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No payment for work completed 3 months ago
Thread poster: Alina A
Alina A
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Polish
+ ...
Oct 10, 2014

Can anyone offer any advice on how to get payment due to me for the translation project I completed 3 months ago? The project manager keeps telling me he'll look into that and how they always pay their translators but nothing follows from that. No check so far.

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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
... Oct 10, 2014

Alina A wrote:

Can anyone offer any advice on how to get payment due to me for the translation project I completed 3 months ago? The project manager keeps telling me he'll look into that and how they always pay their translators but nothing follows from that. No check so far.


Goedenavond,


Sorry to hear that dear. I feel for you.

Do you have some background information such as the specifics of the transaction? I find myself in a similar situation so I feel lke a dunce but may have some better insight as a result.

I fear we ALL must simply require as translators, an absolute requirement thus, that upfront payment is made. Change the practice so that it is standard then no one will consider it strange or unfriendly.

Does he live in the same country? What is his/her BB? Have you implemented any safeguards at all before you undertook - like backgroundcheck and such?

What steps have you undertaken to rectify the situation? Was the translation up to standard? More detail is appreciated.


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Alina A
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No problem with translation was given Oct 10, 2014

Yes, the company is in the same country. I checked their website before-looked legit. The only thing that perhaps should have rung a bell for me was there were no forms to fill out beforehand. Just an email with a short WO, including a requirement to post the invoice on their work flow portal. When I had problems posting it, I emailed to the pm and he "fixed" the problem. I uploaded the invoice and kept checking on the payment status and emailing the pm. He kept re-assuring me how they always pay within 30 days... It's been over 3 months.

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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Blue Board Oct 10, 2014

Post about your experience to the Blue Board. If no record exists for the company, please create one. You can change your entry, of course, once you get paid.

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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
It happens... Oct 10, 2014

Alina A wrote:

Yes, the company is in the same country. I checked their website before-looked legit. The only thing that perhaps should have rung a bell for me was there were no forms to fill out beforehand. Just an email with a short WO, including a requirement to post the invoice on their work flow portal. When I had problems posting it, I emailed to the pm and he "fixed" the problem. I uploaded the invoice and kept checking on the payment status and emailing the pm. He kept re-assuring me how they always pay within 30 days... It's been over 3 months.


Let me tell you about my situation. I checked the Blue board of the employer, they had 78 positive entries, of which many in the last year, so I went ahead. I had also their contact information, but I dont live in the EU now.

Lady promised me payment within 3 days of invoice, just 3 days! So I bit at the stick, during the project it was a pleasure to work with her, she always responsive and professional. Project was deliverd 10 days early!

Lady promised to take care of it. At the end of 3 days, i inquired, next day came back reply, we only pay out on the 15th of each month and ONLY IF translation is satisfactory to client. Now I have thus waited about 5 days total, no problem, I am open to longer payment terms BUT

The original agreement as stated on the invoice was 3 days. So the communication was not clear.

And I am mad about this, but we have no recourse.

I will put bad BB entry and NEXT TIME, they will pay me in advance.


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Didde Gaardsted  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:53
English to Danish
Post entry on BB Oct 10, 2014

I can only echo Yolanda's suggestion. I had the same issue with an outsourcer. Several outstanding invoices dating all the way back to May. In late September I made en entry on the outsourcer's BB and was promptly paid the following day. It is definitely worth a try.

Good luck!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Lack of paperwork Oct 10, 2014

Alina A wrote:
The only thing that perhaps should have rung a bell for me was there were no forms to fill out beforehand. Just an email with a short WO, including a requirement to post the invoice on their work flow portal.


I don't consider the lack of paperwork to be a red flag.


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Richard Foulkes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:53
German to English
+ ...
Threaten legal action Oct 10, 2014

Have you considered this? I had a similar situation recently in the UK and I was paid within a week of threatening court action.

