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I want to name a non-paying agency, but am afraid that they revenge by giving nagative feedback on m
Thread poster: Kaori Kawakami

Kaori Kawakami  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:54
Member (2015)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Aug 7, 2015

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I hope everyone is doing great and successful in this business.

Well, I am in a situation where a company asked me to translate 3 files (5000 words in total). The PM instructed me to submit one file earlier. It was a quite urgent project, and the timeline was tight.

While I was working on the first file, the PM sent me a PO for the first file, which I though she would send POs for the others separately. So I submitted all the files before the due.

Now at the end of last month, time for invoicing, I sent an invoice for the three files, and the company says that there is no PO for the other three and they will not pay for them.

I sent all the email communications, and it is obvious that 3 files were sent for translation (it is written so) with a deadline and just one file needed to be submitted earlier. With each file I sent, the PM thanked me for delivery.

I almost believe that they know that they made mistakes by just issuing one PO, and wants to take advantage of it.

So, I would like to warn my colleagues and friends not to take projects from them, by giving bad (but honest) feedback on their portal, but I am afraid that they will give me bad feedback on my portal too not because of my quality but for revenge.

How can we warn my colleagues and give bad feedback without getting revenged by them?

Or should I just cry and forget just for my future reputation?

Thank you for your attention.

Regards,

Kaori


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 09:24
English to Hindi
+ ...
Blue Board Aug 7, 2015

You can rate them on the Blue Board, have you explored that?

It might be instructive for all of us to never short circuit mandatory safety procedures while working for unknown clients - and one of the cardinal precautionary rules is never to proceed with the work until you have a clear PO mentioning rates, deadlines, payment terms etc.

You should allow the luxury of working without a PO only to tried and tested repeat clients whom you have reason to believe from previous experience are trustworthy.

Never let contingencies like short deadlines entice you to compromise on basic safe working practices.

[Edited at 2015-08-07 02:49 GMT]


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:54
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
You do not have to be afraid Aug 7, 2015

Hi!

I'd give them a bad rating on the Blue Board as well.

If you are afraid they might leave you a bad WWA , this is not possible on Proz. You either leave a good one or none at all. You can give bad Blue Board rates to companies but not to freelancers (except if they are also outsourcers and do have a Blue Board).

I rarely ask for POs myself and have never got any problems to get paid. There are some late payers, sure, but I always got the entire amount of what they ought me - with PO or without.


 

Shripal Sharma
India
Local time: 09:24
Member (2009)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Non-payment Aug 7, 2015

Let us know the name of the agency from which country it is.
Although some of the agencies can do this by trick but you should also be careful and never start work without PO.


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:54
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Make an entry on the Blue Board Aug 7, 2015

Hello Kaori,

It looks like these people want to take an advantage of you and you should certainly make a negative entry about them. I would recommend to keep the correspondence, just in case if after your entry they will decide to make a unfavourable comment about your work. In this case, you can submit a support ticket and Proz.com will step in and ask you to send the emails you have in order to make a decision.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:54
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You have more to gain than to lose Aug 7, 2015

As Andrea says, they cannot leave a negative WWA on the site. They CAN make a negative reply to your comment on their BB entry, but it will be there next to your negative comment about them, rather than in isolation on your profile.

What is their BB record like? Have others had bad experiences working with them? If there are alrady several "1" ratings, linked to non-payment issues, your entry may be the one that gets the company banned from posting jobs on ProZ.com. That may be something they'll be very anxious to avoid. If they currently have straight "5" entries, they'll be anxious not to have such a big blot on their record. Although the BB should not be used to threaten companies, there's no doubt that some companies will be more prepared to pay up when they see that non-payment based on a misunderstanding will do them more harm than good.

By the way, I totally agree with Andrea about the PO. I very rarely receive POs - a couple of times a year maximum - and I would never ask for one. Why?
- The person with the right, and so the responsibility, to state the terms is the supplier (aka me or you), not the client;
- You would expect terms to be mentioned first in an email exchange and restating them is an unnecessary administrative overhead;
- If you don't check thoroughly to make sure the email and the PO agree, you could find you state one set of terms only to be forced to accept a worse set (I have found several errors in PO rates and wordcounts, mostly to my detriment);
- What is stated and agreed to in an exchange of emails is perfectly acceptable as a contract in most, if not all, jurisdictions.


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:54
Member
Italian to English
Options Aug 7, 2015

I would begin by threatening them with legal action. I have been lucky enough, in the few cases companies were refusing to pay, to find a lawyer who wrote a letter to the company for a moderate fee. And that was enough to make them pay.

You can make a Blue Board entry of 1, and in the comments simply say that translators can contact you privately for details. Or do not comment - as Sheila says, the rating alone may be enough.
Best of luck.


 

Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:54
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Make a Blue Board entry Aug 7, 2015

I agree with the colleagues, make a BB.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:54
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Should you accept some responsibility and offer a discount? Aug 7, 2015

When there has been a genuine misunderstanding with one or other of the parties set to face a big loss, then there would be room for negotiation. It takes two to have a misunderstanding, of courseicon_smile.gif. So it's only fair (I think) to offer a discount to share that loss. It's certainly the way to go if you want to continue working with the client. You don't have to, nor should you, accept any blame if you don't feel any is due. You're just making a commercial gesture - make sure they know how generous you're being - and it's entirely voluntary.

