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Question on how to deal with abusers of the proz.com site
Thread poster: Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.
Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
German to English
+ ...
Jul 30, 2008

Hello:

I recently completed a translation for an individual who contacted me via proz.com. After I summitted the job, he vanished from this world! No e-mails answered, no phone calls answered, and of course, no payment. My fault, I agree.

Just last week, I took another job from an outsourcer who had a site on proz.com. His Blue Board had 9 favorable comments and one sobering one (he did not pay). I kind of believed
this single comment, yet took the job, somehow, thinking that all those 9 favorable comments on the BB should mean something. I was wrong again.. is it my fault?

The reason I ask this question is that this person, after receiving my translation, started acting like he does not understand what payment I should get. He started saying " I will never pay you in advance again...",, etc... Of course, I sent him 6 messages saying that he should pay me on the work just completed (he promised within a week or two.. ).. He kept saying that he never pays in advance... Well, I am not asking in advance. The work is received by him!

Today, he had the audacity to send me another job; but you guessed, it. He has new site on proz.com with a different name. Same owner of the business, as he had signed his name.

What is the proz.com policy regarding outsources who want to have more than one site, under different names, on proz.com, especially when this is used for fraud? This person is
a basic user. Not a member.

Of course, I will put my comments on BB on both of his accounts. But I would have thought
that there would be a better way, such as preventing someone who lives on fraud from having access to membership (even basic). I, and the other victim of this outsoucer, do believe that one possibility for the existence of these 9 excellent evaluations is the provision of rave reviews in return for a "fistfull of dollars".

I contacted the person who had been victimized by this outsourcer.. his comment: "I am not surprised by what you are telling me.. he did the same thing to me... "
Any advice.. help.. I have tried asking in advance... no luck, but does it work? Will I be able to get paid in advance if I insist?

MAny thanks..

Zareh



[Edited at 2008-07-30 20:12]

[Edited at 2008-07-31 03:36]


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xxxUSER0059  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:01
English to Finnish
+ ...
How about the termination policy? Jul 30, 2008

Zareh Darakjian Ph.D. wrote:

I recently completed a translation for an individual who contacted me via proz.com. After I summitted the job, he vanished from this world! No e-mails answered, no phone calls answered, and of course, no payment. My fault, I agree.

Just last week, I took another job from an outsourcer who had a site on proz.com. His Blue Board had 9 favorable comments and one sobering one (he did not pay). I kind of believed
this single comment, yet took the job, somehow, thinking that all those 9 favorable comments on the BB should mean something. I was wrong again.. is it my fault?

What is the proz.com policy regarding outsources who want to have more than one site, under different names, on proz.com, especially when this is used for fraud. This person is
a basic user. Not a member.

Of course, I will put my comments on BB on both of his accounts. But I would have thought
that there would be a better way, such as preventing someone who lives on fraud from having access to membership (even basic).


Have you found the ProZ.com termination policy to be of any help?


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jul 30, 2008

Thank you, Thor.

I did that. I just wrote to "support". I will wait and see what happens...

Thanks agian...

Zareh


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
A word of support.. Jul 30, 2008

Hi Zareh,

I don’t have any advice nor will I comment your client's behavior.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m very sorry for what happened to you. I know you are a gentleman and if you were in their shoes you will never act in such a despicable manner.

All the best


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jul 30, 2008

Thank you, Doctor! Yes, I would be tongue tied too.. It's difficult to comment on
something like this. Actually, this person knows that he can go on doing this without
problem because there is actually no good way of stopping him. He can always buy good reviews by promising of more jobs (low-pay or no pay, eventually, or by threatening not to pay, unless a good review is submitted).

Eventually, someone has to make a decision: who is more beilievable? based of course on previous history..

Thank you again!

Zareh



[Edited at 2008-07-31 02:51]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 23:01
English to German
+ ...
@ Zareh.. Jul 30, 2008

Hi! I would have may be delivered a page and asked for an OK or corrections to get an orientation as to what and how the translation is required and in which style and would have immediately invoiced to be cleared within 24 hours if not immediately and then would have continued. The situation is too risky, especially when you have never collaborated with this particular client and he comes with a 4 or 400 page document and argues he never pays upfront to satisfy the prime business interest, is something out of range. There are somany new comers in the industry these days and it is always risky. BR Brandis

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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good advice! Jul 30, 2008

Good advice! Thank you Brandis...

Actually, proz.com's Jared has been very quick to respond to this.. I am providing him with additional information so that he can investigate this issue further..

Thanks


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:01
English to French
+ ...
Turn the page Jul 30, 2008

Jarek, I have lived through this frustration. If the amount owed is smallish, don't bother beating yourself up over it. Turn the page and spend the energies so saved on putting means in place to prevent such mishaps from happening again. As you can see, no method is foolproof, whether it be intentionally so or otherwise. You are never better served than by yourself (can't remember the saying in English now).

All the best!

P.S.: I would like to see that termination policy practiced with a little more rigour myself...

[Edited at 2008-07-30 23:40]


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Victoria! Jul 30, 2008

Thank you, Victoria!

Yes, may be I am not unique.. I too have ambivalent feelings.. Not that I am not
sure about right and wrong, it's just that I too have two-types of emotions;

Let it go.. let it slide.. or pursue it..

For me, this is the other "to be or not to be"...

Thanks again!

