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Client not paying and not answering my emails
Thread poster: Khan Stanikzai

Khan Stanikzai
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:31
English to Pashto (Pushto)
+ ...
Sep 9, 2015

Greetings!

In 2008, I worke for a US based client company. The project costed more than USD 19,000 but she paid me only USD 5,000. And since 2010, she is not answering my emails.

Can anyone advice what to do?

Note: I am based in Prague, Czech Republic.

Regards,
Stanikzai


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 05:31
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
There are many past postings Sep 9, 2015

Khan Stanikzai wrote:

In 2008, I worke for a US based client company. The project costed more than USD 19,000 but she paid me only USD 5,000. And since 2010, she is not answering my emails.

Stanikzai


For US agencies, a number of methods is applicable e.g. small claim court, collecting agency, debt collecting representative, demand to the end user of translation, intelligent property court.
Please do Proz search.

Soonthon L.icon_biggrin.gif


 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:31
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Failure to pay Sep 10, 2015

My sense is that after so much time has gone by, there is little chance of recovering it.
The sum is too large to try to collect in Small Claims Court, at least in the US. It is possible they are no longer in business. Try telephoning them. If you garnered the job through proz.com you might put a "LWA" rating if "1"on their page. Also, considering the target language, Pashto, the client may be providing services to the US government. If this is the case and considering the amount, it might be worth your while to get a Prague-Washington, DC ticket and try to confront them.


 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 22:31
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
After 7 years? Sep 10, 2015

Your best bet is to look online and find couple of US debt collection agencies close to the client. Call them up on the phone and ask their honest opinion about collecting the remaining $14,000 you're owed. The amount is large enough that if there's any reasonable chance of recovering the money they'll be happy to take it on. If you don't get an encouraging response then it might be time to give it up.
If you don't mind me asking, why did you wait so long to seek help?

[Edited at 2015-09-10 08:04 GMT]


 

Khan Stanikzai
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:31
English to Pashto (Pushto)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
she tricked me Sep 10, 2015

she wrote again and again that she will pay me as she gets money, and that she has lost her business, she works to get money and then will pay me, but she stopped answering me after (I guess 2010). It is not $11,000 but more than $14,000. She has paid me only $5,000 from a total of $19,000. Also, I moved from my country to Europe and it took a long time for me to get settled. I don't know whom should I contact in US. If anyone knows any agency, please write its name and contact details.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Definitely your best bet Sep 10, 2015

TransAfrique wrote:
Your best bet is to look online and find couple of US debt collection agencies close to the client. Call them up on the phone and ask their honest opinion about collecting the remaining $14,000 you're owed. The amount is large enough that if there's any reasonable chance of recovering the money they'll be happy to take it on.

It's possible that they will take it on if, and only if, the company is still trading. I would have thought that you could find out yourself if that is true. Is there a company's register available online for the US? I would imagine there is as most countries have one, but you'll probably have to pay a small amount for anything more than the basic company registration information.

If you don't mind me asking, why did you wait so long to seek help?

I'd love to know that, too. It seems amazing that you've let this drag on so long.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:31
Russian to English
+ ...
Not exactly. Sep 10, 2015

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) wrote:

Khan Stanikzai wrote:

In 2008, I worke for a US based client company. The project costed more than USD 19,000 but she paid me only USD 5,000. And since 2010, she is not answering my emails.

Stanikzai


For US agencies, a number of methods is applicable e.g. small claim court, collecting agency, debt collecting representative, demand to the end user of translation, intelligent property court.
Please do Proz search.

Soonthon L.icon_biggrin.gif

Only the court. Civil Court, not Small Claims if the amount is over $3,000. The collection agencies are not allowed to collect anything unless there is a court judgment. You may try contacting a lawyer in the US. Some may be able to help you for a fee, probably like 1/3 of the amount, if they do not have to go to court too many times.


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:31
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Debt collecting agency Sep 10, 2015

You can contact this debt collecting agency which is based in France but has partners in the USA and works nearly worldwide. I personally know the owner. If he is not successfull, you pay nothing at all:

http://www.cash-and-collect.fr/

(He speaks French and English.)


