Sending a copy of a Blue Board rating to the EC?
Thread poster: david mcfegan

david mcfegan  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 18:54
Hungarian to English
+ ...
May 24, 2016

In recent months I have done a lot of translation work on behalf of the European Commission through a translation agency that I have worked with for several years. The problem is that this agency is "under new management" and, although they always paid on time in the past, in recent months there have been an increasing number of delays in payment of invoices, as demonstrated by the Blue Board rating (1.7 over the last 12 months, now down to 3.7 overall, having previously been close to 5). The agency now appears unable or unwilling to tell me when my overdue invoices will be paid.

The agency obviously has a contract with the European Commission, so my question would be this: do you think it would be reasonable and legal for me, as a freelancer, to send a copy of the agency's Blue Board rating (e.g. a screenshot) to a contact person at the European Commission? Has anyone here adopted a similar approach in the past?

Edit: thanks in advance for any replies

[Edited at 2016-05-24 10:26 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 18:54
English to Croatian
+ ...
Interesting. May 24, 2016

I thought EC was doing thorough background checks on agencies to which they contract tenders.

Your idea is tricky, but I believe it would be less tricky if a group of you who had been affected sent something like this as a group. Try contacting other affected translators.


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:54
Member
French to English
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What would you hope to achieve? May 24, 2016

I think I know which agency you're talking about - if I'm right, you'll find a rating from me on their BB record!

Out of interest, what would you hope to achieve by doing this?


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david mcfegan  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 18:54
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Stop them making a profit by not paying translators May 24, 2016

I see what you mean and yes it looks like we're talking about the same agency. Did you get paid in the end? It's one thing to pay late, but if they're not paying at all and getting paid by the EC for my and your work, this can't be right, surely?

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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:54
Member
French to English
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Not sure if the EC would be interested May 24, 2016

david mcfegan wrote:

I see what you mean and yes it looks like we're talking about the same agency. Did you get paid in the end? It's one thing to pay late, but if they're not paying at all and getting paid by the EC for my and your work, this can't be right, surely?


Yes, there can't be many agencies with those precise average scores! I still haven't been paid, but it's a very modest amount and I haven't tried very hard to persuade them yet, there are a couple of other things I can try. Anyway, that particular job wasn't EC work as far as I know.

I don't think they'd be the first agency with bad Blue Board ratings to do work for the EC, so I'm not sure that the EC would be interested. A cynical person might say they're more interested in the lowest bids for these contracts; whether they check that payments have been made to translators, I don't know, but my suspicion is that it's not an issue for them as the EC is a third party to our dealings with the agency. Perhaps someone else knows different?


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:54
Latvian to English
+ ...
What does your agreement say? May 24, 2016

I too have been a victim of this agency, and to be honest I would try any legitimate method in order to get paid. However, make sure your agreement with the agency doesn't prohibit you from contacting the end client.

I suspect that any large framework contracts were awarded in the good old days, before the agency was sold. Whilst the EC does tend to go for the lowest price nowadays, I believe any potential contractor has to demonstrate that he/it is of good financial standing.......which would rule out this agency in its current situation and the other agency owned by the same directors.


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2G Trad  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:54
Member (2000)
English to Italian
+ ...
All works belong to you until payment May 24, 2016

So, if you have not been paid, your translations still belong to you.
And you can tell your client and the end client not to use them.

Cheers
Gianni


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, I think it's fair use May 24, 2016

david mcfegan wrote:
Do you think it would be reasonable and legal for me, as a freelancer, to send a copy of the agency's Blue Board rating (e.g. a screenshot) to a contact person at the European Commission?


My first instinct was to say "Yes, but only if you're not logged in while taking the screenshot", but upon reflection: if you share only one record, then I don't think there's a copyright issue. I think it's fair use. If it would make you feel better, create a secondary profile, add USD 0.50 to your "wallet", and buy access to that Blue Board record.

I think Lingua 5B's idea of getting input (and cooperation) of other translators who made BB entries, is also a good idea.

[Edited at 2016-05-24 13:17 GMT]


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David Turner  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:54
French to English
+ ...
I was surprised to read this: May 24, 2016

Jana Teteris wrote:
However, make sure your agreement with the agency doesn't prohibit you from contacting the end client.


http://www.assistant-juridique.fr/relance_client.jsp
La menace de divulguer une information pour se faire remettre un document ou un moyen de paiement ou d'inscrire le client sur une base de données privée recensant dans un fichier le nom des clients n'ayant pas payé leur dette constitue du chantage. L'auteur de l'infraction peut être puni au maximum de 5 ans d'emprisonnement et 75 000€ d'amende, voire de 7 ans d'emprisonnement et de 100 000€ d'amende s'il a exécuté sa menace.

In that case, couldn't the blue board be considered as such a "database listing clients not having paid their debts"?

La communication de l'impayé à d'autres personnes constitue une atteinte à la vie privée, y compris s'il s'agit de son employeur ou de personnes de sa famille. Il n'est donc pas possible de leur demander de régler la dette du client. L'auteur de l'infraction peut être puni au maximum d'un an d'emprisonnement et de 45 000€ d'amende.

Hmm, you can't tell anyone else you haven't been paid? Seems rather one sided...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Inform your MEP, perhaps? May 24, 2016

David, perhaps it might be better (and more effective?) to inform your MEP of this non-payment situation, rather than report it to one of those faceless EU bureaucrats?
MEPs are supposed to know what goes on in their organisation and I believe that, because few people know who their MEP is and even fewer contact him/her, an MEP might be more likely to respond and ... actually do something.
Good luck.


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david mcfegan  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 18:54
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone May 25, 2016

Thanks to everyone for your help. There are some good ideas in here, I'll try and choose between them (or a combination of your suggestions).

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