Poll: Have you ever had any serious disputes with a client?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:47
Oct 10, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever had any serious disputes with a client?".

This poll was originally submitted by tilak raj. View the poll results »


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 10, 2015

The same, long-standing client. I've dumped them twice in the past few years for being too demanding, slack, late payers and generally disrespectful. They eventually came back with an apology each time. Last time I upped my rate for them by 25%, which they accepted without a quibble.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:47
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Does non-payment count? Oct 10, 2015

I had one client that owed me USD 9,000.00 for more than two years. That might be considered a one-sided dispute, as I don't think it worried them in the least.

Other than that, no serious disputes in more than 40 years.

[Edited at 2015-10-10 08:43 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 08:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other! Oct 10, 2015

I’m not quite sure what is meant by that, but I have only had disputes with customers regarding non-payments. Some years ago, I had to get the courts involved for 2 non-payment issues: I recovered the whole amount in both cases and the late payment interests covered most of the lawyer fees!

Besides that, over the years, I had a couple or so of terminology problems with different customers, which were quickly solved with a little patience and diplomacy. Anyway, in general, I’m friendly and very easy-going…


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:47
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Serious? Only once. Oct 10, 2015

Apart from the occasional haggling around overdue payments, only once.

A large, worldwide reputable client once called me about a 160,000 words proofreading assignment to be carried out single-handed by me in one week. They asked me to be 120% available on "next week", sent me a very formal, complex and detailed PO, and we were all set. I was told that nine translators would start working on it shortly, and received all the source files.

Next Monday... nothing! I sent the PM an e-mail, she replied to sit tight, because it should be coming in any minute now. Wednesday, I e-mailed her again. No reply. So I called her. She told me it should be on its way shortly. After a couple of weeks, the project was put "on hold", to be resumed any time, immediately.

To make a long story short, this situation prevailed over FOUR MONTHS... during which I refrained from taking any assignment that would take me more than a couple of hours overall. They made it a point that I should be permanently on my toes at the start line.

Four months later, the project was called off. They are not to blame for that, as it came out here, on the Brazilian press. Due to some blatantly illegal irregularities, the entire BR government international tender was cancelled.

However considering the size of the project, that agency, part of a likely lawyer-laden business conglomerate, had failed to secure some up-front cash guarantee from the bidder who hired them. For the agency, that whole project - in spite of its size - would mean a fraction of a droplet in their cash-flow bucket.

However I was kept for four months precluded from taking any other reasonably profitable job, without one single penny to compensate for that. I got their corporate VP in charge of that division on the phone, and gave her an earful for over an hour.

In those four months, I did half a dozen small jobs for them, and they were delighted with my delivery. They kept insisting to hire me for several years after that incident, however in spite of their global prestige, their status with me is "cash in advance only".


Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
What serious disputes? Oct 10, 2015

Next, on the Jerry Springer Show! Translators who had serious disputes with a client

I think we've all had our share of disputes, disagreements, misunderstandings, etc. with one or more customers. It's par for the course. lawyers, dentists, plumbers, architects, cabinet makers, sculptors, accountants, etc., they experience the same thing. It's part of life as a professional or craftsman.

Now, if the poll's author was expecting to hear some juicy tidbits or gossip from me, I'm sorry to disappoint him/her.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:47
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Once or twice Oct 10, 2015

Mario Chavez wrote:

Now, if the poll's author was expecting to hear some juicy tidbits or gossip from me, I'm sorry to disappoint him/her.

We're all only humans, and humans make mistakes, have misunderstandings and don't always agree. That's life.icon_wink.gif


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:47
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Only once Oct 16, 2015

I had to file a suit in a labor court against a Brazilian agency, for about $ 3.000 plus attorney/court fees. I had all the e-mails and purchase orders, and that was my evidence for the court records. The judge sentenced the agency to pay me the full amount + fees in the initial hearing, as it was so obvious. The second hearing was to judge the indemnities I pleaded. I didn't get that.

Other than that, I had only two bad clients who never paid me for a ridiculously small job. Both got a "1" from me and from other translators in the Blue Board, and they can disappear from ProZ, because they won't ever hire anyone here ever again. One of them tried to claim with the ProZ management that my BB score was unfair. Then I sent them the e-mails, the PO and my e-mails asking for payment, with no replies. The "1" is still there from three translators.


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Poll: Have you ever had any serious disputes with a client?

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