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Impossible task to get paid
Thread poster: Inez Ulrich

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:28
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Oct 26

Hi there,

I have to get this off my chest or I will im- or explode.
I have translated for a big Russiona software company with seat in the USA all September long. I have a contract which says I'll get paid for 42.000 words. Towards the end of the project they told me that repetitions don't get paid at all (which was never mentioned before), so I would get paid for only 28.000 words.
Didn't say anything then, was only glad to have it finisehd and finally get my money. They annpunced payment about one week after delivery (like stated in my contract), nothing happened. My Russian project managers kept asking the US office about the payment, but to no avail. 6 days later they finally sent a payment. It only never arrived because it was in US dollars which cannot be accepted by my bank account (which I wasn't aware of and which I also haven't been told in the many, many telephone calls I had with my bank the last few days when the payment couldn't be "found". One time they said it takes about 1 to 2 days to convert the amount, then they said, no, it can take up to 14 days and then it could also be rejected and sent back, for reasons I don't know.). Turns out the payment was indeed sent back, again they told me 6 days later. They promised to send a Paypal payment (which I thought they would do anyway), but again it turned out they cannot pay via Paypal, also not with Transferwise etc. Don't know why. So since another few days we are writing back and forth...today they tell me: yes, we can send the payment in Euros, but it cost 10% fees. What?????? I get $ 3400,- from them, so I need to pay $ 340,- only to get my money? My bank also will charge about $ 60,- for the payment fromt he US, so all in all I lose about $ 1300,- (including the not paid for repetitions). Nothing of it is my fault, but I pay for everything?

How do other companies pay their freelancers or other employees on another continent? I can't believe there is no way to accept foreign currency with a regular bank account. Am I that naive?

Am curious when/if I ever get my money.


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Haneder  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 03:28
German to French
+ ...
banking experience Oct 26

Hi!

I am sorry for your troubles.
Yes the bank are very good at making you pay for their mistakes.

I have never had troubles sending money in another currency at the other side of the world. However I mostly work within europe, I have the feeling without going that far that banks outside the EU see our money as their playground to pick as they chose.

Once I had to pay a translator in Turkey (many years ago). The partner bank in turkey illegally debited my account twice. When i claimed about the loss of money, they simply said too bad the turkish partner hold deaf and you will never get your money again.

Not to say that was a reason more that prompted me to change the bank.

Looks like there was something fishy about the transfer and your bank sent it back, I really much doubt it was about the currency.


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Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:28
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Oct 26

Haneder wrote:

Hi!

I am sorry for your troubles.
Yes the bank are very good at making you pay for their mistakes.

I have never had troubles sending money in another currency at the other side of the world. However I mostly work within europe, I have the feeling without going that far that banks outside the EU see our money as their playground to pick as they chose.

Once I had to pay a translator in Turkey (many years ago). The partner bank in turkey illegally debited my account twice. When i claimed about the loss of money, they simply said too bad the turkish partner hold deaf and you will never get your money again.

Not to say that was a reason more that prompted me to change the bank.

Looks like there was something fishy about the transfer and your bank sent it back, I really much doubt it was about the currency.


So you didn't get your money back? I hope it wasn't that much!
You are right - our money is their playground. I always freak out when I see that payPal has introduced new regulations nobody can explain to me but that always have one goal: Paypal can keep my money much longer to work with it. With banks it's the same.

I really don't know the reason they rejected the money. I've seen the payment comfirmation. It's no shady company nor a shady bank the payment came from. The sender bank would have to file an investigation request to find out about the reason, but why? They can repeat this again and again and I'll never see my money. My project manager tries to achieve a 50:50 solution, so I only have to pay half of the fees. She has endured so much during the last two weeks and always was so nice and helpful, it is all a big piece of sh...that is happening


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:28
French to English
Clients outside one's own country Oct 26

It can be complicated getting paid when a client is in one's own country. It can be horribly complicated getting paid when the client if is a different country. Some people say that the further away the client is, the more likely it is that there will be problems.
I don't know if there is a link of cause and effect. However, if problems do occur, solving them is certainly more difficult.

