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Invoice rejected because it was sent in later than 3 months (Translation Agency)
Autor wątku: Regina Maria Brodmann

Regina Maria Brodmann
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 00:30
angielski > niemiecki
+ ...
Jan 13

I have been working for a translation agency for a while. The company has a platform, where you have to send in one invoice for all the jobs you did in a month and because I have worked less and less recently, I forgot to send in the last invoice. Now, I got this mail:

"Good Day Regina,
We are emailing to advise that we will shortly be rejecting your invoice with the below reference, which you submitted on 21 December 2020.
This is because your invoice/s contain project
... See more
I have been working for a translation agency for a while. The company has a platform, where you have to send in one invoice for all the jobs you did in a month and because I have worked less and less recently, I forgot to send in the last invoice. Now, I got this mail:

"Good Day Regina,
We are emailing to advise that we will shortly be rejecting your invoice with the below reference, which you submitted on 21 December 2020.
This is because your invoice/s contain project/s that are older than 3 months old. As per the Supplier T&Cs, invoices should be fully submitted within 90 days of completion or they may not be processed."

Is there any way I could challenge this? It just seems so unfair (duh!). It is not a lot of money, but I am still extremely annoyed at them and myself.
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Tom in London
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 00:30
Członek ProZ.com
od 2008

włoski > angielski
They can't do that Jan 13

Regina Maria Brodmann wrote:

I have been working for a translation agency for a while. The company has a platform, where you have to send in one invoice for all the jobs you did in a month and because I have worked less and less recently, I forgot to send in the last invoice. Now, I got this mail:

"Good Day Regina,
We are emailing to advise that we will shortly be rejecting your invoice with the below reference, which you submitted on 21 December 2020.
This is because your invoice/s contain project/s that are older than 3 months old. As per the Supplier T&Cs, invoices should be fully submitted within 90 days of completion or they may not be processed."

Is there any way I could challenge this? It just seems so unfair (duh!). It is not a lot of money, but I am still extremely annoyed at them and myself.


They can't do that. Don't let them get away with it.

Be determined. Write them a very obviously extremely polite formal letter that begins "WITHOUT PREJUDUCE" stating your objections and advising them that you expect payment in full within X days.

"WITHOUT PREJUDICE" means that you are thinking about taking legal advice.

That of itself may be enough to persuade them to pay.


Emanuele Vacca
Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
Philip Lees
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Yaotl Altan
philgoddard
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bośnia i Hercegowina
Local time: 01:30
angielski > chorwacki
+ ...
The policy seems very clear. Jan 13

I am not questioning whether this policy is right or wrong. Fact is, it is/was there, you were supposed to be aware of it, and they can rely on it and quote it during the dispute. It seems like you don’t have anything to counter that other than the “it’s not fair” statement.

You probably signed an NDA or something similar at the beginning of collaboration accepting their terms and policies. As such, I’m not sure what you can do now.


ipv
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Holandia
Local time: 01:30
Członek ProZ.com
od 2006

angielski > afrikaans
+ ...
@Regina Jan 13

Regina Maria Brodmann wrote:
We are emailing to advise that we will shortly be rejecting your invoice with the below reference, which you submitted on 21 December 2020. This is because your invoice/s contain project/s that are older than 3 months old. As per the Supplier T&Cs, invoices should be fully submitted within 90 days of completion or they may not be processed.


I'm not sure if it is legal for them to put that in their terms and conditions (i.e. that invoices not submitted within 3 months does not need to be paid). I have a number of clients with similar terms in their T&Cs, but they typically do pay even if the invoice is later than that.

Some web sites repeat that the invoice is valid for 6 years, but I suspect that that applies to very specific circumstances only.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
Systems vs people Jan 13

Email your normal contact there and ask them to override the system. I’m sure that’ll work.

I don’t think they can legally not pay you anyway.


Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
Vadim Kadyrov
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bośnia i Hercegowina
Local time: 01:30
angielski > chorwacki
+ ...
System. Jan 13

Chris S wrote:

Email your normal contact there and ask them to override the system. I’m sure that’ll work.

I don’t think they can legally not pay you anyway.


