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Client claims quality issues almost 60 days after delivery - what to do?
Thread poster: Nancy Cortell

Nancy Cortell  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 01:03
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 18, 2008

Has anyone experienced the situation of finishing a project and after delivery, almost 60 days after, the client says his client is not happy with the quality and refuses to pay? Even though he gave me very polite explanations and he assured a solution I'd like to know if there's anything you can suggest. I got this project using Proz but this agency is not a blue member.
Thanks

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-08-18 12:21]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:03
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I suggest you enter the agency on the Blue Board Aug 18, 2008

Hello Nancy,

Firstly, you could enter the agency on the Blue Board. Anyone is free to do that. Immediately afterwards you can make a call for entries, as well. I believe the agency will be informed that it is now on the Blue Board, and this may have an impact on its dealings with translators.

Regarding the complaint, the first thing to do - regardless of the time which has lapsed in the meantime - is to ask to be sent a copy of the client's suggested changes, so that you can see the nature of the changes, i.e. whether they are stylistic or what else they are.

Best regards,

Astrid


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:03
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Ask to see the client's complaints or review Aug 18, 2008

I'd politely ask to see the client's complaints, revised version, etc. and offer to make any alterations you consider valid.
You don't say whether you've been paid for the job yet or what your client (agency?) is suggesting should be done about the situation.
60 days after delivery of the translation seems a long time to me. I'd expect complaints to be issued before that, myself.
Some dodgy agencies try this on to delay or reduce payment when they've got cash-flow problems, which is why you need to see evidence of the complains to judge whether they're genuine. If they are genuine, of course, you should apologise and agree to amend the work as soon as you can.
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Nancy Cortell  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 01:03
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 18, 2008

I think your suggestions will help me a lot to find the right action.
Best,
Nancy
PS Can you add someone in the blue board even when they are not members?


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:03
English to German
+ ...
BB FAQ Aug 18, 2008

Hi Nancy,

PS Can you add someone in the blue board even when they are not members?

Of course you can - a quick look at the BB FAQ will tell you more:


8. I would like to ask others to make entries concerning a particular outsourcer. How do I do that?

If the outsourcer is already listed, click "Call for entries" from the outsourcer's record page. This will cause a request for entries to be published on the ProZ.com home page. In addition, an email will be sent to all those who have subscribed to such requests.

If the outsourcer you are interested in is not yet listed, adding it will cause the notification to be sent automatically. You may add an outsourcer whether or not you are a member. Note that only one "call for entries" is allowed per outsourcer, per month.

9. How can I make an entry for an outsourcer that is not listed on the Blue Board?

If you would like to make an entry for an outsourcer that is not yet listed on the Blue Board, you may add the details yourself from the "Add Outsourcer" tab. Make sure to add comprehensive details, to avoid confusion.

HTH, Ralf


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Two standpoints Aug 18, 2008

Nancy,

First check the laws in Argentina. How long is the period of time after delivery of a piece of merchandise or service in which a client is allowed to complain and get some form of compensation for eventual "flaws"?

Second, CRM. Though you are responsible for delivering a job within certain quality standards, client "happiness" is your business only as long as you want to keep that client. For instance, I wouldn't want to keep a client whose foremost objective is - after having got whatever service I delivered - to pinch some money from me.

Can they be objective about the reason they are unhappy? After all, it may be only because their mother-in-law - la suegrita - moved in, so they felt an urge to vent the frustration on someone, and chose you for that.

So, if you are confident that you did an acceptable job, I suggest that you request specific examples, not a full proofreading job but, say, 10-20 specific instances of what they think you should have done instead of what you actually did. Maybe they gave you unclear or incomplete instructions. If they are right, you should fix your translation ASAP at no charge (and no deduction in payment either). If they are unwilling or unable to pinpoint what you did wrong, tell them to take it on their suegra, not on you.

Finally, I'm amazed at them having waited for 60 days, until payment was due, to tell you about the client's unhappiness. Though I don't accept any job with payment terms beyond 30 days, I wouldn't expect my clients to wait all these 30 days to complain, if anything were wrong in my work.

If none of the above works, I'd check with a lawyer.


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xxxUSER0059  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:03
English to Finnish
+ ...
What do the terms of your quote say? Aug 18, 2008

Nancy Cortell wrote:

Has anyone experienced the situation of finishing a project and after delivery, almost 60 days after, the client says his client is not happy with the quality and refuses to pay? Even though he gave me very polite explanations and he assured a solution I'd like to know if there's anything you can suggest.


