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How many years later can one request payment on an unpaid invoice??
Thread poster: zosia

zosia  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:48
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Feb 21, 2012

I completed a translation for a direct client in 2006, sent an invoice, and just recently realized I never received payment for the job. Can I still write to them requesting payment, or is it too late? Does anyone know what the statute of limitations is? Thanks!

 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:48
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Country of client Feb 21, 2012

Which country was/is your client based in?
(The statute of limitations may vary from country to country.)


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
How big is the amount? Feb 21, 2012

I think you probably want to forget about it, depending on the amount. If it is under Eur 50 I would forget about it and carry on with my life.

(Just my personal opinion!)


 

Ann Marie B  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 11:48
Member (2010)
German to English
+ ...
Exactly the same thing Feb 21, 2012

Exactly the same thing happened to me - I did the job in July 2004, noticed in July 2006 that I hadn't got paid. Amount was around EUR 400.00 I think. Client was based in the Netherlands. I got my money (after a small struggle!). I would definitely request payment anyway.

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:48
Chinese to English
Statute of limitations is irrelevant Feb 21, 2012

if the client is ethical and reasonable. Why worry about your legal rights, when you're right? A polite email, apologising for the delay and giving them all the information they need to find their records and pay you, might just do the trick.

 

xxxwonita
China
Local time: 06:48
Have faith in mankind Feb 21, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:

if the client is ethical and reasonable. Why worry about your legal rights, when you're right? A polite email, apologising for the delay and giving them all the information they need to find their records and pay you, might just do the trick.

Most clients, like most people, are honest and reliable, why should they deny to pay?

We are talking too much about non-payment cases, which are only exceptions in reality.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:48
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Off-topic: payment management Feb 21, 2012

I really recommend TO3000 to avoid these slips.

I started using it a couple of years ago because I was worrying that I might not be invoicing all my jobs! When I had a very busy day and was asked to fit in, say, 300 words, I just used to do it and write it down later. Sometimes I would only remember to add it to my job list a couple of days later.

So now I am very methodical and don't start a job until I've entered it in TO3000. The same goes for payments. There is a new version (TO3000 10.0) that came out last week, which even has a "mark as paid" button for invoices.

You'll never make that mistake again!


 

zosia  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:48
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, everyone! Feb 21, 2012

Dear colleagues,

Thank you all for your replies. I think I will start out by doing as you suggested, Phil and Bin, and try to have faith in mankind. It was not a small assignment; if it were, I would not bother posting or trying to send a reminder. I would be too ashamed of my poor accounting and invoice tracking skills!!icon_smile.gif

It was for over $3,000. The country of the client is Norway, and the client is the Bank of Norway. So, I would think they would honor my request, but, then again, they may be very on top of the legal aspects in terms of the statute of limitations, and have very strict guidelines to follow when it comes to things like this. But it's great to have the opinions of other colleagues on what you would do in a situation like this.

I am very curious to look into TO3000 - I've not heard of this before.

If anyone else has a good system for tracking assignments and invoices, I'd love to hear about it, because although this case is extreme, it's not the first time it's happened to me. I wish I could say I'm wealthy enough to work pro bono, but this really isn't the case!

Thanks again!

Zofia


 
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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Go for it! Feb 21, 2012

Frederic Lecocq & Zofia Wyszynski wrote:
It was for over $3,000. The country of the client is Norway, and the client is the Bank of Norway.

Then go for it! The amount is worth the effort.

You might want to declare that an internal audit you are carrying out spotted this pending asset. They must surely have this somewhere in their liabilities, and I see no reason why they would not be willing to pay swiftly.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:48
French to English
+ ...
Try... Feb 21, 2012

If you *invoiced* them, then I don't think they have a reason not to pay in principle.

If you forgot to invoice them, then I would tread a little more politely. I'm fairly certain there are restrictions on how long an "account can be in credit" before the credit is effectively cancelled, and there might be a legal reason for saying that that's effectively the situation you have here.

But, I think you have a chance if you offer them favourable terms -- e.g. offer them a 20% discount and a very generous payment period. It is slightly surprising that checks/audits at their end didn't flag this up, so maybe mentioning that it's part of an audit at your end might help.


 

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:48
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
* Feb 21, 2012

Frederic Lecocq & Zofia Wyszynski wrote:

I completed a translation for a direct client in 2006, sent an invoice, and just recently realized I never received payment for the job. Can I still write to them requesting payment, or is it too late? Does anyone know what the statute of limitations is? Thanks!


I think this may slightly differ from country to country.

In Ukraine it's 3 years. But. If the obligator admits the debt it may be absolutely any term.


 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:48
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
If Feb 22, 2012

If you invoiced them at the time, then you would be entitled to payment. Unfortunately it will be more difficult to get payment years later, than if you had pursued it at the time. Hopefully you have a detailed purchase order and have kept all the evidence of the job.

[Edited at 2012-02-22 00:05 GMT]


 

Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:48
English to Dutch
+ ...
Lesson Feb 22, 2012

This should teach you a lesson: make sure you pay attention to your payments. You didn't - and that's your fault. I find it a tad unethical to go after your money after such a long time. Several years! To me, that's not really acceptable, even IF the client should have paid you without encouragement.
Consider this your punishment for your negligence, and make sure it doesn't happen again.


 
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