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Private customer - How to make sure I will get paid?
Auteur du fil: Marianne Pasty-Abdul Wahid

Marianne Pasty-Abdul Wahid
Allemagne
Local time: 06:39
allemand vers français
+ ...
Apr 15

Hello!
I was contacted by a private customer via this site for a large translation, and was wondering how I can protect myself. Is there any standard procedure to make sure I will get paid after submitting the translation? Or should I ask for prepayment?
I have to add that the short email exchange I had with the person gave me a good impression.
Thanks for your advice!!

[Edited at 2019-04-15 20:24 GMT]


Ganitha19
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 05:39
Membre (2007)
anglais
+ ...
What do you know about them? Apr 16

You will be paid if the customer is legitimate and has a good reputation. So that's where to start - make sure you know who you're dealing with. The more doubts/unease you feel, the more checks you need to make. B2B transactions aren't normally paid for in advance if they're small, although a percentage is normal for very large jobs. For a B2C job, the client should expect to pay 50-100% up front.
Checks can involve any or all of:
Check the BB here and similar lists
Check Payme
... See more
You will be paid if the customer is legitimate and has a good reputation. So that's where to start - make sure you know who you're dealing with. The more doubts/unease you feel, the more checks you need to make. B2B transactions aren't normally paid for in advance if they're small, although a percentage is normal for very large jobs. For a B2C job, the client should expect to pay 50-100% up front.
Checks can involve any or all of:
Check the BB here and similar lists
Check Payment Practices and other specialist sites
Google for the person's name, company name, email address along with "scam"
Check out the address on Google Earth
Check the country's register of companies
Contact them through their profile here or elsewhere (in case of identity theft).

Before any of that, visit the scam centre here and familiarise yourself with all the current scams. Then sign up for notification of new ones.

Finally, however confident you are, you need to get everything down in black and white. So get them to explicitly agree to the rate, volume, total price, when and how to pay...
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Morano El-Kholy
Kevin Fulton
Teresa Borges
Nancy Al-Sayad
Natalia Pedrosa
MARYSSA CAETANO
 

Tony M
France
Local time: 06:39
Membre
français vers anglais
+ ...
Payment upon delivery Apr 16

Where private customers are involved, who are unlikely to provide repeat business, I always ask them for payment 'by return' upon delivery (unless it were for a very large job, which is unusual)

I figure that I will not be deterring a business customer, who might become a regular, and it they are honest, they are usually more than happy to oblige.

In all the years I've been translating, I've never had a payment issue with a private customer.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Local time: 00:39
allemand vers anglais
Telephone call Apr 16

Call that person and get his/her street address. A legitimate customer shouldn't have a problem giving you that information.
As others have suggested, look under the "Scams" section of this site.


Thayenga
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 05:39
Membre (2007)
anglais
+ ...
"Private"? Apr 16

I just realised I completely overlooked the word "private" in my previous post .

If you're dealing with a true private individual then you have to be a little more careful. They have no jealously guarded online reputation and little in the way of proof of address and identity. Then again, their jobs aren't usually enormous. I normally ask for a deposit of 50-100%. I've omitted to do that quite a few times though, and
... See more
I just realised I completely overlooked the word "private" in my previous post .

If you're dealing with a true private individual then you have to be a little more careful. They have no jealously guarded online reputation and little in the way of proof of address and identity. Then again, their jobs aren't usually enormous. I normally ask for a deposit of 50-100%. I've omitted to do that quite a few times though, and in those cases, crossing my fingers has worked just fine .

When I'm dealing with fellow self-employed people, who are trading under their own names but are actually in business, I treat them the same way as companies, and give them 30 days' credit.
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DZiW
Ukraine
anglais vers russe
+ ...
VAR: Value-at-Risk Apr 16

Hello Marianne.

Any legal and fair business is based on mutual trust, and while the first and general impression is a good sign, without good deeds they are but means to abuse the trust.

Usually risk managements depends on your current relations and includes
(1) Prepayment;
(2) Partial payment;
(3) Escrow.

Also one should consider about the quality arbiter and possible courses of actions in the project, which means sign
... See more
Hello Marianne.

Any legal and fair business is based on mutual trust, and while the first and general impression is a good sign, without good deeds they are but means to abuse the trust.

Usually risk managements depends on your current relations and includes
(1) Prepayment;
(2) Partial payment;
(3) Escrow.

