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The agency says the end client ran away and they don't pay...
Thread poster: Minoru Kuwahara

Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 23:25
English to Japanese
+ ...
Aug 22, 2007

Hello colleagues,

I'm just curious howyou would respond in my shoes. I was having quite a good working relationship with an Indian agency whose owner/project magager was friendly and I got always paid well within reasonable terms. Practically I did not have any problems with working with them up until when I accepted a small job of 2000 words in the course of 2005.

At that time, I delivered the work by usual manner, then invoiced them upon delivery. However, later, I heard from the project manager himself that the end client, which was an agency in US, ran away without paying them. Rather surprised with the news, consequently, I was advised that I would be to be paid "out of his pocket money" for this job. So far, I believed him. However, I have been waiting for this payment all these 2 years, and in spite that I put several reminders, he seemed to become reluctant in replying to me without any clarification.

Now I don't know what to do. The payment amount from this job is a little over USD 100, which could be negligible when I think about a possibility that I would have to call for some kind of counter measure to collect the payment.

Meanwhile, I just would like to know how you address this kind of situation.

muberryfield
Minoru Kuwahara
English/French-Japanese translator


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:25
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Don't know about Japan... Aug 22, 2007

... but in Italy the minimal amount worth for taking someone to court is around 3.000 EUR (around 4.000 USD). Less than that, you're gonna lose money.

My suggestion: delete that name from your list, forget about that 100USD and open a can of beer.
Gianni

[Edited at 2007-08-22 14:50]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
English to German
+ ...
Blue Board Aug 22, 2007


My suggestion: delete that name from your list, forget about that 100USD and open a can of beer.
Gianni

Agreed - but don't forget to post an entry to the Blue Board.

Best, Ralf


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 23:25
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Will post to BB Aug 22, 2007

Ralf Lemster wrote:


My suggestion: delete that name from your list, forget about that 100USD and open a can of beer.
Gianni

Agreed - but don't forget to post an entry to the Blue Board.

Best, Ralf


Thank you, Gianni and Ralf,

Let me straighten out, but I would never bring it to court. I was thinking of other possible measures such as D&B, with which I have never familiarized myself in the past.

For now, it seems that your advice might be best to note in this case.

I will be sure to put a comment to the Blue Board.

Minoru


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Yolanda Bello  Identity Verified
Mexico
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't let it happen again Aug 22, 2007

Blue board entry is indeed a must in this case.

Regards

Y


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:25
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Collection agency? Aug 22, 2007

mulberryfield wrote:

Let me straighten out, but I would never bring it to court. I was thinking of other possible measures such as D&B, with which I have never familiarized myself in the past.



You meant collection agency? If so, as far as I know they work on a percentage of the credit the collect for you, which should be around anything between 10 and 20%. Having said that, the invoice is so low that I can't imagine someone working hard to earn 10-20USD. Not to mention the time you have to spend for searching the agency, signing a contract with these people, talk to them etc etc. Might be more convenient for you staying home trying to spend that time looking for better clients. My two cents
G


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 23:25
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
absolutely Aug 22, 2007

Gianni Pastore wrote:

mulberryfield wrote:

Let me straighten out, but I would never bring it to court. I was thinking of other possible measures such as D&B, with which I have never familiarized myself in the past.



You meant collection agency? If so, as far as I know they work on a percentage of the credit the collect for you, which should be around anything between 10 and 20%. Having said that, the invoice is so low that I can't imagine someone working hard to earn 10-20USD. Not to mention the time you have to spend for searching the agency, signing a contract with these people, talk to them etc etc. Might be more convenient for you staying home trying to spend that time looking for better clients. My two cents
G


Absolutely I want to evade the hassle that lies under the surface...Thank U.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Don't ignore it! Aug 22, 2007

Gianni Pastore wrote:

... but in Italy the minimal amount worth for taking someone to court is around 3.000 EUR (around 4.000 USD). Less than that, you're gonna lose money.


I have a somewhat different approach here: I'd rather lose money and have the client sued, because otherwise he'd get away with it every time.
The only way to stop those people is to take them to court. You would get the money you might lose here next time, when a non-paying client doesn't try to cheat you, because he has been burned once. So this money really is an investion in yours and everybody's future safety.
If everyone just didn't react, there would be no risk for non-paying outsourcers: "As long as I keep the invoice amount below a certain limit, nobody's gonna sue me".

My 2 cents,
Erik


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Rebecca Lowery  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:25
French to English
Problem with taking them to court Aug 22, 2007

Is that if neither party has sent each other their terms and conditions (and having them publicised on a website doesn't count!) is that the first issue that the court has to deal with is which law applies (Indian or Japanese).

