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Poll: Have you ever worked for a client who never paid you?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:33
SITE STAFF
May 27, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever worked for a client who never paid you?".

This poll was originally submitted by Jacob Njagi. View the poll results »



 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes May 27, 2017

Volunteering, and translating very very short texts as a gift)

[Edited at 2017-05-27 14:47 GMT]


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes May 27, 2017

An agency that went out of business shortly after I delivered my assignment.

In another case, I client owed me $9,000 for 2 years. It was an international organization. I wasn't the only one. A group of us ending up going to the highest level and eventually the checks were cut. But if we hadn't done that, we would never have been paid.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes May 27, 2017

Three times: an agency that after a few years of ups and downs in business went bankrupt; and two individuals when I worked as a sworn translator. I had also to chase payment in two other non-payment cases that were solved with my lawyer's intervention.

 

Jessica Ordman  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:33
Member (2013)
Italian to English


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Currently in a lawsuit May 27, 2017

I've been in a lawsuit for over two years with a client who owes me €7000 and who filed for bankruptcy after I had already resorted to legal measures.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:33
French to English
Yes May 27, 2017

I'm ashamed to say that I was stupid enough to keep working for one client who had been getting seriously behind with payments. I was naïvely convincing myself it would be okay in the end, as sometimes they would pay immediately and on other jobs, there were real problems. They were obviously only paying out on jobs where they still had a reserve on funds up front from their own client. By the time they went belly up, they owed me a few thousand euros. It was easy to get a judgment against them. Three years later the liquidator sent me 200 euros. This incident made me more savy for experiences that lay ahead.

A couple of other clients went out of business owing me money. The amounts were much lower as I'd learnt how to protect myself and had become much more cautious. It is sadly part of being your own boss, but it really p's me off when it happens. I can't stop feeding the family and paying the bills when people don't pay up and so in some situations, as I have been raising my kids on my own for the past 12 years, I have had to take a part-time salaried job as well.

One individual was a truly rotten payer. He had the cheek to get offended when I refused any further orders until he paid his dues. He was the one who shouted at me. It made it easier to send the bailiffs round. I got my money within 24 hours. I still run into this guy from time to time and after our run-in, he would look straight through me. He recently squeezed a painful smile out of his ugly mouth. Inglorious (name of film). Not sure whether I prefer those who can't or those who won't; I think I simply hate those who don't (pay).

I recall asking the first ones I mentionned above why they continued to even order work when they knew they were getting into such difficulty. The reply came from the director who sounded like a child saying to his mother that he didn't mean it. "We needed to produce work to get paid from the clients". And to which I replied, "You did, but not me."

[Edited at 2017-05-27 11:30 GMT]


 

Guilherme R Basilio  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:33
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Additional info May 27, 2017

It should be interesting to know:
(a) how many times (per annum avg)
(b) how much (avg %) of annual ícone

I.e, is it really significant, within acceptable credit risk margins?


 

Ana Vozone  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:33
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes... May 27, 2017

Three times.

A "businessman" for whom I did a translation when I was living in the Algarve in 1984, a real estate contract. He left the hotel and the Algarve without paying the hotel and my bill. A few years later he checked into the Inn where my mother-in-law worked and she told me about him, and I told her about him... and he was made to pay in cash.

Some ten years ago, I worked for an agency (http://www.proz.com/blueboard/952). They paid at the beginning, but never paid the last bills. The owner has gone into liquidation several times, with lawyers involved and all that stuff, and then reopens with the same name, and continues to do his little tricks. A year ago they contacted me again and I posted another bad review on the Blue Board. I am amazed that he continues to operate. Some years ago he was tweeting from Wimbledon during the tennis tournament, saying how wonderful the champagne was...

And then some three years ago I was asked by an Agency (with an average rating of 5 in over 100 entries) (http://www.proz.com/blueboard/110) to do some work for a mining company, which I did. The first job was paid quickly, but communication was appalling (no communication). The second job was never paid, and I am owed over 1200 USD. Never heard from Bianca again in over three years.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Only once May 27, 2017

It was a mid-sized job, extremely urgent, no time for "due diligence".
The client was Claudia Smith, from a London-based agency named "T4U".
No problem in mentioning them here, because BOTH were FAKE, as I ascertained later.
She provided two 44 country code phones, I called her via Skype, and we discussed the job.

