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Banning an outsourcer is useless
Thread poster: ksbtranslation

ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:17
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Mar 23, 2009

Dear All,

Based on our investigation it appears that the outsourcer being discussed in http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/128680-fake_company_in_the_members_profile.html has registered two fake companies in their profile. It is also believed that both of them are related to an outsourcer who has been banned in many translator directories a long time ago as their name is obvious from a test translation which we have done.

What they are doing is really really bad and Proz cannot do anything to avoid it.

Now we have lost a lot of money. No collection agency can even help us since all of the information are fake.

So beware of them!



[Edited at 2009-03-23 11:51 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:17
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Official documents to exist as an outsourcer in Proz??? Mar 23, 2009

I think it's OK for us translators to be able to register in Proz without a verified identity, but how about outsourcers? Shouldn't they be able to produce some certificate of incorporation, passport, social security documents or some other document of identity to even exist in Proz.com?

Edited to add this:
Anybody posting a job in Proz.com should have a verified identity as an individual or company! We are talking not only the time and money of us translators, but also our peace!! Some firm action should be taken by Proz in this case. There is no need for us to see the official incorporation or identity documents, but Proz should verify them before posting jobs is even possible.

[Edited at 2009-03-23 10:52 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:17
French to German
+ ...
Not OK! Mar 23, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I think it's OK for us translators to be able to register in Proz without a verified identity, but how about outsourcers?


I would not hire an outsourcee who is not able to give me details about their business registration. If ProZ are OK to let freelancers register on this site without checking who they are, I don't see why outsourcers should be forced to do so - there cannot be a system of two weights, two measures.

Furthermore, the absence of any check on freelancers encourages moonlight work, low rates and amateurish translations. And the same applies to agencies. So if we really want a 100% professional workplace, we should not accept anything less than equal treatment for both outsourcers and outsourcees (which already exists but in the negative sense, i.e. there seems to be no checks at all).

Think about it!

Laurent K.

PS: err... let me think - isn't it the role of each party to ensure with all reasonably available means that their business partner also is a registered professional?
At times, we seem much more careful about putting coins in a vending machine than in checking such data...

[Edited at 2009-03-23 11:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-03-23 11:17 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 23:17
English to Croatian
+ ...
Identity screening Mar 23, 2009

I agree that both outsourcers and translators should be screened and ID verified. They are two sides of the same coin.

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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:17
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
"Outsourcer" covers a wide range of job posters Mar 23, 2009

An "outsourcer" can be anyone from a large corporation to a one-time job poster seeking the translation of his/her school transcript or birth certificate. The solution is not to require verified ID of all job posters, but, rather to perform due diligence oneself before accepting to do a job. If you don't want to take any risk (or only take a limited risk), then only accept jobs from entities with readily available, already proven track records, whether that information is to be found on ProZ.com or elsewhere. But even when checking is easy, you still need to check!

Note that not all outsourcers posting jobs will have Blue Board records (people personally seeking translation of child custody documents or documents relating to stalker cases, for instance, ought never to have a BB record, because it would expose their whereabouts). And, of course, not all outsourcers seeking translators via ProZ.com will post jobs - many outsourcers do targeted profile searches and use the profile message function to contact us rather than posting publicly.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:17
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sharing information Mar 24, 2009

Yolanda Broad wrote:

An "outsourcer" can be anyone from a large corporation to a one-time job poster seeking the translation of his/her school transcript or birth certificate. The solution is not to require verified ID of all job posters, but, rather to perform due diligence oneself before accepting to do a job. If you don't want to take any risk (or only take a limited risk), then only accept jobs from entities with readily available, already proven track records, whether that information is to be found on ProZ.com or elsewhere. But even when checking is easy, you still need to check!

Note that not all outsourcers posting jobs will have Blue Board records (people personally seeking translation of child custody documents or documents relating to stalker cases, for instance, ought never to have a BB record, because it would expose their whereabouts). And, of course, not all outsourcers seeking translators via ProZ.com will post jobs - many outsourcers do targeted profile searches and use the profile message function to contact us rather than posting publicly.


Dear Mrs. Yolanda,

I admit that we took a gamble on this job. As you said, there are many reasons why an outsourcer does not have a BB record: s/he is a new member, rather being a job poster than a vendor, a one-time job poster or an individual who intends to be a fraud. Unluckily, we happened to meet the last one. This is indeed our bad day.

