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what to do with a non - paying agency
Thread poster: Mohammad ALnajjar

Mohammad ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:16
Member
English to Arabic
+ ...
Aug 3

I worked on a survey project with an US- based agency . the work started in mid-Nov and ended in Mar so far I'm still waiting for my invoices to be paid even though the first payment of $ 1500 was due at the end of Jan and remaining $ 2000 was due in 10 May
they keep telling me that they are unable to pay and i am on their payment queue.
They have gotten 3 bad entries in BB since Nov so far and i have not made an entry yet.
what should I do knowing that i am based in Turkey??


[Edited at 2018-08-03 16:14 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Goodness, you're patient! Aug 3

Mohammad ALnajjar wrote:
the work started in mid-Nov and ended in Mar so far I'm still waiting for my invoices to be paid even though the first payment of $ 1500 was due at the end of Jan and remaining $ 2000 was due in 10 May

You've waited for 8 months since doing the work, and 6 months since the payment deadline passed?

They have gotten 3 bad entries in BB since Nov so far and i have not made an entry yet.

Why not? Surely they merit one, don't they? It should be a "non-payment" entry, not just one to say you're vaguely dissatisfied with the client.

what should I do knowing that i am based in Turkey??

they keep telling me that they are unable to pay and i am on their payment queue.

Well, I suggest you check their financial status to begin with. If they've filed for bankruptcy then all you can do is register your claim. There's no earthly point doing anything else. Here's a good source of links to official company registers in the US: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_company_registers#United_States

If they're still solvent you have two routes open to you. One - which is often the best because you get to see 100% of your money - is via the small claims court. But it takes a lot of time, can mean having to pay for a lawyer although you'd get that back eventually, and it doesn't sound as though this company is at all healthy. You really need to jump the queue, not sit at the back of it. In this case I'd recommend the "quick and dirty" method of contracting a debt recovery company to collect the money on your behalf. They will unfortunately take maybe a third of the amount, but then they need to be paid by someone. At least they'll act quickly, and few take any money up-front. You'd need to Google for a company that covers where your client operates.


Mohammad ALnajjar
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:16
French to English
Payment problems Aug 3

I recommend you start applying late payment procedures. When a client does not pay by the deadline, you should send a reminder asking for your money within a short and specified period of time (for example, one week). Say that if they fail to pay by then you will take further action. If the client still fails t pay, take further action and send a final letter saying you are doing so.
Also, as soon as a client has not paid by the deadline, you should apply interest.

In practical terms, I think in the situation you describe, you have almost no chance of recovering your money. A small claims court will probably require proof that the work was done, proof that you sent an invoice and proof that you sent a formal reminder. A debt recovery company will probably require those elements too. In view of the time that has lapsed, it may be considered that you were not intending to seek recovery of the sums owed. If the company is going into liquidation, the nature of your debt and your lack of action will probably mean that your debt will rank at the bottom of the pile. Liquidation is all about ranking of debts.


Mohammad ALnajjar
 

Mohammad ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:16
Member
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
what to do with a non - paying agency Aug 3

Thank you so much Sheila Wilson for your comment and advise.

 

Mohammad ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:16
Member
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
i have a copy of the files and the invoices Aug 3

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

I recommend you start applying late payment procedures. When a client does not pay by the deadline, you should send a reminder asking for your money within a short and specified period of time (for example, one week). Say that if they fail to pay by then you will take further action. If the client still fails t pay, take further action and send a final letter saying you are doing so.
Also, as soon as a client has not paid by the deadline, you should apply interest.

In practical terms, I think in the situation you describe, you have almost no chance of recovering your money. A small claims court will probably require proof that the work was done, proof that you sent an invoice and proof that you sent a formal reminder. A debt recovery company will probably require those elements too. In view of the time that has lapsed, it may be considered that you were not intending to seek recovery of the sums owed. If the company is going into liquidation, the nature of your debt and your lack of action will probably mean that your debt will rank at the bottom of the pile. Liquidation is all about ranking of debts.


aren't the files i had worked on and their emails confirming the completion of the work and the invoices i sent them considered as a proof for the small claims court ??


[Edited at 2018-08-03 18:17 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Yes - you have evidence Aug 3

Mohammad ALnajjar wrote:
aren't the files i had worked on and their emails confirming the completion of the work and the invoices i sent them considered as a proof for the small claims court ??

