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Agency refusing to issue a PO for $1050 worth project?
Thread poster: JParkBod

JParkBod
Germany
Local time: 17:03
Member (May 2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
Aug 3

Dearest colleagues,

I've just got a transcription project for an agency located in India, and I found out this company's reputation has gone down over the last 12 months.

I realised that I have made mistake accepting this job offer (without looking at their BlueBoard), and at least I am trying to secure the PO for this project. But the agency is keep repeating that they SHARE PO with other projects I might do during the rest of this month.

Here is the their exact words:

We do monthly invoicing for this transcription project. And payment term is 30 days because it’s difficult to assume that how much you will complete in 21 hours and for other projects we share PO with the project and payment term is 45 days.

From my understanding, the purchase order should be delivered prior to the beginning of each project as a confirmation, and should not be shared with other projects.

Am I wrong?? I am just terrified of the idea, that I might not be able to get paid after working a long time on this project... What should I do?


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
How they issue POs is not relevant. Aug 3

A bad payer is a bad payer, and having a PO won't change that. You should just be honest and politely tell them you don't want the job because of their payment record. Or you could insist on full payment before you start work.

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Katharina Mergl
Germany
Local time: 17:03
English to German
+ ...
Be careful! Aug 3

I took on an assignment that sounds very similar to yours and also for a translation agency located in India in December. Fortunately, my project was only worth around € 100 - I am still waiting for the money to arrive in my account ...

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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:03
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Already started Aug 3

philgoddard wrote:

A bad payer is a bad payer, and having a PO won't change that. You should just be honest and politely tell them you don't want the job because of their payment record. Or you could insist on full payment before you start work.


Problem is, she said she has already spent a considerable amount of time working on it...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:03
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Insist on getting the PO before you start work Aug 3

As it appears that this agency is a new client for you, I think you should insist on receiving their PO before you start work. The PO should include the agency's full contact details and details of exactly what has been ordered and what payment terms have been agreed between you.
If they refuse to send one, whatever the reason, I'd decline the job.
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Lianne van de Ven  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:03
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Insist on some form of PO Aug 3

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

philgoddard wrote:

A bad payer is a bad payer, and having a PO won't change that. You should just be honest and politely tell them you don't want the job because of their payment record. Or you could insist on full payment before you start work.


Problem is, she said she has already spent a considerable amount of time working on it...


I am not sure that's what she wrote:
She just got a transcription project and is trying to secure a PO after accepting the job.
She is terrified she might not be able to get paid after working a long time on this project (...in the coming week?)

It's not uncommon that our writing (in a foreign language) is not optimal when we're under this kind of stress, but I think it's not clear that the work has already been done. She just wants a PO before starting, and I think that is important in this case (of an agency with a poor payment record in the past 12 months).

I would probably not take the job because I am in the US and this client is in India (it would be harder for me to pursue if they didn't pay), but I have negotiated with US agencies who had bad payment records - but seemed promising in other respects. We made payment arrangements and so far I have been able to get paid while they are aware of my awareness about their payment record.

This client wants an "open" PO but I think they can still open a PO (a record # from their system) and add the assigned hours to it.


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
forget about this agency Aug 3

a 1000 USD project deserves its own PO. Don't work for this kind of agency or you'll be sorry.

[Modifié le 2017-08-03 14:39 GMT]


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:03
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
You're right Aug 3

Lianne van de Ven wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

philgoddard wrote:

A bad payer is a bad payer, and having a PO won't change that. You should just be honest and politely tell them you don't want the job because of their payment record. Or you could insist on full payment before you start work.


Problem is, she said she has already spent a considerable amount of time working on it...


I am not sure that's what she wrote:
She just got a transcription project and is trying to secure a PO after accepting the job.
She is terrified she might not be able to get paid after working a long time on this project (...in the coming week?)

It's not uncommon that our writing (in a foreign language) is not optimal when we're under this kind of stress, but I think it's not clear that the work has already been done. She just wants a PO before starting, and I think that is important in this case (of an agency with a poor payment record in the past 12 months).


You're right Lianne. In that case I tend to agree with Phil. At any rate, if the agency hasn't been banned from posting jobs, it should theoretically mean that they do pay... eventually...


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JParkBod
Germany
Local time: 17:03
Member (May 2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry about the confusion! Aug 3

As you well guessed, I haven't started on this project.

And thank you all for your kind advice.
I have insisted on getting a PO, and they issued an open PO without adding any of assigned hours (resulting the amount due to be 0), since they are not sure how much hours of audio I will complete until the deadline. The negotiation on the PO continues....


