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Poll: Worse elapsed period from due date of payment
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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SITE STAFF
Jul 8, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Worse ellapsed period from due date of payment".

This poll was originally submitted by giorgioten

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-07-10 00:44]


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:25
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just received a check after six months Jul 8, 2006

I just received a check from a US-based agency who has shown many payment problems in the past. The job had been done in January. My last enquiry about payment had been about three months ago. I had decided to stop asking about it since it was not a large sum. Fortunately, that is the only bad payer I had. A shame in the translation industry.

Elías


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Never Jul 8, 2006

Outsourcer went bankrupt. Fortunately, it was not a large amount of money and I believe I can write this off in my accounts as a bad debt, so at least I won't have to pay tax on it!

Another never was part of a large ongoing project. I wasn't paid for a small part of the translation because the PM didn't bother to make a record of how many words I had sent back (target word count paid). The document was substantially altered in-house by the PM himself, I believe, to adapt it to subsequent changes in the original text and this resulted in the document having far fewer words. Despite the fact that I resent my translation to prove how many words I had actually translated, I somehow ended up still not being paid for about 500 of them and gave up arguing about it. The agency went bust soon after anyway.


[Edited at 2006-07-08 04:24]


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Try two years! Jul 8, 2006

A reputable international organization once owed me a total of US$9,000 for a bunch of translations that I did over a short space of time. When I saw that the $$ wasn't forthcoming, I stopped working for them, and I only got my money after enlisting the services of an ombudsman who went straight to the secretary general. Several of us were in the same boat.

It was very nerve-wracking because I kept thinking that the money was coming soon, so I would stretch my credit card a little, and then a little more again... and so on, until I had spent the money twice over.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Flemish to English
+ ...
La dolce vita Jul 8, 2006

Three months and a half and never. In both cases the nationality of the agency was Italian. For that reason, I hesistate to apply at or work for Italian companies. I am not saying that all Italian companies are slow payers, but paying when they feel like it seems to be a part of the Italian mentality.

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:25
Member
English to French
N/A Jul 8, 2006

A French agency went bust in 2001 and I lost 3700 euros. The MD just set up a new one in 2004, probably with my money.
Otherwise, worst case was about six months from UK and Belgian agencies (small amounts).

To Williamson, I have been working with an Italian agency for 3 years and they do pay on time.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:25
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never, and it was a lesson in low rates Jul 8, 2006

Before I saw the light and saw that, even in Spain, translators can -- and should -- set their own rates, I accepted a small translation job from an agency that paid 4 euro cents a word.

In a question of 5 months, the company went into receivership. So I developed my theory of defensive pricing. (It's simple, a client has to be sustainable so they won't leave you holding the bag).

That wasn't so bad 10 years ago. But much later, I learned about another agency that had lost a great deal of its capital on a performance bond that the client had executed for non-fulfilment.

It had assigned the job out for 3 cents a word because it had bid the lowest, to a client that was constrained by official guidelines to accept the lowest bidder (yes, these do exist in official circles, against everybody's better judgment). Understandably, the translators involved gave it the lowest priority. When it became obvious no other freelancers were willing to remedy the situation (it was practically going to be an act of charity), it was too late.

Now, my colleagues and I network; i.e., we pass on clients to each other when we're busy. The system works for specialists, since this way we are able to channel work to the people who truly prefer the fields involved. But of course, it can't operate when prices are not acceptable, or no one will take on the job. (For that matter, I couldn't even dare to suggest a solution to the 3-cent dilemma).


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Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:25
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
La douce vie Jul 8, 2006

Williamson wrote:

Three months and a half and never. In both cases the nationality of the agency was Italian. For that reason, I hesistate to apply at or work for Italian companies. I am not saying that all Italian companies are slow payers, but paying when they feel like it seems to be a part of the Italian mentality.


I work mostly for Italian agencies, and no one has EVER been late with payments, ever! My best clients are Italian. They're all serious, respectful, conscientious, professional, responsive and punctual. In my experience, American and French agencies are less reliable. But of course you can't generalize. Last year a French agency, which indeed had always been a late payer, failed to pay for the last job I did for them... Never heard from them again. Nevertheless, I still have one very good client in France. So it all depends. I think you shouldn't generalize.
Have a nice weekend!
Cecilia


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Marija Stojanovich  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 06:25
Member (2003)
Serbian to English
+ ...
One month Jul 8, 2006

And it was due to objective problems arising from the fact that I live (and hold a bank account) in Serbia, it being the first transfer my client attempted to make to this wonderful country of Oz.

