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It may sound like a joke but is not funny at all
Thread poster: Helena Grahn

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:31
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Mar 8, 2012

Lately, there have been so many issues with payment, it is unbelievable. Every time for a different reason. I do not give up and try to find out why payment has not been made even if I have to speak with every single person at the agency.

Now, read this....

- Today I found out I still haven't received payment for a translation delivered in Dec. because their payroll dept was not being able to match my name with the projects. They seemingly have another translator with a very similar name to mine (Grant, so she told me) and, as they could not match the PO no with her, they simply left it unpaid. Ha ha ha!

- Yesterday I complained to an agency with regard to an unpaid invoice from January, I believe and had to be very pushy, as it was not my first phone call about the subject. I was eventually informed that it was an error from their side, as they had tried to make the bank wire transfer but it was unsuccessful. Now, here comes the best part, they never tried it again because by mistake they had ticked off my invoice as being paid.

- An agency in Italy has not paid me for a large project delivered in December. I complained inumerous times both by email and on the phone. They always answered trying to reassure me that it will undoubtfully be paid. It is just a matter of their customer going through some financial difficulties but either way, they will pay me the money, eg even if the client does not pay them. In my last email, I asked them when they think they will be able to pay me then and if they will pay me either way, why not do it now? They can always receive payment from their client later on. Do you think I got any answer? No, I am growing a beard. So I posted it in the blueboard to warn other translators about it. I am actually not the only one who did it. When they saw that, they wrote me an email saying they were so disappointed with me. You see, they want to continue doing this to people for as long as they like.

[Edited at 2012-03-08 18:06 GMT]


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:31
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
I sympathise with you but... Mar 8, 2012

... by the looks of it, this situation calls for a shift in your customer base towards a larger number of direct clients/reliable payers. Don't waste your time and energy on these suckers anymore.

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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Do not fall into the trap Mar 8, 2012

Helena Grahn wrote:

- An agency in Italy has not paid me for a large project delivered in December. I complained inumerous times both by email and on the phone. They always answered trying to reassure me that it will undoubtfully be paid. It is just a matter of their customer going through some financial difficulties but either way, they will pay me the money, eg even if the client does not pay them. In my last email, I asked them when they think they will be able to pay me then and if they will pay me either way, why not do it now? They can always receive payment from their client later on. Do you think I got any answer? No, I am growing a beard. So I posted it in the blueboard to warn other translators about it. I am actually not the only one who did it. When they saw that, they wrote me an email saying they were so disappointed with me. You see, they want to continue doing this to people for as long as they like.



that the customer did not pay the agency, it's none of your business! That is an old trick, but you have agreed the payment terms with the agency and not with their customer, didn't you?

Be firm and ask to be paid immediately, whether the end customer has paid or not.

You can also claim interest for late payment. The European directives allow you to charge interest if the payment is overdue. If there hasn't been agreed any payment term, it's 30 days by default.

Good luck!

[Bearbeitet am 2012-03-08 19:27 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Drop the agency who won't pay until... Mar 8, 2012

I agree with Christel that agencies who try to make your payment dependent on their client's payment have to be told very firmly that it doesn't work that way. There is no way a supplier will accept the business risk associated with the end client's payment (or not).

However, the other two seem to me to be down to human error mixed with a certain amount of (human) incompetence and laziness. In all likelihood, a well-timed phone call or email would sort out the problem pronto and it would be all smiles and you could keep working together for mutual profit. Don't you think so?

Sheila


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Steve Booth  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:31
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
+ ...
terms Mar 8, 2012

Christel Zipfel wrote:


that the customer did not pay the agency, it's none of your business! That is an old trick, but you have agreed the payment terms with the agency and not with their customer, didn't you?

Be firm and ask to be paid immediately, whether the end customer has paid or not.

You can also claim interest for late payment. The European directives allow you to charge interest if the payment is overdue. If there hasn't been agreed any payment term, it's 30 days by default.

Good luck!

[Bearbeitet am 2012-03-08 19:27 GMT]


What happens if i state payment is 30 day terms and the agency say their terms are 60 days end of month the invoice was submitted. (so if i submit on 1 of the month it is paid 60 days from the end of that month

when is it taken that i have accepted their terms? or they have accepted mine?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Wait for acceptance Mar 8, 2012

Steve Booth wrote:
What happens if i state payment is 30 day terms and the agency say their terms are 60 days end of month the invoice was submitted. (so if i submit on 1 of the month it is paid 60 days from the end of that month

when is it taken that i have accepted their terms? or they have accepted mine?