They're fine as evidence. However, there's another step that will really help. That's to send a registered letter, getting your post office to provide you with proof that they've received it (e.g. a signature). It's called a final demand in English - Google for the type of wording. Once you have the proof they know about the late payment (which I believe you have already in email form), there's nothing to justify it.


Mohammad ALnajjar
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:16
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Non-paying agency Aug 4

1) Google Small Claims Court of [name of US city] and request a form for filing a claim (usually you can print this out from the website). Your debt is small enough to qualify for Small Claims Court. The filing process might take several weeks.
2) When you claim the payment, also claim round-trip airfare from Turkey to the US city as well as hotel charges for several nights. This may sound a bit outre but when they see $1500 for air travel added to the chit, it might put the wrath of God into them and they might pay. Even if they don't pay, you can feel you have been proactive. By all means give them a low mark on the proz.com blue board.


José Henrique Lamensdorf
Mohammad ALnajjar
Jessica Noyes
Vadim Kadyrov
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 04:16
English to Russian
+ ...
EU vs USA Aug 4

Dear Mohammad, I''m sure that you've done an extensive research already. Still, before you take any steps that will lead you to the bottomless pit aka US lawyers's pockets...

https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/5252/can-suits-be-filed-in-small-claims-courts-from-overseas

"You can bring a suit in any court of "competent jurisdiction", that is, the court in question will decide if it has jurisdiction and if the parties have standing."

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/sue-corporation-foreign-country-75868.html. Even though this is a reference to the other way around, some provisions work both ways.

"Consulting the Contract
Your contract provides you with important information about how to sue the other party. Many businesses add choice-of-law clauses to their agreements, and these clauses dictate that a lawsuit must be brought in a specific jurisdiction in the U.S. If you have such a clause, it doesn't matter that the company is a foreign entity, and you won't have to worry about international law. If you don't have such a clause, though, you'll have to be able to demonstrate that the contract was signed in the U.S. Contracts signed in other nations are governed by their courts."

In other words, what could be relatively easy or at least reasonable under the common EU laws regardless of the specific member country (you may need only a couple of hours by bus or a local train to get from one country to another to represent yourself), is not that simple in the US. Even if the county clerk of the appropriate jurisdiction (meaning company's legal address or state of registration, which can be different) will accept it, what if the court will not?

Your physical presence or a ton of money for representation will be mandatory, and travel costs + the debt may exceed the allowable amount for small claims but I don't know if those sums are added up or regarded separately (court fees are separate). Sadly, and most importantly, you won't progress an inch without a US international lawyer. The amount is too small for those fat cats to accept the case on pay-if-you-win basis. Having you so far away, they will demand a full payment upfront, if not the disclosure of all your assets. And I don't even know when exactly the court may declare that the claim is unacceptable - what if it happens only when you are called before the judge on the scheduled day of hearing, when you'll be there with all you travel costs already paid? So many questions, and all for the lawyers...

Try to scare them with the complaint to the US IRS first. Or look for collection agencies. It will be much cheaper for sure.

Good luck!




[Edited at 2018-08-04 23:39 GMT]


 

Mohammad ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:16
Member
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
four forms Aug 6

i saw four forms on washington court website link
http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=33
Notice of Small Claim, Certificate of Service ,Small Claims/Order of Dismissal/Continuance,Small Claims Judgment

which one works for me??


 

Mohammad ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:16
Member
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
how i can contact US IRS and what to say to them?? Aug 6

[quote]IrinaN wrote:

Dear Mohammad, I''m sure that you've done an extensive research already. Still, before you take any steps that will lead you to the bottomless pit aka US lawyers's pockets...

https://law.stackexchange.com/questions/5252/can-suits-be-filed-in-small-claims-courts-from-overseas

"You can bring a suit in any court of "competent jurisdiction", that is, the court in question will decide if it has jurisdiction and if the parties have standing."

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/sue-corporation-foreign-country-75868.html. Even though this is a reference to the other way around, some provisions work both ways.

"Consulting the Contract
Your contract provides you with important information about how to sue the other party. Many businesses add choice-of-law clauses to their agreements, and these clauses dictate that a lawsuit must be brought in a specific jurisdiction in the U.S. If you have such a clause, it doesn't matter that the company is a foreign entity, and you won't have to worry about international law. If you don't have such a clause, though, you'll have to be able to demonstrate that the contract was signed in the U.S. Contracts signed in other nations are governed by their courts."