However, in this case you say:
Kaori Kawakami wrote:
With each file I sent, the PM thanked me for delivery.

That's it then! No misunderstanding between you and the PM, clearly. In all probability, the misunderstanding came between the end client and the PM, or the PM's boss. There's no way you have to share in that blame.

One word of warning though. Until the payment deadline has passed you'd be ill-advised to be too aggressive. Saying "We don't think we should pay" is very different from a company that has expressed that feeling AND has done nothing about paying within the due period, i.e. has defaulted on payment. You should be using the intervening period to present your invoice and press your case for its payment; the day after the payment due date is the time to start forcefully demanding it.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:54
Member (2008)
Italian to English
A word of advice about the Blue Board Aug 7, 2015

A word of general advice about the Blue Board:

1. Agencies take it very seriously.
2. If you give an agency a bad rating, restrict your comment to "Unsatisfactory. For further details please contact me in private". That way there's nothing for them to rebut.
3. If anyone then contacts you privately and you suspect it's someone from that agency, don't give them any information.
4. Never change a bad BB rating into a good one, in exchange for payment. Doing so skews the BB and undermines its credibility as an important tool for translators.
5. If an agency offers to pay you on condition that you change a bad BB rating into a good one, they are being fundamentally dishonest and will be deceiving future users of the BB. Since that type of behaviour is unethical, it would be perfectly ethical for you to agree, get paid, and then change your BB rating back to a bad one.
6. To put it briefly: the Blue Board is a fantastically useful tool, but only if we users keep it "clean" and don't let agencies create a string of 5s and glowingly positive comments for themselves, unless these are genuinely deserved.

[Edited at 2015-08-07 10:38 GMT]


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:54
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Well said Aug 7, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

A word of general advice about the Blue Board:

1. Agencies take it very seriously.
2. Give them a bad rating and restrict your comment to "Unsatisfactory. For further details please contact me in private". That way there's nothing for them to rebut.
3. If anyone contacts you privately and you suspect it's someone from that agency, don't give them any information.
4. Never change a bad BB rating into a good one, in exchange for payment. Doing so skews the BB and undermines its credibility as an important tool for translators.
5. If an agency offers to pay you on condition that you change a bad BB rating into a good one, they are being fundamentally dishonest and will be deceiving future users of the BB. Since that type of behaviour is unethical, it would be perfectly ethical for you to agree, get paid, and then change your BB comment to something **even worse**.

[Edited at 2015-08-07 10:34 GMT]


Well said, Tom! Excellent advice.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:54
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Heh Aug 7, 2015

Erik Freitag wrote:

Well said, Tom! Excellent advice.


Thanks Erik - I am a Blue Board fan and always keen to ensure it is being used properly! I've slightly revised my previous comments (above).

[Edited at 2015-08-07 10:41 GMT]


 

Kaori Kawakami  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:54
Member (2015)
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all!!! Aug 7, 2015

Thank you all for your kind advice when time is literally money for freelancers!!!

As Andrea mentioned, I was afraid that they would leave a negative comment on my WWA. And it is great to know that they cannot do it.

This non-paying company claims itself being an awarded company. I have worked for them more than ten times til now, I really never had any problem, so when I first received the only one PO, I was not on alert, believing that they would correct their mistake.

This company was good, but recently, it was like this:
1) They emailed me, asking for my availability.
2) After confirming my availability, they sent me a PO, but normally the price is wrong.
3) When I point out that the price/rate is wrong, they don't return my email until 2-4 hours, and saying that the project has been cancelled.

So, up until now, I was thinking that this company first reserves me for security, and once they do that, they look for other translator with lower rates, and once they succeed, they simply say that 'It has been cancelled.''

But this time, since they send me PO after the project started, I did not have a chance to point out 'errors.' Again, I was off alert as I have been working for them for 3 years now...

So, lessons I leaned from this is that,
--DO NOT TRUST AGENCIES JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN GOOD, especially when they start acting strange.

I will give a '1' on their board.

Thank you all once again.

I wish you a wonderful Friday and weekend ahead!

Kaori

PS: Great to know that I have so many colleagues I can count on!!

[Edited at 2015-08-07 13:27 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:54
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Keep it 100% factual Aug 7, 2015

Kaori Kawakami wrote:

I will give a '1' on their board.


Be careful to leave NO room for them to bite back.

For instance, based on your account, if you write something like:

"They sent me three jobs, only one of them with a PO. Refused payment on the two jobs clearly assigned to me via e-mail, but without a PO."

... they can't claim bad quality, late delivery, whatever, if they are ready to pay for the job you were assigned with a PO.

It's blatantly obvious that they are using THEIR OWN bureaucratic shortcomings to justify their defaulting on payment of what they rightfully owe you.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:54
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I want to name a non-paying agency, but I'm afraid that they revenge... Aug 7, 2015

you just have! icon_smile.gif

 
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