Wanted to inform all my wonderful CSR colleagues, as I've seen many job posts this week from this agency, that there are jobs being offered through this site for flat rate reporting fees.  What does that mean?  You get paid one flat fee of ___ regardless of how many pages you report in 4 hours.  There is nothing illegal in this state about compensating freelance reporters with flat rates, but I do not see any mention of the flat rate pay in the job offer posts, and I think reporters need to inquire before accepting these jobs.  Do the math.  Approximately 50 pages an hour times 4.  Flat rate divided by that number is what you're getting per page if the depo goes 4 hours.  They are WCAB depos, so probably would be less pages, but that is a risk you take by accepting these assignments.

There are a lot of underworked reporters right now.  I think this agency is counting on it.

 

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Who is the agency?  Helps to have a heads up when the job offer goes out.

Kelli,

 

I do believe it's DirectDME itself.  If you go to DirectDME.com, they expound on their "network" of court reporters, etc.

HTH

Thank you for bringing this to general attention.  I personally can't imagine not asking an agency about what they pay and how right off the bat, but evidently, many reporters need to develop this habit.

Thanks for sharing, Karen!  Yes, everybody better ask rates before taking a job!  

I have a very small agency, a handful of clients of my own and have reporters who help me out covering jobs.  One of my biggest clients is WCAB and, YES, I got a call from "Direct DME" stating that my clients love working with me, but that my clients are now required to go through Direct DME on a bulk of their files.  So she proceeded to tell me that she would love to add me to the "preferred list."  I thought this was a great idea UNTIL she told me that I would receive a flat rate for each job!!!!  I was shocked.  I asked how much the flat rate was (thinking, okay, maybe we can make this work and I can still pay the reporters a decent rate), and it was $350!  And keep in mind that is to ME!  So if I were to have a reporter cover that job, what would I pay the reporter?  Ridiculous!  I told her that it was extremely insulting and that there is no way I'd help ruin our industry!  She did tell me that she has had agencies hang up on her.  I didn't do that, but I did tell her how disgusted I was at that rate!  She proceeded to tell me that I can make it up on the amount of work I will receive.  Well, that doesn't help THE REPORTER at all!  It is out there.  Can't believe it.  I also know that times are tough and that reporters have to do what they have to do, but I surely hope this goes away and that the agencies eventually tell them to go pound sand!!!!!!

Karen:

Volume is the key word, and you are right - the profit comes on the backs of the reporter.  Read this from DME's website:  "directDME, Inc. is a national provider of durable medical equipment (DME), transportation and language translation services, home and vehicle modifications, and hearing aids. As a member company of and a preferred vendor for Chartis, directDME offers many advantages to its policyholders as well as national employers and Third Party Administrators (TPA). In addition to first-rate service and quality programs at the industry's lowest prices, directDME provides successful cost containment programs that differentiate us from our competition."

A member company of an insurance company providing reporting services?????   How can that be?   Isn't there a conflict there?   If you have any info on DME and how it operates, please message me privately.

The flat rate deal I'm talking about is not DME's but another insurance company.  And the rate paid to the agency is lower than the one offered to you by DME :(  So it seems this is becoming a new compensation model for reporters.   And as you've said, it will only stop if and when reporters stop covering the jobs or demand a flat rate that meets or exceeds the page rate model that is customary in our industry.  



Just think what a sloppy transcript they will get back because for that rate, no one will have time to proof their work; you have to turn that stuff around pretty fast to make any money.

Kelli:

Agreed.  But IMO, that doesn't help our profession at all and plays right into the hands of the Digital Recording people, FTR, AAERT, etc., who are gearing up to try to replace us in California as we speak :(

Perhaps by getting the word out, we can empower reporters to at least ask the question about what exactly will they be paid BEFORE they accept the jobs??    The present economic environment is perfect for this compensation model.  Will it last?  Only time will tell.

 

Kelli, one of the requirements that the woman at Direct DME told me was that I had to have the transcripts in to Direct DME in eight calendar days in pdf form.  They forward it to the attorneys.  So yes, can you imagine?  Getting your transcript in within eight calendar days for a flat rate?  Crazy.  Makes me sick.  I haven't checked out their site, but I am LOL at these quotes that are on here from their site.  Do they even know what a court reporter IS?  Not sure.....
Karen Diaz, was that $350 flat rate for any job, or was that workers' comp deal?
Sorry, Patricia!  I haven't been back here since I posted!  This particular client that gave them my info to be "put on their panel" was workers' comp.  When I spoke with the woman on the phone, she told me it would encompass more than workers' comp; they were EXPANDING fast.  Lovely, huh?  UGH!!!
Luckily for me at least at this point, I don't take WCAB work.  Anyone should ask the question, though, of any agency before picking up work.

Doesn't matter if it's only WCAB work.  That's how it becomes accepted and spreads through the industry.

I came on the site just now because I heard about this today.  A firm owner just told me about this when I dropped off something.  She doesn't take WCAB work, mostly medical malpractice, high tech, and patent stuff, but has had a few attorneys call to ask if she would accept a flat rate for a big case.     

I am in SF Bay Area - there's a firm in SF, supposedly working with a firm in Florida charging flat rate. 

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