You shouldn't be starting work until terms are agreed. Whether they are yours or theirs doesn't matter (not that I'd be happy waiting for months) but how can you start work when you don't know when, how, how much and by whom you will be paid?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:31
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Who sets the terms? Mar 8, 2012

Steve Booth wrote:
What happens if i state payment is 30 day terms and the agency say their terms are 60 days end of month the invoice was submitted. (so if i submit on 1 of the month it is paid 60 days from the end of that month

when is it taken that i have accepted their terms? or they have accepted mine?


A translation has several dimensions: language pair, subject area, input files, output files, etc. One of these dimensions is TIME. If the client may set the time they want it delivered, in all fairness, the translator should be entitled to set the time they want to get paid, right? (... and COD is one of the options)

Go to any business, and ask what are their payment terms. They'll tell you. If they accept credit cards, you'll be paid when you should, and the transaction will remain between your client and the card company. If it's a department store, an auto dealer, etc. and you are not willing to match that establishment's standard payment term, they'll route you to someone there who is not their employee, but a representative from a financial institution, able to meet the store's standard term, and lend you that amount, charging interest on it, of course, and demanding some guarantee, perhaps a lien on the car you are about to buy.

Why do translators bow, and lend that money interest-free, without any kind of guarantee, to translation agencies?


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Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:31
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
let us be more objective, shall we Mar 8, 2012

Agency number two sent me the payment today very apologetically. Agency no 1 will be paying me next week. My main concern is agency no 3. If I knew how, I'd take action. It does not help being firm when you cannot take legal action. As far as I know I'd need a solicitor and then it is when I start wondering if that would be worth awhile. Also with a solicitor, things may get complicated between two countries.

[Edited at 2012-03-08 20:38 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
European small claims court? Mar 8, 2012

Helena Grahn wrote:
It does not help being firm when you cannot take legal action. As far as I know I'd need a solicitor and then it is when I start wondering if that would be worth awhile. Also with a solicitor, things may get complicated between two countries.


I would imagine this would be covered by the SCC. I have heard that it's not always effective (it's been discussed several times here on ProZ.com) but it is a simple if lengthy process and just the mention of it could produce payment.

Sheila


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Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:31
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
scc Mar 8, 2012

What does it stand for? Never heard of it and need more info so I can look into it. Thanks!

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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
An agreement implies the consensus of both parties Mar 8, 2012

Steve Booth wrote:

What happens if i state payment is 30 day terms and the agency say their terms are 60 days end of month the invoice was submitted. (so if i submit on 1 of the month it is paid 60 days from the end of that month

when is it taken that i have accepted their terms? or they have accepted mine?


As simple as that. Of course, an agreement should be ideally made BEFORE you send the invoice, i.e. when you negotiate the rate, the delivery and so on. Afterwards, it becomes a bit difficult:-)


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:31
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Small Claims Court Mar 8, 2012

Helena Grahn wrote:

What does it stand for? Never heard of it and need more info so I can look into it. Thanks!


See the headline of Sheila's post and

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/protection_of_consumers/l16028_en.htm
http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/AboutUs/UsefulForms/SmallClaims/Pages/SmallClaims.aspx

EDIT: I've just noticed that the above link applies specifically to Northern Ireland. See also
http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/european-union-cross-border-claims
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1083487199&type=RESOURCES

[Edited at 2012-03-08 21:16 GMT]


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Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:31
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
cheers, walter Mar 8, 2012

I have eyed through the info and it sounds a very good idea. I will write to them first and give them two weeks to pay otherwise I will start the proceedings. I do not think they will like that. I have saved all their emails with promises of payment and also have my translations saved in my hard drive.

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Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:31
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ah but this is just too much Mar 13, 2012

Reading through the links you provided me with, it says that both the EOP and the SCC cannot be applied in case of bankrupcy and insolvency. I knew already you cannot sue someone in bankrupcy but insolvency???? That is just too much. Does it mean an agency with financial problems can be here at proz.com approaching translators without being able to pay them and they cannot be sued?

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