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Lianne van de Ven  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:03
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Do they care about blueboard rating? Aug 3

JParkBod wrote:

As you well guessed, I haven't started on this project.

And thank you all for your kind advice.
I have insisted on getting a PO, and they issued an open PO without adding any of assigned hours (resulting the amount due to be 0), since they are not sure how much hours of audio I will complete until the deadline. The negotiation on the PO continues....


If you can somehow answer this question, you have a good tool. You need to know if you can leverage negative fb or whether they could not care less. Also try to understand if issuing a PO with hours is a technical problem or whether everything is meant to scam you. I think being strong and decisive and being willing to drop it is key. Again, just because of locality, personally I would probably pass. Success.


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SarahDevlin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:03
German to English
+ ...
Protect yourself Aug 3

I find that a good way to test the water is to ask them for half of the payment upfront. I understand your situation is a little trickier than that, but you could take an estimate of what you expect it to cost and come up with a figure that could act almost like a deposit and explain it to the client as such. If they are a legitimate business, I see no reason why they would be offended / unwilling to do this as in my experience, this is not an uncommon thing to do when it comes to large jobs.

Good luck, I hope that it all goes well for you!
Warm wishes,
Sarah


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:03
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
At least see their reaction to an advance payment Aug 3

SarahDevlin wrote:
I find that a good way to test the water is to ask them for half of the payment upfront. I understand your situation is a little trickier than that, but you could take an estimate of what you expect it to cost and come up with a figure that could act almost like a deposit and explain it to the client as such. If they are a legitimate business, I see no reason why they would be offended / unwilling to do this as in my experience, this is not an uncommon thing to do when it comes to large jobs.

I suggest you politely refer to their BlueBoard rating and request an advance payment of half what you expect the minimum to be. It's just to show good faith. If they won't agree then you'll be all the wiser.

I've never understood the need for POs and neither have the vast majority of my clients. They do precisely zero to guarantee payment, and only duplicate what emails can do better. Their only real value is in the unique reference number/code. I'm currently working with a start-up agency and they're doing everything by the book. But their contract and NDA were both short and sweet and they issued one PO - to cover all future work. Really, it's just a number to put on my invoices. I've worked with umpteen clients in 32 countries over the last 20 years, and no more than a dozen or so have provided POs. One did early on, but they got the wordcount wrong (in their favour ) and it caused a lot of bad feeling, so I went off the idea. Now, I make sure one of us quotes the figures and the other agrees, and that's that. My latest translation client told me to please stop giving him all the details and just let him have the invoice! He's an end-client, but my main agency client does the same once he's got an end-client to trust him and me.

But I wouldn't work with that Indian agency without an advance payment, PO or not. It would be asking for trouble.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:03
French to English
Trust your instinct Aug 3

A reliable client will have reliable practices. Some clients are perfectly reliable without any paperwork other than an e-mail asking if you can do the job, by when and for how much. Others will provide endless amounts of paperwork and be unreliable.

When starting with a new client, it is important to be clear about what each party expects to do and what each party epxcets to receive. That can be done quite simply, with or without a purchase order. You can provide a quote or an estimate. A quote states a specific price for a specific job; an estimate provides an indication of what you expect to invoice once the job has been finished. An estimate will indicate the basis upon which the final invoice will be calculated.

Particularly with a new client, make sure you are very clear about these simple things. If you have doubts, refuse the job. If you think the job may be worth doing, make sure you get part payment, 30% is not unusual. Spending time to earn say USD 1,000 and then spending months trying to be paid is to be avoided. A few smaller jobs will get that same amount of money in and you'll be risking less.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 23:03
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Copyrights law and Blueboard features Aug 3

JParkBod wrote:

From my understanding, the purchase order should be delivered prior to the beginning of each project as a confirmation, and should not be shared with other projects.

Am I wrong?? I am just terrified of the idea, that I might not be able to get paid after working a long time on this project... What should I do?


1. I suggest you to enforce the Copyrights law that applies criminal charge against hesitation on payment.
2. Proz Blue Board rarely displays negative information about agencies. It is against Proz.com business models. I seek alternative methods to verify credentials and reliability of future payers on translation jobs.

Dr. Soonthon Lupkitaro
Bangkok, Thailand


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:03
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@J Aug 4

JParkBod wrote:
From my understanding, the purchase order should be delivered prior to the beginning of each project as a confirmation, and should not be shared with other projects.


No, there is nothing wrong with sharing multiple projects on a single PO (though when that happens, it's preferable that they are itemised). And many agencies provide a PO only after the job is finished. This is particularly true if the job is of unknown size, as in your case.


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