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PostPosted: January 5th, 2004, 5:23 am 
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Joined: October 7th, 2003, 5:44 pm
Posts: 6
Location: New Zealand
Hi there, my name is Lisa and for the past four months I had been working as an academic writer for a firm called The Paper Experts.com which supply custom written papers. I know it is not a very noble part of the writing field, but I wanted time to sit at home and finish my book and home school my child and this was the only way i could write regularly and get paid. I was also working for a really great firm called Doctortext, that are really good because you can pick and choose the assignments you want to complete. The only reason I signed up to Paper Experts is because they were paying $8 per page flat rate, and i really needed the money.
However over the late October November period (2003) paper experts were sending me paper after paper until I was expected to do the best part of 50 pages A DAY. I was working 14 - 16 hours a day trying to cope, but as Paper experts assign the work, I felt I had to do it. They were even ringing me on my cell phone from Canada (where they are based) asking me if I could squeeze in this paper and that one, and eventually I collapsed and spent two days in hospital.
When I got out it was to find that i had been fired for not completing the jobs on my assignment list. So I wrote and asked if they could send me the $2460 they owed me for the previous two weeks work (that is how busy i had been) and they said no, but a few days later, I got a check in the mail for just over $2,000 which i duly wrote and thanked them for and banked. Imagine my horror when my bank rang me just after New Year to tell me the check had been stopped and as i live in NZ and are subject to exchange rates i owed my bank money for refunding the check to the states (canandian banknning through USA).
i want to sue them for my money, but i can't. I live in NZ on a really limited income. I wrote and told them that they were breaking the law by 'selling' my papers to their clients without paying me, but I don't have a contract, only email communication and no way of reaching the customers who now have my (copyrighted) papers. paper experts have not bothered to reply.
That check in NZ dollars was worth over $3000 to me. It was going to pay our household expenses for two months this year, and now I am frantically scouring the net looking for more work. I wasn't going to post this as i was afraid if someone from Doctortext saw this, maybe I could loose my job there, but I know that they are a great site to work for, and that I have not breached any ethical laws here. I have just been really stupid working without a contract.
Why I am posting this is because I know I am not the only writer who takes academic work to help pay the bills as they try to finish their own creative efforts. Please be warned about Paper Experts - you only need to make one mistake with them, to have all the hard work you have done for them disregarded. Get a contract if you are working for a firm - Doctortext is good like that, all the writers have a contract. But don't be blinded by the few extra dollars per page as i was - get a cast iron contract before delivering any goods at all.

If anyone else has had similar experiences i am happy to converse with them off line, especially if they know what I could do about getting my money back, or perhaps you may know of similar academic sites that are actively looking for writers?

This has been a wake up call for me in 2004 - I don't want to see anyone else get in the same position.

Happy New Year to You all
regards
Lisa Oliver
dcc@maxnet.co.nz
New Zealand

_________________
Author of 29 Ways to Thrive through Perimenopause
Author - How to Find Your Soul Mate
Freelance Journalist for Out and About and Hibiscus Publishing, NZ


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2004, 1:46 pm 
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Joined: January 7th, 2004, 1:38 pm
Posts: 2
Lisa,
As far as not having a "contract", you may find that if you have email correspondence with these people, in which they asked you to do the work and you replied in the affirmative, and especially if it includes the page rate, that that would be considered a "defacto" contract.

I was (sort of still am) in a similar situation with another publishers, and it went to court. The email correspondence I have was enough for my attorney to obtain a settlement. But I'm not a lawyer, so please don't take this as gospel. However, that may not be enough help to you -- you're still in NZ after all. And maybe that's why they called you on your cell to ask you to do the extra work... :cry:

Good luck!


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2004, 3:50 pm 
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Joined: January 7th, 2004, 3:22 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Oklahoma, USA
Hi kiwi-

I did some writing for Paper Experts too. I found them flaky; they called me at home a lot too, asking me to take on more work. I made use of the "decline" option regularly, though, so I didn't let them swamp me with work. If I understand their rules, you can't be held responsible for writing that you don't accept, and assignments can only be accepted by you. The other poster is correct, too, that any correspondence you have with them that includes statements about the employment or remuneration qualifies in court as a contract. They can fire you if they want, but they cannot hold money for work you've already completed. Get on the site and print a copy of the list of papers you've completed asap. Your writer profile on the site also states the rate of pay ($8 per page), so by accepting anything you wrote for them they agreed to pay you that amount. You could definitely win this lawsuit if you chose to pursue it. I would send a certified letter outlining exactly what you demand from them and explaining that the next communication will be from your attorney. Like I said, they're flaky; they'll probably crack easily.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: RE: paper Experts
PostPosted: January 7th, 2004, 5:31 pm 
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Joined: October 7th, 2003, 5:44 pm
Posts: 6
Location: New Zealand
Thank you to the two people who replied. Unfortunately I was 'shut-out' of the site as soon as I was fired, but the check they sent me came with an invoice that showed the papers it was supposed to be paying for - so would that and the stopped check be proof enough of money owed be worth anything in court, does anyone know? Replies off-site are fine, but the answers may be of use to others in this situation.
regards
Lisa Oliver
dcc@maxnet.co.nz

