Yesterday I saw an update on one of the LinkedIn groups about how someone has been duped by a company with regards to payment. As with many cases of international business it becomes difficult to get justice in case the other side is on an offshore location. Every country has its own set of laws and regulations and it becomes cumbersome to go through horrendous amount of paperwork to get justice. The question that has been simmering for so long although no one talks about is – what should I do if the client does not make payment? Should I use social media to express my plight? This article looks at one of the least discussed topics in the market research industry.
…. And that is – how to get justice if the client does not pays me for my services.
Let us look at the example below of a non-payment issue and the impact it is causing on a social media platform.
I am not sure about other countries but in India I have come across many cases where agencies and specifically freelancers who don’t get paid for their services even after delivering quality data. The clients simply vanishes away into thin air – they neither reply on emails nor pick up your calls.
You may wonder ‘so where will these clients get their next project done from?’
Well in India with a massive mushrooming of MR services companies/freelancers there is no dearth of potential ‘eager’ vendors to work with – so even if you dupe few of them there are still many willing to do work with you (not knowing that they too will be duped).
The Indian legal system is quite robust but with such a massive pile of pending cases – it will take enormous amount of time before your case will get heard – so in most cases people instead of taking legal course of action simply bear the losses, forget about the ordeal and move on – thereby further encouraging these fraud clients to dupe some other agency/freelancer.
If within a country it is so difficult to get justice – imagine a situation where you have worked for a company based out of India and after service delivery you realize the client has duped you!
Really scary situation…
In fact few weeks ago I wrote an article on Why I am scared of Indian Data Collection Companies and as expected many dubious Indian data collection companies owners were up against me for exposing their nefarious activities.
Here is another example of how a company has suffered working for an Indian data collection company:
So coming back to the BIG question – Is social media the right platform to get justice?
If you ask for my personal opinion – I am totally against it and let me give you my reasoning for it.
So you have been duped by a client and have not been paid for the services – the legal course seems to be time consuming and complicated – you use social media to express angst.
But the critical question is – what if the other party also starts the ‘mud slinging’ match and with greater vigor. Not only you have already lost money but now you risk being the topic of unnecessary discussions in the market research community.
As in many such cases of heated arguments – no result will come out and you further endanger your reputation in the market (many potential clients may wrongly perceive you as a troublemaker).
So Akshay what should I do?
Suffer in silence?
No that will be completely wrong – not only you are being duped but you are in a way encouraging these fraudsters to dupe other innocent vendors.
The best solution is “prevention is better than cure“.
Yes be proactive and save yourself from getting duped.
Here are few things you have to keep in mind especially if you are dealing with a new client from offshore locations.
1- Look at their website and study their affiliations i.e. whether they are associated with some research associations like ESOMAR, CASRO, MRA etc. or not. If the client seems to be an unknown entity – you should be careful.
2- In an ideal circumstances you should pick up small projects first and then move onto bigger ones. If a new client is offering you USD 100 K project the very first time – be careful.
3- Always and always as a thumb rule demand for 50% upfront payment – so at least your operation cost is covered up if the client does not pay in full and vanishes away after the project is over.
4- Always network extensively even with your competitors so that you can come to know about dubious companies in the market.
5- In case 50% upfront payment is not possible – keep the payment schedule ‘milestone based’ i.e. on completion of 10%, 25%, 50% etc. of the target completed the client must pay you.
6- Thoroughly study the history of a new client which has come on board.
7- Never use social media to vent your anger/frustration – it is a double edged sword that may harm your business.
I hope you will be better equipped next time a new client comes on board.
PS: The author does not endorse the claims made in this article about being duped by a certain client – there is always another side of the story. In case you have been a similar situation please drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org – probably it will help create a blacklist of such fraud clients.
Akshay Kanyal writes survey research reviews on his popular blog Online MR. He’s an avid blogger, brand consultant and a content marketing expert, helping business owners to craft content that sells.
He provides content marketing advice to start-ups and innovation driven companies. He can be contacted at email@example.com