In other words, what could be relatively easy or at least reasonable under the common EU laws regardless of the specific member country (you may need only a couple of hours by bus or a local train to get from one country to another to represent yourself), is not that simple in the US. Even if the county clerk of the appropriate jurisdiction (meaning company's legal address or state of registration, which can be different) will accept it, what if the court will not?

Your physical presence or a ton of money for representation will be mandatory, and travel costs + the debt may exceed the allowable amount for small claims but I don't know if those sums are added up or regarded separately (court fees are separate). Sadly, and most importantly, you won't progress an inch without a US international lawyer. The amount is too small for those fat cats to accept the case on pay-if-you-win basis. Having you so far away, they will demand a full payment upfront, if not the disclosure of all your assets. And I don't even know when exactly the court may declare that the claim is unacceptable - what if it happens only when you are called before the judge on the scheduled day of hearing, when you'll be there with all you travel costs already paid? So many questions, and all for the lawyers...

Try to scare them with the complaint to the US IRS first. Or look for collection agencies. It will be much cheaper for sure.

Good luck!



[Edited at 2018-08-06 15:26 GMT]


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 04:16
English to Russian
+ ...
You can't be serious! Aug 6

Mohammad ALnajjar wrote:

i saw four forms on washington court website link
http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=33
Notice of Small Claim, Certificate of Service ,Small Claims/Order of Dismissal/Continuance,Small Claims Judgment

which one works for me??


How would we know??? No one in the right mind will give a Turkish or any other non-US citizen (or even a US citizen) such specific legal advice here. For one, you picked the forms for Washington state. We have 51 more, each with its own things. If you do know that the company is in this state, call the county clerk with the initial questions. Phones are available on the websites of the secretaries of each state. Try to find appropriate (location and specialization considered) law firm sites where they answer simple questions in chats or give free or cheap initial phone consultations.

I am sorry for your loss of profit and wasted work, I hope you'll get paid or recover some money but Proz.com is no LegalZoom.


Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:16
French to English
Up to you Aug 6

I have to agree with the previous post that we can direct you to sources of advice that might help, but not much more. You then need to consult those sources and decide what applies to your situation. Whatever you do, be careful not to spend too much money recovering the amount you are owed. Noone here can or should give anything other than practical advice.

Whenever a client is in another country or economic zone, in the event of payment problems, recovering monies due is inevitably more time-consuming and expensive than it is when the client is closer to home.

[Edited at 2018-08-06 17:31 GMT]


 

Mohammad ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:16
Member
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry, but the company is based in Washington Aug 6

IrinaN wrote:

Mohammad ALnajjar wrote:

i saw four forms on washington court website link
http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=33
Notice of Small Claim, Certificate of Service ,Small Claims/Order of Dismissal/Continuance,Small Claims Judgment

which one works for me??


How would we know??? No one in the right mind will give a Turkish or any other non-US citizen (or even a US citizen) such specific legal advice here. For one, you picked the forms for Washington state. We have 51 more, each with its own things. If you do know that the company is in this state, call the county clerk with the initial questions. Phones are available on the websites of the secretaries of each state. Try to find appropriate (location and specialization considered) law firm sites where they answer simple questions in chats or give free or cheap initial phone consultations.

I am sorry for your loss of profit and wasted work, I hope you'll get paid or recover some money but Proz.com is no LegalZoom.


 

Mohammad ALnajjar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:16
Member
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They will pay today Aug 7

after keeping them under pressure for a couple of days by threatening them by small claims court and debt collection agency in parallel with making a blue board entry,they told my in a late time(1:00 AM Washington time) that no need to these actions and they told me they will pay for me as the funds they waited for lands in their end... i also threaten them that i will tell their partner (their team are joining another incorporation structure) that they are still indebted for more than 5 persons (those are known and made entries on blue board) and that may be burden for this incorporation to include them in its structure.
finally they will pay today.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Congratulations!!! Aug 7

Glad you got a result, Mohammad!

Whatever happens now, I hope you won't delete your BB entry or change it to a 5. It would be useful to update the comment to a "paid in the end" one, but they still don't deserve any better than a 2 rating. I'm mentioning that because I know a lot of freelancers are persuaded by agency clients to change their BB entry to a total lie in return for payment. That does a tremendous disservice to the rest of us.


Mohammad ALnajjar
 
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