agencies that do not pay
Thread poster: Japhet Mphande

Japhet Mphande
Zambia
Local time: 00:04
Member (2017)
English to Nyanja
+ ...
Apr 30

For nearing a year, I have being trying to ask one of the agencies to pay me more than $3,000 owing for book translation. The reviews for this company are not good at all. First, they asked me to have an account in USA. How when I live in Africa? Second, they asked me for paypal. Paypal does not have money receiving features for some countries. I told them, if they can't use the bank then Western Union. They failed. They later asked me to have someone in USA with a bank account. Finally, one person was found, but since then, this company has been dilly-dallying to pay all the money. What is proz.com policy towards agencies in habit of duping translators or services providers? I know that somewhere, they are blacklisted, but what about on proz.com?

 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:04
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Blue Board Apr 30

ProZ has what it calls the Blue Board.
https://www.proz.com/blueboard
It is always worth checking to see if a company you don't know is listed here (it may not be, of course). Translators who have worked for a company give it a rating, and payment reliability is a major factor in this. Companies with consistently bad ratings will not be allowed to advertise again on ProZ.


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Sounds awful Apr 30

Sounds like a nightmare.

When you fill in a low Blue Board score at Proz (do please report this on the Blue Board to warn your colleagues), they give you the option of filing a non-payment report. Proz can ban non-paying companies from posting jobs at the site.

Unfortunately, that doesn't help you get paid. There is nothing Proz can do to help with that. Colleagues in the US would know more about how to collect this.

I always avoid companies with dubious records to try to prevent such problems, but sometimes the record goes bad after you start working for a company.

It doesn't sound very professional to expect non-residents to have bank accounts in the US. It is near impossible to open a bank account in the US from abroad.

And yes, PayPal does exclude certain countries, most probably because of these countries' legislation, capital controls or similar measures that make it difficult or impossible to operate there.

The problem with Western Union, I think, is that there is no way to certify who receives the money. Anyone with the right code can collect the money. The problem with paying someone else with a bank account in the US is that records will show that someone else was paid, but not you.

But why can't they just make an international bank transfer? I presume you do have a bank account in your own country.

In any case, it's always a good idea to agree how to get paid, and who pays the fees before commencing work for a new client.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Best of luck with getting paid Apr 30

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

....When you fill in a low Blue Board score at Proz (do please report this on the Blue Board to warn your colleagues), they give you the option of filing a non-payment report. Proz can ban non-paying companies from posting jobs at the site.


-Yes, you should do this and when you've done it, inform the non-paying client. Send them a link to the BlueBoard entry and inform them that other action may follow without warning.

But why can't they just make an international bank transfer? I presume you do have a bank account in your own country.


On the (rare) occasions on which I have worked for USA clients they have either (a) paid me by bank transfer or (b) sent me a cheque. This is very simple (although you will lose something because of the transaction fee and the currency exchange).

[Edited at 2018-04-30 16:18 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Western Union - not so in Brazil Apr 30

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

The problem with Western Union, I think, is that there is no way to certify who receives the money. Anyone with the right code can collect the money. The problem with paying someone else with a bank account in the US is that records will show that someone else was paid, but not you.


This may vary from one country to another, however Western Union is not so informal in Brazil.

When a client pays me via WU, and send me the MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number), I have three options to personally go to:
  • Banco do Brasil (federal gov't bank)
  • Bradesco (private bank)
  • Specific travel/foreign exchange agencies

All three require the MTCN (of course) an official photo ID. Banks also require proof of address (any utility bill), and they make and file copies of both documents. All three print a foreign exchange transaction document in two counterparts (the banks' has several pages), and require it to be signed on the spot, with a signature identical to the one on the ID.

WU offers the possibility of crediting it to a bank account in the destination country, however this seems to be messier and more expensive.

Another option is Moneygram which, AFAIK, works exactly like Western Union, however its destination bank is Itau (another private bank). Same requirements - even considering that I do my banking there, so they have all my details. Just a bit less bureaucratic.

IMO the issue is in the sending end. If the agency is a Mom & Pop outfit, no problem. However if the agency is a larger, more populated office, WU and MG are P2P. Someone at the agency must receive in cash on the translator's behalf, and then send it as an individual. "Tom went to the bank, withdrew cash, and said he left the money in an envelope with my name on Wendy's desk for me to pick up. When I got there, Wendy wasn't at her desk, and there was no envelope in sight."


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:04
French to English
Getting paid May 2

Three thousand dollars is large sum of money outstanding. Firstly, payment terms should have been agreed before you started the job. Most agencies do sort this type of thing out before you actually start the job. Secondly, for a job worth USD3000, it would have been a good idea to ask for part payment, or a deposit. This lets you see if the client is serious about its payment intentions. It also enables you to see if the payment process set up actually works. If it doesn't, it gives you time to find a solution.

An agency that suggests they pay you by asking you to authorise payment onto the account of someone else is unusual indeed. I suppose that your invoice was made out in your name. The agency should make a payment to the name of the person/company on the invoice. Special arrangements require special agreements; did the agency suggest one for this type of payment? In any event, it is risky to have a client pay you onto an account you have no control over. What if the person holding that account decides not to pay the money over? What if the person's account is overdrawn? Who is to pay he bank charges, costs and fees in this case?

I think you need to check the original terms on which you were to be paid and start considering formal action for recovery.


 

zahra razavi  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 02:34
Persian (Farsi) to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
ATA can help May 9

Hi
American Translation Association(ATA) can collect your money but it will cost 25-50 percent of the money.


 


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