Zareh



[Edited at 2008-07-31 00:06]


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abufaraz
Pakistan
Local time: 02:01
English to Urdu
+ ...
I can feel your sentiments ,,, Jul 31, 2008

because I have also been the victim of such crooks found in this industry and usung the facility of Proz.com. I had to keep quiet because IMO, nothing can be done against such dishonest people except not accepting any further jobs offered by an unknown outsourcer.

Regards,


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Jade Baksh
Local time: 18:01
Portuguese to Spanish
+ ...
Hello Zareh! Jul 31, 2008

I have also experienced the same as you have and recently a blue board member who used really insultive language after I told him to seek another translator. Curiously his rating was good, but his behaviour and language reproachable. I suspected that he surely wouldnt comply with his "agreement" and decided to be on the safe side.
I do feel your pain and wish you all the best the next time.
Please take care.


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, aburiaz! Jul 31, 2008

Thank you, very much, aburiaz for your compassionate note. It is true that people who are bent on resorting to fraud can succeed sometimes and may be a lot of times. It is also true, however, that the Blue Board entries do help us in selecting reliable outsourcers. However, there are excpetions.. at times. For instance, this
outsourcer could have conducted his business honestly for a while, and then turn around and look for translators who have been taken for a long ride, and who have written about that experience on the BB. Then they would approach that victim and victimize him again with the reaoning that "If he could not do anything the last time, he is not going to be able to do anything this time".

As I mentioned, this outsourcer still has time to pay me. But his remarks, and his total ignoring of my request as to when the bank transfer would occur, and then his way of treating me, as if I were a panhandler, and finally never answering my questions about the time of the pay, all tell me that his intentions are not good.

On my question as to whether my invoice was accpetable to him he answered:

Can't you be a little patient! (all in CAPS) I have an employee who is sick, another one who is away and the temperature is 32. Just prior to that, he was very eager to talk. He sent me numerous messgaes, himself and through his secretary, regarding the work and the fact that I definitely had to finish it by the deadline. I did not tell him that I was tired.. I did not tell him that the tamperature was 110 F, I did not tell him to be patient. I just did the job!

Then, he had advertised for 400 lines. So when I sent him the invoice, he says, we
counted 150 lines, the rest are tables. First, tables take a long time, especially is you need a magnifiying glass. Also there were handwritten parts (illegible at best).
Those took me ages to decipher. Then why advertise 400 lines if you think you cannot abide by it. So I had to give him a 50% discount out of fear of non-payment.

I also contacted the other person victimized by him. Same thing. Whenever it's time
to pay, he does not like questions.. 1-2 week deadline, suddenly becomes "at his
earliest conveience". I did not turn in the job at my earliest convenience...

Then, I hear from him that he never had such a long discussion over payment. This is after I, out of fear, gave him a 50% discount..

If I ever know that there are translators who have gotten advance payments on jobs, I would do the same. I can survive working only with such clients.

Your comments are much appericiated!

Zareh


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:01
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Reviews!!! Jul 31, 2008

Hi,

I sympathize with you and hope that you will recieve your payment.

Regarding the blue board, I know atleast one agency who has lots of nice comments from his friends and family members (and I don't know how he recieved the others). Now I know that one of the persons is his wife, another his partner (and now ex-partner) and so on... But no one else knows.

I had informed proz about it long ago but these remarks are still part of the blue-board record. So now I really don't know if I can believe all the positive records. I have started working the other way round. I look for negative comments. Of course, this is not fool-proof either but it is just my way of avoiding such people.

Best of luck for everything. And I hope that you'll get your payment. But please add your feedback on blueboard as this will help us avoid this agency.


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Zareh Darakjian Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Ritu! Jul 31, 2008

Thank you, Ritu for your very realistic assessment of the situation. I really did not think about "friends and family chipping in" even though it is a distinct option any time.

I already have benefited a lot from your and the other participants' comments.
I am thinking of not just looking at the Blue Board, but also at their activities, participation, standing among proz members. I think BB + the standing of the
outsourcer within the proz community are beter indicators of the honesty and
relaibility of the person.

Thanks again, for taking the time for providing your input based on your experience to my concerns.

Zareh


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Paula Tizzano Fernández  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Encrypt or password protect your translation! Jul 31, 2008

Dear friend:

There is a simple way to prevent this from happening again. Either if you get an advance payment or not, when you finish your translation you can use encryption or password protection for your file. You send the encrypted file. If your client does not pay at all, then you don't release the password, and he won't be able to open the file.
If he paid 20 per cent of the assignment on advance, then you send the equivalent part of the translation as non-encrypted regular file, and the rest in a separate encrypted or password-protected file.

If you use MS Word, you can use Tools -- Options -- Security, and then introduce a password required to open the file.

But as Microsoft software is very easy to hack, I strongly recommend that you use another way. For instance, encrypting during the compression process. Both RAR and ZIP files support encryption. You can not only encrypt file data, but also filenames, attributes and other elements. These methods use 128 encryption codes, so they are not so vulnerable. Hiring someone to break the encryption code would cost him more than repaying the money he owes to you!

Besides, you can explain this to your client as a basic policy of your bureau, saying that you encrypt files for their own security.

If your client is honest and intends to pay on time, he or she will not feel offended. So many things you buy or contract today have security passwords, and everyone accepts them quite naturally, as a way to validate authentic transactions.

Of course, if they don't pay you will have lost your time and devoted work anyway, but at least you won't feel totally cheated, as they won't be able to profit from your translation.

Good luck, and don't let these things discourage you too much.


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