So far I've been extremely lucky choosing the agencies to collaborate with - that, and I make it pretty clear to any and all prospective clients that I do not put up with late payments (even if there's only a small sum involved). None of the agencies I work for would tolerate ME being late a week/month/year, so why should I act differently?

For regular clients I'm more than happy to do minor translations for free if that means helping them out of a tight spot, but that's something I expect us to agree on BEFOREHAND.


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Sandra C.
France
Local time: 06:25
English to French
+ ...
hem...! Jul 8, 2006

Over a year and still waiting!
A very badly organised client who, on top of that, went through a nasty divorce right around the time payment was due...
She promised, though! So I keep hoping...


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Flemish to English
+ ...
No generalization. Jul 8, 2006

Cecilia Civetta wrote:

Williamson wrote:

Three months and a half and never. In both cases the nationality of the agency was Italian. For that reason, I hesistate to apply at or work for Italian companies. I am not saying that all Italian companies are slow payers, but paying when they feel like it seems to be a part of the Italian mentality.


I work mostly for Italian agencies, and no one has EVER been late with payments, ever! My best clients are Italian. They're all serious, respectful, conscientious, professional, responsive and punctual.



In my experience, American and French agencies are less reliable. But of course you can't generalize. Last year a French agency, which indeed had always been a late payer, failed to pay for the last job I did for them... Never heard from them again. Nevertheless, I still have one very good client in France. So it all depends. I think you shouldn't generalize.
Have a nice weekend!
Cecilia


I don't generalize. Payment after 136 days by T.E. of M. was the record and no payment by P.L. from H (Belgium) owned by Italian lady. I did not say that all Italian agencies are like that. But I can read Italian too and recently Italian translators were complaining about the payment mentality in that country.

Ah, well, the Italian payment mentality must have taken a U-turn since the European guideline with regard to late payments in commercial transactions has been implemented. Payment after 30 days and (decent rates=+0.07 p.w.) in Italy? I must be dreaming. I'll tell that to my friend, an engineer whose company sells machine parts to Italy. Curious to hear his reaction.

Indeed, the French and some Americans are not the faststes either, but then again I must nog generalise. Sound business logic dictates risk contention and that means short-term payment. Nowadays, unless otherwise convened, I simply give the invoice in the hands of a credit-collection agency if the payment is fifteen days late and ask them to apply the stipulations in the European guideline. What I loose to them, I gain by applying this guideline.


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markj
German to English
+ ...
Which agency? Jul 9, 2006

Williamson wrote:

Nowadays, unless otherwise convened, I simply give the invoice in the hands of a credit-collection agency if the payment is fifteen days late and ask them to apply the stipulations in the European guideline. What I loose to them, I gain by applying this guideline.


Hi Williamson

Just out of interest, which agency do you use?

Mark


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Flemish to English
+ ...
Intrum Justitia Jul 9, 2006

Intrum Justitia : http://www.intrum.com/505_ENG_R.asp

There is a link to all the countries where Intrum has offices.

The guideline with regard to late payments in commercial transactions has been implemented into law in all the E.U.-Member States. So, whether your customer is Italian, Belgian, French, Finnish ... payment is due 30 days after delivery of good or service and not what is customary in that country. After 30 days and not a day longer, you are entitled to intrest payments (7%/day + your own intrest).
Of course, nobody will object to get paid after delivery or a fortnight after delivery as is customary in the world of the major courier services. Their invoice has to be paid 15 days after delivery of a package. You get one reminder and the third reminder you comes from a credit-collection agency or is a letter from their lawyer.


[Edited at 2006-07-09 13:23]


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Antonio Barros
Brazil
Local time: 02:25
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Almost one year... Jul 9, 2006

Almost one year ellapsed from the due date of payment and I am not yet paid.

I have forgotten a previous experience with same agency.

Some 5 years ago, they paid only after the owed sum reached around US$5,000 alleging it was expensive to transfer small money.
An UK agency, now in a process of transfer to other partners.

Antonio


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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:25
French to Portuguese
+ ...
1 year and 8 months Jul 9, 2006

ALREADY!

I've got my case with a collection agency but never heard about them since they took my case (January).

I'll try to contact Intrum Justitia in Portugal. Thank you for the tip Williamson.


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