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Poll: What has been your most effective strategy to get paid by very late payers?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:43
SITE STAFF
Aug 24, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What has been your most effective strategy to get paid by very late payers?".

This poll was originally submitted by Oliver Lawrence. View the poll results »



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Markus Perndl
Austria
Local time: 00:43
Italian to German
+ ...
Other Aug 24, 2016

Penalties for late payments often destroy relationships with clients. So, recently I've introduced a system into my business, which is not based on penalties, but on bonuses. I add a certain amount to my desired rate per word and concede a bonus of the same amount (generally 10 %) for a payment within the desired time. Of course, there are clients who don't accept this system, but if this happens, I know that this client won't pay in time anyway.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:43
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Letter from lawyer Aug 24, 2016

After many emails, phone calls, snail mail letters and a registered letter the problem was quickly solved through my lawyer's intervention. I'm thinking of doing the same thing again...

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Elena Calvo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Emails Aug 24, 2016

I always send a polite, passive aggressive email, and I normally get paid right away, except for some cases that I've had to insist more.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:43
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 24, 2016

In my case, an international organization owed me US$9,000. I ended up going to the secretary-general and that's when I got results. If there's a higher-up in the organizational structure, I think that's the most effective approach. Otherwise, if the money justifies the expense, I would go to a lawyer.

[Edited at 2016-08-24 08:59 GMT]


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:43
English to Russian
+ ...
Threatening Aug 24, 2016

Threatening with posting negative comments about them on professional forums and social networks

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 24, 2016

Waiting for ages, way past any normal "professional" deadline imposed by "normal" businesslike people, then asking when they intend to pay.

Most of my clients are direct and pay on time. One of them is a small market research company and I know that they don't have a lot of capital and sometimes rely on payments from their clients - in fact I recently had to translate some legal documents for them concerning the bankruptcy case of one of the latter, whereby my client lost €10-€15,000 due to payment default by the UK Company. I've occasionally waited six months or more for payment from them, but I know that they will pay me in the end, so it doesn't worry me too much.

Apart from my direct clients, I only work with agencies occasionally, mainly two. One of them, based in Barcelona, always pays promptly 30 or 60 days after receiving the invoice. The other, which I believe is still banned from posting on proz due to late payments, has a standard 90-day payment period, but they often take longer to stump up. I've refused most job offers from them over the past couple of years, but not because of the late payments, rather the fact that they keep asking me if I'm available without sending samples of the text or mentioning the format (they are notorious for sending scanned PDFs and similar not-easy-to-work-on formats), and I'm fed up having to repeat myself, telling them I need to see the sodding thing before making any decisions...

Before getting into full-time translating, as an EFL teacher, when working on language courses run by the regional government and sponsored by European funding (which notoriously deteriorated into the fraudulent practices traditionally rife in Spain, especially in Valencia, where the cases are still ongoing), on occasion I had to wait almost 18 months for payment. As the hourly rate they were paying was 4 or 5 times more than what schools were offering, we teachers tended to console ourselves by complaining bitterly about it until they eventually paid up.

[Edited at 2016-08-24 09:34 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-08-24 09:36 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-08-24 09:37 GMT]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here Aug 24, 2016

neilmac wrote:

Waiting for ages, way past any normal "professional" deadline imposed by "normal" businesslike people, then asking when they intend to pay.


Seems to be par for the course in this country.


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Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:43
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Informing Aug 24, 2016

I informed them about the legal measures I would take if I didn’t receive payment by XX.XX.XXXX.

(edited for clarity)


[Edited at 2016-08-24 09:52 GMT]


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:43
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Aug 24, 2016

Tony Soprano

But seriously, this rarely happens now in Japan because of the law that states that payment must be made within 60 days of delivery at the very latest. So, by default, most companies opt for "account closed at the end of the month, cash payment by bank remittance at the end of the following month." If the Fair Trade Commission is requested to investigate late payers and they are given 'administrative guidance' from the government, their name is posted on the FTC's web site for all to see. Shame can be a great motivator and Japan is a culture where public shaming is something to be avoided.

[Edited at 2016-08-25 06:44 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Requested by user.

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
take it to the top Aug 24, 2016

A fellow ProZ.com member kindly gave me the email address of the CEO of the largish company.
I wrote him a courteous letter of inquiry/complaing, and the check (or 'cheque', it was a Canadian company) was in the mail.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:43
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other - ProZ Service not on the list Aug 24, 2016

1. The usual polite reminder e-mail
2. The following e-mails getting less and less polite (two or three)
3. A negative score in the Blue Board
4. Request ProZ's intervention to charge the client
5. Threat of legal action
6. Legal action

The majority of the situations are settled by item 2.

I had several cases that went as far as item 4, and only two small ones were not paid in the past two years.

Only once I had to go all the way to step 6, but I received the full amount.


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:43
English to Russian
+ ...
Legal action? Aug 24, 2016

I think legal action may be much more expensive, time and nerve consuming than the debt.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:43
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends on the amount due, Alex Aug 24, 2016

Alexander Kondorsky wrote:

I think legal action may be much more expensive, time and nerve consuming than the debt.


As I said, I only did it once in 30 years of profession. That was because the amount owed to me was equivalent to 4000 dollars. I acutally had to pay 20% to the lawyer, but in this case, it was well worth it.


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