Non-payment of invoice - feedback needed
Thread poster: James Greenfield

James Greenfield  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
French to English
+ ...
Mar 14, 2013

I did a translation in November for which I am yet to receive payment. I have received numerous promises that a check will be sent to me but to date there have been none forthcoming. I am unsure what to do, I cannot afford to pursue this through the small claims courts, I cannot afford the legal costs. All I can do is carry on emailing and phoning the owner of the translation agency and hope he pays me eventually. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, James

 

Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:23
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Please post your experience to the Blue Board Mar 14, 2013

Please find the Blue Board record for the outsourcer who hired you and enter your LWA (Likelihood to Work Again), along with a non-payment complaint. If you do not find a Blue Board record for the person or business in question, please create a new Blue Board record here: http://www.proz.com/blueboard/?sp_mode=add

Note that all profiles on ProZ.com can create BB records and make entries to them, whether or not they are paying members.


 

Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
Member (2003)
French to English
Court fees Mar 14, 2013

James, when you say legal costs, do you mean the court fees or are you thinking you would need to use a lawyer? You can make a claim online yourself and the court fees are proportional to the amount of the claim - see here for details: http://hmctscourtfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/ex050-eng.pdf

I don't know how much your claim would be for, but the fee for claims between £500 and £1000, for example, would be £60 if you claim online, so I would have thought it's worth a go. It's possible to get full or partial remission of fees if you're eligible – see http://hmctscourtfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/ex160a-eng.pdf

Good luck, anyway.

Karen

[Edited at 2013-03-14 19:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-03-14 19:23 GMT]


 

James Greenfield  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for the info Mar 14, 2013

thanks for that, in my case I'm owed £190 so the court fee would just be £25. I'm still reluctant to go down this route so am going to say to owner of the translation agency that I am prepared to go down that route and hope that makes him pay. I wouldn't need a lawyer, thanks for your advice.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:23
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Another route... Mar 14, 2013

http://001yourtranslationservice.com/translating/Payment-Reputation-of-Translation-Agencies.html

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Your costs will be paid, hopefully Mar 14, 2013

James Greenfield wrote:
thanks for that, in my case I'm owed £190 so the court fee would just be £25. I'm still reluctant to go down this route

I'm assuming both you and the client are in the UK. I never used the UK SCC, but I used the French one very successfully, and my ex-client had to pay all my costs, plus interest, on top of what he owed me. All I was left with were the small expenses of registered post, phone calls, copying costs etc.

If the UK SCC is run along similar lines, the only things you need to do are
a) make sure the client is refusing to pay, rather than being totally unable to pay - if the company goes into liquidation, the SCC can't help you;
b) make sure you provide the court with all the documentation they need, proving that the client authorised you to start work; you did the work as specified (to deadline etc); there were no justifiable complaints about quality; you duly sent the invoices and sent reminders as required by law, but payment hasn't been received in due time.

Good luck!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"He's bullfighting you" Mar 14, 2013

(Please allow me the Spanish idiom in the title. Means he's luring you towards the red cloth all the time but you just can't manage to catch him.)

To me the answer is clear: this person simply does not want to pay. A couple hundred quid is not such a sum of money that would prevent anyone from paying up.

The colleague's suggestion about a bad score in the Blueboard fits this situation perfectly. This way you will help others not fall into the same situation.


 

Sarah Kasperek  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:23
German to English
+ ...
Limits? Mar 15, 2013

For some companies I've worked for, they won't send a check until you reach a certain amount. I'm assuming it's not the case with this company, since you mention they've promised to send the check -- but it may be worth taking a second look.

Otherwise, definitely post on the BB. And good luck if you do decide to take legal action!!


 

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:23
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Take it in steps and be patient Mar 15, 2013

Hi James,
I encourage people who are reluctant to pay like this:
- polite mail asking for payment, another next month
- mail saying as I haven't received payment I will have to post negative feedback on the Blue Board,
- most likely get paid after that but if not, another mail saying "leaving negative feedback" if payment hasn't been received by (date) end of next week
- if I still haven't been paid I leave negative feedback
- if no still no dice, same as above but with "taking legal action" instead of "leaving negative feedback" in all the above steps, giving the offender time to think about the possible consequences.

At every stage of this game it's important to keep your cool, don't insult or threaten the offender, etc. as this just makes them feel like a victim, justified in their silly ways.
I'd play this game for about 6 months - 1 year before even considering legal action.

Actually taking legal action will only work if you have documented proof you are owed money and the offender has funds to pay their debts. You can win a court case but not be able to collect if there's no dosh to be had. This leaves you out of pocket for the legal costs too.

Good luck


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Time limits set by the courts Mar 15, 2013

Jo Macdonald wrote:
I'd play this game for about 6 months - 1 year before even considering legal action.

I agree with you ways of escalating the matter, but I think it has to be done quicker. When I sued in France, there was a 6-month time limit. You were supposed to have gone through all the steps in that time. I imagine the courts thought you were a time-waster if you'd waited longer.

You can win a court case but not be able to collect if there's no dosh to be had. This leaves you out of pocket for the legal costs too.

That's why the first step always has to be a check on the company's solvency (which may cost a few euro), just before turning to the court. If you get in there a moment before they declare their problems, you're normally covered. After is, as you say, a waste of money. All you can do is officially record your debt with the receiver and hope, but you'll likely get zero.


 

clairemcn
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
French to English
+ ...
Reaching a certain amount Mar 15, 2013

sarahmk wrote:

For some companies I've worked for, they won't send a check until you reach a certain amount. I'm assuming it's not the case with this company, since you mention they've promised to send the check -- but it may be worth taking a second look.

Otherwise, definitely post on the BB. And good luck if you do decide to take legal action!!


I've heard of that happening - is that even legal? What's to stop agencies telling you they'll pay when you reach a certain amount and then not sending you anything else?


 

kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
English
+ ...
If all else fails... Mar 15, 2013

..take another job from them and when the deadline passes, refuse to deliver it until you have received payment for both it and the outstanding sum.

It's a bit drastic, and not something I would normally recommend, but it does get results. I've had to resort to doing that with two clients in nine years. I still work for both of them now, but they have learnt to pay me on time.


 

Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
German to English
Are you being too polite? Mar 15, 2013

Your phrase "carry on emailing and phoning" caught my eye. As Jo says, after polite communication has failed, it's time to at least sound a bit tougher. At the very least, send another copy of the invoice marked in red at the top with something like "Final demand - this invoice is overdue for payment" and stating that you will be taking further action if payment is not received within 7 days (whether you actually intend to take further action, or what form that might take, is irrelevant - the point is that you need to sound tough: the recipient won't know what you actually will or won't do).

 

James Greenfield  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
encouraging news Mar 15, 2013

well I sent a strongly worded email and I have been asked to send an invoice directly to the owner of the translation agency. Non-payment has been blamed on the book keeper so he is going to personally take responsiblity for payment. I will wait to see if this yet another false promise, at the end of the month if I still haven't received the money I will enlist the services of a debt collection agency. Many thanks for all your helpful replies.

 


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