Problem of non-payment from a 'colleague'
Thread poster: Helene Greffard

Helene Greffard  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:29
English to French
Sep 1, 2004

Hi there,

Back in June, a fellow translator approached me after reading a post I had put on a website to advertise my services. She asked me if I would be interested in doing some of her work since she couldn't cope with her current workload. We agreed on a rate and I did a few translations for her. As agreed, I sent her a global invoice for £138 for the work done on 06/07.
I had been careful to ask for her full name and all her contact details. She only provided me with a UK mobile number, her full name and two email addresses. Since at the time I felt bad coming back to her again and asking for a postal address, I let it go. Moreover, she seemed to be extremely serious and professional.
The situation today is that the invoice hasn't been paid, I sent her several emails that have never been anwsered, I tried to contact her directly but the mobile phone is always switched off, I've been trying to find her profile on various translation-related websites, but nothing.

I was probably very naïve working with her not knowing who she was exactly, and I'm now paying the price. Strangely, at the back of my mind, I'm also thinking that it might all be a misunderstanding, that she might be on holidays and will get back to me when she's back (huh...), but I strongly doubt it.
Any advice for a young naïve translator??

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:29
English to German
+ ...
Contact the Jobs moderators Sep 1, 2004

Hi Helene,
Can you please contact me through my profile, indicating the details of this colleague?

TIA, Ralf

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James Calder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Keep trying Sep 1, 2004

Hi Helene,

As you don't have an address all you can really do is keep trying to contact her. Fortunately for you it's only a relatively small amount although when a fellow translator has benefitted from your hard work it's annoying, no matter how small the amount they owe you. My advice would be to never take anything at face value, either in this business or in any other. An agency or freelancer may seem reliable and professional, they may have a fantastic website or xx years of experience but it's no guarantee they'll pay you.
If you're in a similar situation in the future don't feel bad about pressing someone for more information or even a purchase order. If they're unwilling to provide you with what you ask then it's very simple - just walk away. There is plenty of work around and plenty of reliable people who do pay.
By the way, you should also ask for a VAT number in the future. You can check if it's valid or not at this address:
Good luck.

James Calder

[Edited at 2004-09-01 14:45]

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:29
Flemish to English
+ ...
VAT-Treshold Sep 2, 2004

In the UK, there is a VAT-treshold if you earn less than £52,000 per annum. You may register for VAT, but you do not have to.

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