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Proofreader delivered work late
Thread poster: Josephine Cassar

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:21
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Aug 25, 2014

Hello, I would like to ask your views about this problem, as I searched in the business and late delivery forums, but most suggested Non-Payment and anyway, the case was not the same. I had a translation job and I needed the services of a proofreader. The agreement was of about 500 words that needed to be proofread and by Sunday 24th. noon. Well, I allowed the proofreader to send me the proofreading by 15.00. When I saw that the proofreader was somehow taking his time, I realised I had better do the proofreading myself, which is what I did, as I realised he was very good at marketing but not so good at delivering or proofreading either. I communicated with the proofreader through emails and SKYPE, and at 15.00, I said 'time up' as I did not want to waste any more time. After a proofreader delivers the proofreading, one still has to make changes or refuse changes, so more time is needed. Would you pay the proofreader? I do not agree with non-payment, even if he did not check original pdf properly and so left out parts, and I suspect, because of lack of time, he left out checking of the last paragraph, which means I did it myself, practically. What would you do or suggest I do? He was late, it is true and did not change much, but still, an agreement is an agreement. Thank you for your suggestions.

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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 06:21
French to English
+ ...
Read your own words! Aug 25, 2014

Josephine Cassar wrote:

... an agreement is an agreement...



Exactly, your proofreader agreed to deliver by 15:00. They did not. No payment is due.


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Elizabeth Joy Pitt de Morales  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:21
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
An agreement... Aug 25, 2014

...is meant to be fulfilled by both sides, in full and on time. If it is not, the agreement is void unless amendments to the terms were agreed by all parties involved.

It appears that you did agree to amend the terms (at his request), but the proofreader still did not fulfill them as he neither delivered on time nor had completed the work to a satisfactory standard.

As I see it, you owe him nothing, and he owes you an abject apology.





[Edited at 2014-08-25 09:00 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
500 words only takes an hour Aug 25, 2014

And you allowed the proofreader three hours beyond the deadline; and still parts were omitted and the job had clearly been rushed?

It sounds as though this person hadn't even got round to looking at the text until well after the deadline. In my book, that's totally unacceptable. Especially if you weren't informed of any problems.

Have you been offered a discount? If you're "happy" to pay something, though not 100%, maybe you should ask for the invoice, and suggest that a discount would be in order. This could give the proofreader a way to show that responsibility has been accepted. If the invoice is for 100%, then you'd have to pay but you'd have every right to tell the story.

I don't believe the courts acknowledge a client's right to decide whether or not to pay an invoice for work that's been delivered.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:21
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you both Aug 25, 2014

I gave him the extra 3 hours; he did not ask for them, so that makes it worse, as he would not have delivered before, then he delivered even later and with parts not done. But since he had changed a part, I feel I should pay him something, but not all, certainly. If I had not myself granted him those 3 hours extra, he certainly would not have delivered. Marketing is one thing, but delivering is another. He was good at marketing himself, but nit when it came to delivering, so I am in two minds what to pay him, or what discounts to ask for. Normally, I would expect to pay the whole fee had he delivered on time. By the way, a word I had written well, he changed its place but wrote it badly, not that I will make a discount for such a thing, since it was only 1 word.

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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:21
Japanese to English
+ ...
... Aug 25, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I don't believe the courts acknowledge a client's right to decide whether or not to pay an invoice for work that's been delivered.


I'm sure it would depend on the jurisdiction and the judge, but if one party obviously breached contract first then I can't imagine the ruling being in that party's favor. And barring any specific methods of reparation spelled out in the contract, the judge might very well just throw the whole thing out and say that no one owes anyone anything in a case like this. That's why a lot of terms of service attempt to use language like "valid invoice," because this presumably means that an invoice sent under the terms of a breached contract would by definition be "invalid," and not subject to any payment obligations.

This is all just theoretical though, because no one is going to bother going to court over a 500-word proofreading job. I think this is one of those "it's the principle of the thing" cases.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:21
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Principle of the thing Aug 25, 2014

Exactly Orrin! The timing and word count were specified in the job post and I granted those 3 hours as I could afford them. but when I saw he was taking longer, I began to have my doubts about his abilities, despite his clever marketing skills.I was a difficult text, and, maybe, not his area. Even people who are knowledgeable in the field would have found it difficult. Thank you.

