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XVII century letter transcription

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
It all started with a document in 1635. The letter written that day was "taken" by an American soldier in Paris during WWII within the walls of a supposedly bombed library. In January of 2005, I was contacted by the soldier's nephew in the hope I might help them solve the mystery of the letter nobody can decipher. I agreed to look at it, although my area of expertise is more XVIII and XIX century. What I could read of it would not have been sufficient for me to provide any insight. I told him I could potentially find him someone who could read it and transcribe it, and then, if he is still interested, I could translate it. After much research, for which he wanted to pay me, and I declined, I found a student at the Ecole des Chartes who was willing to do it for a mere 45 euros. The student delivered the transcription within 2 weeks. Upon receiving the transcription, Mr. M. asked me what it was, and why it wasn't in English. I explained he had not asked me to translate it yet, that we had agreed I would simply get it transcribed, and upon knowing the nature of the document, he could then decide how he wanted to proceed. He wrote it was fine as is (I understood: "don't translate" - Ouf, I really didn't have time for that .-) and that he would pay the student. That was February 8. Since then, Mr. M. has not paid, even though he wrote he would, and has not responded to my last three emails. I was thinking about writing him a registered letter asking that he immediately remit payment. No, there was no contract. It is not about money. I will pay the student if he doesn't. What would you do? I just find the whole thing a little saddening.
post #2 of 28
he should pay the student. he said he would pay the student. if possible, i would contact him in person. otherwise, call him. i don't know the details but as a matter of principle i would make him pay somehow.
post #3 of 28
I can understand this person's point of view. Obviously, he wanted it translated. It doesn't help him that it got transcribed. In america, it would still be considered a binding contract because of consideration. However, not too sure about this situation since the UCC doesn't cover international transactions. It would probably be best to keep all documentation and correspondences between you two.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
I can understand this person's point of view. Obviously, he wanted it translated. It doesn't help him that it got transcribed.
If Mr. M. was withholding payment because as you state he wanted it translated, not only transcribed then 1) Fabienne asked if he wanted it translated and the reponse should have been yes please translate it. 2) He should clearly have said that he is withholding for that reason, and not simply promised to pay without paying, and Its like I tell my kids...if You feel that whatever you are doing is correct then you shouldn't have to hide it. I suspect that Mr. M wants something for nothing and is banking on the prospect that for 45 euro you arent gonna take him to court (and he is right.) Sorry for your loss of time and money.
post #5 of 28
perhaps Mr. M didn't realize that transcribing and translating were two different things? Whatever it was, I fear the guy's a cheap scumbag. Does he live in the USA? I forget where you said you lived? If out of the States, then perhaps somewhere can telephone Mr. M. to get him to pay up.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
It feels relatively silly to try and make someone "do the right thing", yet I am compelled to attempt one last time. Do you think a registered letter might make him reflect and keep his word? It is mind-boggling. He was so grateful for my help, so happy to finally solve this mystery, and then, he completely turned. I know, when he found me, that he said he had showed the letter to friends of his who speak French, and they couldn't decipher it. I assume he is having them translate the letter. Good luck to them, if they are not experts. I know it would have taken me a good amount of research.
post #7 of 28
Quote:
It feels relatively silly to try and make someone "do the right thing", yet I am compelled to attempt one last time. Do you think a registered letter might make him reflect and keep his word? It is mind-boggling. He was so grateful for my help, so happy to finally solve this mystery, and then, he completely turned. I know, when he found me, that he said he had showed the letter to friends of his who speak French, and they couldn't decipher it. I assume he is having them translate the letter. Good luck to them, if they are not experts. I know it would have taken me a good amount of research.
In concept I would say yes... try. In (experienced based) reality I think that it would be a waste of time and resources and its tantamount to throwing good money(time) after bad. Maybe a quick letter expressing your shock at his character and how you thought he moght not be that way. Certainly nothing registered for both the fact that its money and secondly he may perceive it as a "threat" and entrench himself in his position.
post #8 of 28
If I were you, I would just pay the student to make sure that he gets his part. It's not your burden, but at least he won't hold anything against you for assigning him a job with no compensation.
post #9 of 28
1. pay the student 2. send the registered letter. it doens't really have weight, but I am assuming that he is not so much refusing to pay as "putting it off". you need to draw his attention to the fact that this is unacceptable, and a registered letter might do that. good luck
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
The problem with this guy is that it is obviously impossible to even guess what his reaction might be. He is in the US, and yes, he was explained in writing, what he was getting. Several times, as a matter of fact. But some people don't pay close attention to what you say/write to them. I decided to send him a "cordial" yet firm letter that shouldn't make him feel cornered. I'll give him a week, and if he doesn't respond, then I'll pay the student. Then I want to forget about the whole fiasco. It's his conscience.
post #11 of 28
If I were you, I would tell him that I will turn over the matter to a collection agency if he does not pay.  You'd be amazed how fast people come up with money when their credit rating could be in jeopardy, especially over a trivial amount like $50. Where is he in the U.S.?  If he is in the Boston area, I would gladly take your letter and convey your sentiments to him at his residence or place of employ and convey the same information (I'll even wear a suit.  Or maybe a black hoodie and army jacket will get the point across more effectively.) As you may have gathered, I don't take getting ripped off very well.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
He lives in Bedford, MA. Do you think he might believe that I have a case with a collection agency?
post #13 of 28
Bedford, huh? Hmm, haven't been up there in a while. As for the collection agency, totally. Major corporations use them all the time to collect unpaid debts. And having a collection agency up your ass is a major pain, as well having the potential to sink your credit rating. Not sure exactly how this works. Maybe one of the lawyers can chime in here.
post #14 of 28
I think that you have to have a better paper trail for a collection agency. we use something like that, and we have to give over a file with the purchase order and invoices, the collection agency can get in trouble if they screw around with somebody's credit rating without being able to prove he owes money. but you can threaten, or have somebody say that they are a collection agency....
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
A week has passed.  I just sent him this message: Mr. XXXX, Since you have failed to honor your debt, I regret to inform you that I will report you to a collection agency on Monday. Fabienne ZZZZ So, Globetrotter, how do collection agency clerks express themselves?
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