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Long-term previously reliable client suddenly stops paying
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Dec 19, 2018

..and isn't replying to emails. They owe me over €5000.

So whilst I give them another week before starting debt recovery processes, I have started speculating. Have they gone bust? Has some tragedy overtaken them?

If anything like this has ever happened to you, I'd be interested to hear how it worked out.

[Edited at 2018-12-19 09:03 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
@Tom Dec 19, 2018

Tom in London wrote:
So whilst I give them another week before starting debt recovery processes, I have started speculating. Have they gone bust? Has some tragedy overtaken them?


Since you're not asking a question, but rather just sharing a life experience relating to your translation business, I think this should be posted to https://www.proz.com/wiwo.php instead. What do you think?


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
2 Dec 19, 2018

Samuel Murray wrote:

Tom in London wrote:
So whilst I give them another week before starting debt recovery processes, I have started speculating. Have they gone bust? Has some tragedy overtaken them?


Since you're not asking a question, but rather just sharing a life experience relating to your translation business, I think this should be posted to https://www.proz.com/wiwo.php instead. What do you think?


I asked two questions.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Answers Dec 19, 2018

Well, based on the information provided, Tom, I've done a little research, and this is what I came up with:

Michael Wetzel
texjax DDS PhD
Thomas T. Frost
Fiona Grace Peterson
Richard Purdom
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... Dec 19, 2018

Chris S wrote:

Well, based on the information provided, Tom, I've done a little research, and this is what I came up with:


thanks Chris. That's just what I'd have expected from you.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:48
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Ouch! Dec 19, 2018

Tom in London wrote:
They owe me over €5000

That's not something you'll be wanting to turn your back on.

Have they gone bust? Has some tragedy overtaken them?

Well, if it's a company rather than an individual, I don't suppose the proverbial bus is involved. But going bust is always a possibility. Have you checked? Each country has a register of companies and it can often be accessed online, for a fee. Wikipedia has an article listing many around the world. (Sorry, I don't have the link handy at the moment.) Companies are usually obliged to keep their entry up to date and filing for bankruptcy would be noted, along with the details of the lawyers acting in the procedure. I've just been let down by a French holiday firm that's bankrupt, so I know the French system works well.


Teresa Borges
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Get on the dog and bone Dec 19, 2018

Tom in London wrote:
thanks Chris. That's just what I'd have expected from you.

I hate to disappoint!
My best advice is to ring them up, ideally not from your normal phone number.
If the phone's not working, go straight to small claims.
Good luck!


Teresa Borges
Jennifer Forbes
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I know Dec 19, 2018

Chris S wrote:

Tom in London wrote:
thanks Chris. That's just what I'd have expected from you.

I hate to disappoint!
My best advice is to ring them up, ideally not from your normal phone number.
If the phone's not working, go straight to small claims.
Good luck!


Don't worry Chris; I know how to force people to pay me and it has never failed me (yet). It doesn't involve the small claims court. It's quite a heavy method, so before I press the red button I want to be sure there isn't some explanation (e.g. CEO suddenly kicked the bucket and they're all sobbing into their handkerchiefs; major electricity outage; earthquake; etc.)

[Edited at 2018-12-19 09:19 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks.. Dec 19, 2018

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Tom in London wrote:
They owe me over €5000

That's not something you'll be wanting to turn your back on.

Have they gone bust? Has some tragedy overtaken them?

Well, if it's a company rather than an individual, I don't suppose the proverbial bus is involved. But going bust is always a possibility. Have you checked? Each country has a register of companies and it can often be accessed online, for a fee. Wikipedia has an article listing many around the world. (Sorry, I don't have the link handy at the moment.) Companies are usually obliged to keep their entry up to date and filing for bankruptcy would be noted, along with the details of the lawyers acting in the procedure. I've just been let down by a French holiday firm that's bankrupt, so I know the French system works well.


