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Agency threaten not to pay at all, if posted a negative BB entry (Staff: use the support system)
Thread poster: Subhan Fakhrizada

Subhan Fakhrizada  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:02
English to Pashto (Pushto)
+ ...
May 30, 2009

Good Day everyone,

I completed a project for a U.S. based agency in early January 2009. The payment terms we agreed was 60 days from the date of invoice.

When contacted after 60 days, they won't bother even to reply. after several calls and emails, finally the person in change of payment, contacted me and promised that he will pay in installment, as they had bad times and were short of cash. The first installment of 25% of invoice was paid by mid April, and the second installment the week after.

After that, they were lost again, and did not bother to reply. Again, after several emails, finally the same person told me the remaining 50% of invoice, just over $2500, will be paid by May 28th.

When i did not receive the payment yesterday, sent them an email, that i am going to post a BB entry, and they contacted me immediately, and warned if i posted a negative entry, they will never pay me!! they even told me that it is in the contract, that if i posted negative entry, i will not be paid at all. (I have not signed any contract with them).

On top of that, they will not promise a date, that i will receive the payment. They only say that i will receive it, but did not know when.

What is my options? should i go on and post a negative entry? (they have all 5s, but only the last entry, that is 3). Or, should i talk to a lawyer/collection agency, or just wait and hope that they will eventually pay?

your comments/suggestion are appreciated.





[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-06-01 12:42 GMT]


 

Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:02
Member
Dutch to English
+ ...
I'd wait another month May 30, 2009

Once they have paid or after a month, I'd post a 1 on the BB.

[Edited at 2009-05-30 04:42 GMT]


 

Carla Guerreiro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:02
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Contact Proz.com staff May 30, 2009

I suggest you to contact Proz.com staff.

Quite frankly, I think that Proz administrators should create a legal service in order to solve problems between translators and outsourcers.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:02
French to German
+ ...
Bad times now... & ahead! May 30, 2009

Hello Subhan,
I am afraid that the kind of e-mail you received borders on blackmailing.

The agency told you they had bad times but, apparently, these are far from being over and other colleagues will run into the same difficulties as you. And who will benefit of it?

I would give them one more week (but not more) to settle their account - I am in a generous mood today - and then post about them.

HTH

Laurent K.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
One thing is clear May 30, 2009

One thing is clear from your message, Subhan:

A negative Blue Board entry is something an outsourcer takes very seriously.

This testifies to the very high value of the Blue Board.

But it has to be used with great care.


 

Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:02
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Attempting to influence another's use of the Blue Board is prohibited May 30, 2009

If you have received a threat from the agency not to pay you if you post to the Blue Board, please use a Support request to inform ProZ.com staff promptly: this is a serious infraction of Blue Board rules.

Attempting to influence another's use of the Blue Board is prohibited. Exerting pressure on someone to change a Blue Board entry or reply, or to make a new entry or reply of a specific nature, is forbidden. (Inviting service providers or outsourcers to make entries or replies is acceptable, as long as there is no attempt to influence the content of those postings.)
http://www.proz.com/siterules/blue_board_bb_blueboard%20/8#8


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Administration May 30, 2009

U.S. based agency

Did you really google for it and make queries about the agency on the Payment Practices and TCR lists? Then google for BBB (Better Business Bureau), Dun & Bradstreet collection agency and so on.
I have not signed any contract with them

So you have a verbal agreement: you say - we say - they say.
So you don't have anything but text\s and @mails.
sent them an email

It's always preferably to call or drop at the office.
contacted me immediately, and warned

Or tried to intimidate you into giving a good mark?
as they had bad times and were short of cash

Hm... Err... Personal crises?
just wait and hope that they will eventually pay

Or die of ripe age. Qualms of conscience? It is they who should feel it.
Shortly, are you a businessman or some charity organization?
. . .
I think in this case this agency would try to secure itself against 'bad' record demanding 'good' feedback prior payment or something.

I would contact someone at the top of the agency or consider PROZ Admin staff to settle the issue together. Because not only 'bad' payers would be deemed as 'good' ones for PROZ showing gubbish, but such ‘agencies’ could also do whatever they like with perfect impunity.

Possibly you can give them a\nother week timeout, but don’t waste it.
Cheers


 

John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
Forward a copy of their email May 30, 2009

Forward a copy of their email to Proz support staff - and please keep us posted on news developments.

