Agency not paying nor even replying
Thread poster: Chiara Gavasso

Chiara Gavasso  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:53
Member (2012)
English to Italian
+ ...
Dec 17, 2013

Hi all, I am having an issue with a translation agency. When I accepted the job, I was sent the PO, which made me think I was dealing with a serious client. I delivered the translation on time, I emailed them my invoice and I expected to be paid the following month. When I saw no bank transfer, I asked for explanations and they started writing a list of diverse excuses, but finally they said they would pay me. I obviously have not received any money since their last email (almost 3 weeks ago), they are not replying to my emails nor even answering my phone calls.
Any suggestion?
Thank you!


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:53
English to German
+ ...
Make an entry in the Blue Board. Dec 17, 2013

Sometimes this helps immediately.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Sorry to hear that, Chiara Dec 17, 2013

Did you check with the Blue Board and similar? Are they a reputable company, do you know, or a complete unknown? There's nothing wrong with dealing with unknown companies, but there is a higher risk. Of course, the absolute minimum risk limitation involves checking that the company actually does exist, and that it exists where they said it exists. Most countries now have their company registers available on-line, although it isn't always free to access company records.

It does sound from what you say that they're a legitimate translation agency, but maybe they are an agency with cash-flow problems and/or maybe their end client didn't pay them. That shouldn't be of any interest to you - it's a totally separate matter - but many unscrupulous agencies try not to pay suppliers before receipt of their own payment, and frankly some can't pay. Still, no excuse.

What to do next depends on (a) the client's country and (b) the amount. Whatever, don't let it rest; become more formal in your writing, maybe sending a registered letter demanding full and final payment before a certain date; maybe also telephone the head person at the agency; post a warning to others on the BB, as Gudrun says... A small claims court procedure may be appropriate (if the client is in Italy or in another EU country), or a debt recovery company might take on the collection. However, before either of those last two, make sure the company is not already insolvent - no point throwing good money after bad.


 

Chiara Gavasso  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:53
Member (2012)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It is quite suprising Dec 17, 2013

that this British agency has a very good reputation on the Blue Board (although there are just a few comments and the most recent dates back to Sept).
I am not going to give in, but it is hardly possible to get in touch with them, the phone rings and then... voicemail! I cannot bear the lies I was told: I was professional and punctual, they are being so dishonest and highly unprofessional.
I just would like to know if someone in a similar situation ever asked for legal help and this worked out.

[Modificato alle 2013-12-17 14:32 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Cash-flow crisis, I'd imagine Dec 17, 2013

It does sound as though maybe this is a previously good agency that's hit hard times. If you're sure they're still trading (do check with the UK Companies House register) then I would recommend you to:
(1) try phoning from a different phone (they've probably got your number recorded as one to avoid answering)
(2) if no joy, send a formal final demand by registered post, getting a receipt of their signature as proof for the courts
(3) if the demand's deadline passes without payment, prepare an EU payment Order (this can be done on-line here https://e-justice.europa.eu/dynform_intro_taxonomy_action.do?1354375024536 ) and store it on your computer, then email the PDF to them as proof that you're not going to give in
(4) if necessary, issue the payment order as described on-line.

I haven't had to do N°4 but I have done all the others. My last problem client paid after seeing the EU Payment Order but before I had to actually submit it to the courts. The one before was in France, and so was I, so it was dealt with (in a highly satisfactory manner) by the French courts.

None of the above cost much, and court costs, if you get to that stage, will be paid by your client.

Of course, they may pay tomorrow and save you the bother, and there are other possibilities such as going on holiday to the UK and camping outside their door. Good luck and let us know how things go.


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

Chiara Gavasso  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:53
Member (2012)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Dec 18, 2013

for your advice.
Sheila, your answer is very valuable and I will definitely do as you suggest.
I will also investigate any other possible way to get my money.
Teresa, I am sorry this happened to you too. I was in the same situation for a proofreading job with a Spanish translation company last year and I was never paid an amount very similar to yours, but now they owe me a considerably higher amount. Try what Sheila suggests.
I will also enter a comment on the Blue Board, as Gudrun says.

Thank you all. If anyone else has more suggestions, they are welcome. I hope we can "team up" and work with professional customers only.

Chiara


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Tell them Dec 18, 2013

Chiara Gavasso wrote:

..............
I will also enter a comment on the Blue Board, as Gudrun says.



Tell them when you've done it. They may suddenly respond.

They may also offer to pay you in exchange for you removing or improving your negative BB comment. Say OK, wait to be paid, and then make your BB comment even worse (they deserve this, for attempting to persuade you to abuse the BB system).

If the BB comment doesn't elicit a response, warn them in an email that they have 7 days to pay you in full, after which "other action may follow without notice".

Wait 7 days and if the money isn't in your bank account, ask a lawyer to take up your case.

If this ever goes to court, you would recoup (a) your money (b) interest (c) lawyer fees and possibly (d) damages. But since the agency knows this, it's more likely that on receiving the first warning letter from the lawyer, they will pay.

The lawyer should preferably be one in their locality of whom they have heard, and who has a reputation for being merciless.

You too must be merciless, and absolutely determined, in your own mind, that whatever the amount, large or small, you are going to be paid.

[Edited at 2013-12-18 13:59 GMT]


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:53
English to Polish
+ ...
Depends where you are Dec 18, 2013

In some jurisdictions you may be able to recover only a fraction of the actual lawyer fees and no damages, so basically just the principal plus interest plus an order to reimburse you for the court's processing fees and some of the lawyer's fees, which the losing party may or may not end up complying with, whereas your lawyer's bill and even the court fees will be very real, very much to be paid by you or no deal. Litigation really is expensive, risky and otherwise bad and ugly.

 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 14:53
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yes Dec 18, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

In some jurisdictions you may be able to recover only a fraction of the actual lawyer fees and no damages, so basically just the principal plus interest plus an order to reimburse you for the court's processing fees and some of the lawyer's fees, which the losing party may or may not end up complying with, whereas your lawyer's bill and even the court fees will be very real, very much to be paid by you or no deal. Litigation really is expensive, risky and otherwise bad and ugly.


...and this is something which unfortunately keeps many cases which should be heard from ever seeing the light of day.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
UK Dec 18, 2013

As I understand it, the case in point concerns an agency in the UK, where small claims can be made at a very low cost. But as I said in a previous post: a preliminary warning letter from a lawyer can often do the trick. In my own experience, even the threat that such a letter might be a possibility has led to my being paid an outstanding sum of several thousand Euro from a client who had decided not to respond to any of my emails.

It makes my blood boil when I read of any fellow-translator who has not been paid. Nobody, so far, has ever succeeded in not paying me (although there have been various attempts).

[Edited at 2013-12-18 16:01 GMT]


 


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