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Poll: Over your professional career, how many times have you faced non-payment?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:20
SITE STAFF
Jan 7, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Over your professional career, how many times have you faced non-payment?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mary Worby. View the poll results »



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Marc Cordes  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:20
English to German
+ ...
Not once... Jan 7, 2011

It is relatively easy to sort out the bad apples with due dilligence before accepting a job from outsourcers. Check the blueboard entries, look at their homepage, their references and maybe contact one or the other translator who worked for them before...

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Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:20
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Not once... Jan 7, 2011

...and let's hope it stays that way.

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Catherine Winzer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:20
German to English
+ ...
Not sure... Jan 7, 2011

I'm not sure if the question means non-payment as in having to chase up an overdue payment, or non-payment as in never getting paid for a job.

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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:20
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Addition to Catherine's question Jan 7, 2011

Catherine Knight wrote:

I'm not sure if the question means non-payment as in having to chase up an overdue payment, or non-payment as in never getting paid for a job.


I also wonder if non-payment here includes not getting paid in full (ex. only half, 1/3 of the full amount).


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Johan Venter  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 08:20
Member (2004)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Blue board does not always help Jan 7, 2011

MC-Trans wrote:

It is relatively easy to sort out the bad apples with due dilligence before accepting a job from outsourcers. Check the blueboard entries, look at their homepage, their references and maybe contact one or the other translator who worked for them before...


This does not always help. I've fallen victim twice over the years to clients that paid regularly and then suddenly encountered financial problems. The first time I lost more than Euro 10,000 (2 month's worth of invoices from a regular client with a 60 day waiting period before invoices were settled, plus legal costs trying to salvage some money from a bankrupt estate) and the second time a few hundred Euros. As a result I now hardly ever accept payment terms of more than 30 days and I chase after payment as soon as I suspect something might be amiss).


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 08:20
English to French
+ ...
2-3 Jan 7, 2011

I went to court twice and got paid in the end.
Another time, the amount was not worth going to court.

For the record:
- one was an agency I had worked with for 4 years or so before they stopped paying (a couple of months worth)
- one was a private insurance broker
- the one who never paid was a private person (a foreigner "living"? in this country) who completely vanished.

[Modifié le 2011-01-07 09:22 GMT]


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:20
Member
German to English
+ ...
A long time ago ... Jan 7, 2011

I can't even remember submitting this poll, it was that long ago! But I'd suggest non-payment to mean complete non-payment. Not late payment or partial payment, just complete failure to pay.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:20
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Even so Jan 7, 2011

MC-Trans wrote:

It is relatively easy to sort out the bad apples with due dilligence before accepting a job from outsourcers. Check the blueboard entries, look at their homepage, their references and maybe contact one or the other translator who worked for them before...


It is possible to get caught out. I was ripped off by an 'agency' once who refused to pay on the basis that I had submitted poor quality work. I was distraught and passed my work on to a more experienced translator for a second opinion, which was that the translation was perfectly good. It turned out the agency was using the tactic to rip off several translators simoultaneously before disappearing off the face of the earth. They had all the trappings of a perfectly legit company: good website, Spanish domicile, positive Blueboard entries...


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Catherine Winzer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:20
German to English
+ ...
Thanks, Mary Jan 7, 2011

Thanks for the clarification, Mary. In that case, this has thankfully never happened to me.

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Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
Two out of three didn't get away with it Jan 7, 2011

I had one client who never paid. They were based in China and new to Proz.com, but the job was small (a two-page newspaper article) so I decided to give it a go. There was good communication during the job, but no payment and no subsequent communication. It then turned out the phone number was false. I saw the same outsourcer post another job on Proz.com so immediately added a warning to the Blue Board as there had been no feedback there. Proz.com have since added warnings to the Blue Board.

I've done numerous jobs for outsourcers new to Proz.com, so don't take a lack of Blue Board feedback to be an insurmountable obstacle, but only take small jobs if I am unsure of them. If they have an internet presence with convincing contact details, then I will take larger jobs.

I had another client through Proz.com based in Mozambique, who had some positive Blue Board feedback and communicated well during the job, but did not pay and would not respond to emails, phone calls and faxes when the payment was overdue. In the end I asked a colleague in Mozambique to visit the office to see if it was still operating. He didn't have to as he called first rather than travel across town. The outsourcer answered the call to her mobile phone when she saw it was a Mozambique number and then contacted me. There had been three other translators involved in the job and as a glossary I had produced had been forwarded to them by the outsourcer with my email address, I started hearing from them about similar problems. After broken promises about when payment would be made it was finally cleared in several installments six months late, though other translators had to wait longer. Promised interest for late payment has not been paid a year later.

Any outsourcer who gets into a financial mess and will miss making a payment should let their creditors know and certainly should answer calls. In total, I wasted several days chasing this payment. Time is money and wasting my time is more galling than paying late.

I had a similar problem with a client through another site and received payment when the outsourcer realised I was not simply going to write off my loss and I indicated I was going to start charging for my wasted time chasing the payment if I had to take it to court which would make the resulting bill far larger.

Against these, everybody else has paid pretty much as agreed.


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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 09:20
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
More than 20 times in 21 years Jan 7, 2011

>20 times during ca. 21 years.

Anadolu'dan selamlar
Saludos desde Anatolia


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:20
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Does having to wait 2 years count? Jan 7, 2011

I was owed over US$ 9,000 by a respected international organization. It was a big mess affecting a number of colleagues, but my case was the worst. I finally pulled strings and brought it to the attention of the Secretary General - after which I had to wait another 6 months.

I've also had at least 3 smaller defaults that I haven't pursued.

[Edited at 2011-01-07 10:00 GMT]


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Jana Kinská  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 08:20
English to Czech
+ ...
Not once, ... Jan 7, 2011

... fortunately.
However, I have quite a long list of late payers, who do not manage to pay even small sums on time, despite my punctual or even early deliveries. It seems like paying on time is something unmanageable for some clients and agencies. Nevertheless, there is still a number of punctual payers I cooperate with, and I am always happy to work for them, who have no trouble paying on time or even much earlier.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:20
French to German
+ ...
Not once Jan 7, 2011

I always managed to get paid eventually, a couple of times only after making a negative BB entry (which I didn't delete or change after getting paid, since the entry is supposed to indicate the likelihood of working with a certain agency again, and if an agency can't be bothered to pay me on time, respond to reminders and apologise for the delay then the likelihood of working with them again is - at least for me - non-existent.)

The BB may not always be totally reliable, but sometimes I'm surprised that people still work for certain agencies, even if they have been banned from posting jobs on Proz ages ago.


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