Also one should consider about the quality arbiter and possible courses of actions in the project, which means signing a contract.
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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 12:39
Membre
chinois vers anglais
+ ...
How large? Apr 16

I think the equivalent of one working day is the highest possible cut-off point at which you need to get paid in advance. You may set your cut-off lower, but there comes a point where it actually isn't worth the effort securing the prepayment, having to issue your invoice, wait for the payment to clear, check your account, etc.

On the other hand, if someone decides they don't want to pay you, there are very few options available to you, especially if they're outside the EU. Even a s
... See more
I think the equivalent of one working day is the highest possible cut-off point at which you need to get paid in advance. You may set your cut-off lower, but there comes a point where it actually isn't worth the effort securing the prepayment, having to issue your invoice, wait for the payment to clear, check your account, etc.

On the other hand, if someone decides they don't want to pay you, there are very few options available to you, especially if they're outside the EU. Even a small-claims procedure in your own jurisdiction can end up costing you more than the time spent on the work, and is mostly done to send a message. Having a number, address, etc. don't necessarily mean anything to someone who is intent on dodging payment. There is no such thing as a no-risk transaction, and it's better to think about minimizing what you're putting on the line. A few hours lost you can live with. A few days lost can mean a real difference in whether you're able to pay your bills.
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Sheila Wilson
 

Daryo
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 05:39
serbe vers anglais
+ ...
Keep it simple Apr 16

Marianne Pasty-Abdul Wahid wrote:

Hello!
I was contacted by a private customer via this site for a large translation, and was wondering how I can protect myself. Is there any standard procedure to make sure I will get paid after submitting the translation? Or should I ask for prepayment?
I have to add that the short email exchange I had with the person gave me a good impression.
Thanks for your advice!!

[Edited at 2019-04-15 20:24 GMT]


You have no idea who your client is?

"any standard procedure to make sure I will get paid"?

Sure there is one, the oldest in the book:

Payment 100% in advance - i.e. preferably before even starting work (see the point about bricks) but for sure before delivery, in a mode of payment that can not be cancelled / retracted or undone in any other way. Especially if the unknown client is from another country, or even from another town in your own country.

In some other trades, you can "undo" a delivery - take back a ton of bricks if unpaid, and sell to a more reliable client. Can't do that with a translation: it's totally worthless, except for the client who ordered it.

IOW every translation is "custom made" for the specific client. Try yourself to get something made on "custom order" from a business that never heard of you, especially on the other end of the globe ...

If it's a genuine request - not some scam of the overpayment type or other - this client will understand it. If it's really a big volume you could divide it in chunks and only deliver those that have been paid.

You have to make the difference between risking losing real business and risking losing the "opportunity" for having your time and work wasted.

You are a translator, not a lending institution. Sound obvious to me ...

[Edited at 2019-04-17 08:08 GMT]


Thayenga
 

Tom in London
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 05:39
Membre (2008)
italien vers anglais
+ ...
Never absolutely Apr 16

Marianne Pasty-Abdul Wahid wrote:

Hello!
I was contacted by a private customer via this site for a large translation, and was wondering how I can protect myself. Is there any standard procedure to make sure I will get paid after submitting the translation? Or should I ask for prepayment?
I have to add that the short email exchange I had with the person gave me a good impression.
Thanks for your advice!!

[Edited at 2019-04-15 20:24 GMT]


The basic information you need before starting work is the client's registered tax address and their VAT code or equivalent. If they don't give you this information, never accept any work from them.

However you can never be absolutely sure that a new client will pay you.

What you need to be sure of is: what you will do if they don't.



[Edited at 2019-04-16 16:04 GMT]


Shenice Parkyn
 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Allemagne
Local time: 06:39
Membre (2016)
anglais vers allemand
+ ...
Pre-Payment Apr 16

As I had a few bad experiences with clients (private as well as agencies) I always request payment in advance if there is no good Blue Board rating etc. Lost enough money.

Daryo
Natalia Pedrosa
Jo Macdonald
Thayenga
 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 05:39
Membre (2006)
anglais vers allemand
+ ...
Manage expectations, make sure all know what's involved Apr 16

Tom in London wrote:
The basic information you need before starting work is the client's registered tax address and their VAT code or equivalent.


No. A private customer will have none of this (and even some business customers won't have a VAT code or equivalent).

Lots of good points have been made already. I would just add one more: Make sure both you and your client know what exactly the job involves, what you need from them, what they will receive from you and so on. Sometimes we take things for granted which might not be obvious to someone not familiar with translation (and vice versa).


