Is the only way now to take legal action regarding a non-paying translation agency in India?
Thread poster: Fredrik Pettersson

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:24
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Dec 14, 2018

This translation agency owe me more than 3,000 USD for two projects I completed for them in May this year. In November, they gave me this reply:

Please give me some time and will process your payment very soon in November month definitely.

Your name is already in our Priority List.
Don't worry about your payment.

Then I keep sending reminders to them from ProZ.com, and they don't reply.

This translation agency is now banned from posting
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This translation agency owe me more than 3,000 USD for two projects I completed for them in May this year. In November, they gave me this reply:

Please give me some time and will process your payment very soon in November month definitely.

Your name is already in our Priority List.
Don't worry about your payment.

Then I keep sending reminders to them from ProZ.com, and they don't reply.

This translation agency is now banned from posting more jobs at ProZ.com

Is the only way now to proceed by taking legal action in India?
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Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 08:24
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
As far as I can now assume, Dec 14, 2018

your only way-out is to demand at least 50% of the amount, otherwise you go to court in india.

This is the thing I would suggest, based on the fact that this is an Indian client talking to you over the Internetб with no contract, etc.

Just a thought.


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
End client Dec 14, 2018

It was debated on this site a while ago whether it was legitimate to notify the end client that they are not entitled to use the translation, as you still own the copyright, since you haven't been paid.

It is something I would consider in such a case of hard non-payment.

You could start by warning the outsourcer that unless paid in full in ten days from now, you will contact the end client.


Edoardo Lorenzo Corda
Sarah Muda
Bernd Albrecht
 

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:24
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Contact end client is a good idea; 50 % is out of the question Dec 14, 2018

I would never bargain about what I have agreed on before commencing this project. If I ever would do that with one customer, I would never know when this will happen next time.

I remember now I thought about this option to contact the end client. Have notified this Indian agency now, will see what they reply. So far they refrain from replying to me.

There are other options also.

I have a NDA and work agreement with them.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Joe Ly Sien
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:24
French to English
5-6 months late, don't wait! Dec 15, 2018

If a client owes you 3K USD for a couple of jobs you did in May of this year, then by any standard, the client's payment is months overdue. You need to take immediate formal action for recovery. The client's communications are not at all reassuring; they are either in financial difficulty or playing that road and are unwilling to pay. Whatever the reason, you need to take action now. Saying you should have acted a couple of months ago is not going to help, but I think it is the case.

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If a client owes you 3K USD for a couple of jobs you did in May of this year, then by any standard, the client's payment is months overdue. You need to take immediate formal action for recovery. The client's communications are not at all reassuring; they are either in financial difficulty or playing that road and are unwilling to pay. Whatever the reason, you need to take action now. Saying you should have acted a couple of months ago is not going to help, but I think it is the case.

Formal action for recovery will probably mean paying a professional. I think you need to set a budget for recovery so that you don't put good money after bad. What I mean is that although you will obviously include interest, penalties, and cost of recovery in what you claim from the client, the hard fact may be that they are about to go bankrupt and you may never recover your 3K USD. If that is the case, then you obviously don't want to spend a phenomenal amount is fees which will increase your net loss.
A quick note about fees, penalties etc., your contract should set out what you can charge under these headings. If your contract does not include this type of eventuality, then you may not be able to include them in your claim. All of this may be academic as if they go bankrupt, you may recover nothing at all.

As is often the case, experiences such as this usually serve to make us much more wary of a number of factors when deciding who to work for : distance, cost/difficulty of recovery in the event of default on payment, the value of the work we commit to/supply without partial payment upfront (never a problem for serious clients and enables procedural difficulties to be identified and sorted out). A common feature we see on these pages is how long some of us wait before considering taking action for recovery. If you had been an energy supply company, your client would have had his supply cut off months ago. React immediately when a client's payment is overdue. If the weeks become months, the recovery machine should already be rolling. Be realistic. Do not lose sight of the fact that late action for recovery decreases your chance of success you need to know exactly how much time and money you are willing to lose in what might be an unsuccessful process from start to finish.

Edit: on the matter of negotiation, partial payment at this stage. I agree with you that this is not acceptable now. It might have been an idea early on. A serious client in difficulty might have asked for it anyway. More than 5 months down the line, you need to claim the whole amount (plus interest, etc. if you can).

[Edited at 2018-12-15 00:11 GMT]
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Kevin Fulton
Jennifer Forbes
B D Finch
Jessica Noyes
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Another possibility Dec 16, 2018

Another possibility is factoring.

You simply sell your debt to the factoring company and they chase payment on behalf of themselves. You get less money (of course) but the problem goes away.

Unfortunately for small amounts this may not be possible.


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 00:24
English to Russian
+ ...
Nothing to wait for. Fight or forget Dec 16, 2018

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:

Is the only way now to proceed by taking legal action in India?


