Indian company doesn't pay
Thread poster: Laura Gentili

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:07
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 10

Hi,
On August 3 I delivered a small job (120 USD) to an Indian PM (based in New Dehli). She sounded very nice, sent a regular PO, agreed to increase my rate since the original proposal was way too low, etc. She stated they pay 30 days from the date of the invoice. They haven't paid yet. She keeps saying things like "I will make sure they pay this week", " "I will make sure they pay at the end of the month", "I am escalating this to my manager", etc. etc.
On September 30 she wrote: "
... See more
Hi,
On August 3 I delivered a small job (120 USD) to an Indian PM (based in New Dehli). She sounded very nice, sent a regular PO, agreed to increase my rate since the original proposal was way too low, etc. She stated they pay 30 days from the date of the invoice. They haven't paid yet. She keeps saying things like "I will make sure they pay this week", " "I will make sure they pay at the end of the month", "I am escalating this to my manager", etc. etc.
On September 30 she wrote: "I have given them a last date for 10th. I will make sure it is made by then." I wrote to her this morning and I received no answer.
I already gave them 1 in the BB (no previous grading in the BB) in order to warn other translators.
What steps shall I take from now?
Thank you for any advice.
Laura
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
No online presence at all? Oct 10

Laura Gentili wrote:
I wrote to her this morning and I received no answer.

So, they were very willing to pay, and now silence? That sounds ominously like a company struggling with debt that has now folded. Can you find other ways to contact them? Via their website, via their ProZ.com profile, by phone, Skype ...?

I already gave them 1 in the BB (no previous grading in the BB) in order to warn other translators.

Did you ask for reports from other collaborators? Somewhere on the BB you can click to request a call for entries. I get an email every day of these calls. Sometimes that jobs someone's memory. Also, look for any other signs of them around the web.

Did they already have a page set up in the BB directory? Have they been around long, according to their ProZ.com presence? I'm wondering if it's a start-up company. A high percentage of them never really get off the ground.

Another thing to do now is to check to see whether there is a company in that name and whether they are still trading. Just about all countries have a register of companies and often it's available online, but there can be a cost associated with finding out financial details. Maybe this will help: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_company_registers#India


Viktoriia Horiachko
 

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:07
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Sheila Oct 10

Thank you for your suggestions, Sheila. She contacted me through ProZ, the company is listed in ProZ but no BB entries before mine.
They have a normal looking website, names correspond, everything looks legitimate.
My actual question was: when you don't get paid from a company based in a completely different part of the world and the amount doesn't justify hiring a lawyer in that country, what can be done?

Thank you,
Laura


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
If the company has ceased trading, nothing can be done Oct 10

Laura Gentili wrote:
My actual question was: when you don't get paid from a company based in a completely different part of the world and the amount doesn't justify hiring a lawyer in that country, what can be done?

That's why I was wondering about the company's financial status. Once a company has filed for bankruptcy, even if it's in your home town, legally there's nothing that can be done apart from registering your claim with the official receiver and crossing your fingers. I've had two bankrupt clients in the past and didn't see a cent from either.

If they're still trading but having financial problems, you need to get your invoice to the top of the queue, which is where debt recovery companies come into their own. They can turn up on the doorstep and refuse to go away until they've been paid. But they won't be interested in such a small sum, I'm afraid, although you could always ask.

If they're still trading and just don't seem anxious to pay, then you have various options.
-- You certainly need to send a very official-looking final demand (Google for it) by registered post that briefly outlines the details of the debt and gives them a final date for payment. Pay the post office to get a signature of delivery and return a copy of it to you. That constitutes legal proof of the client being aware of the debt, although IME it can take months for the proof to be returned to you even within Europe.

-- Actually following through with legal action may be out of the question due to costs, although many lawyers will at least give some advice for free so it would be worth contacting one in your country who specialises in such matters.

-- Appeal to their good name, if they have one. Give advance warning (not threats) that you feel it's your duty to warn others. In this case, you've used the BB. There are similar boards and payment practice sites and forums. Also, maybe they're registered with their local Chamber of Commerce, translation association or other places where they have a good name they'd like to keep.

-- Maybe make a nuisance of yourself. I suggested using a different contact method because sometimes an email address can stop working. You could try every email address you can find, contacting both the PM and their bosses, right up to the CEO. You could phone daily. Be careful not to harass -- just be firm and polite.

I hope something works for you without spending too much time and money chasing it. At least you're only owed a small amount. We should all have credit limits for all our clients; a low amount for a first-time client which needs to be paid off before accepting a second job, then gradually increasing to a still-acceptable level. Even a great client can suddenly go out of business, so it should never be too much.


Yolanda Broad
 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:07
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
company doesn't pay Oct 10

A translator's first item of due diligence should be geographical.

