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Geoworkz
Thread poster: Ali Bayraktar

Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Nov 4, 2010

Hello All,

I am having troubles with Geoworkz Translation Workspace.

I have met them in Proz.com's this year's virtual conference.
They offered 5000 words free trial. So I registered during the conference and just scrolled it's features for an hour. And after that I left the site and never visited it again.

But recently they started sending me invoices which says that I owe them money.

Till now they have sent me 2 invoices each of which is 14.00 USD (28.00 in total).

Also I saw that there is an option which says Cancel Your Account. But if I choose that option the system says "42.00 USD charge will be applied"

Is this a new way of cheating people? Saying them try it free and after that putting them invoices?

What is that?
What can I do?





[Edited at 2010-11-04 12:30 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You've been done, I'm afraid Nov 4, 2010

Hello Ali,

I hate this sort of promotion as it's all too easy to fall into the trap you have fallen into. This is what I found quoted on the conference site just now - although this seems to refer to agencies I do remember rejecting the offer myself because of similar terms for translators:

"If you decide not to continue with Translation Workspace, just cancel your subscription BEFORE the end of the trial and pay nothing. If you do not cancel, you will be charged on a monthly basis for your subscription. If you don't change to another plan, you will be charged 219€ ($307) per month for the Basic Agency Plan. There is a 3 month cancellation fee if you do not cancel before the end of the Free Trial"

So that explains the bills.

Whether or not this is legal I cannot comment on, not being a lawyer. Personally, I think it is highly unethical and downright nasty - even if it is legal. This sort of thing leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. I wonder how much money they have made from this "free" offer.

I suggest you write to them and let them know how upset you are and ask them to make an exception by cancelling the service without penalty. Let us know if they agree - it might just help some of us change our minds about using their products.

Good luck.

Sheila


 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Free trial terms Nov 4, 2010

"At any time during your free trial, you can select another Translation Workspace plan. If you select another plan, this plan will become effective at the end of your free trial. If you do not make a selection, your subscription rolls over to our Freelancer basic plan at the end of the 30 day trial period. Of course, you can cancel at any time during your free trial with no cost, and no obligation. "

In other words, if you've not cancelled or chosen another plan within this 30-day period, you go straight onto the paying plan.

Unfortunately, it's what you signed up for - it's there in black and white: https://www.geoworkz.com/Products/SignUpForFreeTrial.aspx.

I found it in less than 2 minutes. But terms like this are rarely made as clear as they should be at the outset; you usually need to ask "So, what happens if...?" Not easy in a virtual environment.

I've just seen Sheila's post. Yes, I agree, this type of selling leaves a nasty taste. I got caught by a similar thing a long time ago (in my twenties), so I'm very wary of such offers!

I hope you are able to cancel without it costing you too much. Good luck!

[Edited at 2010-11-04 17:05 GMT]


 

Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I asked Nov 4, 2010

Wordeffect wrote:

"At any time during your free trial, you can select another Translation Workspace plan. If you select another plan, this plan will become effective at the end of your free trial. If you do not make a selection, your subscription rolls over to our Freelancer basic plan at the end of the 30 day trial period. Of course, you can cancel at any time during your free trial with no cost, and no obligation. "

In other words, if you've not cancelled or chosen another plan within this 30-day period, you go straight onto the paying plan.

Unfortunately, it's what you signed up for - it's there in black and white: https://www.geoworkz.com/Products/SignUpForFreeTrial.aspx.

I found it in less than 2 minutes. But terms like this are rarely made as clear as they should be at the outset; you usually need to ask "So, what happens if...?" Not easy in a virtual environment.

I've just seen Sheila's post. Yes, I agree, this type of selling leaves a nasty taste. I got caught by a similar thing a long time ago (in my twenties), so I'm very wary of such offers!

I hope you are able to cancel without it costing you too much. Good luck!

[Edited at 2010-11-04 17:05 GMT]


I discussed all of those "what ifs" during our conversations with their company representatives during virtual conference (through public chat).

Also I can not understand this approach here.
If I will prepare an big billboard and hang it on a public road and write there "I will take 10 USD from those who passed under that billboard" would this action be legal?
This is not right.

My intention when posting this situation here was to be sure whether there is another solution except payment or ont. But really there is not any way.

I will never pay them.

I hate such people.


 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
If you were actually misled, complain! Nov 4, 2010

It sounds as if you asked the right questions, but were misled by the company representatives' answers. In which case, pointing this out might help your case. You could try to appeal to their "better nature", in the hope that they understand that good customer relations is good for their company.

But all of this is difficult and requires time and energy - maybe worth more than the money right now. Such a waste of your time!


 

imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It happened me the same! Nov 4, 2010

I wrote them complaining that I've entered for a trial and they told me they wouldn't make it again but that they had no mechanisms for sending my money back!