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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:53
Dutch to English
+ ...
Lack of paperwork Oct 10, 2014

I agree, lack of paperwork is not a red flag. We've got one client who the first time came with a number, asked to confirm we could do it and to make one invoice for the month. This was three years ago. Since then, we've had lots of work from that same client, who has always, always, always paid on time, not one fault, apart from once, which was really because wee sent our invoice way too late, and then still the issue was cleared in three days flat.

Never signed any paper, never even saw a paper from them apart from a Christmas card.

Other clients too.

I always find it a bit of a bad thing to ask payment up front. Certainly if the amount is manageable. Of course if you are going to be doing a book for several months only for that client, you should really ask for an advance, because they can't expect you to live on nothing for all that time, but personally, if an internet shop tells me to pay up front 'because you are new', I take my business elsewhere. For some reason I feel different about Amazon or other internet shops of the same kind, maybe because you know it's going to be there. Although for big goods I tend to request an invoice to pay afterwards. To make sure that if they deliver broken goods they can't pretend it hasn't happened.

Call me conservative, but I see business as a matter of mutual trust and asking for payment up front because 'the client is new' ruins that trust from the start.
That's not to say of course that the client doesn't have to pay.

Indeed, threaten legal action or something. That works usually.
Or someone came up with this on a forum somewhere: threaten to contact the end client to ask them not to use the text, because it hasn't been paid for (intellectual property issues). That usually works too. You don't necessarily have to do it, but if you were to do it, the name of the agency would be ruined in their client's eyes AND it would inconvenience the end client (who would never return to the agency and would tell others about it as well). After all, the agency can hardly complain in court, because they haven't paid you, so you're pretty safe yourself.


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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
That works if both find themself in same country Oct 10, 2014

Richard Foulkes wrote:

Have you considered this? I had a similar situation recently in the UK and I was paid within a week of threatening court action.
]]
But sometimes you will work for EU outsourcers from the US and vice versa.
You are not going to fly to Germany from the US to file a case, *lol.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Is it actually the company with the website? Oct 10, 2014

Alina A wrote:
I checked their website before-looked legit. The only thing that perhaps should have rung a bell for me was there were no forms to fill out beforehand. Just an email with a short WO, including a requirement to post the invoice on their work flow portal. When I had problems posting it, I emailed to the pm and he "fixed" the problem. I uploaded the invoice and kept checking on the payment status and emailing the pm. He kept re-assuring me how they always pay within 30 days... It's been over 3 months.

You did actually upload the work to the website, did you? You didn't send it via some data transfer provider or just to his email address? Could it be that this company with a good reputation and a good website has been hijacked? It does happen, I'm afraid.

Assuming that that isn't the problem, have you escalated your call for payment in any way? Are you just in touch with a PM? If so, have you tried to contact the directors? Have you sent a formal final demand, with its formal legalese wording, giving them just nn days to pay before you take action? I don't know how that works where you are but in the countries I know it should be sent by registered post to their registered address and you should ask the post office for proof of delivery. Once you have that then you can go ahead with the next steps i.e. the courts or a debt recovery company, or maybe a lawyer's letter to begin with. The more formal you are, the more chance you have of them realising that you aren't just going to go away and let them have the work for free. They know that the courts will find in your favour. Non-payment for work done is pretty much cut-and-dried once it gets to the court: you have a right to get paid! And they'll end up footing the bill for your legal costs too!

I agree that lack of paperwork is rarely a problem. In fact too much paperwork puts me off to the extent that I normally break off the relationship, knowing that there will be probably be problems at every stage.

As for advance payment in full, that's for B2C transactions, not for B2B. When a repairer fixed my washing machine, I paid while he was in the house; when I had computer problems that threatened my business the IT expert sent his invoice the day after fixing it, and waited almost 30 days for my payment: that's business. Of course, if it's a big job or special circumstances of some kind then a partial up-front payment, or staged payments, is perfectly normal.


