Bad practice by a previously trusted agency
Thread poster: Tamara Zahran

Tamara Zahran  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Arabic
Feb 9, 2007

Dear All,

I am having a bad problem regarding payment from an agency in the UK which I have been working for since 2 years, and never had a problem with them in this regard.

They have a policy of not sending international transfers unless the amount of the payement is more than Euro 600. With previous payments I was in the UK and and managed to provide them with the details of a bank account there to send the money to. The last group of invoices I sent to them was sent on November 12th, 2006, three months ago, and the total amount was more than Euro 1600. Their payement is usually sent 30 days after invoicing. so I wated till around December 20 to check with them, they said they have to delay the payment until after the first week of the new year. I said, "OK", and waited for another month, after which I tried to contact them again, and this time was told that they will check with the accountant and let me know. Then after that they said they have a small job that they need me to do before they send the payment, and they will add it to the payment and send right away. I agreed once again, and since then they sent another two small jobs, every time saying the same, and the last one of them was sent yesterday and due today. I haven't sent it yet, waiting for a reply from them regarding payment, because I told them this time that I don't want the payment of this one added to the invoice. I've been trying to call them since yesterday, and always get a reply from someone who says she doesn't know anything about this because she doesn't deal directly with translators. Knowing that the number I dial is the direct number of the person who sends me the projects all the time, but now she's not picking the phone herself.

It's getting very bad, the amount is too big for me to handle the delay, and I don't know what to do. Does anyone have a solution here? I would appreciate any help.

Kindest regards to all of you,
Tamara


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Barbara Cochran, MFA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Doesn't Sound Good Anymore Feb 9, 2007

One of the translation agencies I have done a lot of work for was way past due with payment and approached me to do a 35-page project and more. They knew I have extensive knowledge in the particular field so, of course, they wanted to use someone like me. They sent me the file and a couple of days later I wrote to them and said, "Before I get started on this assignment, I'd like to know when you are going to pay me for Invoice X which is now a couple of months overdue?" The money was deposited in my PayPal account within the day.

As much as I would have hated turning down those particular assignments, I would have if they had not forwarded me the past due amount.


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Ana Naglić  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 05:10
Member (2005)
English to Croatian
+ ...
me too Feb 9, 2007

I had a similar problem with a UK agency recently, I don't know if that happened because of the holidays. They used to pay on time. I sent them reminders twice a week and they paid after a month. Just be persistent.

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GLENN MCBRIDE WITHENSHAW
Mexico
Local time: 22:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
trouble in collecting Feb 9, 2007

I don't think you should do more work, and you should try to go over that person's head. Talk to their boss or the owner of the agency. At this point you may just have to cut your losses, but I would not continue to do work. I always ask for half in advance with payment due on delivery. I accept credit cards, so I ask for their credit card information and then when I deliver the translation I process the charge.

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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:10
French to English
+ ...
maybe Feb 9, 2007

Could one of our colleagues in the UK could give a hand by calling the agency locally (of course with all due paperwork in hand to do so)? that may have more of an impact ....

Unfortunately I am in France...

Pretty bad situation though.... All my sympathies...... Keep us posted ok??

Patricia


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Tamara Zahran  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Arabic
TOPIC STARTER
A phone call Feb 9, 2007

Finally, the person who was sending me the projects called and promised to send the payment first thing Monday morning. But they still asked for another short job that they need me to do for them on Monday, and I insisted that they don't delay payment until that job is done. They promised they won't, but I will have to wait and see.

I think Patricia's idea can help if they don't do what they promised next Monday. I have been persistent, though, AnaNaglic, I am calling every other day and sending them emails and reminders. I will let you know what happens then. Hope no one faces such a situation. It is bad.

Regards,
Tamara


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 06:10
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Sounds bad Feb 9, 2007

Sorry to hear from your problems. Looks like the agency really has changed their behavior. They have tricked you to do extra translations even when they have not paid your previous invoices on time!