I am not a lawyer, and neither do I work on the same continent as you. Please remember this disclaimer as you read on.

Does almost 60 days fall within the liability duration specified in your quote? If not, you probably have the right to consider the work accepted, especially if there are no intentional or grossly negligent errors. If, on the other hand, you were still liable when you received the complaint, I think you must consider it. Of course you may elect to do this even if you are not bound to.

Assuming that you do consider the complaint, and find errors, the terms of your quote again become interesting. Do you have a right to correct any errors? If you do, and if you deliver the correction within a reasonable time, then the client may still be obliged to pay, although they may also be entitled to deduct compensation for e.g. direct damages.


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xxxsavaria
Hungary
Local time: 06:03
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Same problem,no payment Aug 18, 2008

I had the very same problem with a Hungarian agency.I had a translation from them(actually a user's manual,30 000 chr),I finished it on time,they found somebody to proofread my job(he made two minor corrections,actually both were a kind of a misprint(it was a rush job,to be done within 12 hours,so I think in this case misprints are inevitable,so I accepted both of them),and then I handed in the text again.

All this was 2 years ago.They have not replied to my letters ever since,and what is more,they have not even paid a penny for my work ever since(due to the fact that now I am highly overburdened with work,I do not bother about it any more and in fact I have never bothered too much about it)


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Nancy Cortell  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 01:03
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More detarils Aug 18, 2008

The worst about the whole picture is that my client says his client has complained about quality and refused to pay but without giving him/nor me the opportunity to correct or at least see the job. So it is just a very vague complain but with a concrete result of not getting paid.
Thanks a lot for your interest


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Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Solution Aug 18, 2008

Hi,

I think you have the details of the real client (not agency), so you would better to call them and ask for the person engaged in translations, then talk to him/her.

This is the only way to find out the "real" reason (if there is any)


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:03
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Subcontracting 101 Aug 18, 2008

Your payment from the agency does not depend on whether the agency itself gets paid by the client. The agency is obligated to pay you, even if they do not get paid by their client.
You have a contract/agreement with the agency, not with the end client.
Your client (the agency) did not raise any complaint within a reasonable time (which is 30 days in most business environments), and even now, when they said something, they did not substantiate it with evidence. (It doesn't matter if the reason is their client is not giving them details.)
They are the middlemen, and this is a business risk they take.
You are working for agencies (as opposed to direct clients), sometimes for lower rate, so that the agency would absorb all these extra costs that is related to dealing with the full-blown cycles of translation, editing, QA, client management, etc.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:03
German to English
+ ...
No BB entries possible when quality disputed? Aug 18, 2008

Ralf Lemster wrote:

...
Of course you can - a quick look at the BB FAQ will tell you more:
...


But what about when the quality is disputed, as is in this case? The FAQ clearly also states:
3. What are the conditions for making an entry concerning your likelihood of working again with an outsourcer?

You may only make entries for clients with whom you have worked on a project and to whom you have delivered work on time and without complaints related to quality.
(emphasis mine)

I've brought this issue up before and would appreciate clarification from mods/Ralf. Can she make an entry or not?


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:03
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Be very careful about contacting the end client Aug 18, 2008

M. Ali Bayraktar wrote:

Hi,

I think you have the details of the real client (not agency), so you would better to call them and ask for the person engaged in translations, then talk to him/her.

This is the only way to find out the "real" reason (if there is any)



This is something that I would strongly advise AGAINST.
Agencies, in most cases specifically forbid their translators to contact the end client, that would be considered a very serious breach of contract. It could result not only in losing all business from that agency, but in further legal consequences.


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xxxUSER0059  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:03
English to Finnish
+ ...
I would communicate with my client, not theirs Aug 18, 2008

M. Ali Bayraktar wrote:

I think you have the details of the real client (not agency), so you would better to call them and ask for the person engaged in translations, then talk to him/her.


This appears a little unorthodox. I wonder whether it might not complicate the situation further.

It is the responsibility of the translator's client to present and argue any complaints to the translator.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:03
English to German
+ ...
Quality issues must be raised shortly after delivery Aug 18, 2008

Hi Michele,

I've brought this issue up before and would appreciate clarification from mods/Ralf. Can she make an entry or not?

She can if she likes to; the conditions for posting a Blue Board entry are set out in more detail in the BB rules:


Certain conditions must be met before Blue Board entries can be made.
Entries concerning willingness to work again with given outsourcers are allowed only when (1) commissioned work has been completed in full and delivered on time, and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery.

(Almost) 60 days certainly isn't "shortly after delivery".

Best, Ralf


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