Paypal is not a system every business uses to pay its suppliers. The most common forms of payment are bank transfer or cheque. When you receive payment onto your bank account in a foreign currency, I think that most banks receiving money from another country will charge for that. There is usually a fee for a currency transaction, and the rate of exchange between the two currencies will be applied.

I think it is very unfair when a client asks the translator to cover its costs. When you compare a big software company to an individual translator, it seems even more unfair. They can afford it, you can't. There is no equality of bargaining power. It seems fair to me that each party bear his/her own banking costs. 10% is excessive, but that's just my opinion.

To solve the problem, perhaps you should go and see your bank manager and ask what you can do to receive your payment from this company. There must be some way.

With regard to the deductions for repetition, it is icnreasingly common, with or without translation tools. Logically, this type of detail should be made clear at the start.

I really hope you manage to get your money and as soon as possible.


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Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:28
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Oct 26

there doesn't seem to be a way to recieve the money without a long waiting time or excessive fees, but even my bank says that 10% are cheeky. I know that banks always charge fees for such transactions, but this is outrageous.

The company clearly said I need to pay the fees, I hope my project manager persuades them to only let nme pay half of it. I'm so fed up after weeks of chasing after my money I simply want this to end and get at least that money, even if it is much less. Lesson learnt.

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

It can be complicated getting paid when a client is in one's own country. It can be horribly complicated getting paid when the client if is a different country. Some people say that the further away the client is, the more likely it is that there will be problems.
I don't know if there is a link of cause and effect. However, if problems do occur, solving them is certainly more difficult.

Paypal is not a system every business uses to pay its suppliers. The most common forms of payment are bank transfer or cheque. When you receive payment onto your bank account in a foreign currency, I think that most banks receiving money from another country will charge for that. There is usually a fee for a currency transaction, and the rate of exchange between the two currencies will be applied.

I think it is very unfair when a client asks the translator to cover its costs. When you compare a big software company to an individual translator, it seems even more unfair. They can afford it, you can't. There is no equality of bargaining power. It seems fair to me that each party bear his/her own banking costs. 10% is excessive, but that's just my opinion.

To solve the problem, perhaps you should go and see your bank manager and ask what you can do to receive your payment from this company. There must be some way.

With regard to the deductions for repetition, it is icnreasingly common, with or without translation tools. Logically, this type of detail should be made clear at the start.

I really hope you manage to get your money and as soon as possible.


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Lianne van de Ven  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:28
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not impossible, but... Oct 27

Hi Inez,

I understand this is very frustrating, but you need to find out:

- why your own bank does not accept dollars and convert them to the currency of your account, which is what most banks are able to do for some fee and for the currency exchange fee (two different fees). I used to have a local bank here in the US that did not know well how to accept international payments. They could technically do it, but there was only one person who knew exactly how to do all the paperwork (yes, it involved paperwork). She was on a one week vacation when I needed to do this. They simply did not have a routine for handling international payments, so I opened an account with another bank that handled international transactions on a daily basis.

- why the money was returned. This could be because your bank does not know how to accept international payments or because someone made a mistake, but it could also be that the payment "was bounced". The US banking system is set up with what is called a "clearing house" which provisionally accepts all transactions but when it turns out a few days later that the account for example didn't have enough funds for the payment, the payment will be reversed and a fee will be charged on top of that which will normally come out of the receiving account (i.e. you!), that is, your US bank will charge you a fee basically for handing them what is called "a bad check" that doesn't go through. US recipients of checks and other payments therefore charge their payers typically a fee of around $35 for declined checks/payments. More here: https://www.sapling.com/4924254/what-happens-deposit-bad-check. I recently had check bounced from one of my clients and my bank returned the "deposit" plus took another $12.50 out of my account. My client said it was a mistake: he forgot to put enough funds in his account that he paid me with. You never know what the reason is, because the situation is different for everyone, but you should try to find out why the money went back.