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:31
Member (2008)
French to English
Statute of limitations? Sep 10, 2015

It might be too late to collect, depending on the state. There are time limits to collecting unpaid debts in the US, ranging from 2 to 10 years, depending on the state. For reference, see Chart: Statutes of Limitations in All 50 States

[Edited at 2015-09-10 12:24 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Forget the courts then Sep 10, 2015

Khan Stanikzai wrote:
she wrote again and again that she will pay me as she gets money, and that she has lost her business

There's absolutely nothing the courts can do if the business registered at the address on the invoice is no longer trading. You'll have to rely on her goodwill, which it appears was there but is not now there. You could put it all before a recovery company and see whether they would handle it, but I'm very doubtful now, with this new information. Although she might have been willing to settle out of her own pocket, there's absolutely no obligation on her to do so.

@ Lilian: Aren't you confusing bailiffs with debt recovery companies? I dare say the latter could well act as bailiffs for the courts if they hold the necessary papers, but that isn't their only service.


 

Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:31
German to English
Is the company bankrupt or in administration Sep 10, 2015

You say the woman has "lost her business". I think your first step must be to establish what this means and, as Sheila says, to discover whether the company is or is not still trading. If it has gone out of business, there will be procedures to be followed to get yourself recognized as a creditor, but I don't know what these procedures would be in the US.

 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:31
German to English
Out of luck if they're bankrupt Sep 10, 2015

In US bankruptcy proceedings, a unsecured creditor like yourself has little chance of recovering any money, since secured creditors (that is, holding collateral such as office equipment, vehicles, etc.) take precedence.

A collection agency can help if you have written documentation, such as a purchase order and good information regarding the debtor. You do not need to have a court judgment against the deadbeat client. If you Google "collection agency" + "United states" you will likely get contact information for a large agency. Expect a fee of about 1/3 of the money owed – if they take the engagement. By now the track has likely gone cold, and a collection agency may not be interested at this point.
Good luck!


 

Khan Stanikzai
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:31
English to Pashto (Pushto)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
explanation Sep 10, 2015

The translation agency owner lady said that, she has lost the business; her translation agency's website got down, and she said she has become very poor in the financial crisis and that she lost her house.
She has told me to wait and that she will pay me, but later since 2010 she stopped answering my emails. The email address she had in the domain of her company also stopped receiving emails. Her gmail account is active but she is not answering me. First I put her name and company's details on a discussion forum to let others know about her, but proz did not let me have it online and they removed my request at all.
However I am a heart patient with a history of heart surgery, but I worked very hard on her project, and in exchange she treated me this badly.
Thanks Andrea for sending me details about the France based agency.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It's been a long time Sep 10, 2015

I'm sorry about your health problems, but I also feel sorry for your client. She obviously feels, or at least felt, very responsible for this debt. But this has been going on a long time and if she hasn't somehow become rich then I think you may have to face facts and move on.

This woman had a certain moral responsibility back in 2008, one she clearly felt. But there was no legal responsibility even then: the company owned that debt, not the person. Now, seven years later, I really feel that you both have to live your lives, putting this in the past.

You aren't going to get paid; no court would accept the case, no recovery company will act for you. I'm sorry, but maybe even you will feel a certain release from this unfortunate episode once you turn your back on it.


 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:31
English to Spanish
... Sep 10, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

This woman had a certain moral responsibility back in 2008, one she clearly felt. But there was no legal responsibility even then: the company owned that debt, not the person.


I do not think Khan has said that the agency was an incorporated business. The owner could have been operating her business as a Sole Proprietor, in which case, I would think, she is legally responsible.

The statue of limitations may apply, but still, collection agencies can pursue collecting from her after such period.

If a modest 10% annual interest is added to the equation (an additional $14,000 X 0.10 X 7 years = $9,800, calculated as simple interest), the deal could be even more interesting for a collection agency to take it on.

After so many years, a collection agency may want a much larger percentage, not 33%, probably 50%, but still the deal would be worth pursuing.

[Edited at 2015-09-11 00:57 GMT]


 
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