It appears like one of those agencies with separate departments for everything. The “normal contact” will just refer her back to the invoicing department.

Their policies and NDA is a legal document, isn’t it?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 00:30
Członek ProZ.com
od 2007

angielski
+ ...
Aren't there legal limits, which exceed 3 months? Jan 13

Maybe you'll find the legal limits for the country/countries here:
https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/tic/public/invRules/invRulesPublicationPage.html

From the UK:
https://debitoor.com/blog/time-limits-for-issu
... See more
Maybe you'll find the legal limits for the country/countries here:
https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/tic/public/invRules/invRulesPublicationPage.html

From the UK:
https://debitoor.com/blog/time-limits-for-issuing-invoices
https://www.mycreditcontrollers.co.uk/Articles/how-late-is-an-invoice-still-valid.html

From the US:
https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/how-long-does-a-contractor-have-to-bill-you--62387.html

(Edited to add more links)


[Edited at 2021-01-13 17:19 GMT]
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Edwin den Boer
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Rachel Waddington
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
@5B Jan 13

Lingua 5B wrote:
It appears like one of those agencies with separate departments for everything. The “normal contact” will just refer her back to the invoicing department.

I’ve always found that if you have a friendly relationship with your contact, they will go to great lengths to make sure you are treated right. After all, it’s not in the agency’s interest to ruin the working relationship. The limit is only there to try to get people to invoice promptly and make their accountant’s life easier.

Their policies and NDA is a legal document, isn’t it?

Yes, but many of the terms are there to encourage compliance but are actually unenforceable. There are laws that overrule many contractual terms.


Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
Edwin den Boer
Philip Lees
Adieu
Philippe Etienne
Vera Schoen
 

Regina Maria Brodmann
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 00:30
angielski > niemiecki
+ ...
NOWY TEMAT
Thank you! Jan 13

Thank you all for your replies. I have sent a friendly mail, emphasizing the fact that I have worked for them over 4 years and hope for their goodwill. Let's see...
I mean, I have signed their NDA at the very beginning, so technically they can always say that I signed it. I just don't want to lose the client and I feel that's going to happen if I threaten them...

[Edited at 2021-01-13 20:50 GMT]


Chris S
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:30
francuski > angielski
Shared responsibility Jan 14

Setting aside any contractual and/or statutory principles for the time being, I think it might be worth mentioning that the agency must have realised that they had not paid you. Agencies are very quick off the mark to seek reliance upon an end client's late payment (or failure to pay) as an excuse not to pay a translator, thereby failing to take account of matters such as the doctrine of privity of contract. Further, you may wish to check to see whether they have ever been late in paying you or ... See more
Setting aside any contractual and/or statutory principles for the time being, I think it might be worth mentioning that the agency must have realised that they had not paid you. Agencies are very quick off the mark to seek reliance upon an end client's late payment (or failure to pay) as an excuse not to pay a translator, thereby failing to take account of matters such as the doctrine of privity of contract. Further, you may wish to check to see whether they have ever been late in paying you or made a mistake of some sort. If they have and you did not seek to recover interest etc., that would be the sort of thing you could bring to bear in support of an amicable arrangement here.

This agency may otherwise be a good client for you. Over the past 4 years, you have probably bailed them out on occasion with one or two urgent jobs. You could point to such incidents and things such as good faith, reciprocity, sound professional morals and give and take, etc. They may have closed their accounts and be reluctant to cover on 2021 something they should have covered in 2020. However, that's their accounting problem, not yours. A host of other possibilities could be listed. One you might like to consider is that the end client has not paid them in which case, they could be happy to balance their books on this one by not paying you.

So, have a look at the facts. Stick to what you know. If you have accorded the agency one or two favours, I think you can politely but firmly bring those to the table and ask them to reconsider.

One or two issues you might like to do some legal research on:
- privity of contract
- right to use your work when it has not been paid for and when they must have known that was the case (good faith/bad faith)
- unfair contract terms
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Tina Vonhof
Chris S
Philip Lees
Rachel Waddington
 

Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 00:30
japoński > angielski
Check your legal rights Jan 14

Regina Maria Brodmann wrote:

Thank you all for your replies. I have sent a friendly mail, emphasizing the fact that I have worked for them over 4 years and hope for their goodwill. Let's see...
I mean, I have signed their NDA at the very beginning, so technically they can always say that I signed it. I just don't want to lose the client and I feel that's going to happen if I threaten them...