- why (or who) said they can pay with Paypal and then why they can't. Try to find out who said that and why. Not that Paypal is a good way to pay internationally. My cut-off is $500. If it is more than that, a "wire transfer" (a payment from bank to bank for their customers) is normally cheaper because you don't pay a % but a fixed amount of say $50 or $60 plus the conversion fees. From my experience, larger agencies are fairly set in their ways of doing things and many go to great lengths to reduce their internal costs e.g. for their accounts payable department. They want to make their payments in one sweep after processing all the data. Everyone is moving to automated systems and they cannot make payments using systems like Paypal or Transferwise unless they are set up for that.

- what the 10% fee for payment in euros is based on, with detailed specifics. Ask questions step by step and don't make assumptions when you ask questions but really ask them to explain (hopefully without getting upset). Finally, of course, you will have to tell them that you won't be able to accept such a fee, but first collect all the facts. Once you know everything, you can start negotiating. Btw: my clients are responsible for paying the full amount due on an invoice, unless we make arrangements, preferably in advance, but I am willing to negotiate and split fees if we have to and they are unavoidable.

This is all so you get an in-depth picture of how international payments work and what options there are. There is nothing wrong with asking pertinent questions and having everyone explain to you please what the problem is from their point of view so that you will be able to make the best decisions for yourself in the future. I would try not to give up on $1300, because that is a lot of money. You will spend time and money on this, but you will be better prepared next time.

As for my own international payments: I have a Dutch and a US bank account. It is becoming more difficult to have a bank in another country because of regulations against money laundering and terrorism. My European clients wire money to my Dutch account, and my US clients usually send checks. I get my Dutch money by ATM and for larger sums from Europe, I am going to try Transferwise to pay myself, or I will have to pay international wire fees and currency fees to my bank: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/wire-transfers-what-banks-charge/

Best of luck and I hope it works out fine for you.


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Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 04:28
English to Romanian
+ ...
Bank fees Oct 27

What kind of bank does not accept international payments in USD and causes such a fuss?

I would discharge and sue them.


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Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 04:28
English to Romanian
+ ...
International money transfers Oct 27

When you receive payment onto your bank account in a foreign currency, I think that most banks receiving money from another country will charge for that.


From A (the bank located outside one's own country - the issuing bank) and B (the recipient's bank), there may be one or more other banks involved. They are called partners banks or something like that. Each of them has their own charges for an international money transfer. That's why the recipient loses more money than they should.

My bank does not charge for receiving money in a foreign currency.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:28
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
USD/EUR Oct 27

I’m sorry for your troubles, but I can’t understand why your bank didn’t accept USD. Though most of my clients are in the Euro zone, others are not. When I was living in Belgium (1986-2006) I had two bank accounts, one in FB, later in EUR, and another one in USD. I live in Portugal now and my bank account is in EUR, so all payments denominated in a different currency are converted in EUR by my bank based on the exchange rate of the day and deposited on my account. Of course, I have to pay a fee. Just to give you an example: this week I received a payment from the USA. My invoice was 315 EUR. I received 300 EUR. 15 EUR were transfer expenses and I had to pay an extra 18.20 EUR (over 10% in total). This is why I agreed beforehand with my customer that these bank fees will always be added to the next invoice.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:28
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Very strange Oct 27

Inez Ulrich wrote:
today they tell me: yes, we can send the payment in Euros, but it cost 10% fees. What??????

