How to deal with non-paying client?
Thread poster: Solskin (X)

Solskin (X)
Danish to German
+ ...
Dec 26, 2015

Dear all, I recently did a proofreading job and sent an invoice, all the terms were agreed upon beforehand. When i respectfully inquiered about the missing payment weeks later, I was first met with "There were some issues with the client, don`t worry", Then, after another week, "The client has promised to pay on blablabla, you will get your money." Meanwhile, I explained to him, that my business was with him, not the client and that I should not have to be affected by whether his client pays him or not.The invoice was issued to him as per request, and basic contract all know this. However, my emails are now being ignored, and I have no means and hope of ever getting paid. This is not even a large amount of money, but I am really dependent on my income flow, and big orders seem to be far in between these days. The company is situated in Gaza, I am in Germany. Should I just wave goodbye to getting paid?


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:52
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Really? Dec 26, 2015

Solskin wrote:

The company is situated in Gaza

Are you sure this is not a scam perpetrated by someone who doesn't like Gaza? Do you have a postal address, a phone number, and a tax code for that client?


Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 08:52
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
BB entry Dec 26, 2015

I had a similar issue once- everyone was passing the buck to next PM. Finally I made a BB entry, ( I had to create for the company and mine was the first comment). Within 3-4 days I got paid. So updated the comment later- that I was paid on 57th day.
btw, I see many more translators eulogizing that company now, ( I see 8 or 9 comments) reg their payment etc.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:52
Member (2007)
+ ...
Why give up so soon? Dec 27, 2015

By thinking tbe way you're thinking, and even putting those thoughts down in a public forum, you're pretty much writing off the debt already. Why?

I can understand that there must be a limit. Clearly it would be stupid to pay out thousands in legal fees to collect a debt that only totals 50 (whatever the currency). But you haven't reached that stage, so you can safely forget any thoughts of writing off the debt until you get there.

- Have you checked out the company really thoroughly so you know exactly who you're dealing with?
- Have you left a BB entry warning others of their payment practice? As said, most companies are quite jealous of their reputation, naturally enough.
- If there have been complaints in the past, have you contacted those translators to see what worked for them?
- Have you spoken to just one PM, or have you contacted their boss, and their boss's boss, right to the top of the organisation?
- Have you tried phoning them?
- Have you sent a legally-worded final demand by registered post, informing them that further measures to collect the debt will be taken if no payment is received by XX date?
- Is the client a member of any organisation that would be interested in knowing how their member treats its suppliers? (I'd leave that one for later and warn them first).
- As another last resort, only to be used if you can prove your work is being used by the end client (e.g. if it's a website), you could inform the end client that they are using the material in contravention of your intellectual property rights, the work being yours until payment is received in full. It isn't their duty to pay you, of course, but they are in a difficult legal position. However, you're on shaky ground there as it's really not professional practice. But I can assure you it worked for me once when I'd run out of other options. Again, warn your client in advance to give them a chance to avoid it happening.

I'm sure there are other things you can do, such as contacting embassies or consulates. They won't guarantee to help but who knows who has contacts with whom, and who has a bit of clout?

When you've exhausted all the above options, along with those proposed by others, then maybe you'll have to turn your thoughts to writing off the debt rather than sending good money after bad i.e. risking paying out more then still receiving nothing back. But that time hasn't come.

Let us know how it goes. Good luck!


Nad Ishak
Local time: 21:52
English to Malay
+ ...
It's the ups and downs of life. Dec 28, 2015

Smooth sea never make skillful sailor.


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:52
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Sailor need eat Dec 28, 2015

Nad Ishak wrote:

Smooth sea never make skillful sailor.

Empty pocket mean empty sailor mouth and this no good.

(I assume the pidgin English is intentional!)

[Edited at 2015-12-28 18:04 GMT]


Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:52
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
... Dec 31, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

Empty pocket mean empty sailor mouth and this no good.

(I assume the pidgin English is intentional!)

[Edited at 2015-12-28 18:04 GMT]

That's rather unnecessary. Pidgin or not, a point was made, and well taken (no sarcasm intended). Welcome to the forum, Nad Ishak.icon_smile.gif

Going back to the OP's question: I second Sheila. Don't give up so easily. About 3 years ago I had one client who wasn't NOT paying, but had trouble with their cash flow and sent out a mass email to a bunch of their providers asking for a 1 month delay (I forgot the exact time frame). The 1 month then became 2, then 2.5, and needless to say many were angry. A BB entry helped one of us waiting folks get his money back. I was lucky enough to not to have to resort to wasting my time on these administrative acts. I guess they figured out that 1 BB entry can lead to 20 others, and soon after that 1 entry went up, payment trickled out to some 20 of us that same week.

Keep contacting your client. How long have you been waiting, by the way? You have not disclosed this in your message.

Best of luck.

[Edited at 2015-12-31 09:29 GMT]


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