IrinaN
Viktoriia Horiachko
Katalin Horváth McClure
Sulim Kim
 

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:07
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you again, Sheila Oct 10

Thank you again, Sheila, for your valuable suggestions.
Laura


 

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:07
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update Nov 8

Hi everybody,
Here is the update. After making all kind of excuses, they finally said payment depended on end client approval of the final product. I posted a negative comment on the BB saying they did not pay. They finally paid after 100 days (instead of the original 30 day term), so I changed my comment: still 1 as rating, but finally paid after 100 days (instead of 30 days). Now they keep nagging me saying it's not their fault, it's the end client's fault, etc. etc.
I have no int
... See more
Hi everybody,
Here is the update. After making all kind of excuses, they finally said payment depended on end client approval of the final product. I posted a negative comment on the BB saying they did not pay. They finally paid after 100 days (instead of the original 30 day term), so I changed my comment: still 1 as rating, but finally paid after 100 days (instead of 30 days). Now they keep nagging me saying it's not their fault, it's the end client's fault, etc. etc.
I have no intention to remove my comment. I am simply shocked by this behavior (you should not say you pay after 30 days if it's likely you will pay after 90-100 days) and I think my payment should not depend on what their end client does or doesn't.

Laura
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Yolanda Broad
Dan Lucas
Sandra& Kenneth
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Katalin Horváth McClure
Alison Jenner
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Totally unacceptable Nov 8

Laura Gentili wrote:
I have no intention to remove my comment. I am simply shocked by this behavior (you should not say you pay after 30 days if it's likely you will pay after 90-100 days) and I think my payment should not depend on what their end client does or doesn't.

There is never any justification to delay payment. If you'd demanded same-day payment then that might be different, but 30 days is quite enough for them and/or the end client to check the quality. If they totally rely on the end-client to determine the quality, i.e. they don't do any proofreading themselves, then they have to be prepared to accept some risk if they don't get a verdict in time. And if their cash-flow situation doesn't allow for paying their suppliers, well, they're probably well on the road to bankruptcy.

Congratulations for standing firm .


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:07
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you again, Sheila Nov 8

Thank you so much, Sheila.
I think they believe that paying is enough, all is well what ends well. What about the 12 messages I had to write, all the excuses I had to listen to, the frustration they caused me, etc. etc. It was only 120 USD but I have 3 kids to support by myself and every bit helps.
From their point of view, paying after 30 days or paying after 100 days is just the same. This is tragicomic, in my opinion.
Laura


Sheila Wilson
 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 15:07
English to Polish
+ ...
Like it was repeated million times here you have no contract with the customer but with the LSP Nov 9

and their problems with the customer are not your concern.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:07
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Laura Nov 9

Laura Gentili wrote:
She stated they pay 30 days from the date of the invoice.


FWIW, some of my clients do not accept the "invoice" until a certain event took place. For example, some clients accept the invoice only after the PM told me "okay, the job is now completed, please send your invoice", and if I send an invoice before that, they reject the invoice. Other clients only accept an invoice after they've sent me a PO (and they send the PO 1-2 months after I delivered the job). Many translators send an invoice directly after they've delivered the translation, and then expect terms like "30 days after invoice" to apply to that date, but clients in good faith may mean something else by it.

I don't know the exact words that you and your client used, but it sounds to me (based on your most recent posts) like they believe that they had acted professionally, so maybe they are one of those clients that take "30 days after invoice" to mean "30 days after receiving the go-ahead to send the invoice".


[Edited at 2019-11-09 13:59 GMT]


 

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:07
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Payment Terms Nov 9

Samuel Murray wrote:
I don't know the exact words that you and your client used, but it sounds to me (based on your most recent posts) like they believe that they had acted professionally, so maybe they are one of those clients that take "30 days after invoice" to mean "30 days after receiving the go-ahead to send the invoice".


[Edited at 2019-11-09 13:59 GMT]


Thank you, Samuel.
She originally wrote "payment terms would be 30 days from date of raising the invoice".
Laura


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:07
Serbian to English
+ ...
You can't have your cake and eat it Nov 11

Laura Gentili wrote:

Hi everybody,
Here is the update. After making all kind of excuses, they finally said payment depended on end client approval of the final product. I posted a negative comment on the BB saying they did not pay. They finally paid after 100 days (instead of the original 30 day term), so I changed my comment: still 1 as rating, but finally paid after 100 days (instead of 30 days). Now they keep nagging me saying it's not their fault, it's the end client's fault, etc. etc.
I have no intention to remove my comment. I am simply shocked by this behavior (you should not say you pay after 30 days if it's likely you will pay after 90-100 days) and I think my payment should not depend on what their end client does or doesn't.

Laura


Most agencies present themselves not as any kind of middleman but as being your client and claim that you have no business having any business with the final client.

If they take that position, then:
(1) they are responsible for accepting the delivered text
(2) have to pay their own suppliers in time / as agreed , whatever happens or not with agency's own client.

They didn't invite you to be part of a joint enterprise, so late payment by THEIR client is not your problem. You can't keep the rights for yourself but shift responsibility to someone else - there are few not very nice names for it.


 


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