"Don't worry about your payment"after 6 months???? This is a mockery and an insult. Only businesses swimming in murky waters with no consciousness, no business ethics, no intention to pay and greed measured in cubic megatons are capable of such replies. You are not dealing with any excusable reasons - financial problems, bankruptcies etc. They don't want to pay, period. No more room for illusions.

Before proceeding, make sure that your balance sheet total will not come to zero or "below zero", and estimate your legal costs against maximum possible "all-inclusive" judgement. Keep in mind that you will not receive your money the day after obtaining the judgement; they will appeal and drag on.and you'll have to pay a lot upfront - 3K is not enough for "pay if you win" option. If that were the case within your country, I would recommend fighting because the sum is substantial, but with your case geography... I'm quite skeptical, sorry. Try to start with the letter from a lawyer and see what happens. Their reaction will be a good indication of what can be expected next. I think that Tom in London offered the best and the cheapest course of action, at least worth trying.


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:24
Serbian to English
+ ...
Not so simple Dec 16, 2018

Tom in London wrote:

Another possibility is factoring.

You simply sell your debt to the factoring company and they chase payment on behalf of themselves. You get less money (of course) but the problem goes away.

Unfortunately for small amounts this may not be possible.


As far as I'm aware
-- factoring is not a one-off arrangement - they'll want ALL your sales to go through them (and obviously charge you their cut - they are NOT going to take only problem clients)
-- you can't include sales made before you started using a factoring company
-- they might "exclude" certain of your clients if they deem them too much potential trouble / consider that you are going to burden them with stupid risks - and that might well include clients you have outside of your own country.

IOW regarding "simply sell your debt to the factoring company" - it's far from being so simple, factoring companies are not benevolent saviours - they are not going to take off you only troublesome clients and forget about the good ones, especially not post-factum.

OTOH, it might make sense to use factoring if most of your sales are in your own country - it will cost you some money but you don't have to waste time on chasing bad payers.

BTW ever heard the one about "prevention being better than cure"?

"Know who your clients are" is not only for banks ...

Your best bet: if you know who the end-client is send them without further ado a warning letter that you still own the copyright on the translation - they are most likely blissfully unaware that the agency has appropriated all the money they paid, and might put pressure on the agency to pay you.

[Edited at 2018-12-16 18:33 GMT]


John Fossey
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
oic Dec 16, 2018

oic

thank you Daryo. You're right, of course.


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:24
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


What about contacting one of the numerous valuable translators associations? Dec 16, 2018

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:

Is the only way now to proceed by taking legal action in India?


Contact i.e. this one and please let us know how they react:

https://itaindia.org

There may be others as well and many of them simply call themselves "translators association" without being such an institution at all.

Best regards,
Matthias

[Bearbeitet am 2018-12-17 08:59 GMT]


 

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:24
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Several options to choose from for next step Dec 20, 2018

Thanks everyone for your valuable suggestions in my case with non-payment from this Indian translation agency. I will report later how this evolved in the end.

The most natural next step would be to contact the end customer. In this case, both the Indian translation agency and the end client are big companies, which is an advantage compared to if the translation agency would have been a small agency. In particular the end client probably is keen on an issue like this not getting too
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Thanks everyone for your valuable suggestions in my case with non-payment from this Indian translation agency. I will report later how this evolved in the end.

The most natural next step would be to contact the end customer. In this case, both the Indian translation agency and the end client are big companies, which is an advantage compared to if the translation agency would have been a small agency. In particular the end client probably is keen on an issue like this not getting too much attention in public such as on social media, in trade papers, among professionals in trade associations, among other translation agencies etc.

I've lived in India for periods and know my way quite well there. The idea of contacting Indian translators' association is also a good idea.

I have all proof I need from the e-mail communication, NDA, work agreement and job task documents.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Disclosure Dec 20, 2018

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:
The most natural next step would be to contact the end customer. In this case, both the Indian translation agency and the end client are big companies, which is an advantage compared to if the translation agency would have been a small agency. In particular the end client probably is keen on an issue like this not getting too much attention in public such as on social media, in trade papers, among professionals in trade associations, among other translation agencies etc.

Be very wary of actually contacting the end client as it normally goes against the NDA - putting you in breach of contract too - and is really considered quite unethical. I did it myself once and would go well out of my way to avoid doing it again, even though it had exactly the desired result. In my case, I felt justified as the translation was in the public domain and being used to publicise the end client's business. I first contacted my client (who was doing the usual "my client hasn't paid" whining) to tell him that I would have to contact the end client on xx/xx/xxxx to advise them that they were contravening my intellectual property rights by using an unpaid-for translation. As I heard nothing by the due date, I rang the end client, who was clearly not at all happy with me or the agency - I got the impression he'd already paid for the translation. My client was absolutely livid and promised to retaliate but instead I received payment that day and never heard from him again.