Sheila Wilson
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Morano El-Kholy
Thayenga
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:39
français vers anglais
No absolute guarantee, ever Apr 16

I don't know what you mean by "private client". Do you mean a private individual, contacting you in a personal non-business capacity? On these forums, we tend to distinguish between agency or direct clients and split the latter category into two: direct professional clients or direct private individuals. I have had private individual clients come to me via agencies, but that is rare.

Carry out as many checks as you can, but as I note you have posted this in the "Scams" section, if
... See more
I don't know what you mean by "private client". Do you mean a private individual, contacting you in a personal non-business capacity? On these forums, we tend to distinguish between agency or direct clients and split the latter category into two: direct professional clients or direct private individuals. I have had private individual clients come to me via agencies, but that is rare.

Carry out as many checks as you can, but as I note you have posted this in the "Scams" section, if you are worried whether your client is likely to scam you, then be extra-vigilant. Make sure you know what an "overpayment scam" is: it is when someone deliberately overpays you and asks you to reimburse the difference. When you reimburse the difference, you discover that their payment - cheque or bank transfer - is rejected. This classic scam tends to bear classic signs, most of which could be put together to make you think that the job is basically too good to be true. Signs might include a new client trusting you with a large volume. You often find that the text sent for translation is cut off at an odd point. You may be able to find the text on the internet.
It is good practice to carry out many of the checks colleagues have already pointed out. A quick phone call can be very useful. You can always make up some pretext for checking meaning, or something.

[Edited at 2019-04-16 18:37 GMT]
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Morano El-Kholy
Josephine Cassar
 

Schtroumpf
Local time: 06:39
allemand vers français
+ ...
Prepayment is the best option Apr 17

At least in my personal experience in France, prepayment has proved to be the best choice. Even in some civil law suits, certain people here seem to consider that paying the translator's work is optional..!
In order not to spend more time and money on getting hold of my money than on my translation work itself, I ask for the total sum as a down payment. The nice thing is that you can still use cheques in France, so I don't need to collect the money from their account before delivery. But
... See more
At least in my personal experience in France, prepayment has proved to be the best choice. Even in some civil law suits, certain people here seem to consider that paying the translator's work is optional..!
In order not to spend more time and money on getting hold of my money than on my translation work itself, I ask for the total sum as a down payment. The nice thing is that you can still use cheques in France, so I don't need to collect the money from their account before delivery. But even in other countries, if you work fast, the customer will not pay you too long ahead before you fulfilled your side of the contract.

There are several reasons you can invoke:
- It is a safe rule that freelance translators, much like lawyers or other self established professions, do not work without any guarantee for payment.
- Once your translation delivered, customer received 100% of what he wanted whereas the translator cannot resell this translation to anyone else! In other terms, after the delivery date, it is too late.

[Bearbeitet am 2019-04-17 11:36 GMT]
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Daryo
 

Marianne Pasty-Abdul Wahid
Allemagne
Local time: 06:39
allemand vers français
+ ...
AUTEUR DU FIL
Thanks a lot for all your replies! Apr 23

I really appreciate your advices.
It is really a private customer (no agency, no website, no references, no mention on any website), seems to be a postgraduate student, but I prefered to be really carefull since it is a 2000 euros project (3 docs)!!
I was actually expecting a negative reply after giving that amout, but here is what she wrote (translated from German):

"Okay, a total of € 2,000 is fine.

Please contact me with your bank details below so that
... See more
I really appreciate your advices.
It is really a private customer (no agency, no website, no references, no mention on any website), seems to be a postgraduate student, but I prefered to be really carefull since it is a 2000 euros project (3 docs)!!
I was actually expecting a negative reply after giving that amout, but here is what she wrote (translated from German):

"Okay, a total of € 2,000 is fine.

Please contact me with your bank details below so that the
Payment can be made as quickly as possible and you can conclude the work on time.

Account designation
account number
routine number (????? no idea what that is)
Bank name
Bank address

Please contact me soon"

I was really puzzled. Which private customer, even more a student, has 2000 euros to spare for translating 3 docs? And she was apparently willing to pay the whole amount before I even started working (I was anyways planning to ask for 50% advance as a security).

So, as someone of you wrote here, I asked if we can talk over the phone....that was one week ago. NO news since then........


[Edited at 2019-04-23 07:34 GMT]
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Tom in London
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 05:39
Membre (2008)
italien vers anglais
+ ...
Laundering Apr 23

This sounds like a money-laundering operation. You should never provide those details to anyone in advance.

In fact I would be thinking of informing the police, because these scams are usually operated by major criminal organisations. They may have contacted not only you, but many others who may not be as circumspect as you have been.

[Edited at 2019-04-23 09:45 GMT]


Shenice Parkyn
 
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