Thursday, February 28, 2013

Unfair business practices

I received an e-mail asking me to join a new phone-interpreting service. Phone interpreting is not a service I would normally consider, but I went to the site, just to have a look. Then I read their "general terms and conditions", and found these two egregious conditions:
5.1 Translin will invoice and make all commercially reasonable efforts to collect payment from the Client. At the end of each month, the Interpreter will receive an e-mail listing the work for that month and the amount that can be invoiced. The Interpreter is responsible for invoicing Translin. Translin applies a 14 Business Day payment term after receipt of invoice.
5.2 In the event that the Client has complained about the quality of the service provided by you, Translin has the right to reduce or cancel payment to the Interpreter if and to the extent Translin in its sole discretion considers the Client’s complaint to have merit.
Now, "will invoice and make all commercially reasonable efforts to collect payment from the Client" sure seems to imply that if they do not collect from their Client, you are out of luck, and you won't be able to invoice Translin.
Worse yet, they can always decide to dock your pay or not to pay you at all if they decide their client's complaint is justified... and they get to decide that at their "sole discretion".

My advice: stay away from this service.

Bottom line: always read the fine print, and don't be afraid to reject conditions it they are not fair.