Thanks Sheila - that's interesting.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Sheila Dec 19, 2018

Is this the link?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_company_registers


Sheila Wilson
 

Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:48
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Same thought Dec 19, 2018

@Tom, at first I had the same thought.
"I have started speculating. Have they gone bust? Has some tragedy overtaken them?"
..........................

I would do as you said and give them another week, but meanwhile do some research on their activities, related to LSPs' complaints, if possible, and after that, begin the debt collection.
Good luck.


 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 21:48
Member (2005)
English to German
It has happened to me Dec 19, 2018

... and they were all different.

The first one filed for actual bankrupty. Someone had tipped me off beforehand to invoice all outstanding projects, so my invoices would be on the list. I got some wishy-washy circular from them, forgot all about them, and years later I unexpectedly received some percentage of what they owed me, through some official procedure.

The second one juuuust pulled through, and managed to pay me in full in rather small installments. We were quit
... See more
... and they were all different.

The first one filed for actual bankrupty. Someone had tipped me off beforehand to invoice all outstanding projects, so my invoices would be on the list. I got some wishy-washy circular from them, forgot all about them, and years later I unexpectedly received some percentage of what they owed me, through some official procedure.

The second one juuuust pulled through, and managed to pay me in full in rather small installments. We were quite close to each other as humans at the time, so we agreed to solve this without paperwork or default interest.

The third one was not one of my favourite humans, paid up after an official nastigram (default summons), and from what I have heard, has since gone out of business - a year or two after I jumped ship.

So I can only suggest trying to get as much information as possible on what is going on on their end, to find the most fitting solution.
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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It has happened to me also Dec 19, 2018

I had a very peculiar experience with a client I had been working with for over 20 years. They paid within 60 days and even so from time to time payments were delayed. Two years ago, they owed me two invoices: a biggish one (circa 3,000 EUR) and a small one (circa 100 EUR). To my amazement the biggish invoice was paid within 15 days which led me to think that they were finally out of the woods, but quite the opposite happened: they filed for bankruptcy! There are still honest people around…

 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
Member
French to English
+ ...
Under new management? Dec 19, 2018

One possibility that springs to my mind is a takeover by managers with, let's say, a different approach to paying invoices.

This happened to me with a once-frequent and very reliable client (a UK-based agency) which later became an extremely infrequent client. A small job unexpectedly went unpaid, and subsequent reminders garnered a couple of rather vaguely-worded suggestions that they would look into it.

I then looked up the client on the Blue Board and found two or th
... See more
One possibility that springs to my mind is a takeover by managers with, let's say, a different approach to paying invoices.

This happened to me with a once-frequent and very reliable client (a UK-based agency) which later became an extremely infrequent client. A small job unexpectedly went unpaid, and subsequent reminders garnered a couple of rather vaguely-worded suggestions that they would look into it.

I then looked up the client on the Blue Board and found two or three recent entries suggesting the client had stopped paying on time, or at all. This was after a long string of 5s.

It turned out that the agency had been taken over by new managers who owned another agency with a long track record of late payments and non-payments. The policy of these managers was, as far as I could gather, to pay only if legal action was threatened or taken, and to ignore reminders not containing such a threat. According to documents I found at Companies House by looking up the agency online, there was a possibility that it was going to be struck off the Register of Companies for failing to file required documents. Worryingly, I also found a small ad on an estate agency's website advertising their premises for rental, showing a photo of a completely empty office!

Before they were struck off, I filed a small claim, which I won by default as the agency didn't defend it. To my great surprise, it eventually paid up, with no communication/email whatsoever. Shortly before they paid, I found further filings on the Companies House website which indicated they had just taken out a bank loan to keep themselves financially afloat, and relocated to another office.

Amusingly, a few months later, a PM from the same agency tried to hire me for a translation into US English (yes, US English, which I have never claimed to know). Needless to say, I declined!
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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 22:48
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Never happened to me Dec 19, 2018

Just to answer your question.

 
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