I have two reporters who have not paid me. Their bills are over a year past due. Can I post their names here to warn others?

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I would love to post names. I was advised not to. If they had opinions about the work, then they should be able to tell you so it helps you to get better. Sounds to me that they're trying to get a free ride.

I've been on the other side as a reporter and I might not have paid the car payment, but I sure as heck paid my scopist or proofreader. I am in the same situation with one reporter. Everyone else I have worked with, I was paid on time.

If there's a problem, I understand, send a little. But don't forget about it altogether.

They should have a list to circulate the reporters who do not pay their scopists.
I have to say that many years ago when I started reporting (almost before computers), when we were using notereaders and typists, and then as scopists started coming on the scene, the states I worked in the scopists/proofreaders/typists were all paid for the job WHEN the reporter was paid for the job. I have found everyone wants to scope the job and be paid within days of giving it to you, but the reporters have to wait on their money. I've seen some scopists say, well, they make more money and can afford to pay me before they get paid. I think income is also relative to expenses in our industry. And if the reporter has a slow month in receivables and yet has necessary expenses they HAVE to pay, mortgage, car payment, childcare, etc., I have nhad scopists get tweaked because they had to wait 2 - 4 weeks to get paid. So whether it's the scopists badmouthing the reporters or the reporters badmouthing scopists I think is relative to the situation at hand. However, regardless of the job a scopist did for a reporter, I think the reporter should pay them and then end the relationship. And I think scopists have to set some sort of limit (dollar or time) as to when they cut a reporter off from further work. There ARE bad reporters out there as well as bad scopists!
I agree. I too used to use a typist before computers, and the agency that I worked for would pay them. Some of the reporters that I have scoped for do have the agencies pay me, which is a great thing every two weeks; of course, you're a month behind. I always give the benefit of the doubt and don't harass the people I work with, but when you have someone who says I'll put a check in the mail, blah, blah, blah, and comes up with a story all the time, then I have a problem. Especially if it's been almost a year. Be honest, send me a little at a time, don't ignore me.
I definitely agree with that. I have worked for a reporting firm owner who does that. Doesn't pay and when you call, tells you she's sending a check and the check doesn't show up, and I've even had it bounce when it finally did show up!! Having been a firm owner, I can attest to the fact there are some real deadbeat reporters out there!
"And if the reporter has a slow month in receivables and yet has necessary expenses they HAVE to pay, mortgage, car payment, childcare, etc., I have nhad scopists get tweaked because they had to wait 2 - 4 weeks to get paid."

But please understand that as a scopist who agrees to provide a service for a reporter in an agreed-to timely manner in return for payment for that service in an agreed-to timely manner, I believe I'm entitled to feel like one of the "necessary expenses they HAVE to pay" as well.

I have a mortgage and bills of my own that I also have to pay and I can't pay my bills when they're due if the reporters I work with don't pay me when my payment is due.

I'm very fortunate to have been working with excellent reporters for the past few years who understand that my terms are payment due to me within two weeks of invoice date unless other arrangements have been mutually agreed upon before the work is begun.

If there are occasional special circumstances with a reporter and if I can afford to wait, I'm happy to be as flexible as I possibly can. I understand that we all have occasional unexpected expenses or slow work times.

But unfortunately, there are reporters I worked with as a beginning scopist (before I knew better) who consistently used every excuse in the book to delay payment, ranging from, "I just bought a new car and the down payment was really high so I'll have to wait a couple more weeks before sending your money, sorry," to "We're getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving here and I've had a lot of expenses associated with that, so it'll be a few more weeks before I can pay you, sorry," to "Don't cash that check I just sent you because I just noticed that I messed up my checkbook and that check's going to bounce if you try to cash it. I'll send another one in a few weeks, sorry."

These weren't reporters who were unhappy with my work. These were reporters who placed paying their scopist down the list under all their other expenses.

As I gained more experience, I eventually did as you suggested and did set a time limit and ended my relationships with those reporters when the time limit wasn't met and, as I said, found reliable reporters to work with who value my services and respect me enough to consider paying me for my work as high a priority as paying their other expenses.

I'm curious to know, when you say that back when you started, the scopists in the states you worked in were paid when the reporter was paid, does that mean that the scopists weren't self-employed as most are now? As a self-employed scopist and transcriptionist, I set my own rates and payment terms, as do all the scopists I know. It's more a "work with" situation than a "work for" situation.