 

Sulim Kim  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 15:24
English to Korean
I hope this works for me Dec 27, 2018

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:
The most natural next step would be to contact the end customer. In this case, both the Indian translation agency and the end client are big companies, which is an advantage compared to if the translation agency would have been a small agency. In particular the end client probably is keen on an issue like this not getting too much attention in public such as on social media, in trade papers, among professionals in trade associations, among other translation agencies etc.

Be very wary of actually contacting the end client as it normally goes against the NDA - putting you in breach of contract too - and is really considered quite unethical. I did it myself once and would go well out of my way to avoid doing it again, even though it had exactly the desired result. In my case, I felt justified as the translation was in the public domain and being used to publicise the end client's business. I first contacted my client (who was doing the usual "my client hasn't paid" whining) to tell him that I would have to contact the end client on xx/xx/xxxx to advise them that they were contravening my intellectual property rights by using an unpaid-for translation. As I heard nothing by the due date, I rang the end client, who was clearly not at all happy with me or the agency - I got the impression he'd already paid for the translation. My client was absolutely livid and promised to retaliate but instead I received payment that day and never heard from him again.


I was searching how to react for my outstanding $700, and I hope this will work.
My end client was also in the public domain. I will try this and will keep it posted how this goes...
Thank you for sharing your experience, Sheila.


[Edited at 2018-12-27 02:54 GMT]


 

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:24
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The principle of common sense must prevail in this case Jan 22, 2019

It can't be that the agency who is supposed to pay me within a reasonable time should benefit from a clause in the NDA about not, under any circumstances, contact the end client. The fundamental basis of my whole business relationship with this agency is that I perform work for them and they should pay me according to agreement. If this fundamental basis is violated and neglected during a long time period (more than 6 months), then I should be in my full right to take any necessary measures.
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It can't be that the agency who is supposed to pay me within a reasonable time should benefit from a clause in the NDA about not, under any circumstances, contact the end client. The fundamental basis of my whole business relationship with this agency is that I perform work for them and they should pay me according to agreement. If this fundamental basis is violated and neglected during a long time period (more than 6 months), then I should be in my full right to take any necessary measures.

However, I read through my work agreement and NDA with this agency, and there is actually nothing mentioned there that I am not allowed to contact the end client.
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Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:24
Member (2019)
French to English
+ ...
The question of ethics Jan 22, 2019

Fredrik: In relation to the argument that you shouldn’t violate a clause in the NDA, you write: “The fundamental basis of my whole business relationship with this agency is that I perform work for them and they should pay me according to agreement. If this fundamental basis is violated and neglected during a long time period (more than 6 months), then I should be in my full right to take any necessary measures.”

Just wanted to put in my 2 cents on 1 point here: I totally agr
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Fredrik: In relation to the argument that you shouldn’t violate a clause in the NDA, you write: “The fundamental basis of my whole business relationship with this agency is that I perform work for them and they should pay me according to agreement. If this fundamental basis is violated and neglected during a long time period (more than 6 months), then I should be in my full right to take any necessary measures.”

Just wanted to put in my 2 cents on 1 point here: I totally agree with your “assessment” of the situation & have an analogous situation I recently experienced. Staffing agencies in the US often do not “deliver” on promised temporary jobs. Or, another of their “specialties” that I recently experienced: I was “assigned” a 6-day marketing job over the holidays, and then they took ½ of it away, no doubt giving it to a Friend, “Favorite person,” or Family member of someone who worked at the agency (“the 3 Fs”). Having never worked with a staffing agency before, I was up in arms, as I had counted on x amount of money coming in to pay x bills. I did some research on this particular agency and found that what they did to me was not at all uncommon: some temporary workers in my situation had also complained about being on a job & then suddenly pulled off of it; they were told that the client wasn’t happy with their work anymore. These people knew that wasn’t true and were able to determine that the staffing agency had simply put someone else in the job (one of the “three Fs” cited above).

I didn’t take this total lack of ethics lying down, and engaged in emails with the agency, arguing that they owed me the money for the full six days, as this was what they proposed when they contacted me about the job, what I accepted, and what I was counting on. Emails to the staff went nowhere, as they lied about the original offer made to me. Finally, the emails “escalated” to the level of the agency’s owner. She defended their position and then gave what she viewed as the “killer” argument: she attached a clause in a document I had signed when I had originally gone to the agency. The clause stated that the agency “only pays people working for them for actual hours worked.” (I did not see, at the time, how problematic this could be).

I had the same reaction to this argument as you did, in your case, about violating “a clause in the NDA.” Why in the world, when an entity is guilty of egregious lack of ethics in their dealings with you, would you be expected to adhere to a clause in your work agreement with them that is in their favor? (I'm not a lawyer, but there might be some legal principle here, also).

In my case, I was so angry at what happened, I contacted the Attorney General (AG) of the state where I live. (In the US, each state has an AG, and they are the highest legal authority at the state level). No doubt because they see a trend here (experiences similar to mine), they are willing to accept (and even help with) an official complaint which might (or might not) lead to remuneration.

I'm sorry for the length of this. Your situation hit a nerve.
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Fredrik Pettersson
 


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