It was the last time I accepted a 60-day payment term.
Sixty days later, not only Claudia had vanished into a cloud of orange smoke, but that cloud had vanished too, leaving no trace behind. As I discovered, the phone numbers were BT burners. Since this was long before SIM cards, I guess both cell phones have been floundering on the bottom of the Thames ever since.

This definitely taught me a lesson, because it was the one and only such case I had.


 

Agneta Pallinder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:33
Member (2014)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Good old Blue Board! May 27, 2017

I have had to nag a few clients for payment (definition of "nag" - more than one reminder) but always got paid in the end.

However, I also use the Blue Board pretty diligently with new prospective clients - if the Blue Board suggests "bad payer" I demand payment in advance. Some pay, others disappear - either way, my gain.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In my case, not significant at all... May 27, 2017

Guilherme R Basilio wrote:

It should be interesting to know:
(a) how many times (per annum avg)
(b) how much (avg %) of annual ícone

I.e, is it really significant, within acceptable credit risk margins?


2012: 79,86€
2015: 265,53€
2016: 73,08€

in over 30 years, but it's always time-consuming and unfair!


 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 22:33
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Once or twice May 27, 2017

Fortunately, I have only been cheated out of my money once or twice by fake agencies. They were insignificant amounts, and I wrote them off.

My biggest paymsnt problem happened during the height of the financial crisis. An agency fell terribly behind and accrued a sizeable debt. The owner stopped emailing for a time, but then started paying me back in a trickle. A happy ending to a nerve wracking experience.


 

Joëlle Bouille  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 03:33
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Once in 12 years, € 1,500 May 27, 2017

Agency went bankrupt

 

Luiz Barucke
Brazil
Local time: 22:33
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
Once, the 1st one May 27, 2017

It's not so common, but I have some minor problems regarding to delayed payments. But I've had just one client that has never paid me at all. And they were exactly my first client. Fortunately, I kept searching for other clients and figured out this is not a frequent problem.

The "funny" thing about it is that, with so many clients worldwide, in different continents, the only one that didn't pay me lives in same city as me. It was a ridiculous amount looking backward, something I get working less than 1 hour nowadays. So, after some contacts, I decided to leave it behind and just ignore them for potential works. To be well with that, I started to think about it as a non-paid "internship", when I could learn a lot about CATs, TMs, invoicing... and bad clients as wellicon_smile.gif


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes but... May 27, 2017

Yes, but only for trivial amounts. I think that I have let balances of $15, $25, and even $50 slide because I simply could not be bothered writing e-mails and tracking the invoices. Anything not trivial I have gone after aggressively (which in my case translates into notifying the delinquent agency of my intention to report non-payment on the Blue Board and elsewhere). Another time, I was victimized by an intended "overpayment scam" and ended up spending a couple of hours on a translation before it occurred to me to check the name and e-mail on the internet (where the party in question did appear on a "scam alert" forum). That was the first and only occasion in which I lost time or money to such a scam.

There are two instances of delinquent payment that stand out in my mind. The first had to do with an agency in Florida that had a notorious reputation that was not reflected (at that time) on its Blue Board record. Before turning in a very large project (involving a balance of over $3000), I suddenly had the idea of contacting a colleague who works in the same city as the agency, on the hunch that maybe he had some experience with it. Not only did he have experience, but he was able to alert me to its current and longstanding bad reputation and his own problems in collecting past due balances. Being armed with this information, I took a very aggressive approach well before the balance became past due (the equivalent of a pre-emptive strike) and I eventually did receive what I was owed.

The other episode had to do with an agency in New York for which I had done several large jobs, and also involved an amount in excess of $3000. In that case, the PM who had assigned the work to me did not respond to several reminders I sent her after the balance became past due. When I contacted the head of the agency afterward, she responded that she would be going on vacation and would have to research the matter when she came back in a week. I thought this unacceptable and let her know this. Long story short, I eventually did receive the money I was due, but never worked for them again.

I think that I acted properly in the first case. In the second case, I would be more patient if I had to do it over again, since the agency in question had offered me work at a good rate and had previously been a reliable payer. Had I given them the benefit of the doubt, the incident may have proven to be a one-off blip and I might have gone on to do further well-paid work for them.

In the end, who knows? Of course, there's no turning back the clock....

[Edited at 2017-05-27 15:35 GMT]


 
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