I don't even remember having used it.

And they took off from Paypal 14 USD twice.


 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 12:23
SITE FOUNDER
I've put a call in. Nov 5, 2010

imatahan wrote:

I wrote them complaining that I've entered for a trial and they told me they wouldn't make it again but that they had no mechanisms for sending my money back!

I don't even remember having used it.

And they took off from Paypal 14 USD twice.

I've put a call in to Lionbridge, since they are an advertiser and it would appear that there has been some confusion in this promotion of theirs. I will see if I can have them clarify.


 

Marcus Casal
Spanish to English
GeoWorkz policies explained Nov 5, 2010

Hi--I am one of the product managers on the GeoWorkz team, and am happy to reply to any questions about the terms of the special offer we are currently offering to ProZ members. The free trial is completely free for the first month, with no fees or penalties whatsoever to cancel. However, if you do not cancel before the end of the first month, the free trial turns into a paid plan, with the same conditions and terms as all of our paid plans. This is explained on the free trial page which you view before making any purchase:

“If you do not cancel, you will be charged on a monthly basis for your subscription. If you don't change to another plan, you will be charged 10€ ($14) per month for the Basic Translator Plan. There is a 3 month cancellation fee if you do not cancel before the end of the Free Trial. “

Why do we have these policies? It’s actually pretty simple. First, a free trial turns into a paid subscription at the end of 30 days because this is a fair period of time to evaluate Translation Workspace. If it is not right for you, you have time to let us know and pay nothing. If you are still using Translation Workspace after 30 days, it makes sense that you are getting value out of it and want to stay on as a customer.

As for cancellation fees, many subscription models—think of many mobile plans or pay television—have startup fees, long term commitments or both. At GeoWorkz, we want to keep the upfront cost as low as possible—you don’t pay any extra to get started. In fact, your costs are the same low rate, month after month.

However, there is a cost to us in terms of creating and maintaining your private workspace in Translation Workspace, storing your assets and providing the support and training to help you accelerate your business. We think that the cancellation fee is a better way of covering this investment—as it is a fee that is only incurred once someone leaves Translation Workspace. Therefore, we think it is better than a start-up or activation fee that everyone would incur.

We have found that most Translation Workspace customers continue their subscription because of the value they get out of it, such as the GeoWorkz Directory, which helps translators find new clients, as well as new colleagues, on a shared platform. They find that Translation Workspace is the real alternative that the localization market needs.

At any time you can reach us by clicking on “contact us” on the bottom of www.geoworkz.com or, if you are already a customer, you can fill out a support request on https://www.geoworkz.com/Support/SubmitAnIssue.aspx. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.


 

Rodion Shein  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:23
Member
English to Russian
+ ...
An interesting interpretation Nov 6, 2010

Marcus, do you and your company really believe, it's a fair play?

The normal practice looks a bit different:

A company offers its product with some, say, 30 days trial period. Some days before the expiration date it starts sending reminders to upgrade to the standard version. Thus, the prospect can make their decision to upgrade or quit.

Ok, you think that your product is so great that anyone will be extremely happy to keep it. Great! However, you also decided to refrain from sending similar messages to notify your valued partners that they are on the verge of switching over to the full version with all consequent obligations.

I usually read all agreements before accepting, that's why I rejected your great proposal as soon as I looked through its terms. However, many people do not tend to delve into every detail. Moreover, even if they accepted the terms, they might have just forgotten this deal. I believe they were utterly happy to get your invoice as a friendly reminder. The cancellation fee crowned their delight!

It's more than obvious that Fair Play is not a business term; therefore, it must be admitted that you invented an effective business model to offer!

[Edited at 2010-11-06 16:11 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A free offer or a trap? Nov 6, 2010

Rodion Shein wrote:
A company offers its product with some, say, 30 days trial period. Some days before the expiration date it starts sending reminders to upgrade to the standard version. Thus, the prospect can make their decision to upgrade or quit.


That's a free offer I'd be happy to take up.

Ok, you think that your product is so great that anyone will be extremely happy to keep it. Great! However, you also decided to refrain from sending similar messages to notify your valued partners that they are on the verge of switching over to the full version with all consequent obligations.


But that's tantamount to a scam as far as I'm concerned. Computerised procedures find it very easy to keep track of the days, my brain doesn't.

I usually read all agreements before accepting, that's why I rejected your great proposal as soon as I looked through its terms. However, many people do not tend to delve into every detail. Moreover, even if they accepted the terms, they might have just forgotten this deal.


That's exactly why I, too, said "Oh no, I'm not falling for that one!"

But others, aside from possibly forgetting, are not native English speakers and maybe didn't read/understand the small print. I'm making the assumption that all was done in English.

