UK-based client not paying
Thread poster: TanyaE

TanyaE
Local time: 14:36
English to Finnish
+ ...
Dec 3, 2015

I'm owed over 2000 euros by a UK based localisation agency that has been ignoring all my questions and reminders. Phone calls go straight to voice mail, so I'm not the only freelancer they're doing this to.

According to the UK government website, you have to be in the UK to go to small claims court, so I won't be able to use this service. Does anyone here have any tips on how I can claim my payment through legal means, as it seems quite certain that this client will continue not paying me?

Thank you in advance.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:36
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Friends in Proz Dec 4, 2015

TanyaE wrote:

I'm owed over 2000 euros by a UK based localisation agency that has been ignoring all my questions and reminders. Phone calls go straight to voice mail, so I'm not the only freelancer they're doing this to.

According to the UK government website, you have to be in the UK to go to small claims court, so I won't be able to use this service. Does anyone here have any tips on how I can claim my payment through legal means, as it seems quite certain that this client will continue not paying me?

Thank you in advance.


In such situation, I remind that Prozian friends are valuable resources to share wisdom on local issues.
Thanks in advance on behalf of Tanya.

Soonthon L.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Member (2008)
Italian to English
BLue Board first Dec 4, 2015

TanyaE wrote:

I'm owed over 2000 euros by a UK based localisation agency that has been ignoring all my questions and reminders. Phone calls go straight to voice mail, so I'm not the only freelancer they're doing this to.

According to the UK government website, you have to be in the UK to go to small claims court, so I won't be able to use this service. Does anyone here have any tips on how I can claim my payment through legal means, as it seems quite certain that this client will continue not paying me?

Thank you in advance.


Step 1: if this agency has a BlueBoard page, go there and give them a low score with a critical comment.

Step 2. Tell them that you have done this. Also tell them that you are now discussing their behaviour with colleagues and that in the absence of a satisfactory and speedy resolution, other unspecified action may follow *without further notice*.

Step 3: send them a link to this discussion thread.

Step 4: wait until next Monday. If by then you have not had any response, come back here and discuss your next steps.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Is the company still solvent? Dec 4, 2015

TanyaE wrote:
I'm owed over 2000 euros by a UK based localisation agency that has been ignoring all my questions and reminders. Phone calls go straight to voice mail, so I'm not the only freelancer they're doing this to.

The first thing to do is to check their status on the UK Companies House website to see if the company has registered any problems officially. If they have, you need to follow the instructions there as to what to do - there's no point taking any other measures to receive payment. You may have to pay a little for the full information.

The other thing you should be doing straight away is checking the company's Blue Board record here. Leave your own entry to warn others of the dangerous current situation, and maybe contact other dissatisfied translators for mutual support. If the agency has a history of delaying payments, then you're probably dealing with a regular "won't pay" client. If all was great until a few months ago then their reputation plummeted, it's probably a "can't pay" situation. If it's the latter case, and they haven't yet filed for bankruptcy, you'd be well advised to take immediate action such as calling in a debt recovery company. You won't get the full amount owed as they'll take their cut, but they will act swiftly to make sure your debt is paid first and not last.

Whatever else you're going to do, I would send a letter by registered mail to the registered company address (as on the invoice), with the delivery slip to be returned to you. This should be a formal letter (if in English, Google for "final demand") and it should state a date for payment to be received. 7 days is enough for some cases but 14 is probably fairer for international post - particularly at this time of year. This delivery slip becomes absolute proof that the client has been in a position to receive (i.e. if they reject the delivery) or has received official notification of the debt.
An alternative or additional step is to get a lawyer to send a final demand. The wording will probably be very similar but it will look more impressive on their legal headed stationery, and shows you mean business. It isn't normally very expensive in Europe.
According to the UK government website, you have to be in the UK to go to small claims court, so I won't be able to use this service. Does anyone here have any tips on how I can claim my payment through legal means, as it seems quite certain that this client will continue not paying me?

If the final demand doesn't do the trick you have the choice of contracting a recovery company local to the client, or writing it off as a bad debt (but that really is a last resort) or using the very simple European procedures. The EU Payment Order is the simplest form, and probably applicable in your case: https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_european_payment_order_forms-156-en.do. You get given a choice of languages, always including English. In my own case, I once prepared an order, saved it as a PDF, and sent it to the client with notice of the date on which it would be presented to the courts. That was enough to encourage payment in full.

On the whole, clients don't want the hassle of having their names dragged through the mud, nor do they want to risk being held in contempt of court if they don't pay both the invoice and court costs, nor do they want heavies turning up on the doorstep and terrifying their employees. They just want to hang onto YOUR money as long as possible, and far longer than possible if they're unscrupulous. Making it plain that you're serious about debt recovery is usually enough to make them see the error of their ways.

I hope that's the case in this instance. Good luck, Tanya! Let us know how it goes.


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TanyaE
Local time: 14:36
English to Finnish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks! Dec 4, 2015

Dear all

Thanks so much for your replies. This is another great example of the Proz community.

I will let you know how it goes!


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