Unfortunately it doesn't matter if the outcome would be the same in both legal systems - if there are no terms and conditions specifying which law applies the case will get thrown out - and each party will undoubtedly be left with their share of the legal costs and no remedy at the end.

I know it's hard and 100USD is a lot of money when you're the one that's spent the time doing the work. But in the great scale of things it's not a lot of money (small claims court in the UK is £3k I think) so you really are better off just forgetting this client and moving on.

Happened to me and I lost £1000 - now that really hurt!


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jelly_gill  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 19:55
Member (2006)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
I went a step further Aug 23, 2007

This happened to me two months ago. I worked for a Dubai based translation agency and after completion of the work, I sent them my invoice. But even after 30 days, they didnt pay me and didnt reply my emails. The amount involved was USD 103.00


After all my email reminders went in vain, I searched Proz.com for all the translators working in my language pair and sent them the phone, fax and email address of this client along with their non-payment story. I got tremendous reponse from the fellow translators and most of them replied with thanks.


I am sure, they must be having a hard time to hire a new translator now.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 16:25
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
...just count what is reasonable Aug 23, 2007

Just consider how much time and energy you'd waste chasing for those 100 USD (just with a theoretical 1:10 probability to get them) and consider how much time you'd need to earn those 100 USD. I think that the 2nd option is much better.

And make a post on BB for those people if their good name is worth only 100 USD



[Edited at 2007-08-23 00:16]


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 23:25
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I know the point you're conveying... Aug 23, 2007

Rebecca Lowery wrote:

I know it's hard and 100USD is a lot of money when you're the one that's spent the time doing the work. But in the great scale of things it's not a lot of money (small claims court in the UK is £3k I think) so you really are better off just forgetting this client and moving on.

Happened to me and I lost £1000 - now that really hurt!


Thank you, Rebecca for your advice.
I guess this is not such a case that should be brought to court. It should cost a lot more and anyway, there did not exsit T&C for this case. What I'm more curious in posting this topic is whether or not an agency is responsible for paying us, no matter what unfavorable situation they are trapped, say, by being escaped by the end client and so on.

Truly USD 100 (let me correct, but it's actualy just over USD 150) is trivial in comparison to a few other cases where I confronted a great loss. The biggest one of those was a few years ago with a domestic agency in Tokyo, whose PM turned out to be fraudulent, and the amount I lost was YEN 1250,000, that is, more than USD 107,000! (based on the currect exchange rate)

I know it really hurts both in time and money when agencies don't pay us for our works, especially if the amount is larger, and requires us to make up for the loss with some other opportunities. In the above agency's case, there were many other victimized translators and I learned things are not so easier when you think about bringing up the case to court even against a counterpart within the same legal jurisdiction.

Sorry for your loss, but I believe you, too, would have learned a lesson from your experience.

Minoru


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Chinh Chu  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:25
Member (2007)
English to Vietnamese
Another possibly effective workaround Aug 23, 2007

If you can find the end client contact info on their website or by any other means and if they are a well known company, try the following:

Telling your client you are going to contact the end client to claim your translation and that it is still your property until it is paid for. No one should be allowed to use it without your permission otherwise would be sued to court. And that you would not be responsible for keeping their documents confidential if everything would not be straightened out.

This will be helpful in case your direct client has been trying to cheat you.

Good luck;

Chinh Chu


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Boris Sigalov
Local time: 16:25
English to Russian
Not being paid is not an excuse for not paying themselves Aug 23, 2007

mulberryfield wrote:

What I'm more curious in posting this topic is whether or not an agency is responsible for paying us, no matter what unfavorable situation they are trapped, say, by being escaped by the end client and so on.


Minoru,

The end client is AGENCY'S client, not YOURS. They should pay you: not being paid is not an excuse for not paying themselves.

And there was no need to wait for the payment during two years: 30 days overdue (60 days if you are ready to help them) is quite enough to make an entry on the Blue Board in case of no payment...

[Edited at 2007-08-23 05:56]


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Theresa Lung  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 22:25
English to Chinese
Absolutely agree. Aug 23, 2007

Boris Sigalov wrote:

not being paid is not an excuse for not paying themselves.



Absolutely agree. Why I am working with the agencies and accept a lower rate to let them have some profit margins? This is because they should make sure their translator get paid and they should have the resources to sue the end client.

A normal agency should pay the translator first (if they consider translators are their company asset) and then sue the end client themselves.

For those didn't do so, I will try every mean to contact and report to the end client myself. Of course, I will place a record in Blue Board to remind other translators.


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