In summary, it looks more like a trap than a free offer. I wonder what consumer associations would say.


 

Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This is not true. Nov 6, 2010

Marcus Casal wrote:

Hi--I am one of the product managers on the GeoWorkz team, and am happy to reply to any questions about the terms of the special offer we are currently offering to ProZ members. The free trial is completely free for the first month, with no fees or penalties whatsoever to cancel. However, if you do not cancel before the end of the first month, the free trial turns into a paid plan, with the same conditions and terms as all of our paid plans. This is explained on the free trial page which you view before making any purchase:

“If you do not cancel, you will be charged on a monthly basis for your subscription. If you don't change to another plan, you will be charged 10€ ($14) per month for the Basic Translator Plan. There is a 3 month cancellation fee if you do not cancel before the end of the Free Trial. “

Why do we have these policies? It’s actually pretty simple. First, a free trial turns into a paid subscription at the end of 30 days because this is a fair period of time to evaluate Translation Workspace. If it is not right for you, you have time to let us know and pay nothing. If you are still using Translation Workspace after 30 days, it makes sense that you are getting value out of it and want to stay on as a customer.

As for cancellation fees, many subscription models—think of many mobile plans or pay television—have startup fees, long term commitments or both. At GeoWorkz, we want to keep the upfront cost as low as possible—you don’t pay any extra to get started. In fact, your costs are the same low rate, month after month.

However, there is a cost to us in terms of creating and maintaining your private workspace in Translation Workspace, storing your assets and providing the support and training to help you accelerate your business. We think that the cancellation fee is a better way of covering this investment—as it is a fee that is only incurred once someone leaves Translation Workspace. Therefore, we think it is better than a start-up or activation fee that everyone would incur.

We have found that most Translation Workspace customers continue their subscription because of the value they get out of it, such as the GeoWorkz Directory, which helps translators find new clients, as well as new colleagues, on a shared platform. They find that Translation Workspace is the real alternative that the localization market needs.

At any time you can reach us by clicking on “contact us” on the bottom of www.geoworkz.com or, if you are already a customer, you can fill out a support request on https://www.geoworkz.com/Support/SubmitAnIssue.aspx. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Your letter looks like a marketing letter rather than an explanation.
Anyway, I rechecked what hapened then and found some important things which are not "exactly" true.
Let me clearify them here:

1- First of all there is nothing called as "free" here.
During the registration process you are taking 0.01 USD and that is compulsory.

2- While paying this 0.01 through paypal the payment system creates an automatic payment agreement, by this method you automatically collect your monthly fees (luckily I check this option in my paypal account after every transaction, because of an issue with Yahoo. They also took money from my paypal last year while I reported my account them. Which exactly similar to your system. But I got my all money back from them thanks to paypal)

3- I entered in a Free Trial Agreement with your company but not an End User Agmeent. I am a tester but not a client and I have never declared or guaranteed to your company that I will be a client.

4- Your contract system looks like a Contract with Optional Clauses. And in All Contracts with Optional Clauses it is necessary to seek confirmation from both parties. (Please see FIFA Cases with Unilateral Optional Contracts)

5- Even if I give you the right of extending my so called "Free" Subscription you should have informed me about the stages of my obligations. But you did not.

6- I received a thanks letter from you, a trial offer letter, news letter, billing letter but I have not received any warning letter. It is very strange right?icon_smile.gif


Considering the above points, I can say with whole my soul that you are acting in an evil way.
Your aim is not providing your services, but finding a fool.

I am not fool.
I am not a very good man. In my life if to compare your action here, may be I did even much worser things.
But with a difference; I never did anything with DIRECT BAD INTENTION.
But, here, In this case, I know that you are doing bad thing 100%.
I know that there is not even a little tiny excuse for your actions.

And because of that, I will never give up before your bad actions.

I wont pay you. And I regret even for my 0.01 cent that I paid to you.


 

Marcus Casal
Spanish to English
more from GeoWorkz Nov 7, 2010

Thanks for the further questions. Rodion raises a really good point that I'd like to address. We deliberately decided not to go with a reduced functionality trial for Translation Workspace--the free trial is fully functional. Accordingly, there is nothing to unlock or activate after 30 days--the software continues to work, with all of the features that every customer has. Therefore, we only make a change in the commercial model after 30 days--going from free to regular price. We think that is better for translators who want to evaluate the software--you get a fully functional version, but for a limited period of time.

Which then brings me to to the points from Mr. Bayraktar. I am really sorry you are dissatisfied with your experience on GeoWorkz, as our mission is to delight our customers. However, I cannot agree with your characterization of our approach. First, a 0.01 USD charge via PayPal is a commonplace method of checking the validity of a PayPal account. It is recommended by PayPal as such. It is then voided by PayPal.