However is it appropriate for us to get some information about the outsourcer from Proz so that we can track them down? I believe that Proz has recorded some information when the outsourcer signed up as a member. For example, they may leave some important information when their pay their membership to Proz.

Cheers.




[Edited at 2009-03-24 15:54 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:17
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Basic business principles Mar 24, 2009

ksbtranslation wrote:

Now we have lost a lot of money. No collection agency can even help us since all of the information are fake.



There is an English term with which you might want to become familiar: "due diligence". That is your responsibility in every transaction.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:17
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I am not the only victim Mar 24, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
There is an English term with which you might want to become familiar: "due diligence". That is your responsibility in every transaction.


Thanks for reminding us of this "due diligence" stuff. As I told other member here and other topics that this is not our lucky day. But remember that I am not the only victim. There are 5 other members who are believed to be cheated by the same outsourcer. See http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/131063-be_alert_to_companies_that_dont_pay.html and http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/130961-didnt_get_paid_after_work.html. There will be more if Proz does not do anything to prevent it.

Let's see what you will do if you get into this situation:

A guy is working for Google, inc. He has many documents that need to be translated. But these documents are not from his office. He signs up as a new member in Proz and puts all contact information of his office into his profile. He starts posting jobs. You see one of the job postings and make an offer. You believe that this job poster is from Google. So there is no way he will default your payment. This guy answers your quote and approve your rate. But you have to give him a confirmation in a short time. Otherwise he will reassign other translator. Since you have been convinced that he is from Google and due to time constraint, you immediately accept this job without checking on this outsourcer. Besides you might think that it would take time to check on a person in a large dot com company. Sadly in the end, you would only find that he disappeared upon completion of this job. You asked Google whether they assigned this job to you. But they said no. Then you see other members who laugh at you and say "It's your fault, Pal. I told you ...Due diligence." What's on your mind?

Other situation:

A translation agency has been blacklisted everywhere and cannot post their jobs anymore. They try to find a way to exist in their business. So they create as many accounts as possible in several translation directories by using fake companies' or other companies' contact information. They start posting jobs. One of the companies' data they put in their profile is a free-email provider that is hard to contact and most of their staffs cannot speak English. You see one of the job postings and do like the above situation. You are stunned by the company name. In the end you will find yourself ending up with the same situation. Again you will see other members say these sacred words: "Due Diligence". What is on your mind?

[Edited at 2009-03-25 03:22 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:17
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Google is a big company. Ask for a PO. Mar 25, 2009

ksbtranslation wrote:

Then you see other members who laugh at you and say "It's your fault, Pal. I told you ...Due diligence." What's on your mind?



Laugh? Not at all. It's not funny. But it still shows a lack of basic business caution. When in doubt, ask for a purchase order and confirm its authenticity. Many other businesses follow particular procedures to avoid getting burned too often, but unfortunately our profession is plagued with amateurs who do stupid things like start a job without clarifying payment terms and worse. The fact that five others can be found who will fall for that BS isn't surprising. I hope those five have learned something. I got burned years ago by someone who dropped from sight, and that incident has inspired a caution that has probably prevented greater losses.

You must also be particularly careful when working with clients in jurisdictions where you have little ability to go after them if necessary. There are simply too many people willing to take advantage of you. No amount of policing by ProZ or any other entity will relieve you of the need to do your own checking. If you can't accept that, then I'm afraid you haven't lost enough yet to have learned a necessary lesson.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:17
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A banned outsourcer will be able to sign up as a new clean member Mar 25, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
When in doubt, ask for a purchase order and confirm its authenticity.

I have her PO but it has no address and telephone number. She asked me to refer to her profile in Proz.

Confirming the authenticity should take time and it is not competitive during this difficult time. I hope that in the future it will be Proz duty to verify the data input by its members. Otherwise, a banned outsourcer will be able to sign up as a new clean member and input fake company in his/her profile.

Kevin Lossner wrote:
You must also be particularly careful when working with clients in jurisdictions where you have little ability to go after them if necessary.

I have many other clients from China and they are good payers. This is not a matter of jurisdictions.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:17
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
No escaping responsibility Mar 25, 2009

ksbtranslation wrote:

I have her PO but it has no address and telephone number. She asked me to refer to her profile in Proz.

Confirming the authenticity should take time and it is not competitive during this difficult time. I hope that in the future it will be Proz duty to verify the data input by its members.