So you're just gonna roll over and let them not pay you? I hope they respond sensibly to your friendly email, otherwise your next step should be asserting your legal right to be paid for invoices issued within the time limit specified by the government in question, not the agency. Asking to be paid for work done is not the same as 'threatening' anyone.


Christel Zipfel
Chris S
Philip Lees
Adieu
Rachel Waddington
 

Regina Maria Brodmann
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 00:30
angielski > niemiecki
+ ...
NOWY TEMAT
Update Jan 18

A quick update on the matter. The finance team has replied:

"As per the notification you received, our Terms & Conditions do state that we do not accept invoices outside of the 90-day invoicing period. We have been able to show some flexibility here in the past, but a communication was sent to all suppliers in November 2019 advising that we would no longer be able to accept invoices submitted late. Unfortunately this is a business decision which is strictly enforced, and I am unable
... See more
A quick update on the matter. The finance team has replied:

"As per the notification you received, our Terms & Conditions do state that we do not accept invoices outside of the 90-day invoicing period. We have been able to show some flexibility here in the past, but a communication was sent to all suppliers in November 2019 advising that we would no longer be able to accept invoices submitted late. Unfortunately this is a business decision which is strictly enforced, and I am unable to grant exceptions for particular suppliers."

Since the company is based in the UK, I have sent a mail back, forbidding them from using my translation until the project is paid and stating the Limitation Act 1980 that the debt is valid for 6 years. I am not sure if that will change their opinion and I am pretty sure that this has been the last time I will have worked with that agency.

So... which service could help me with getting the invoice paid if they refuse again?
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Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
Oh dear Jan 18

I’m surprised and disappointed for you. Well, you wouldn’t want to work with them again I imagine. Bunch of ********.

My instinct was European small claims but with Brexit maybe that doesn’t apply any more???

At this point I would be weighing up whether the amount is worth chasing on the one hand, and how pissed off with them I am on the other... The latter would probably prevail.

You’ve got nothing to lose with Tom’s unveiled-threat approach in
... See more
I’m surprised and disappointed for you. Well, you wouldn’t want to work with them again I imagine. Bunch of ********.

My instinct was European small claims but with Brexit maybe that doesn’t apply any more???

At this point I would be weighing up whether the amount is worth chasing on the one hand, and how pissed off with them I am on the other... The latter would probably prevail.

You’ve got nothing to lose with Tom’s unveiled-threat approach in the first instance.


Edit: Oops. I see now you are UK-based. Small claims court then. Costs bugger all. Fill in a form and wait for the cash. They won’t want a CCJ hanging over them. Probably...

[Edited at 2021-01-18 19:45 GMT]
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Dan Lucas
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
P.L.F.Persio
 

Regina Maria Brodmann
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 00:30
angielski > niemiecki
+ ...
NOWY TEMAT
No answer yet... Jan 20

Small claims court then. Costs bugger all. Fill in a form and wait for the cash. They won’t want a CCJ hanging over them. Probably...


Thanks, I checked it and filled out everything, but haven't sent it out yet. I have sent the company a mail on Monday, but they haven't replied yet. I am not expecting them to, though.

I am now unsure if I should send the claim or send the company another mail (at the end of the week?), announcing that I will submit a claim? I did sign their T&Cs, which state that I have to submit invoices within 90 days. But the Limitation Act 1980 says I can chase up unpaid invoices from up to 6 years. So, does the Limitation Act weigh more, despite my signature on the T&Cs?


 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 00:30
Członek ProZ.com
od 2014

niderlandzki > angielski
+ ...
ITI? Jan 20

Are you a member of the ITI? Their legal helpline may be worth trying if so.

I do hope you manage to successfully chase this up because this is disgraceful behaviour from the agency.


 
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Invoice rejected because it was sent in later than 3 months (Translation Agency)

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