Tuesday 12 February 2019

Guest blog post from a writer friend of mine

If you're interested in taking up anything this friend offers, just comment on this blog post with your email address and I'll put you in touch with them!

11th February 2019

Hey guys

I apologise in advance - this is not my usual blog (although it does impact on my writing).

The last few days I’ve had a HORRIBLE experience and I don’t want anyone to go through what my friend and I have.  I am on the verge of taking this to the press but am reluctant to do that.

I did some audio book work - 5 books x £1000 for a lady in America.  Now that is cheap at half the price - it costs an average of £2,000 for an audio book to be recorded.  Unfortunately, due to no fault of her own, she is unable to pay me for what amounts to over 100 hours (it’s more difficult than it should be and I take a pride in removing all errors AND all breaths)

Now, here’s the thing.  Some of you already know that I have trouble with my eyes so the recording was difficult to say the least.  I did a great job and the lady I did it for was more than happy with it.

So why am I having trouble getting paid???

Apparently, part of the problem is it is from America.  Why, in God’s name, should it matter where the payment is to come from?  I have done the work, she wants to pay.  End of!  Only, it’s not.

All weekend we have wrestled with this.  The payment is overdue thanks to the banks and other financial institutions reacting appallingly and doing absolutely nothing to help.

We tried Paypal who insisted I sent MORE ID - I ONLY HAVE MY PASSPORT.  They then said it would take 21 days.  I don’t have that long - especially as I specifically need that money for other purposes.  When this started that wasn’t urgent but it is now.

So we cancelled that payment and went to Moneygram.  They took the payment then rejected it.  Western Union did the same (this despite the fact that her credit card company had accepted the payment.

CHAPS (Clearing House Automatic Payment System) payment?  No, sorry, it has to be an International Payment.  CHAPS cannot  be done in a foreign country (WRONG!  Well, we can send to America so why not the other way around?)

In this time we discovered that the cost of sending money abroad (ie from America to England) is prohibitive at best.  
This is crazy.  Then we hit on Transfer Wise and was told that it would be sorted in two hours.

Cool! (Wipes sweat off brow.  Just in the nick of time, right?  WRONG!)

Transferwise emailed my colleague and asked for more information:

Who I am?
How does she know me and how long for?
What is the payment for?

She went through the questions one by one (really wanting to say it’s none of your business but anything to get the job done).

Three calls later and we finally spoke to a delightful lady called Sheree (in America) who told us it may take an hour or so but then it will be ‘real quick - and we mean, REAL quick.’  I, personally, don’t call 4 hours real quick.

You know, this money may have become important but the point is that it should never have happened.

I have done the work and I want paying for it.  Does this mean that if anyone from America wants work done (and there’s a lot of work involved in the production of an audio book) that I can’t be paid?  I refuse to work for nothing.

I know and understand why they are being difficult (they THINK they are protecting the client but it’s so over the top!)  I asked them how they’d feel if I took her to court for none payment of my work and one guy said, “I don’t care.”  Another said, “You wouldn’t do that!”  A third commented, “Why, when it will be sorted?”  WHEN?

Just so you are aware, this is NOT the only problem we’ve had with the banks - I cannot legally go into this because there is an open case ongoing.  However, what scares me (outside of the repercussions of me NOT receiving this money) is I have another payment due in within the next week (again for projects I have worked on).  

I am very, very much afraid that they will repeat this process.  

The banks and all the other financial institutions either need to be brought to book or should be obligated to make this easier.  

How is it fair that I am forced to work for free when thousands of others can get paid?  The lady who is paying me is unable to get to the bank in person so that makes life even more complicated.

Let’s see some changes here guys!

Sadly this has impacted on my writing.  I’m not able to concentrate and am needed to be on the phone during the time that my client is around so we can both answer any questions.  She is also badly behind with a strict deadline to meet.  If she does not hit that deadline (and I don’t either) then we lose a golden opportunity for publication which is cruel when the banks are the ones who have slowed us down.  We began this process on Wednesday and it’s still ongoing now - most of the time has been spent on the phone to her, trying to sort this out.  

I am disgusted by the banks who have all said, “Oh, we are so sorry.”  “This is so strange.”  “She should go into her bank!”  (This last despite me explaining that she is unable to do this).  “You shouldn’t have to go through this.”  and similar platitudes - yet not one of them offer to help.  What is next to near impossible is for us to speak to anyone personally.  It’s not QUITE as bad in England but it is dreadful in America.  Try and find the phone number to actually speak to someone from MoneyGram and Western Union (when, incidentally, I tried to pass on some very complimentary feedback to them I received an email saying they cannot take feedback - this despite the fact they ASK for it on their site and I clicked their link to do so!!!!!!!!!!!) or Transferwise and they will send you round in circles until you fall over.

I can’t take any more of this and have put in several strongly worded complaints but not even an apology from them, let alone an attempt to sort this out.

Please, guys, be very, very careful if you want to receive money from America.  I am beginning to fear it cannot be done.  I will keep you informed.  If you want me to do the work for you, I am now (after this debacle) forced to ask for at least half up front - if not the full amount.  This is NOT what I intended but I am left with no choice.  

My current offer is very generous:

1 x audio book for £1,000;  Included FREE in this offer until the end of the month are
1 x braille book (the blind are often forgotten about but they, too, love to read)
1 x review of the book
1 x interview on my new radio show which goes to over 60,000 listeners.

I will leave you with this thought (in the hope that someone from a bank reads this).  If we held on to money that was not ours, we would be arrested.  So why is it any different for the banks?  I should not be forced to limit my audio books to people in England - it should be worldwide.

Thank you for reading this long diatribe.  I will be back next week with an update and a new blog about the dreaded adverbs.  Should they be banned for life?

Read my next blog to find out.

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