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Bad Agencies - when will they stop and respect us?
Thread poster: Stéphanie Denton
Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:51
French to English
+ ...
Jul 12, 2011

And I'm back for another rant.

In May I completed a number of small translations for an agency (please message me directly for the name of the agency). I invoiced them on the 31st May, to which they confirmed receipt. My payment terms on the invoice was 30 days, and a PayPal payment.

I e-mailed them the other day as no payment had been received, and the payment was 7 days late.

I received an e-mail back giving me their address and requesting my bank details. I provided my bank details and asked if they wanted the invoice posting as no indications had been provided. I received no response. I e-mailed again, and asked what the state of the invoice was as it was nearly 2 weeks late. I received a rude e-mail back from their accounts department informing me that I had been told to put the address on the invoice (which wasn't the case). I e-mailed back, stating that I hadn't been told that, that I had asked what to do with the provided address and that I would do it later this evening.

I amended the invoice, adding the address, and sent it this evening. I requested that the payment be made immediately (politely, of course), to which I received the following e-mail:

Bonsoir ca sera payé demain

En revanche le ton que vous utilisez vis-à-vis de la compagnie ne nous laisse aucunement la possibilité d envisager une future collaboration avec vous


Basically that because of my "tone", they wouldn't work with me again in the future.

I replied that all I wanted was payment for my services, and that I was happy to not collaborate with them again as they had ignored my e-mails and not paid on time.

To which I received this:

Faites ce que vous voulez, j etais en vacances et je n ai pas a travailler pendant mes vacances , la reglementation en vigueur est un paiement a 45 jours en europe

C est une directive europeenne

En revanche si vous voulez vous faire bien apprecier des autres agences , je vous conseille de faire des commentaires negatifs sur nous

Pour information la derniere personne qui s est amusé a cela a perdu 50 % de son chiffre d affaire annuel alors faites ce que vous voulez

Cela est egale pour moi


To those who do not understand French, a basic translation of this is that if I give them a bad blue board entry, I'll lose 50% of my annual revenue, like the last person who did it. European law states 45 day payment, etc.

I replied that they should has not accepted my invoice in that case, and that their threats did not have me worried.

I'm disgusted. I am not the one in the wrong here. I've been polite. THEY owe ME money for services rendered.

I've entered a bad blue board entry for them, stating late payment (still not received), rude and unprofessional. Apparently, this is going to affect my work...

Do I just attract bad agencies (they have a relatively good blue board score of 4.8 overall and 5 this year)...? I feel like the person who sits on the bus and who gets the scary man who comes and sits next to her.

I'm fed up of agencies who think that they are God. Who have no respect for translators. When will this stop?

Sorry for the long post. Could someone please come and cheer me up?

It's not a lot of money in the big scheme of life, but when agencies act like this, they are threatening livelihoods. I have an 18 month old daughter, and for every agency that doesn't pay, or who pays late, I risk not being able to pay my rent, to buy milk and clothes...

Thanks in advance to everyone who reads this and who replies.



UPDATE:

Just received this:

Faites faites , surtout sur proz car les autres agences se servent de ca pour voir si vous etes fiable


Lancez le boomerang mais attention au retour


Votre argent vous l aurez par virement demain chapitre clos


Disparaissez


Merci


Basically another threat about bad blue board entries.

[Edited at 2011-07-12 20:29 GMT]

Next update: Payment sent (to PayPal...) with the follwoing note:

Note from XXXX:

voila votre argent j attends votre appreciation avec impatience sur proz car la reponse sera sans equivoque a votre sujet


and then two minutes later this e-mail:

C ets fait

Alors envoyez votre poste sur proz

C estz a vos risques et perils


LEARN TO SPELL!!! Yet another threat. Saying if I post a bad proZ, then he'll post something bad about me. And that it's at my own risk if I post a bad entry...

[Edited at 2011-07-12 20:45 GMT]

Also, ProZ have declined my updated LWA as I mentioned threatening...why is it that we can't tell the truth about agencies?

[Edited at 2011-07-12 21:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-07-13 17:26 GMT]


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:51
English to German
+ ...
Great rant Jul 12, 2011

Great rant, I like it.

It's really interesting that agencies think clients cannot search directly or that we are not able to search for them. And that they do not get that normal direct clients pay: a) normal rates, b) usually have no problem with prepayment [sure, not in every case, there must be some assurance, but usually this is not a real issue] - as mentioned in another thread: take e.g. small businesses: they k.n.o.w. when they go to a shoemaker because they like their shoes and prefer to get them repaired instead of throwing them away, the shoemaker will not move, he will just stare right into their face, listening patiently to what they want, but actually what they want him to do, is to "get active", to do what he can do with his hands. And he will not do it as long as the payment is not there. That's why usually normal clients have no real problem with this - upfront for smaller, milestone upfront for larger. And they pay normal rates. Either before or after they got burned on one of those ... pages... populated by .... tree occupants.

