Handling payment from non-responsive client
Thread poster: Sunila Munjal
Sunila Munjal
Local time: 12:13
German to English
Jan 16, 2007


I was prompted to write this post after reading the post on "How much is worth suing for" by Chinese concept.

I have a question for all of you and would also like to know if you have come across the same situation.

I received a call from France a few weeks ago, from a German guy who had seen my profile on ProZ, and who asked me if I had the time to work on some pages by such and such date. I said I could, so he sent me the work by email. Then, I asked him to send me a contract confirmation stating price, no. of pages etc. etc. - which he sent immediately.

Then the next day, he sent some additional pages to be done by the same deadline - I informed him that these additional ones were not part of the original agreement and would take more time to do. He agreed and upon asking again, promptly sent me a new contract agreement stating the new volume of work.

Now, all this was very well - I was also satisfied with his promptness in replying to me. In fact, after calling me the first time and sending me the work, he immediately called me again to confirm that I had indeed received his email.

Things changed completely after I sent him the completed work though. I sent him the work over three days and before the agreed deadline, and after the last bit of work, I also sent him the invoice via paypal.

Since that first installment of work sent by me, I have received no communication from him, in spite of having asked for a confirmation of receipt of work and invoice. I have sent a couple of mails asking for confirmation but no response.

So, my questions are:

1. Does this happen on a regular basis i.e. is this usual? Am I reacting too soon, and is non-communication of this sort normal?

2. Also, the volume of work in this case does not warrant any legal action and effort from my side but what else can we do (apart from posting the name on the blue board and sending reminders to a completely non-responsive client). Besides what constitutes a legally-binding contract agreement - does a confirmation email suffice?

3. Do you foresee non-payment in this case? It was a good three days of work for me, which has come to nought, since I do not expect to receive a reply from this guy anymore. I have even called the France number provided by him (the same number from which he called me) - just to check, but there was no response, no voice mail either. I know I need to wait at least till the agreed date of payment (30 days from invoice) which is this week, but I would like to avoid such situations in the future, in case this one does turn out as I fear it will.

Somewhat long post, but your views and inputs will be valuable ...

Thanks in advance,

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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:43
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Hi Sunila, Jan 16, 2007

It seems that you took on a translation job from personal direct client. If you did, it is really risky job.

To prevent such case, I always require full up-front payment from personal direct client. The job is usually worth less than US$400. So far, there is no client who objects to my condition.

Good luck.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:43
English to German
+ ...
Give him the benefit of the doubt Jan 16, 2007

Your payment isn't even due yet. Besides, he sent you a contract, nothing looks fishy here.

A client of mine once fell victim to a virus attack which shut their entire system down for days, which in return resulted in serious non-responsiveness (!). What if the outsourcer is simply sick or out of town for a couple of days? Did you call him only once (making sure that you didn't call during lunch time and such)?

I am sure it will work out fine.



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Marina Mazzaglia
Local time: 03:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
It smells bad Jan 17, 2007

On one hand I agree with the colleague's opinion maybe he is out of town or ill etc. so that I think you should wait at least a week but if he does not even confirm receipt of the files I doubt whether this person has good intentions since he has not even confirmed receipt of the material, I went through a similar situation two years ago with a contract in between and I haven't had news about those guys not even payment since then,

Good luck

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Fan Gao
Local time: 17:43
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Stay positive Jan 17, 2007

Hi Sunila,

It could be that he is just busy or tied up with something. Try to stay positive and give it a while before you really start thinking the worst.

Out of curiosity, did the guy who contacted you have a professional/company website or was it just a Hotmail/Yahoo etc. address? Sometimes that can be a good indication of the type of character or company you're dealing with and at least gives you some background.

Hope it works out for you and has a happy ending:)

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Sunila Munjal
Local time: 12:13
German to English
Thanks for the replies Jan 17, 2007

Firstly, thank you all for taking the time to reply.

To answer your questions:

No, I called him three times on different days and at different times of day, but there was no response all three times.

Yes, I have thought about that too, hence my pessimism - he had an aol mail ID, not a company ID. So, makes me a little more wary in hindsight than I would otherwise be ...

However, all your inputs helped me - thanks, Hipyan, next time I will try the approach suggested by you, if doing work for someone directly.
I agree too that I ought to wait a few more days till I draw a final conclusion - even though, my gut feeling is more that I got duped this time ...

Thanks once again for your inputs and suggestions. I will, of course, let you all know, if this turns out well, after all.


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