Horsefeathers.

That's not a proper PO; that much should be clear. If your business strategy for "difficult times" is to ignore basic principles, that's your choice.

There is a limit to how much verification one can expect from ProZ, and even legitimate, registered businesses can be bad apples. Moreover, restricting things in a way which would discourage private individuals from posting jobs would be very undesirable. One can always demand deposits or payment in advance, COD, etc. In any case, the success and security of your business is ultimately your responsibility, not the responsibility of any other entity, including ProZ.


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ksbtranslation  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:17
Indonesian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Indeed Mar 25, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:


Horsefeathers.

That's not a proper PO; that much should be clear. If your business strategy for "difficult times" is to ignore basic principles, that's your choice.

There is a limit to how much verification one can expect from ProZ, and even legitimate, registered businesses can be bad apples. Moreover, restricting things in a way which would discourage private individuals from posting jobs would be very undesirable. One can always demand deposits or payment in advance, COD, etc. In any case, the success and security of your business is ultimately your responsibility, not the responsibility of any other entity, including ProZ.


Indeed the success and security of our business is our own responsibility. But would it be great if Proz prevented its members from any fraud?


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:17
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Limits to what one can expect Mar 25, 2009

ksbtranslation wrote:
Indeed the success and security of our business is our own responsibility. But would it be great if Proz prevented its members from any fraud?


Of course. The moderators used to make great efforts at verification and policing of outsourcers where possible, but that function has been assumed by staff. But no amount of effort will cover all cases, and it is ridiculous to expect ProZ to keep an overview of all forms of business in every country and also ensure that private individuals are honest, etc. You pay a partial membership for whatever it costs; my membership sets me back about 100 euros per year. For that amount of money, there are strict limits to the amount of service I can expect from my accountant or my attorney, and even distributed over many thousands of paying members, revenues are most likely not at a level where one can expect ProZ to function as a credit rating agency and more. There are obvious, basic things you can do, including asking for references from an unknown person or company. Hard times get even harder as you know when you are so desperate or in so much of a hurry that you end up working for free after all.

One thing you can do as a small "revenge" that may serve your business purposes. Work which is not paid for belongs to you, not the so-called "customer". If you need to present good examples of your work to other potential clients, you may use the unpaid material.

ProZ certainly bears a measure of responsibility for a number of things, but even with the best efforts of moderators and staff, problems still occurred and will continue to occur. There is, as you know, no perfect safety net, and I would never encourage anyone to rely entirely on the efforts of others.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:17
English to Dutch
+ ...
Impossible Mar 25, 2009

ksbtranslation wrote:

Indeed the success and security of our business is our own responsibility. But would it be great if Proz prevented its members from any fraud?


ProZ cannot do that. They have no investigating powers, to start with. And how would you respond if some third party was to investigate you, simply because you need a translation job done?

And frankly, asking and providing contact details and verifying them does not take a lot of time. Any serious outsourcer would understand your need to do that; in fact, a serious outsourcer would provide you with this information even before you asked.

A phone number is essential, if only to call in case of questions regarding the task at hand.

Nobody here is laughing at you, nobody here is trying to hurt your feelings. But you cannot ask ProZ to protect your business - that's simply not feasible and it's not their responsibility.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:17
French to German
+ ...
At the risk of quoting myself: red alert lights Mar 25, 2009

It has been said over and over again, but there are definitively some red alert lights we should be aware of:

- outsourcer at the other end of the world;
- non-issuance of clear documents (PO...);
- large translation jobs as 1st or 2nd projects;
- rates too low or too high;
- professionals using free e-mail addresses;
- multiple company names;
- multiple PM for one project;
- rush jobs;
- etc

The list is endless, and by checking some of its points and getting the red alert signal, I know that the better choice is to keep clear from the entity who contacted me.


To which I may add my rule-of-thumb: no business opportunity is that important and/or urgent to forget everything else and to act in a hurry. If someone is putting pressure of any kind on you, it is most likely that they don't want *you* to know too much about *their business*. Draw your own conclusions about such an attitude.

As the French saying goes (sorry for my bad English): There are no emergency cases, only hurried people.

Laurent K.

PS: and I clearly leave ProZ (as a company which would be "liable" for checking outsourcers - and why not translators too?) out of the equation, as I check on my direct clients with the same care...

[Edited at 2009-03-25 09:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-03-25 10:55 GMT]


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