Poll: Are you experiencing problems with scammers and clients not paying more frequently?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:24
SITE STAFF
Jul 13

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you experiencing problems with scammers and clients not paying more frequently?".

This poll was originally submitted by Helene1974. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:24
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Jul 13

I’ve never been scammed! I guess I’ve been extremely careful and… lucky. I have to say though that lately I’ve been receiving ever more fake brochures and CVs from so-called “agencies” (a Japanese agency whose head office is situated in the Gaza Strip) and “translators” (a lady with a PDF degree in translation), fortunately these scammers are not very clever…

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Eckhard Boehle  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:24
English to German
+ ...
No, not any more! Jul 13

I used to have problems with hesitant or reluctant payers or an agency that went bankrupt in the past, but that is all long ago. Since some years I am working only for clients who pay good prices and who pay soon. I am in the very lucky and happy position to be able to sort all others out and to not be forced to try out new agencies that I do not know.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 20:24
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Jul 13

I can spot a scam from 100 yards, and the Japanese who form my customer/client base, as a people, are very honest people

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
French to English
No Jul 13

I don't expect scammers to pay me anyway!

[Edited at 2017-07-13 10:47 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Double meaning here Jul 13

Rephrasing into meaning #1:
Are you experiencing more frequent problems with scammers (not paying)?

A client who doesn't pay is - or has become - a scammer. A client who pays late is another issue.

My answer is NO.

I got scorched once for lack of due diligence, bit the bullet, and learned the lesson.
If I smell a rat, I store the cheese in a safe place, and walk away.


Rephrasing into meaning #2:
Are you experiencing problems with clients who pay less frequently than what you are used to?

My answer is YES.

While my long-standing clients pay between COD and two weeks from every delivery with invoice, several new clients have some weird payment terms, often 30 days after month-end (I don't accept longer payment terms, no matter what) for all jobs done within a specific month.

I live in Brazil, where interest rates are staggering. As a professional translator, I have no interest in providing financial services, competing with large banks who - and I've checked - do NOT offer translation services. So I charge higher-than-Brazilian interest rates for financing the end-client's revolving capital.

Any client in North America or Western Europe having access to a calculator and basic math skills would quickly realize that if they secured a local loan to pay me immediately, in case they don't have the cash to do it, it would take YEARS for that loan to accrue as much interest as I charge them for a month or so.

As it will take a while for these new clients to realize this (though I explain it right away), albeit it has a somewhat positive impact in my billable amounts (against my will), it has a negative impact on my cash flow.


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:24
Member (2004)
English to French
Not scammers, but... Jul 13

My clients don't pay me on time. These past weeks, it seems they all agreed to delay my payments or "forgot" to process my invoices.
I told one of them I don't work for free and will be homeless and bankrupt if they continue.


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
No Jul 13

As far as I'm working with direct clients and referrals, I don't get into such troubles.

However I admit that there're more and more very shady, suspicious, and rattish or just poor non-professional ads there both in the 'virtual' Internet and real life.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:24
Member
Italian to English
Nope Jul 13

Julian Holmes wrote:

I can spot a scam from 100 yards


Ditto. As for non-payment, in the four times it has happened to me in my fifteen-year career, threatening them with a lawyer has always worked. But there are various steps you can take to protect yourself.

1) Trust your instincts
2) If a customer does refuse to pay or is late, tell them you will not accept further work until the unpaid job is settled. Also try to avoid accepting large jobs until you know the customer is trustworthy in payment terms.
3) Check the Blue Board, which still has its uses (often a little "reading between the lines" is required).
4) Check the various blacklists, and the EXCELLENT site Payment Practices (http://www.paymentpractices.net). There is a yearly fee, but it's well worth it.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
The Japanese Jul 13

Julian Holmes wrote:

I can spot a scam from 100 yards, and the Japanese who form my customer/client base, as a people, are very honest people


Well put, Julian-san.

♫ Koto music playing ♪



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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
Pesky commas Jul 13

José Henrique gave me an idea. The poll question is not well phrased:

Original: Are you experiencing problems with scammers and clients not paying more frequently?

I would have written it thus: Are you experiencing problems with scammers, or with clients who aren't paying more frequently?

Agreed: scammers are one thing; late-paying clients are another. If a late-paying client makes it a habit to pay invoices very late, he/she may be a bad business person, but not necessarily a scammer.

BTW, have you guys heard about Nigeria's first satellite put in orbit this week?



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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:24
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Other Jul 13

I, too, have never yet been actually scammed, although over the years I have had a few clients suddenly go bankrupt (one even re-opened under a new name a month later - apparently legal in the UK).
I haven't experienced more late payment lately either, but I have seen more quibbling over word counts or requests from agencies to reduce my (reasonable and well-established) rate as a favour to "a special end client". I guess I'm not " a special translator", then ...


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:24
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 13

They bother a lot and show up all the time, but I am able to detect them and they don't fool me anymore.
So how can I answer this poll? Yes, they cause me problems because the bother me, fill my inbox with shit or whatever. No, they don't cause me problems because I don't fall for the scams. Therefore, "other".


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:24
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
In general, no Jul 14

I was targeted by a scammer several years ago. It was a woman who was going to give a speech on some tear-jerking subject at a conference. She had a third-person check that she sent me (a "donation" she had received) which would pay me about double what I quoted for the job. She asked me to send the balance to someone who was going to buy her plane ticket to attend the conference. The check arrived via FedEx the next day. The check looked suspicious to me, so before starting the translation I took it to the bank. The teller thought it was suspicious, too. Her supervisor told her not to accept it. I then took the check to the bank it was written against. They told me that the person had an account with them but that the check was not valid. So I sent the client an e-mail explaining what had happened with the check. I never heard back, and the scammer was out the cost of the FedEx shipment. It was an elaborate scheme, but not very smart in the end.

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