Ok, so now tell me: what does such an agency know about the market if it thinks their "threat" with the next orders from a late payer will work? They are getting percentages due to our work - in case we accept and say alright. No? OK, the better paying normal client is just around the corner, so what is this about, exactly?

Gosh... wish you good luck, the payment terms stated on your invoice rule. It's 30 days. Just the same term like in Europe, ask them for their reference link, because my own one states something else (reference: Europäisches Parlament).



[Edited at 2011-07-12 20:59 GMT]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Send Proz a support ticket Jul 12, 2011

Dear Stéphanie,
How unpleasant for you! I think this kind of Blue Board bullying should be reported to Proz in a support ticket. I'm sure outsourcers aren't supposed to make threats of this kind.
I know there are plenty of honest, polite and reliable agencies out there - I work regularly for several of them.
Wishing you better clients in future,
Jenny


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Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:51
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Support request Jul 12, 2011

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Dear Stéphanie,
How unpleasant for you! I think this kind of Blue Board bullying should be reported to Proz in a support ticket. I'm sure outsourcers aren't supposed to make threats of this kind.
I know there are plenty of honest, polite and reliable agencies out there - I work regularly for several of them.
Wishing you better clients in future,
Jenny


I would do, but I don't want to "rock the boat" (as it will be the second time inless than a month). That and to be honest, they didn't do much about it last time, they even removed my negative Blue Board entry...


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:51
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Another thought Jul 12, 2011

There may be a reason ProZ.com removed your entry.

I invoiced them on the 31st May, to which they confirmed receipt. My payment terms on the invoice was 30 days, and a PayPal payment.


I believe payment terms are specified in agreements you sign with your clients. If you don't sign one before taking on and delivering work for a client, you should still agree on payments terms with them ahead of time.

Could it be that it's time to stop and reevaluate your approach?


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Stéphanie Denton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:51
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I did mention it... Jul 12, 2011

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

There may be a reason ProZ.com removed your entry.

I invoiced them on the 31st May, to which they confirmed receipt. My payment terms on the invoice was 30 days, and a PayPal payment.


I believe payment terms are specified in agreements you sign with your clients. If you don't sign one before taking on and delivering work for a client, you should still agree on payments terms with them ahead of time.

Could it be that it's time to stop and reevaluate your approach?


...and no response was received.

Maybe you should stop an reevaluate that I'm not the one in the wrong here, and therefore, your comment was unnecessary?


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 07:51
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Stéphanie Jul 12, 2011

"I've entered a bad blue board entry for them, stating late payment (still not received), rude and unprofessional. Apparently, this is going to affect my work... Do I just attract bad agencies?"

"I'm struggling with the rudeness of certain translators, as everything is crystal clear and it is not my job to remind people to invoice me."

Stéphanie,

Both phrases above are yours, the latter from an earlier post by you.

My reply to your earlier post was as follows: "Stéphanie,
By your own admission, your translators, i. e. "professionals", whom YOU have contacted, tested and finally selected to work with you, are: A. Unable to read and/or understand your basic terms & conditions. B. Totally ignorant of common business practices. (!). C. Rude. D. Basically a complete waste of space/time.
What are you waiting for? Dump them. And if you like, as you have done, vent your frustration here.
But then ask yourself why you chose people who were evidently incompetent in the first place."

Stéphanie, I have no idea how long you've been translating or how much experience you may have, but to answer your question, people do not "attract" bad translators, bad agencies.

It's much simpler than that: some people make very bad choices.

(At the same time, you might want to consider for a moment what kind of impression you're making on such a highly visible venue as ProZ.)

[Edited at 2011-07-13 01:37 GMT]


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Member
French to English
+ ...
Interesting threat Jul 13, 2011

What I'd love to know is: just how did the last person who dared to post a negative BB entry about them suddenly lose 50% of their annual turnover? And how does the agency know that? I don't imagine the translator would have admitted that to them, even if it were true. If I received an "invitation" like the one they've given you, I'd be sorely tempted to call their bluff and make the entry! Even if you had taken an impolite tone with them, which you say you didn't, their response simply cannot be justified. And hey, at least you got your money! Good riddance to them.

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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:51
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
No, you did not mention it Jul 13, 2011

In May I completed a number of small translations for an agency (please message me directly for the name of the agency). I invoiced them on the 31st May, to which they confirmed receipt. My payment terms on the invoice was 30 days, and a PayPal payment.


This does *not* mention whether you and your client had agreed on the payment terms *before* you took on and delivered the work.

Stéphanie, I realize at this point you want sympathy. Believe me, just like yourself I am not always happy about my client's payment practices.

What I'm offering here is another point of view, from an impartial onlooker. Even though your client is out of line making threats - there is no doubt about that! - it is not absolutely clear to me that your client was in the wrong from the start.

