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Poll: What do you do when a client cancels a job after giving you the PO?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:56
SITE STAFF
May 20, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you do when a client cancels a job after giving you the PO?".

This poll was originally submitted by Elizabeth Lyons. View the poll results »



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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
Member
German to English
+ ...
Depends .. May 20, 2010

If I've already started work, I would deliver what I had already done and invoice for it. If I haven't started, I'll just chalk it up to experience. I find clients tend to feel guilty about it anyway so will come back to me with another job soon if they can.

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:56
Member
English to French
Other May 20, 2010

Mary Worby wrote:
If I've already started work, I would deliver what I had already done and invoice for it. If I haven't started, I'll just chalk it up to experience. I find clients tend to feel guilty about it anyway so will come back to me with another job soon if they can.

Same strategy.

Philippe


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Alexa Dubreuil  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
Member (2004)
English to French
+ ...
What if it was a very large job? May 20, 2010

What strategy would you choose if a large sum of money was involved?
For instance, more than £1500 (1800 euros) ?

Alexa


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Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
Why does this happen? May 20, 2010

I've never had this happen to me.

It is not at all rare that I quote for a job and negotiate on delivery only to hear later that the job isn't going ahead. But I've never actually had the go ahead and then had it cancelled. I'm surprised that an end client should be able to back out after confirming to the outsourcer to go ahead - or are outsourcers issuing POs without confirmation from their client?


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
Member
German to English
+ ...
No different May 20, 2010

Alexa Dubreuil wrote:

What strategy would you choose if a large sum of money was involved?
For instance, more than £1500 (1800 euros) ?

Alexa


I don't think the options are any different for a larger job. The annoyance factor is greater, clearly. But realistically there is not much you can do.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 06:56
English to French
+ ...
Nothing May 20, 2010

It hardly ever happens and when it does, the cancellation does not take forever. Never long enough to have the translation ready to deliver.
As in Mary’s case, my client felt very guilty and immediately offered me another job.

What I find much more annoying is when a customer “books” me for an urgent job to come and does not send the file on time or has last minute changes after I start to work on it (those I usually invoice). When I have to wait, I am the one who cancels availability for the job, after I’ve had to refuse 3 other jobs. (Happened again this week.)


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Other May 20, 2010

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Mary Worby wrote:
If I've already started work, I would deliver what I had already done and invoice for it. If I haven't started, I'll just chalk it up to experience. I find clients tend to feel guilty about it anyway so will come back to me with another job soon if they can.

Same strategy.

Philippe


Same experience. It is very annoying, but unfortunately does happen (this week, in my case). I sometimes think that clients find a cheaper agency/translator and therefore cancel the job.


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Anne-Sophie Cardinal  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:56
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Same May 20, 2010

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:

I've never had this happen to me.

It is not at all rare that I quote for a job and negotiate on delivery only to hear later that the job isn't going ahead. But I've never actually had the go ahead and then had it cancelled. I'm surprised that an end client should be able to back out after confirming to the outsourcer to go ahead - or are outsourcers issuing POs without confirmation from their client?


I also have never had this happen to me. The classic "Oh, in the end, we don't have the 'go-ahead' for this project" after negociating everything about rates and deadline... But your question is legitimate, I am also curious to know!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:56
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
In an ideal world it shouldn´t happen... May 20, 2010

I work for agencies, and it does occasionally happen, perhaps because the chain of communications is longer.

I do not believe POs are issued without confirmation. I have once suspected that a large job was approved by the end client at departmental level, and then when some ´big boss´ further up saw the price tag, (s)he panicked and cancelled it.
As Mary says, the client feels guilty, so they try to patch things up.

I have had apologies to the effect of ´STOP, we sent you the wrong text, please translate this one instead´.
Mistakes happen.

I voted ´Other´. I contact the agency/client and we just say OK, let's not waste more time on small jobs. Otherwise we work out what to do. If I have spent any length of time on the job, I usually get paid more or less for what I have done, and we always part as friends.


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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:56
English to German
hasn't happened yet May 20, 2010

Of course I've had cancelled jobs over the years but more often than not I hadn't actually received files nor a PO. Plus, many clients do feel guilty and try to make up for it with other work offers.

Other than that, I would proceed the same as Mary.

Mary Worby wrote:

If I've already started work, I would deliver what I had already done and invoice for it. If I haven't started, I'll just chalk it up to experience. I find clients tend to feel guilty about it anyway so will come back to me with another job soon if they can.


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:56
Member
French to English
+ ...
Terms and Conditions of Sale May 20, 2010

I voted "other" because how I handle such issues depends on several factors and on the client, but my T&Cs clearly establish how the problem will be handled in theory:


If work that is commissioned is subsequently cancelled after work has commenced, for whatever reason and notified in writing by the Client to the Service Provider, the Client shall pay the Service Provider the full contract sum for the work completed and half (fifty percent) for the uncompleted work.



I had a client cancel a small portion of a project last week for which they insisted on paying me. The same client had another small project fall through this week for which I had put aside some time and for which I could probably demand partial payment if I wanted to, but sometimes it's nice to have a give-give relationship with good clients and in this case last week's sum more than compensated for this week's cancellation.

That said, I don't think that I've ever had a big project totally cancelled once it's underway. I would not hesitate to point to the clause in my T&Cs if I felt it justified, however.

Best,
Jocelyne


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Collapse in tears May 20, 2010

I had started working on a book that I was really interested in--about 500 pages for an international organization that pays good rates.

My doctor put me in the hospital. I tried to keep working on it there, on my laptop, but the PM found out where I was and took the job away from me. I was devastated!


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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:56
French to English
Ridiculous May 20, 2010

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:
My doctor put me in the hospital. I tried to keep working on it there, on my laptop, but the PM found out where I was and took the job away from me. I was devastated!


Muriel,

That sounds ridiculously unfair and possibly illegal. As an independent contractor, the manner and means of your work is not up to your client - and that includes where you perform that work. If you were still aiming at the same deadline you agreed on, and it appeared to you that you could meet it, then your client had no right to cut you off - even if they felt it was best for you. What kind of reasons did they give you?

Stephanie


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not really May 20, 2010

If someone is in hospital you don't know what is going to happen, the PM thought she would avoid a potential disaster, play it safe so as to speak. She would be entitled to act on information like this, I would think.

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