mostly 5s on the Blue Board (no surprise there - I think I'll use this as a reverse referral in future). I was contacted through Proz.com by them.

I now find that they are a wood flooring company, probably a husband and wife team, where the wife runs a side translation service (with no webpage), including for languages which they, the owners, dont speak. (They also do not appear to be staffed to handle projects in other languages, ... but they do.)

I guess the Italian consulate in HK is next.


 


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