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Agencies sending POs after delivery
Thread poster: jmadsen

jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:27
Aug 16, 2007

On several occasions, agencies have sent me POs after the delivery of a translation. But as I see it that's too late. The PO is a document establishing conditions before the work commences, right?
And often the PO has a lower word rate or word count as originally agreed, of course... Just another way to push us around as they see fit.

Please tell me I am correct!


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:27
Dutch to English
+ ...
POs after job completion Aug 16, 2007

I regularly get POs after job completion (mainly because it is difficult to determine the work involved) and they are always open to discussion. I don't think I've ever had one that was not fair towards both parties. This is mainly with long-standing customers (> 3 years). I don't know how I would feel about this with new customers.

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 05:27
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Always let them confirm Aug 16, 2007

Dear Jørgen,

We always base our jobs on us giving a clear offer per word or per line and let the customer answer by email.
Normally our offer stands below their answer so the linkage is clear.
If it doesn't, we confirm their OK by stating the content of our offer.

Having either of these safeguards us from getting a lower rate.
The PO is to us more of a formality.

With customers we know we are laxer.

Best

Mats


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Quattro
United States
Local time: 20:27
POs before starting work Aug 16, 2007

I always ask for and get a PO from new clients before I start work.

That being said, one of my regular clients often sends me the PO after job completion - the reason being that they can't issue me a PO until their client (always the same one) issues them a PO. At first, I felt they should still send me a PO (since my "contract" is with them and not their end client), but I have been working with them for almost a year now on a very regular basis and I know I will always get a PO with the agreed word count and at the agreed rate, so I have no problem with it. With other end clients, this agency always sends me a PO before I begin work.

Now, with new clients, I doubt I would start work without having received a PO first. It would depend largely on how detailed the e-mail correspondence regarding the job was, i.e. whether it would technically constitute a PO.

If someone were to send me the PO after job completion and the word count and rate were lower than what was originally agreed, I would politely yet firmly (!) remind them about our agreement - quoting any correspondence stating the agreed word count and rate. If the details are there, it should still count as a contract. It does not have to be an "official" PO.

I hope all this was helpful.


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:27
English to Russian
nothing unusual Aug 16, 2007

According to most SLAs they are entitled to do it. Anf of course they use this entitlement whenever possible=) So it's business as usual stuff.

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Kelly O'Connor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:27
Italian to English
Agreed - it's unfair Aug 16, 2007

Jørgen Madsen wrote:

On several occasions, agencies have sent me POs after the delivery of a translation. But as I see it that's too late. The PO is a document establishing conditions before the work commences, right?
And often the PO has a lower word rate or word count as originally agreed, of course... Just another way to push us around as they see fit.

Please tell me I am correct!


I think you are correct. When I accept a job from a new customer, I always establish the word count, rate per word, etc in advance. I have one agency that sends the PO after delivery, but they are always fair and the amount always reflects what we agreed upon. I recently had a run in with an agency (an older customer) because they sent several word counts before the job began and then the PO after the job was delivered. The word count was to their advantage of course (it counted target words). I balked and said we had agreed to a source word count and they countered that this particular client always pays them on target word count. I said that *our* agreement had nothing to do with *their* agreement with their end customer. In the end, we agreed to a target word count, but I revised my rate based on this new method of tallying words (X per target word instead of Y per source word) and they accepted it.


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Cecilia Paris  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
PO before delivery Aug 16, 2007

I am quite happy to start translating having received the go-ahead by e-mail. But when delivery date arrives and I haven't received the PO, then I send a reminder indicating I have the job completed and am waiting for the corresponding PO to deliver.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:27
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It has happened... Aug 16, 2007

Jørgen Madsen wrote:
On several occasions, agencies have sent me POs after the delivery of a translation. But ... The PO is a document establishing conditions before the work commences, right?


Some POs that I get, are open ended. In other words, they contain a word rate or an hour rate because the client doesn't know at that time how long the job is or how long it would take.

Some internet shops have the policy of sending an invoice only after you've paid. Silly, but that's their system.