 

Paul Cohen  Identity Verified
Greenland
Local time: 17:02
German to English
+ ...
Post an honest Blue Board entry May 30, 2009

Subhan Fakhrizada wrote:

What is my options? should i go on and post a negative entry? (they have all 5s, but only the last entry, that is 3). Or, should i talk to a lawyer/collection agency, or just wait and hope that they will eventually pay?


I sympathize with your situation, Subhan.

Have you tried adding extra fees for reminders and late payments? Sometimes that works wonders. Threatening legal action is another excellent possibility that you should consider.

As far as the Blue Board goes, it's clear from the answers given by my colleagues that posting a truly negative entry is viewed as only a last resort when translators have decided that they will no longer work for an agency. Such an entry effectively amounts to burning your bridges with a client.

In my opinion, this illustrates the fundamental weakness of the Blue Board. It's visible to everyone in the world who is a paying member at ProZ, including the agency. If the Blue Board were visible only to translators, it would be infinitely more valuable as a tool for rating outsourcers -- and such blackmailing, either blatant or subtly insinuated, would become a thing of the past.

It's patently obvious that you have had a negative experience with this agency. You should, at least theoretically, post en entry that reflects your honest opinion of that experience -- regardless of whether the agency pays up or not.

But that's all theory. The fact that no one has said "Hey, if they deserve a negative entry, that's what they should get. Period." without any grace period whatsoever speaks volumes about the reality of the situation you are in and the validity of the Blue Board as a rating tool.

Please keep us posted on what happens. I'd also like to hear from site staff on what kind of administrative action is taken in cases where an outsourcer has clearly tried to manipulate a translator's Blue Board entry.

Edited to mention that, in all fairness, at least two people have suggested making a negative Blue Board entry -- after a short waiting period to give the agency a chance to pay up.


[Edited at 2009-05-30 12:44 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
They won't pay anyway! May 30, 2009

Unfortunately I have experiences with that kind of people. I must report that, unfortunately, they won't pay anyway. Don't warn them about posting a negative BB. Just do it. You will save other people from falling in the trap. I know it's a lot of money, but they won't pay you anyway, as time has proven.icon_frown.gif

And of course, please send copy of the email to Proz's staff so that they can take action against this outsourcer for threatening you!

Edited to add this: I have customers in the US, and of course all report that there are hard times financially for everyone. BUT THEY ALWAYS PAY ON TIME! If they wanted to pay they would have called you and would have sought a new arrangement of some kind. I'd call it quits with them...

[Edited at 2009-05-30 15:26 GMT]


 

sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:02
English to Russian
+ ...
Any respectable US agency.. May 30, 2009

.. should be an ATA member. Go to the ATA website and check this out. If it is, you have two more weapons besides the Proz Blueboard: a message sent to ATA on the agency's non-payment practices and a collection agency (Dan & Bradstreet) recommended by ATA.

Unfortunately, a local Better Business Bureau in the US will not help as they deal with customers' complaints rather than business partners like you.

I had a similar non-payment experience with a French agency and mentioning a letter to the French Translators' Association as well as the above collection agency helped. In my case I sent the agency a polite letter (phone conversations and even emails always get too emotional) containing the final date for payment (in your case I would give them another month) and the course of actions I was planning to take if the payment was not sent by that date. It worked.

Good luck. They think we cannot reach them from abroad but we can.When worse comes to worst, even paying a big percentage to the collection agency is better than having nothing.


 

sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:02
English to Russian
+ ...
Forgot to mention.. May 30, 2009

.. that 60 days payment term should have been the first red flag for you. 99% of agencies here pay within 30 days.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
60 days is nothing extreme May 30, 2009

sokolniki wrote:
.. that 60 days payment term should have been the first red flag for you. 99% of agencies here pay within 30 days.


I have a couple of very good customers who pay within 60 days oficially. Not my main customers, but good, stable, honest customers. They end up paying in 40-45 days most times, and if they reach the 60 days, there is never a default and I always get paid. And it's been this way for many years.

Some agencies work that way because of the agreement they are forced to reach with their customers. A payment in 60 days is not an indication of a bad agency.


 

sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:02
English to Russian
+ ...
Tomas, I meant.. May 30, 2009

.. US agencies.

 
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