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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I'm a freelance translator in the UK. Two different customers

Resolved Question:

I'm a freelance translator in the UK. Two different customers - small translation agencies in France - are refusing to accept my invoices unless I submit them via their self-designed complex on-line system. I've made every effort to use their on-line system, but it doesn't work. When I explain this, and send my invoice as an email attachment, in the usual way, the agency simply replies that I MUST (their capitalisation!) submit the invoice through their on-line system or they won't accept it. Is this legal? What can I do? Thanks in advance for advice.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask if the requirement to submit through their online system was an agreed term between you and the client prior to undertaking the work or has it been introduced as a requirement only after the work was agreed with the agency?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Well, I don't have a contract, as such, with either client, but only a purchase order. One of the purchase orders says that "invoices will be submitted via our on-line system" and then gives a link to connect to their system (which doesn't work), but the purchase order doesn't say that this is "of the essence" or anything like that.

The agency also wants me to upload my translation via their on-line system, but when I can't do that, is quite happy to accept it as an email attachment - so - having it both ways?? (i.e. their system necessary for receiving invoices, but not essential for receiving the work itself).

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. If a term of your agreement with the agency requires you to submit invoices using their online system then this will form a term of your contract and you will have agreed to do so in taking on the work. Where there is no such term included, then there is no requirement to even attempt to use their online system. in respect of the order that does contain this requirement to submit using the online system, then as above, it is necessary to use all reasonable endeavours to attempt to do so as you agree to this condition by virtue of the term prior to carrying out the work. However, it does not follow that if you have attempted to submit the invoice using the online system but the system does not work at all or does not work so as to be readily accessible, you are unable to collect payment. you can from what you say demonstrate that you have attempted using a reasonable endeavours to use their on my system but it does not function and as such, can submit your invoice by email or post. An invoice is a legal demand for payment and cannot be ignored by reference to a term which is impossible to comply with on your part. Accordingly, you may wish to refer to the agency advising that you attempt to use their online system on multiple occasions, and each time without success citing the error that you encounter, and accordingly, you are submitting your invoice by email and expect it to be paid within the terms outline thereon. Failing this, you may wish to draw the agency's attention to the The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act and advise that you will have little option but to claim interest and costs for recovery under this legislation which you hope will not be necessary so as to prejudice any future working relationship or words to that effect. There is a useful guide to the Late Payment laws here:http://payontime.co.uk/late-payment-legislation-interest-calculators I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** is helpful. I'll make a further attempt to explain to both customers that I've made every effort to send my invoice via their system but that I can't make it work. I haven't even sent either invoice yet, which is what worries me a little (the payment isn't "late" yet). Then I'll send the invoice to them as an email attachment and wait and see what happens. If they still reject the invoice, I may need to ask further questions about this in due course. If so, can I re-open this question?

Thanks for your help.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Yes as you say do subit your invoice in the normal way if you can't get the system to work for you because as you rightly point out until you issue an invoice you can't claim payment. Yes of course I am very happy to assist with any followup questions. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you to date. This will also save the thread and you ar welcome to return to it should you have any further follow up questions which I am happy to assist with without further charge.