What to do when a client doesn't pay?
Thread poster: Fabrice Brunon

Fabrice Brunon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:14
English to French
+ ...
Oct 30, 2015

Hello,

I have a problem with a client and hopefully, someone can help outicon_smile.gif

A client owes me around EUR 1,000 (the invoice was due several months ago). This is [scratch that] this was a reliable client, so I waited a bit (we were in the middle of Summer), but since nothing seemed to happen, I sent numerous reminders to which I'm systematically told to be patient (now, most of my emails are ignored). I'm getting tired of being patient and I would like to know what recourses I have. Every party involved is in Europe.

Thank you


 

Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:14
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
BB Oct 30, 2015

Fabrice Brunon wrote:

Hello,

I have a problem with a client and hopefully, someone can help outicon_smile.gif

A client owes me around EUR 1,000 (the invoice was due several months ago). This is [scratch that] this was a reliable client, so I waited a bit (we were in the middle of Summer), but since nothing seemed to happen, I sent numerous reminders to which I'm systematically told to be patient (now, most of my emails are ignored). I'm getting tired of being patient and I would like to know what recourses I have. Every party involved is in Europe.

Thank you



Have they got a BB? If so, give them their deserved scoring with comments.

Good luck.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Where? Oct 30, 2015

Fabrice Brunon wrote:

Hello,

I have a problem with a client and hopefully, someone can help outicon_smile.gif

A client owes me around EUR 1,000 (the invoice was due several months ago). This is [scratch that] this was a reliable client, so I waited a bit (we were in the middle of Summer), but since nothing seemed to happen, I sent numerous reminders to which I'm systematically told to be patient (now, most of my emails are ignored). I'm getting tired of being patient and I would like to know what recourses I have. Every party involved is in Europe.

Thank you


If the agency is in Italy I can help you. If so, email me in private.


 

Fabrice Brunon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:14
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No BB Oct 30, 2015

Paulinho Fonseca wrote:

Fabrice Brunon wrote:

Hello,

I have a problem with a client and hopefully, someone can help outicon_smile.gif

A client owes me around EUR 1,000 (the invoice was due several months ago). This is [scratch that] this was a reliable client, so I waited a bit (we were in the middle of Summer), but since nothing seemed to happen, I sent numerous reminders to which I'm systematically told to be patient (now, most of my emails are ignored). I'm getting tired of being patient and I would like to know what recourses I have. Every party involved is in Europe.

Thank you



Have they got a BB? If so, give them their deserved scoring with comments.

Good luck.


Thanks for your message. No, they don't have a BBicon_frown.gif


 

Fabrice Brunon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:14
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In Germany Oct 30, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

Fabrice Brunon wrote:

Hello,

I have a problem with a client and hopefully, someone can help outicon_smile.gif

A client owes me around EUR 1,000 (the invoice was due several months ago). This is [scratch that] this was a reliable client, so I waited a bit (we were in the middle of Summer), but since nothing seemed to happen, I sent numerous reminders to which I'm systematically told to be patient (now, most of my emails are ignored). I'm getting tired of being patient and I would like to know what recourses I have. Every party involved is in Europe.

Thank you


If the agency is in Italy I can help you. If so, email me in private.


Thanks for your message. No, they're in Germany.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:14
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
You can create the BB record Oct 30, 2015

If the agency you are dealing with is not on the BB, put them there.
Anybody can create a BB record, as long as you have their info.


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:14
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Check the ProZ forum Oct 30, 2015

This has been discussed before many times in this forum, but recently a question was raised about chasing money in Germany:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/292795-legal_action_against_client_in_germany.html


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:14
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There are steps to go through Oct 30, 2015

You need to escalate this in an organised way. The Blue Board entry can be done at any time, the sooner the better because many other translators may be considering working with them. You might want to warn them beforehand so they can take action to prevent the bad feedback (not that you should then give good feedback of course!).

It sounds as though they've been stalling you. Did they give any reason at all or was it just a plethora of excuses? It does sound as though they might be experiencing cash-flow problems, at least in the short term. So the first thing to do, regularly if necessary, is check their official company status. You no doubt know about Infogreffe; well there's bound to be a similar official site for German companies. If you find they're already in the hands of the receiver then you need to find out who it is and register your debt formally with them and wait and see if you get anything (I didn't on the two occasions it happened to meicon_frown.gif). There's no earthly point in doing anything else; you certainly don't want to spend any money on it. If the company has already been wound up (which seems unlikely) then you just have to write it off.

If all seems OK, France requires you to send a 'mise en demeure' the old-fashioned way i.e. on paper to their registered address (the one on the invoice), by registered post and with an 'accusé de réception'. Once that finally gets back to you you have the best sort of proof for the courts, should it be necessary.

If that final payment date passes (I allow a fortnight when using snail mail) then you're into the more serious debt recovery scenario. The one that costs nothing except time is to prepare the papers for a European Court Order. You can enter the details online (French will be accepted, probably English too) then save it as a PDF and send that to the client, giving the date you'll submit it to the court. When I did that I got paid - the client could tell I wasn't going to go awayicon_smile.gif. Even if you have to carry through, it doesn't cost much and having a bailiff deliver it in person might well to the trick.

If that doesn't work, you're into lawyers, although a debt recovery company is an alternative route.


 

Fabrice Brunon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:14
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot! Nov 2, 2015

Hello,

Thanks a lot for your help!icon_smile.gif


 

Adrian MM. (X)
Local time: 16:14
French to English
+ ...
Take a 'holiday' in Germany near the agency client Dec 2, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:

This has been discussed before many times in this forum, but recently a question was raised about chasing money in Germany:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/292795-legal_action_against_client_in_germany.html


Mahnantrag (as referred to) and an online Mahnverfahren (a default summons/debt recovery procedure) are the magic words and have been referred to.

Practical point: first run a credit check and online company/insolvency searches.

If you haven't got anywhere meantime and can't make anyone locally go round to the agency in person and find out what's going on, then parking yourself (preferably accompanied if a woman) ostentatiously near the defaulter - making a 'subtle' nuisance of yourself, but without harassment - whilst visiting a local Amtsgericht in preparation can (as I have discovered in Saarland - you, Fabrice, in Picardy are further away from the German border) work a treat.



[Edited at 2015-12-02 08:43 GMT]


 

Maggie WAKEFIELD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:14
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Cabinet de recouvrement Dec 2, 2015

Google will find plenty of French debt collector agencies who operate EU-wide. Many seem to take a percentage of what they collect and nothing or next to nothing to chase the debtor (probably less than the cost of driving from Picardie to Germany). The agency will ideally want a complete French-style papertrail from you, starting with a signed devis or bon de commande and all the right mentions légales on your invoice.

If the debt collectors are not successful they apparently give you a statement to say that the debt is unrecoverable. I have been told that you need this statement before you can write the debt off in your accounts because French law obliges you to chase debtors - I don't know how true this is.

Obviously it's better if you can avoid paying a collection agency but sometimes in the end it gets to be more about the principle than the money. I used one once in the UK and they got incredibly fast results; I'd been waiting over 6 months and they got the money within days.


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:14
English to German
+ ...
Mahnverfahren online Dec 2, 2015

http://www.mahngerichte.de/index.htm

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Your question Dec 2, 2015

Q. What to do when a client doesn't pay?

A. Calmly and without emotion, embark on the task of forcing them to pay.

Just as you with any other aspect of your activity as a translator, I would expect you to carry out this task thoroughly until it is completely resolved.


 


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