Poll: How many times have you dealt with non-payment issues during your career?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:50
SITE STAFF
May 31, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many times have you dealt with non-payment issues during your career?".

This poll was originally submitted by Dimitrios Kartalis. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:50
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
3 May 31, 2014

in 30 years: 1 still pending and the other two solved some years ago after my lawyer's intervention.

PS. No change since the last time I answer a very similar poll: http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/255553-poll_how_many_times_have_you_dealt_with_non_payment_issues_over_the_course_of_your_career.html


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:50
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
4-6 May 31, 2014

is what I answered, but I don't actually remember (25 years). I remember two cases when I actually lost substantial amounts. And there are clients whom I have to prompt every single time, but I counted each of them as one instance. Thinking some more - if I include small amounts, it will be more than that.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:50
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
1 May 31, 2014

Actually there has been only 1 case - still unsolved.

Another case is that I received prompt payment from the client, but the contractually agreed upon 2 copies of the book I've translated are long overdue.

All others have paid immediately after the first gentle reminder.


 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:50
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
once or twice May 31, 2014

In 7 years as a translator.
One was a scammer, who never paid me, and that was about 3 years ago.
The other was a bad payer who scammed the agency I worked for. They were a 'magazine' publisher who had apparently scammed other translators by getting them to do the work and then refusing to pay.
The agency paid me and the other translator but they took the hit. Last I heard, she had filed a complaint but I have no idea what happened.
There were also a couple of similar stories when I was a journalist. One was a startup magazine that disappeared and I never got paid. Usually they involved disorganized companies...think translation is bad? It takes months to get paid by some publications and the pay was never worth the wait.

[Edited at 2014-06-01 01:02 GMT]


 

M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:50
English to Polish
Twice May 31, 2014

Once for translation services, and once for writing services.

 

Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:50
Member (2010)
English to French
2-3 times in 4 years May 31, 2014

1) direct (new) client in Poland; he pretended not to have ordered; that's more or less right, he didn't send me a PO. Fortunately the amount was not important.

2) rush program from a company in India (I quoted to help them). I sent the translation and the invoice and was never paid, I'll never be paid. I think I'll never work again for an Indian company.

3) AmericanExpress traveler checks scam: fortunately I didn't translate / lose anything.

For me the above cases lead to the question: how to recover this money? but since case 2 was only USD 20, I'll forget it.

[Edited at 2014-05-31 14:01 GMT]


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:50
French to English
More than I care to mention May 31, 2014

I'm reading the term "non-payment issues" to include excessively late payment too.
In France, it seems extremely normal to most to pay beyond the deadline. Avoiding paying on time, is a notaional sport.

Unless specified otherwise, then invoices are to be paid within 30 days of receipt. It is sadly rather standard for clients to quite simply ignore that. Common terms are 30, 60 or even 90 days from the end of the month within which the invoice was received. I soon learnt not to invoice at the end of the month, the invoice being received at the start of the following month meant the client had 30 days more to put off payment.
Over time, I've learnt to send the invoice with the job and to require payment upon receipt. With historically reliable clients, payment at the end of the month is fine.

In the couple of instances where a client has actually gone under, the standard first bad sign is late payment. I provide tanslation services, not banking services.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:50
Member (2006)
German to English
Other May 31, 2014

A few times, but I cant remeber either, try to blend out such experiences

 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
2.5 May 31, 2014

One of my early freelancer jobs was an advanced pay scam. I knew enough to recognize it as soon as the fake money orders came in, but I was still out 2 weeks of work. The second was an agency that went bankrupt. I lost about $35 there.

Other than that, there was an issue with an agency that had goofed up their invoicing system. I had completed the project in early February, but they didn't pay me for it until a couple of weeks ago (98 days after the invoice was issued). I guess the PM was new and goofed up the PO.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:50
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The problem with polls! May 31, 2014

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:
I'm reading the term "non-payment issues" to include excessively late payment too.
In France, it seems extremely normal to most to pay beyond the deadline. Avoiding paying on time, is a notaional sport.

So, should we include them or exclude them?

Personally, I excluded them as I've never kept records of exactly how much effort it has taken me to successfully get my just deserts. I've lost money on two occasions since 1996 due to clients filing for bankruptcy (circa 400€ each time).

I also successfully sued one French client when living in Franceicon_biggrin.gif and I came within a whisker of having to use the European procedures for another French client after I moved to Spain, but he caved in when presented with a completed European Payment Order.

800€ in not much less than 20 years seems acceptable to me. Anyone who can't accept a little risk shouldn't become a freelancer. OTOH, someone who can't learn to minimise the risk after a few years of inevitable learning curve (especially if you're young) should get a salaried job, IMHO.



Reading some of the reports here, I think it would be appropriate to give the link to the ProZ.com scam alert centre:
http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/

[Edited at 2014-05-31 18:01 GMT]


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not many times, fortunately May 31, 2014

...and that's how I like it.

Sometimes, it's an administrative issue (they lose the invoice, or they are hopelessly disorganized). I don't believe in jumping the gun and go for threats if I don't get paid on time. Sometimes you have to massage someone's ego to get paid.

This reminds me of an exchange I had with an Argentinean translator who had a black-and-white view on non-payment issues. To this individual, it was pay on time or I'll blacklist you forever. Not a sound, businesslike or professional way of doing business, as a translator or as anything else in my book.


 

Maja_K  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:50
Member (2013)
English to Macedonian
+ ...
Once Jun 1, 2014

... by these scammers http://www.proz.com/blueboard/38729 . It was an amount of 50-something Euros. I stopped writing emails and reminders to them and gave up the idea I would eventually get paid ...

p.s. They got banned from posting jobs after I had done the translation, so I had no idea who I was dealing with at the moment, unfortunately...

[Edited at 2014-06-01 07:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-06-01 07:19 GMT]


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:50
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Twice - two different situations Jul 6, 2014

A Brazilian agency, in São Paulo, sent jobs to me for three years. In the last nine months, they sent me a larger volume and fooled me for a long time, with excuses and lies. Since I had been working for them for a long time, I let it extend for many months.
I had to go to Justice to receive it, and pay the lawyer out of my money.
Later I found out they do the same thing with many translators.
The company still exists, and probably still does the same thing. I entered a comment about them in the Blue Board (yes, they are there, too!).
Crooks!

The second time, I received an e-mail (gmail) from a supposed agency. The person sounded very corect, polite, etc. It wasn't a very big job, but I never received the payment. Later I verified and realized the agency did not exist. The good thing about it was the lesson learned:

1) Never accept jobs from requesters using Hotmail, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and the like.
2) Check their name, address, etc.
3) Visit their website. It they don't have a website, forget them.
4) Looks for complaints against them in the web.


[Edited at 2014-07-06 14:45 GMT]


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:50
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Once, but I received in Court Jul 6, 2014

A Brazilian agency, in São Paulo, sent jobs to me for three years. In the last nine months, they sent me a larger volume and fooled me for a long time, with excuses and lies. Since I had been working for them for a long time, I let it extend for many months.
I had to go to Justice to receive it, and pay the lawyer out of my money.
Later I found out they do the same thing with many translators.
The company still exists, and probably still does the same thing. I entered a comment about them in the Blue Board (yes, they are there, too!).
Crooks!


 


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