If a PO that is sent after the job is done, contains incorrect information, then you should query it, and get it corrected. Mistakes do happen (as they have happened to some of my clients, especially if the accountant is new), and honest clients are honest.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:27
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I think that PO is simply null Aug 16, 2007

Simply because the PO (I understand it as a "mini contract") was signed AFTER the completion and it has NO legal force.

Why?

1) you ALREADY had the "contract" and agreed on the conditions (volumes, rates, deadlines, and whatever), obligations and liabilities of it - you had it like a verbal agreement (email correspondence can be a proof for that); -

2) moreover, you ALREADY fulfilled all of your obligations to the other party (agency/client) based on that "verbal contract by email" - you HAVE delivered the job upon the agreed conditions - part of the contract is ALREADY completed. Now they have to finish completing it with their obligation - to settle for the work ALREADY delivered on the agreed conditions;

3) under the "logics" of the law (I think this principle prevails in the laws of all countries despite some nuances might vary) - none of the contract parties have the right to change the agreed conditions on a unilatral basis (you already HAD the agreement via email);

4) in whatever case, the work shall be paid on the basis of the ACTUAL amount/volume or whatever, not upon the basis of a unilatral "invention" of one of the parties.

So, this "post factum" PO is a piece of paper that has a null significance to your transaction as the transation from your part is already concluded (no one signs contracts = issues a PO with a "back date"). Same "antilogics" would be if you agreed to do a job for 1000 EUR (that was really worth 1000 EUR 1:1 per agreement) and you decide to issue one more invoice for 1000 EUR jus because "you decided so"?

My sugestion - demand payment for the amount agreed before the PO and for the actual work you have done to them - not a cent less, not a cent more...

In short - a verbal agreement or an agreement made via email correspondence has the same force. The PO is another "agreement" that cannot be forced unilaterally and that CANNOT replace the previous agreement that you already completed from your side.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:27
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, but... Aug 16, 2007

MariusV wrote:
...none of the contract parties have the right to change the agreed conditions on a unilatral basis


I agree. However, if a translator receives such a changed PO, and he accepts it, then it does have legal force because the change was not unilateral -- the change was agreed upon by both parties.

The question is... how does a translator "accept" a changed PO? Does he accept it by not bringing it to the client's attention? Does he accept it by not complaining when he receives the new amount mentioned on the PO? Does he accept it if he writes an invoice with the new amount, or if he uses the PO number of the new agreement?


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Pamela Brizzola  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:27
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Just happened - Huge difference Aug 16, 2007

Yesterday I received a final PO for a large job I did in June-July. The translation agency is quite a renowed one and well known by all of us. At the beginning, I was told the final PO would be different from the provisional PO (which I however asked to receive in order to open a project line in my scheduling system), but what I expected was a slight difference. We were initially asked to use a client proprietary tool, which proved a disaster. Then we were moved to use a another tool, which was no better, nothing to do with a CAT.
However, the final PO states full, fuzzy and no matches as we had used a CAT tool. Is that acceptable? Of course not.
The difference is 50% less, that is the final PO states 1000 Eur less than the provisional one.
The same has happened to another colleague in my same language combination.
How can happen that a PM gets the count completely wrong?
I trust there must be reasons, but I received a PO, though provisional, which stated a certain amount and I worked having in mind that amount. If there is a big error, it goes beyond my responsibility.
I'm now waiting for the PM reply to my return e-mail.
I'll keep you posted.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 06:27
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
consider a "vice versa" situation Sep 11, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

The question is... how does a translator "accept" a changed PO?



Imagine a client writes you an email offering 1000 words to be done for 0.10 USD = 100 USD. He/she sends you a PO or you have a verbal/email agreement for that. You complete the job and now it is time for your invoice. And you send an invoice for 1000 USD just because you "decided so". How (and WILL) the client "accept" the invoice for 1000 USD instead of the agreed 100 USD? And will you invoice for 1000 USD have a legal force?

[Edited at 2007-09-11 04:09]


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