Were the scopists/typists/notereaders you worked with working for agencies who paid them after they were paid by the reporters or were the reporters setting the rules then for how they would pay their scopists? Just curious. I've just been in this business since 2003 after several years as a legal secretary so don't know much about how it was for scopists before that.
Let me start out by saying, as I very honest and hard working person/reporter, I have never intentionally stiffed a scopist. When I was talking about having a scopist get tweaked because a payment took 2 - 4 weeks, that's 2 - 4 weeks past the time of the work being completed, with a long history by me of having paid the scopist timely before. I had it happen just recently. I support 4 children and a husband, and when work slows down I have no reserves to fall back on and I don't spend it (like so many I know) on extra stuff when times are good. I usually, instead, try to pay down a few bills. I have no health, dental, or vision insurance, I have nominal charges on my credit cards compared to many people, we don't go out to eat but MAYBE once a month, we rarely take vacations (every 3 - 5 yrs), don't go to the movies, and most of the furnishings in my house are second hand. I know plenty of people, not just reporters, who would spend money on "extras" or "fun" and put off paying their bills in general. In fact, this year at Xmas my husband got nothing, my kids' presents were bought from the thrift stores, and they each got one toy. The rest was clothes or usable items such as mittens, hats, hairbrushes, etc, because work had been so slow in the fall. So I understand maybe what I said about having a scopist get tweaked may have raised your ire.

I see no difference in a reporter saying they need a couple extra weeks to pay a scopist than having a scopist tell you their normal turnaround time is 4 - 5 business days and then having to wait 10 business days to get your job back, which makes you late in turning in the transcript, and for some firms you get a monetary deduction for that. The excuse from the scopist is "I had some personal stuff to attend to," or, "I had some unexpected guests over the holiday weekend," or "I had to rush my kid to the emergency room," or "We decided to go to our lake house for a couple extra days." But yet that same scopist will expect that the invoice be paid upon receipt. I'm sure many of us have horror stories one way or the other, scopists and reporters. None of us are perfect.

I started using a scopist back in the late '80s. The ones I used were all independent contractors, not employed by a firm. I worked in a couple of states where the reporters waited until the firm got paid before the reporters were paid and maybe that's why the scopists were paid the way they were. I don't know who set those "rules" up. That's just the way everyone did it back then. To me it seems like the advent of paying a scopist either upon receipt of an invoice or within 2 weeks of invoice started back in the late '90s to early 2000s, for the most part, and much of it probably as a result of a scopist and reporter using the Internet instead of living in the same town. However, most of my other bills give me 30 days in which to pay. I guess that's really my point.
Oh, I think if I were a reporter with a scopist who agreed to 4-5 day turnaround and it turned into 10 busiess days due to unexpected guests or a visit to the lake house, I would find a different scopist, no question about it. I'm not at all trying to make a case that scopists are all good and reporters are all bad or anything close to that.

I was simply responding to what sounded to me like a feeling of "I have bills I HAVE to pay and then I have my scopist bills and the scopist should be understanding if her invoice isn't paid for 4 weeks."

If the scopist and reporter have worked out a 4-week or even a 6- or 8-week payment-due schedule, for that matter, that's great if it works for both of them. But if the scopist's payment terms are payment due within 2 weeks and if the reporter agrees to those terms before sending a job, then it's the scopist's responsibility to return the job in a timely manner as agreed and it's the reporter's responsibility to pay the scopist as agreed as well.

You're not alone in dealing with this economy. We all sometimes have rough times where we can't buy as much for Christmas as we'd like or maybe don't go to the movies or on vacation the way we'd like to because of money issues, reporters and scopists alike. But it seems that sometimes the scopist is the one whose payment gets put at the bottom of the pile when times are tough (and sometimes even when they're not), and that's the part I take issue with.

When a reporter and a scopist agree to work with each other, each has to trust that the other will fulfill their end of the bargain. When it works, it's a great relationship and a benefit to both. When one drops the ball, though, and doesn't live up to the agreement they made when they decided to work together, it can cause some pretty serious damage to the one who did live up to their agreement.
Well said!! I totally agree!! The economy is scary. I definitely pay my scopist ASAP and forego other bills in doing so sometimes, just not the ones that report to the credit bureau, such as mortgage, car, etc. If I have to, I'll wait till the last minute on those but get the scopist paid because I definitely want them to keep working!!! We all have to survive somehow. I was just saying, I guess, that I am a very frugal person compared to a lot of people I know!!
For the $2,000, I would do small claims ct....or just take the loss on your taxes at the end of the year.

I would not name names. Maybe at the Yahoo group, but I still might not. I would take it as a learning curve and be sure to start w/small jobs w/a new reporter in the future and test the waters. I have many fears to just 'pick up' some scopist online. I have been working w/my own for a year and if she could not do a job I would just do it myself. We work on 'private' issues....I just don't feel comfy tossing my work to just anyone advertising.

Mentioning that, as just saying a scopist should be just as careful. {{HUGS}} and it is hard, but this is life. We learn by our mistakes. ;)

or just take the loss on your taxes at the end of the year.

Can't do that if you're on a cash basis accountingwise (wow, that's an ugly word), only accrual.
Check with your accountant. You could write the amount off as a "Gift," but then send them a 1099. That way it's counted as income for them and they at least have to pay taxes on it. I worked for a dentist once and this is what his accountant told him to do for several patients who owed him a substantial amount of money.
I totally agree, Veronica. BTW, that web site I was talking about is the yahoo group, scopist.com.


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