Non payment issue: what are my options?
Thread poster: Livia D'Amore

Livia D'Amore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:22
Member (2009)
German to Italian
+ ...
Apr 12, 2013

Hi you all,
I was wondering if anyone can help me. I made a translation for a colleague abroad some times ago, I sent the relative invoice, but now it seems that I will not be paid for it.
I knew that I took a risk, because of the distance between our two countries, however as I tend to trust in people, I accepted and did the work.
I wrote a lot of mails to that person, but I still get no answer.
Is there anything I can do?
Thank you for your suggestions.


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Helen Li  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 13:22
English to Chinese
+ ...
call the project manager Apr 12, 2013

Livia D'Amore wrote:

Hi you all,
I was wondering if anyone can help me. I made a translation for a colleague abroad some times ago, I sent the relative invoice, but now it seems that I will not be paid for it.
I knew that I took a risk, because of the distance between our two countries, however as I tend to trust in people, I accepted and did the work.
I wrote a lot of mails to that person, but I still get no answer.
Is there anything I can do?
Thank you for your suggestions.


If you know the phone number of that person, call him/her and chase for the payment.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some ideas Apr 12, 2013

Livia D'Amore wrote:
I wrote a lot of mails to that person, but I still get no answer. Is there anything I can do?


Well, the first thing I would do is to make sure that I have all the latest contact details of that person. It could be that they are ignoring you, but it could also be that they don't get your e-mails anymore. Do you have a phone number for them? Can you phone them? Are they a member of some translator association that you can complain to?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:22
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Don't give up yet, Livia Apr 12, 2013

It would really help to have more information here as how to go about these things depends a lot on the actual circumstances.

Which country are you talking about? If you're both in EU countries there shouldn't be much more trouble collecting the debt than in your own country. People often think it's riskier but my own experience is that unpaid invoices anywhere outside your own neighbourhood can be tricky to deal with. I've not had more problems with clients in other countries personally, though it did take a long time for a perfectly honest Middle Eastern client to find a way round US sanctions.

How much is the debt for (approximately)? The procedure for a 5000€ debt can involve lawyers etc, whereas that wouldn't be viable for a 100€ debt.

Do you have all the normal paperwork? Do you have proof that there was final agreement for you to proceed with the translation? Did the client acknowledge receipt of the work? If you have a full trail of proof then perhaps the EU Small Claims Court can help (if you're both in the EU).

As Samuel says, make sure you do absolutely everything to get in touch with this client. You don't want to pay for any sort of debt recovery until you've exhausted all your own attempts. I did have one client a few years ago who responded immediately when I found a different email address, and apologised profusely for having both changed email addresses and forgotten the payment.

If you've got to the stage where this person is ignoring all emails and refusing to speak on the telephone, then I would advise sending a formally-worded registered letter to their postal address, restating all the details, including how they should pay and giving them a deadline. Make sure you pay the post office or courier company for proof of their signature. That will tell you that they have definitely received notification of the debt, and that proof of delivery is important ammunition if you need to take legal action.


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:22
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
You might have been the target of that large scaled CV scam Apr 12, 2013

Very possible.

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Livia D'Amore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:22
Member (2009)
German to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 12, 2013

Thank you all for your comments. I didn't give more details, as the whole thing is still "in progress". However, the country is a non-European one and the amount is really not worth a lawyer.
Besides: "Do you have all the normal paperwork? Do you have proof that there was final agreement for you to proceed with the translation? Did the client acknowledge receipt of the work?" - all this was done, and I kept all the "proves", but I don't know if that may help.
Obviosly I will survive if I don't get the money, it's just annoying, something that I really don't like about this work and that happens quite too often. As for me, I made a huge mistake: I had to ask for advanced payment, but I never do that.
Anyway, if in a couple of months I wont't get paid, I'll give you all the details, for sure.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:22
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Don't give personal information, please Apr 12, 2013

Livia D'Amore wrote:
I didn't give more details, as the whole thing is still "in progress".

I wasn't asking for specific details of the person, Livia. In fact, we aren't allowed to mention names in these forum threads so please don't let us know here. On the other hand, you can add your remarks to this person's BB record, or create a BB record for them if they don't already have one, then record your non-payment problem.

I was asking for the answers to my questions - and you just gave them.

But jyuan_us is right, it could be a scam - someone else pretending to be a perfectly respectable translator.


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