Our subscription agreement, which is also reviewable prior to any checkout, is an end user license agreement, and is the same for free trials or paid subscriptions.

Most importantly, we do inform everyone of the duration of the free trial, and of the cancellation fees for paid plans. For example, if you look at our free trial page (you can also click through from our ad on ProZ) we state:

"If you decide not to continue with Translation Workspace, just cancel your subscription BEFORE the end of the trial and pay nothing. If you do not cancel, you will be charged on a monthly basis for your subscription. If you don't change to another plan, you will be charged 10€ ($14) per month for the Basic Translator Plan. There is a 3 month cancellation fee if you do not cancel before the end of the Free Trial."


We put this "front and center"--not buried in dense legal pages or at the bottom of an email--precisely because we want everyone to understand the terms.

I take your point that you would preferred emails specifically about this topic. I can certainly take this an improvement request with our development team--we always want to hear how we can make our product better.

In brief, we are trying to sell software--no more. We certainly have no "evil" agenda beyond that! We think that the localization market can use the competition, given the pricing of the dominant tool on the market. We are selling under a subscription model, which is different, and we do want to hear how we can make it better for our customers, at the same time that we need to have policies that make sense to us as a business, as well.

Thanks for the feedback so far and, always, thanks to Henry for letting us engage with this community.


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:23
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Trial users, beware! Nov 7, 2010

Dear Marcus,

You can dress it up in words as much as you can, but most of people here still see it as a ruse to squeeze a three-month subscription fee from those who are misguided, sloppy or calendar-challenged... and to inflate your "adoption rate", by the way.

I am a software geek, I like to dabble in all kinds of things new and interesting. Naturally, this involves installing on my poor machine all kinds of demos, trials, limited-versions etc. Could you guess how many of them require "cancellation" before they go "full paid" on me?

Yes, you are right - not even one. The trial period ends, the relevant message box pops out - and then I buy, if I am interested.

Naturally, things change, everything moves to the cloud, online is better than offline etc. That is why I have tested also all kinds of online services - many of them have free, trial or limited functionality accounts. Do you know how many convert you to full subscription services without your specific request?

Right again, you're getting good at it! None would be so brazen.

Just last question, if you bear with me... Of all those suppliers of free, trial, limited etc. software or services, do you know how many want to "test" my PayPal account just for the fun of it - after all, in the trial period they cannot really charge me for anything, can they?

The answer is again, unsurprisingly, zero.

Naturally, if you state the terms clearly, it is perfectly legal for you to continue this practice. Customers beware, as they say... (Hmm, actually, considering that you are trying to flee... charge those who are not even your customers yet, it should go like "Potential customers, beware!" Times change, I suppose.)

If you want a word of advice, though, getting a reputation of this kind is not the best way to build a loyal fanbase in the CAT world... Especially if the public image of the associated entities is not that stellar lately, anyway.

[Edited at 2010-11-07 18:25 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Marketing or scamming? Nov 7, 2010

Marcus Casal wrote:
I take your point that you would preferred emails specifically about this topic. I can certainly take this an improvement request with our development team--we always want to hear how we can make our product better.


Surely you could have thought of this one yourselves? It's not exactly a rocket-science way of doing things.

Can you not see how it looks to your potential customers? They (I don't say "we" advisedly as I avoid anything "free" that patently isn't) see this as a trap, and an expensive one at that. And who can blame them? Is that any way to start a business relationship? Or do you not see it as a business relationship?

I'm sure you know all this and I'm wasting my breath but there's marketing and there's scamming - I think you come perilously close to the line here.


 

Pzit (X)
English to Italian
The key to the disappointment Nov 9, 2010

M. Ali Bayraktar wrote:
6- I received a thanks letter from you, a trial offer letter, news letter, billing letter but I have not received any warning letter. It is very strange right?icon_smile.gif


That's true. We got all sorts of emails: multiple heads-up emails about the new platform; multiple emails about webinars; multiple misc. marketing emails; multiple trial offer emails; etc. etc. But no warning email when it was about the real thing. Existing freelancers providing their work for the company who owns the tool saw that coming; other translators probably didn't, for all the reasons they mention above. Now someone cries out for a scam. It's not technically a scam, but I don't blame them. It's a poor marketing move which is alienating existing and/or potential users. That's the key to the disappointment. A very poor marketing move.

As for freelance translators who got the aut-aut warning from the said owner of the tool: they saw their protests and questions bouncing from the controller company to the controlled one. Now, a confused customer is a dissatisfied customer. And a provider of service who finds himself/herself suddenly in the position of a (confused) customer is definitely a terribly dissatisfied customer.

[Edited at 2010-11-12 01:08 GMT]


 
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