I've seen here on the forums that ProZ.com can take action against outsourcers who misbehave, up to and including banning them. For some reason their decision(s) was (were) not in your favor. I'm sad to hear that! Of course, I don't know who's right and who's wrong in your situation, but I'm offering clues for you to investigate.

I try to help. Now, if your rant was posted only to hear others rant too - sorry, but please count me out.

[Edited at 2011-07-13 01:07 GMT]


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Ivana Bojcic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Member (2011)
German to Croatian
+ ...
I think.... Jul 13, 2011

You should be happy because you got paid after all
Although that behaviour of their is very unprofessional and kinda ridged.


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:51
English to German
+ ...
No, don't think so Jul 13, 2011

Ivana, Mikhail: When you send invoices, your clients can choose which of the stated payment ways they wish to use, but actually - my own invoices are also - normal ones. The terms are not much different of the terms your electricity company will give you, your internet connection provider etc, etc. - so, no. Sorry. I do not agree here.
Or how about a letter to Henry, dear Ivana and Mikhail? Something like "Dear Henry, as you have seen, the payment terms standards in the industry have changed, we enjoy this change also, so herewith we expect you to give us this funny membership batch, ASAP please. We'll see how it works this time, if we're still happy with this batch thingy in 2011 and if we're in general happy with the membership this year, we'll pay 3 months later, then. Alright?" - Ivana? Mikhail? Do you wish to sign that, please? No? Any idea why not?

So: of course the client must know upfront that a.l.s.o. your own invoice will be a.l.s.o. a normal one, that it will be not much different from their other providers (with the exception of a few translators of course, who believe, normal standard payment terms are someting that you must "agree in a contract" upon upfront: no - the normal standard rule for payment time frame applies.)

Sure - the client must be informed upfront which payment terms you provide, should be reminded of the standard and you yourself must take care to offer payment ways accessible for them: but that's quite all here.

So - no. And I honestly d.o. believe that comments like those mentioned above help those 90-days-experts quite much on their way. If you like that: perfect, my landlord is not Italian.



[Edited at 2011-07-13 05:21 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Poster requested removal.

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:51
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Agencies and Freelancers Jul 13, 2011

Translation agencies are businesses run by people, and their business models and practices reflect the personalities within them. Just as in any other sector (and having worked in several I do not consider the Translation sector to be particularly cut-throat) you will find the good, the bad and the ugly.
You say you completed a number of small translations for this agency. If our idea of small is similar then we are not speaking about a large amount of money. In which case, how much more time and energy are you going to spend on it? Is it worth the effort?
I understand from this and previous posts that you feel unprotected and perhaps victimized working as a freelance. It is your responsibility to decide who you work with and under what conditions, and part of the process is/will be finding out for yourself who NOT to work with in the future. It's nothing personal; it's simply business. I'm sure you've been to lots of shops that you would not return to for any number of reasons. Agencies and freelancers are the same.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
When will ranting translators learn... Jul 13, 2011

Stéphanie Denton wrote:
Bonsoir ca sera payé demain ... En revanche le ton que vous utilisez vis-à-vis de la compagnie ne nous laisse aucunement la possibilité d envisager une future collaboration avec vous ... Faites ce que vous voulez, j etais en vacances et je n ai pas a travailler pendant mes vacances , la reglementation en vigueur est un paiement a 45 jours en europe ... C est une directive europeenne ... En revanche si vous voulez vous faire bien apprecier des autres agences , je vous conseille de faire des commentaires negatifs sur nous ... Pour information la derniere personne qui s est amusé a cela a perdu 50 % de son chiffre d affaire annuel alors faites ce que vous voulez ... Cela est egale pour moi ... Faites faites , surtout sur proz car les autres agences se servent de ca pour voir si vous etes fiable ... Lancez le boomerang mais attention au retour ... Votre argent vous l aurez par virement demain chapitre clos ... Disparaissez ... Merci ... voila votre argent j attends votre appreciation avec impatience sur proz car la reponse sera sans equivoque a votre sujet ... C ets fait ... Alors envoyez votre poste sur proz ... C estz a vos risques et perils


... that just because this is an English forum, it doesn't mean we all understand French. (don't take my comment seriously)

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
I think the title of this forum is unfair to all the good agencies out there. The fact that you have encountered your n-th bad payer (I really believe you have some magnet for them, as I have expressed in the past) does not mean agencies in general do not respect translators.


I agree.


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Krzysztof Kajetanowicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:51
English to Polish
+ ...
interesting Jul 13, 2011

Stéphanie Denton wrote:

That and to be honest, they didn't do much about it last time, they even removed my negative Blue Board entry...


Not to take sides - we've only heard your side of the story - but at the first glance, this sort of policy screams "we'd rather lose members than be sued."

[Edited at 2011-07-13 07:49 GMT]


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