Clients fail to pay... What to do?
Thread poster: Vanessa Marques

Vanessa Marques
Local time: 11:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Feb 7, 2003

Hello from Portugal!

My question may sound stupid, but I have to ask you: What do you do when you suspect a foreign company is not going to pay you? This is what\'s happening:

I undertook a project for a translation company in Spain. I received the text by fax and some of it was illegible. I informed the company about that and asked them to tell me what was written on the original text. I must have sent them about 3 or 4 emails to no avail. They never answered, which I found quite unprofessional and odd, to say the least. I was in their best interest to tell me!!! Anyway, I translated the document (except the illegible bit....), told them about that and sent them my invoice. This is what they wrote to me:

\"Dear Vanessa,

I confirm reception of the files and note your comments.

Many thanks and regards,


That was in October. The company\'s policy is to pay their translators 45 days upon invoice (they sent me an order form by fax and I signed it and returned it by fax as well). I never received payment from them so I proceeded to bombard them with emails. I only received a reply after I sent them 4 emails + 4 attachments (my invoice for their reference...) which I\'m sure must have filled up their mailbox. Their reply:

\"Dear Vanessa:

First of all, apologizes for the delay in settle payment of your invoice. We are havig some delays in closing accounting years resulting in some of are due payments not having been made yet, as are changing our computing management system. You will receive payment of the referred invoice next week as latest.

Thank you and sorrry for the inconveniences.

Best regards,


Notice they wrote \"Next week at the latest\". Well, two weeks have elapsed and I still did not receive payment so I bombarded them with emails again, and they just won\'t answer me!! What would you do? And is it OK for me to name the company? I just think that other translators should know...

Thank you


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:13
English to German
+ ...
Check payment lists Feb 7, 2003

Hi Vanessa,

The thing to do is to check various lists dealing with payment practices, such as the Blue Board (note that Platinum members have full access to agency details posted there, while non-paying members need to use BrowniZ to check each agency they\'re interested in). Alternative lists are TCR or PP (search the forums for these acronyms - the URLs are in there). This could give you an idea if their statement is a genuine excuse, or if they\'re just buying time.

(Needless to say that you should check these resources before accepting future work from any unknown customer.)

Should this agency turn out to be a \"rotten apple\", you will probably need to take legal steps to enforce your claim; before doing so, check if it\'s worth the hassle and associated cost.

Finally, I would kindly like to ask you not to mention names in the forum - you\'re free to indicate your willingness (or lack thereof...) to work for that agency in the future on the Blue Board, or on any payment practices list, but please keep this out of the forum.

Good luck!

Best regards, Ralf

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Clients fail to pay... What to do?

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