I haven't got much advice to give, other than that you should NOT do any more jobs for them until they pay! Or at least tell them that you will send the last translation only after they make the payment. Ask them to send (per email) a copy of the receipt they get from the bank, so you don't have to wait until the payment arrives to your account.

I just have to say that the payment policy of the agency is quite idiotic! I understand it can be expensive to make international payments, but waiting until the amount to be paid is 600 euros... that's really too much! I personally might accept to wait until the sum is 100 euros, but not more than that.

[Edited at 2007-02-09 19:18]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:10
English to Arabic
+ ...
Small suggestion Feb 9, 2007

I find it really unfair that they expect you to keep submitting new translations on dates they've determined, while at the same time not keeping their promise to send payment..
I suggest that you work on the job they just sent you, but withhold the translation until they've confirmed that the payment has been sent.

BTW have you checked the Blueboard entries for that agency?


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Tamara Zahran  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Arabic
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Feb 9, 2007

This is what I intend to do.

I have checked them on the Blue Board of course before I started working with them, which was two years ago. And I have also entered my own rating for them long time ago, based on previous experience with them, and they were excellent, really. This is the first time this happens with this company, and this makes it even harder. I will see what happens on Monday, and will follow your advice regarding the job.

Thank you.
Tamara

Nesrin wrote:

I find it really unfair that they expect you to keep submitting new translations on dates they've determined, while at the same time not keeping their promise to send payment..
I suggest that you work on the job they just sent you, but withhold the translation until they've confirmed that the payment has been sent.

BTW have you checked the Blueboard entries for that agency?



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Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 11:10
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
My story: too...except in Asia i.e. China Feb 9, 2007

tamaraz wrote:
...
It's getting very bad, the amount is too big for me to handle the delay, and I don't know what to do. Does anyone have a solution here? I would appreciate any help.

Kindest regards to all of you,
Tamara


My experience too...but not in the UK, China...

You could try moneybookers or Pay Pal, or money transfer such as Western Union/Moneygram.

But I doubt that the agency's policy will allow it. It's worth a try though.



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Ahmed Ismail  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 06:10
English to Arabic
+ ...
Are they closing out or what? Feb 10, 2007

Hi Tamara,

I hope they are not in liquidation process (closing out or about to be sold out) as I cannot find a reason for delaying your payment in such unprofessional manner.

This cheap technique is sometimes used by failing companies which try to make the eleventh-hour money grab before they shut down. Yet, this is only an assumption.

You said that they were paying on time and it is an old client to you; therefore, I suggest that you 1) keep emailing their accountant on daily basis and expalin to him\her that you need this overdue payment ASAP. 2) Send another email to their PMs telling them that you will not be able to accept any new jobs from them until the company settles your overdues.
Do not be afraid of losing the client. I prefer to lose a client rather than working for free.

I prefer not to withhold any translation you are doing for them. Sometimes, this tactic doesnot work well and back fires at you.







[Edited at 2007-02-10 05:05]


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Melzie
Local time: 05:10
French to English
+ ...
Don't back down Feb 10, 2007

I agree with Nesrin. It worked for me, do the translation, stall until they really need it and get them to pay that way.
Another way, if you don't necessarily care to work with them again, is to find a way to embarass them. I have my ideas, I'm sure you do too.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 11:10
Indonesian to English
+ ...
The same story with Hong Kong client. Feb 20, 2007

I had the same story when I took a second job from a previously trusted Hong Kong-based client as posted in http://www.proz.com/post/489468#489468. However it happenned a long time ago before I joined Proz. Now I should be more like a detective before I accept a job from any outsourcers/agencies.

The first things I should do:
- Check their blue board entries
- Check their website
- Dial the numbers on their contact page

If everything is ok, I still request them to pay 50% in advance. If their LWA has proven that they are unreliable, I request them to pay in full amount before we can proceed with the job.


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Tamara Zahran  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Arabic
TOPIC STARTER
Problem solved Feb 20, 2007

Dear All,

Thank you all for your advice and help. I just want to let you know that they have finally paid the delayed amount, and everything is ok now. I think they must have been facing a problem of some kind.

Thanks again to you all.

Tamara


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