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Rudolf Frans Maulany  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:21
English to Indonesian
+ ...
If it was me. Aug 25, 2014

If it was me who receive your proofreading order I will return it to you even if I have done part of it without a need to pay because I have not fulfilled the contract(but it should be mentioned in the contract).

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KSGRAM
Greece
Local time: 07:21
Greek to English
+ ...
Proofreader Aug 25, 2014

You are not obligated to pay him. Be guilt-free about it and I will state you some reasons below:

1) When you make a deal with someone you have to uphold your end of the bargain, that is, if he does the same.
2) In case someone doesn't uphold the terms applied, he/she is now able to denounce the deal.
3) When a deal is overdue, a certain penalty is to be applied that was agreed upon at an earlier point.

I can guess that no penalty was agreed in the case of not delivering the project on time so you are standing between two options:

1) To not pay him.
2) To make him do another proofreading free and be paid upon completion. (So practically, you give him another project if he fails to deliver the deadline again you do not pay him, if he delivers upon the agreed time you shall pay him for only one proofreading.)

So choose what suits your character better, but remember that business is business.

Hope that i shed some new light.

P.S.: I wouldn't be kind enought to provide more hours for him.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:21
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, I would pay him, but not use him again Aug 25, 2014

If I saw that he had tried really hard, and spent time doing the editing.

[Edited at 2014-08-25 13:54 GMT]


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:21
French to German
+ ...
I'd pay a part of the work Aug 25, 2014

I would pay him a part of the work and not use him again.

I do not understand why you did not contact him a few hours earlier though.


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:21
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Ask for a discount Aug 25, 2014

I'd probably explain why you aren't happy and try to agree a fair discount. If you simply refuse to pay the invoice the risk is that your reputation as a good payer could be damaged, which is probably worth more to you than the value of this particular job (quite a small amount, presumably).

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Ana Cuesta  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:21
Member
English to Spanish
Are you using her/his proofread copy? Aug 25, 2014

I think the whole thing goes down to whether you are after all using her/his proofread copy, in which case you should pay something for it even though a discount would be in order for the late delivery and incomplete work, or if based in such late delivery you decided to do the proofreading yourself and won't be using her/his, in which case I think you would be entitled not to pay her/him on the grounds of her/his breach of contract.

Personally, if I were her/him I wouldn't even send an invoice, but then I wouldn't have dared missing the deadline (at least without warning you that something major was going on) in the first place, so be prepared to having to fight your position (which may not be worthwhile for a 500 words proofreading job)...


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:21
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Discount, contact, not pay Aug 25, 2014

Thank you for your feedback. I did contact him after 12.00, as I sensed he was not ready, but as it was dinner time Sunday, I saw I could spare some more time so gave him till 15.00. I asked because I do not like taking advantage of anybody but, at the same time, I want the work I am paying for. I think I will let some time pass and ask for a discount as only 1part was done and a part was left out since I pressed him when he was late. I reasoned I had better do the proof reading myself. As it turned out seeing he was so late, I did do the proof reading myself. Nowadays it is easier as you can zoom the text and if there are mistakes, spelling, spaces, they stand out, but I had also wanted someone to check terms which I did not get but still managed. When someone proofread your text, you still have to see what has been changed & if it makes sense and if you want to accept it or prefer your own and that takes time. Thank you for your feedback. It has helped me and opened my eyes should I need another proofreader.

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It happens Aug 26, 2014

This will happen once in a while. Here is how I deal with this situation:

1) If I plan on working with the person again, I may ask for a discount and explain why.

2) If I don't plan on working with the person again, I bite my tongue, ask for the invoice, then immediately pay in full as fast as I possibly can. The fastest way to get rid of someone is to pay them in full. It is money well spent.

If you wish to get some sort of value for that money you just spent, get him to put up a positive review for you here on Proz. After all, you paid really fast and deserve a good word.


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