A legal question : how can we consider the order is accepted?
Thread poster: guilhen

Local time: 07:45
Spanish to French
+ ...
May 31, 2005


This is a question about law, offer accepting.
To be concise I would like to know is there are any case law or jurisprudence for the following:

- The customer does not accept the offer but sends the files.
- After some time he says he doesn't want to pay for it.
- How can we get him frightened and make him pay although he hasn't accepted the offer?
He has sent the documents and maybe these are lagally suficient facts to proove that there is like a "legal contract" , moreover if the collaboration has always been working that way.

What documents can prove there is a "legal existing contract or order" ? any jurisprudence for that?

I guess there is no solution but I'm very curious of how I can get him scared about the problems I could cause him. (case law, translators law defense...)

All your comments are welcome, as well as legal defense for translators, business law...


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-05-31 18:51]


Chiara_M  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:45
French to Italian
+ ...
Your offer must be accepted May 31, 2005

There's an agency I regularly work with which usually sends me files asking for my avalaibility and proposed rate for the job. Sometimes the job is assigned to me, sometimes not - I think they find less "expensive" or "quicker" translators in those cases.
By the way, it is clear that an "enquiry" file shouldn't be translated if the agency hasn't clearly accepted the translator's offer.

As to the legal aspect, I don't know what happens in Spain. I kwow what happens in Italy, indeed. I had always thought that a signed PO was the first requirement on a legal level but just some days ago I read that email messages have been considered as legal as signed purchase orders and people have been paid on the basis of email agreements.

In your case, however, if the agency (or client) hadn't accepted your offer I think you can claim nothing.



Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:45
German to English
+ ...
There is no easy answer to this... May 31, 2005

...without looking at the individual communications between both of you. I would consult an attorney you trust.

As far as signed purchase orders are concerned, I rarely receive them (usually e-mails). The contracts I conclude are binding nonetheless (sometimes I even make agreements on the phone).icon_wink.gif


Local time: 07:45
Spanish to French
+ ...
Thank to both of you for your answers. Jun 1, 2005

in fact, I'm looking for a way of getting him scared, more than thinking about going to court...I could consult an law specialist and this could be a way of saying listen "my attorney told me that...".

Apart from my problem, I sent this question because I think many of us are concerned, as we all work through internet and via emails or phone calls confirmations.

I have found information relative to french law, (http://www.sft.fr/Dossiers/conditions_vente.htm) (but still nothing for spain.)

The future knows what will happen!


Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:45
French to English
+ ...
Let's get this straight... Jun 1, 2005

so you were approached about doing a translation, and the files were sent to you before or after you made an offer. Knowing that the client had not accepted your offer, you still translated the files, sent them to the client, and now you expect to get paid?

By all means consult a lawyer, but I don't know what you expect to learn from him/her. Next time, only translate the files if you have an agreement with the client to do so. The mere fact of being sent the files means nothing - you should have seen these in any case before agreeing to do the work.

Why does the client deserve to be 'scared'? Why should he/she pay you?


Christopher RH
Local time: 07:45
French to English
Get a lawyer Jun 2, 2005

The only way to really "scare" your client is with a lawyer's letter. Which will cost you unless you have some friends or friendly lawyer clients.

It would be a good idea to check first that you have "a leg to stand on".icon_wink.gif

It sounds like:
- you have standing business relations with this client
- you gave a quote, and the client then sent the files
- you sent back the translation
- you sent the bill
- the client complained some time later (when the bill was due to be paid?).

If the client sent the files first, and/or if the client was fairly quick to tell you he never ordered the translation, and/or if you don't have standing business dealings with this client, then your chances of showing there was a tacit agreement are slim, if not zero.

If the client actually used the translations, then in French law this sounds like a case of unjust enrichment (in the absence of an agreement).

Still, you should never do any work unless actually asked to...


Burkhard Ziegler  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:45
Russian to German
+ ...
Sending files may be purchase order (concludent behaviour) in a few cases Jun 2, 2005

The only way out of this dilemma I would consider in the following:

If the files came before your offer (please, make an offer, how much does the translation cost), you've no chance to claim anything.

If you sent an offer without saying: "Please, send me your files to be translated in order to make an individual offer" and your offer quoted a clear price, volume and deadline etc. than one might consider that sending the files could be a purchase order (making a contract by concludent behaviour). Much better would be an accompaining e mail like "Here are the files that shall be translated into XXX."

Another opportunity could be that you have worked in this way severals times for this client before.

But in fact, I consider your chances of claiming anything as for low!!!

Please, don't consider this as a legal advice and always consult yourself with a competent and confiable lawyer. The author refuses any liability for this information.

Por favor, no considere el presente mensaje como consulta legal y siempre consúltese con un abogado competente y confiable. El autor no se hará responsable para el presente mensaje.

[Edited at 2005-06-02 08:38]


Local time: 07:45
Spanish to French
+ ...
I just want to say thank you to everybody once again. Jun 2, 2005

Oh.. all the answers are really interesting. The case would deserve a good lawyer ,if i were rich I would spend my money to clear this out.
I'll try to ask a friend (lawyer) and if I get an answer, I'll send it to all of you...


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