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Two days ago, i did a medium size job for an agency on Smartcat. The customer approved the job and was happy with the result. So was I. As a freelancer it is crucial to get a steady flow of assignments for you to be able to support yourself financially. Only ONE day after the job was done, i receive this message from support:

Hello! You have performed translation services for XXXXXXX on Smartcat. We have received information from them that they are experiencing financial difficulties and will be able to pay for your job in a 4 months period. The client apologizes for the current situation and any inconveniences this is causing. 

To be notified is good and sometimes we all have bumps in the road, but what happens if they don't pay in 4 months time? But, hypothetically, what is stopping other customers from using an approach like this on purpose? Make you do the job before they tell you they can't pay for it? Does SmartCat help out in that case?

Edited by Eli Knutsen
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Hi Eli,

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I've spoken to the Smartcat staff and they told me quite a few things.

First, I'd like to remind people that Smartcat and the Freelancers are on the same end of any project agreement. Smartcat only gets paid if the Client pays, and therefore only if the Freelancer gets his duly owed money.

Smartcat does its best to try and minimize situations like this, but these are bound to happen no matter in which platform or circumstance. There will always be people trying to cheat the system, finding an upper hand, disappearing at convenient times and being shady in general. Smartcat is a platform which connects Clients with Freelancers, but we can't take responsibility for either of the parties, nor enforce outcomes.

I'm not saying that this specific Client was trying to cheat anyone, they might really have encountered a grievous issue, though either way, it is regretful to everyone involved. We are yet to see what happens with this situation. Smartcat has frozen this Client's account so that they need to resolve this impasse before they can continue using the platform, and that is the best that any intermediate can do.

As I mentioned before Smartcat is also constantly in development and they are working on updates that will help minimize these unfortunate instances, which I believe are already quite minimal in frequency. I'll be interested in getting to know those measures once they are released.

So Eli, I think there isn't much you can do right now about this. Hopefully you will be compensated for your effort in the most timely manner as possible by the Client. I have been through a similar situation recently. A renowned agency in Singapore hired me to translate two projects. I did, delivered, they accepted them, and 7 months later and I'm still waiting on them for paying the projects. No contact attempt gets answered.

I could go out of my way to "mud their names", but I'm not sure it's worth the effort. What I can do is simply not recommend them to anyone and not accept work from them anymore. It's unfortunate, but it happens and we kind of have to learn how to live with it. :(

It would be interesting to know any alternatives to that. Working with a global clientele has its pros and cons.

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