Good morning, All. Not whining, just asking. I just got burned by a reporter I scoped a job for, and the question I have is directed mainly toward Scopists but invite any insight from Reporters as well.

I reported for nearly 30 years and never, ever did that to a transcriber or notereader! I did my own scoping when I became a CAT reporter in 1985, so, I never used a scopist, mainly because there weren't many available at that time.

How do you avoid something like that happening in the future, seriously? I consider myself to be very honest and very compassionate, but this has rattled me and I want to avoid the same thing happening again, if I possibly can.

Your advice, not your sorrow :-), will be greatly appreciated. And, yes, I believe this, too, shall pass. Thanx, Cynthia

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Hi, Cynthia...it only has to happen once, right?  Then you know to proceed with caution with a reporter who is new to you (assume that's the case here). 

I echo Dolly's comments about reporters being great people to work for.  Since 1979, when I started working with reporters, I can count on one hand the number of times I've not been paid.  Like Dolly, I ask for a small job first to see if there's a good fit and to test the waters on payment.  However, I ask for payment for this first job immediately upon receipt of the scoped file.  After that it's 30 days.

I also have a rate/reference sheet outlining payment terms.  Before I take the first job, I send an e-mail to the reporter, along with the rate/reference sheet, and I ask, "Are the terms of the rate/reference sheet agreeable to you?  If so, please reply to this e-mail to confirm our agreement."  Copies of the e-mails and the rate/reference sheet go into the reporter's job folder.  Seems like a business-like way to handle things.

Hope you love scoping as much as I do.  Thanks to this job, I've learned tons about different fields of knowledge.

Good luck...Joyce Davis

 

Make sure the reporter is honest.

This has happened to me twice, Cynthia.  Each time I emailed the reporter, re-invoiced, and did not get the issue resolved.  In one of those instances, the reporter (who owned her own agency) went out of business and declared bankruptcy.  I let that one go and wished her the best, because, really, what other option is there in that setting?  The other reporter has burned multiple scopists (many of whom are members of this forum), and in that instance after the usual invoicing and emailing, several scopists together wrote a letter to the court reporting association in her state detailing what had happened and wrote a letter to the national court reporting agency for whom she was working.  You'd think something would have come of that, but unfortunately not.

Now I exchange emails with the reporters detailing what I charge and what they should expect (ballpark) to pay me, and I ask them to agree or disagree in a return email.  At least that way I have (and they have) written down information on job size, page rates, due date, et cetera.  Perhaps you might try doing something like that in the future? 

What the other scopists have said, though, is true.  It is a small minority of reporters who act unprofessionally.  The vast majority are good, honest, hard-working folks who understand their word is their bond.  I wish you the best.

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