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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
Internet shops always ask you to pay up front Oct 10, 2014

Kirsten Bodart wrote:

I agree, lack of paperwork is not a red flag. We've got one client who the first time came with a number, asked to confirm we could do it and to make one invoice for the month. This was three years ago. Since then, we've had lots of work from that same client, who has always, always, always paid on time, not one fault, apart from once, which was really because wee sent our invoice way too late, and then still the issue was cleared in three days flat.

Never signed any paper, never even saw a paper from them apart from a Christmas card.

Other clients too.

I always find it a bit of a bad thing to ask payment up front. Certainly if the amount is manageable. Of course if you are going to be doing a book for several months only for that client, you should really ask for an advance, because they can't expect you to live on nothing for all that time, but personally, if an internet shop tells me to pay up front 'because you are new', I take my business elsewhere. For some reason I feel different about Amazon or other internet shops of the same kind, maybe because you know it's going to be there. Although for big goods I tend to request an invoice to pay afterwards. To make sure that if they deliver broken goods they can't pretend it hasn't happened.

Call me conservative, but I see business as a matter of mutual trust and asking for payment up front because 'the client is new' ruins that trust from the start.
That's not to say of course that the client doesn't have to pay.

Indeed, threaten legal action or something. That works usually.
Or someone came up with this on a forum somewhere: threaten to contact the end client to ask them not to use the text, because it hasn't been paid for (intellectual property issues). That usually works too. You don't necessarily have to do it, but if you were to do it, the name of the agency would be ruined in their client's eyes AND it would inconvenience the end client (who would never return to the agency and would tell others about it as well). After all, the agency can hardly complain in court, because they haven't paid you, so you're pretty safe yourself.

Have you seen a shop that ships goods without payment?

I have just now asked an employer to make a small advance, * I mentioned other translators are having problems with employers that are not paying out. It is a small project, but employer has 1 BB record and seemed to eager to get me started and offered high rate. We will see.

And I will rather spare myself the headache of threatening this and that.

It is maybe a bit unfriendly but definitely all the more if it ends in legal threatening.

[Bijgewerkt op 2014-10-10 13:58 GMT]


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Richard Foulkes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:53
German to English
+ ...
That's why I read the thread before posting... Oct 10, 2014

golf264 wrote:

Richard Foulkes wrote:

Have you considered this? I had a similar situation recently in the UK and I was paid within a week of threatening court action.
]]
But sometimes you will work for EU outsourcers from the US and vice versa.
You are not going to fly to Germany from the US to file a case, *lol.


At 03.17, the OP confirmed the client was in the same country.


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golf264  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
You are right on... Oct 10, 2014

Richard Foulkes wrote:

golf264 wrote:

Richard Foulkes wrote:

Have you considered this? I had a similar situation recently in the UK and I was paid within a week of threatening court action.
]]
But sometimes you will work for EU outsourcers from the US and vice versa.
You are not going to fly to Germany from the US to file a case, *lol.


At 03.17, the OP confirmed the client was in the same country.

Correct but my situation is unfortunately otherwise. I also didnt mean the TS, but myself.

Sorry for the vagueness.


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Alina A
United States
Local time: 06:53
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Legal steps next Oct 10, 2014

Yes, I escalated with a nasty email, threatening with Better Business Bureau AND legal steps within 3 days. Also, called the phone number provided on their website (no physical address given anywhere, no names). A man who answered, passed the phone to his wife, as he said. She got very defensive trying to blame me for not uploading the invoice correctly or in time. I DID. No apologies, no "Let me look into that". Just repeated "we always pay on time". She said she would talk to the pm. He called me right after I hung up with her, yelling at me for "daring to call his CEO". Again, no apologies. He "swore" he would send me the check and threatened I would never get any work from them. I obviously let him know I would NOT ACCEPT any work from them either so no problem there.
Thanks for the Blue Board suggestion. I will use it after 3 days. Yes, they are on proz with 1 good review. Also, just in case, can anyone recommend a good collections agency? You can send it to me in a separate message.
Thanks to everyone! I feel your support and it feels good, even if I am still upset and waiting!


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