That's ringing all sorts of alarm bells in my head. This is perhaps a very well-known giant in the industry? I can't remember which one I'm thinking of (and we mustn't name names here, anyway) but there is one that tries to reduce its costs in every way imaginable - at our expense! To be avoided at all (considerable) cost, but that advice is rather late for you, I'm afraid.

they finally sent a payment. It only never arrived because it was in US dollars which cannot be accepted by my bank account (which I wasn't aware of and which I also haven't been told in the many, many telephone calls I had with my bank the last few days when the payment couldn't be "found". One time they said it takes about 1 to 2 days to convert the amount, then they said, no, it can take up to 14 days and then it could also be rejected and sent back, for reasons I don't know.). Turns out the payment was indeed sent back

I've never heard of an EU bank that can't accept any currency under the sun. They don't normally even query the fact that it isn't in euros; they just convert it, take their fee for the service, and give you the rest. The fee is normally a percentage, with a minimum. In my dealings, the percentage hasn't seemed too high (though it does mount up), but the minimum makes it extremely uneconomic to accept small amounts in a foreign currency. With the sums you're talking about, you shouldn't lose anything like the 10% that crooked agency is talking about. So I advise you to get onto your bank again.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:28
Member
English to French
En passant... Oct 27

Sheila Wilson wrote:
...This is perhaps a very well-known giant in the industry? I can't remember which one I'm thinking of (and we mustn't name names here, anyway) but there is one that tries to reduce its costs in every way imaginable - at our expense! To be avoided at all (considerable) cost...

No need to name names, almost any of the fat ones would fit here!
Seeing what kind of discount grid they usually suggest is enough to get the picture.

My latest and last job with one of them in 2013 ended up with 10% withdrawn from the (fortunately small) invoice amount because suppliers should pay customers' tax when payment is issued by their Chinese branch. At least that's what I understood.

Four months after invoice date.

Good luck to the OP with this business. I sympathise.

Philippe


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Regi2006
Indonesia
Local time: 09:28
Member (2007)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Repetitions Oct 27

Inez Ulrich wrote:
Towards the end of the project they told me that repetitions don't get paid at all (which was never mentioned before), so I would get paid for only 28.000 words

Whether you translated it using CAT tool or not, you should be paid for repetitions, at a minimum, 10% of your full rate.

If they didn't agree with that, you could ask them to make all the repetitions hidden. Let them translate the repetitions on their own. But it's a different case if you intentionally charge zero for repetitions as an additional service/benefit that you can offer in the collaboration.

That's a very bad experience you're having regarding the payment that it drives me mad just reading it. Sorry to hear that.

Verdi

[Edited at 2017-10-28 00:53 GMT]


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Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:28
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Oct 27

Hi there,

thanks a lot for your input!

We agreed on sharing the fees, so 5% for me. Still don't have the money. Probably they have transferred it to the intermediary bank, even though I told them several times they need to use the "original" bank account as it is now in Euros. But so far I don't know.

It is no agency, but a direct client, a big software company. I'm glad I offered this translation for a really good per-word-rate, so things aren't that bad, at least. if only I got my money now.

I have to get infos on all this bank stuff. Everybody is telling me different things. In the net I also found that you need to have a foreign currency account to recieve dollars directly. As far as I know, dollars always are put on an intermediary bank account from where it is transferred in Euros to your bank account.

I normally get paid via PayPal or within EU viy bank transfer. So far didn't have any problems. This is the first time, and then this large sum....I'm feeling really sick about that all.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:28
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Sanctions Oct 27

Inez Ulrich wrote:

....My Russian project managers kept asking the US office about the payment, but to no avail. 6 days later they finally sent a payment. It only never arrived because it was in US dollars which cannot be accepted by my bank account (which I wasn't aware of and which I also haven't been told in the many, many telephone calls I had with my bank ....


Bear in mind that following the occupation of Crimea and the trouble on the Ukrainian border, the US and other Western countries have applied sanctions to Russia that may be affecting banks, currency exchange, etc. - even if the Russian agency has an outpost in the US.


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Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:28
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Oct 27

...yes, I have thought the same...but if that is really the reason here, how will I ever get my money? Paypal seems the only option, or Payoneer.

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