_________________
Author of 29 Ways to Thrive through Perimenopause
Author - How to Find Your Soul Mate
Freelance Journalist for Out and About and Hibiscus Publishing, NZ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 7th, 2004, 5:45 pm 
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Joined: January 7th, 2004, 1:38 pm
Posts: 2
I would say the stopped check is definatly proof that they owe you money! Why else would they write you a check in the first place? (well, ok, not strictly true, I'm sure there could be a million reasons involving the collection of used cigarette butts they bought from you on Ebay, but I think you get my drift :D)

As the last poster said, print off copies of your papers on their site -- can you get someone else to log on and do it for you if they've blocked you out?

It really sounds like you've got an excellent basis for a lawsuit --but of course, they may well be on the verge of bankrupcy or something which is why they aren't paying. But if they are simply being obnoxious, then they may crack under the pressure.

My (simplistic and definately not lawyer-ly) understanding of such matters is that you would bring a suit against them in their district court. In the US, this would come under collections, or bad debts. I doubt you need to be physically present in their part of the world to at least start proceedings. What I did in your situation (although both me and the publisher were in the US, so it was a bit easier) was find an attorney who specializes in business collections, and who would work for a percentage of the money, when it comes in. If nothing comes in, you don't have to pay a penny, except for small amounts for photocopying etc (it was under $100 in total for me). The downside is that the attorney will take a hefty sum for their services -- 35% was what they took from me -- but in a situation where otherwise you will get nothing, 65% of a x is better than nothing.

I did try a collection agency prior to this, but IMHO, it's a waste of time trying this on a business. The agency was going to take a lesser % of monies, but they suceeded in collecting a big fat zero. A business has less to lose than an individual when threatened in this way, and all it did was buy them another three months to not pay me. So, my humble advice is stop messing around, go straight for the jugular and find an attorney who will represent you, on a commission basis. You'll be able to find one via the internet!

Good luck!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 12th, 2004, 9:04 pm 
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Joined: September 18th, 2003, 11:18 am
Posts: 21
Location: Texas
All I can think of is how unsurprising this is -- a firm that sells papers to cheaters in schools cheats itself! We as writers should not support such cheating. Look who ends up burned -- us! You just can't expect a company based on lies to be honest with you. I hope you get your money and also that you will steer clear of businesses like this one.


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 Post subject: Bad check?
PostPosted: January 14th, 2004, 5:56 pm 
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Joined: January 14th, 2004, 5:39 pm
Posts: 1
If you have a bad check, then the company broke the law. Passing bad checks is a criminal offense. Contact the police or the district attorney in the city where the deadbeats are located, tell them you want to file a criminal complaint, and let the cops do their thing. After contact by the police, most everyone would rather pay up than go to jail. Also, keep calling the deadbeat's bank to find out if the check is good ("Merchant Verification"). When it is, re-submit, electronically, if you can, with the help of your bank. Good luck.
-Ed


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 Post subject: Bad Cheques
PostPosted: January 14th, 2004, 6:15 pm 
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Joined: October 8th, 2003, 4:46 pm
Posts: 687
It's only a criminal offense in the USA if it's done to recieve goods. Bad cheques written to pay an invoice or other debt rarely fall into this category in most states to th ebest of my knowledge.

Regardless of that, Canada is not a state and I seriously doubt they'll waive the extradiction treaty for this. The situation she has described is probably not a criminal offense in Canada.

What may be of issue is whether or not the writing and selling of papers is legal, since the primary market for these companies is in selling to students who then pass of the work as their own. Certainly it's the student who is at fault, but in the USA particularly, there is a lot of extended fault decisions being made by the courts. That is where not only is the drunk driver at fault, so is the bartender who server him; Not only is the murderer at fault, but so is the psychiatrist who was treating him, or the company that manufactured any drugs he was using.

I don't mean to be hard on the unpaid writer, but when you work for an unethical organization I don't see why it is so surprising when you're treated in an unethical manner.

Cat


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PostPosted: January 14th, 2004, 6:25 pm 
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Joined: October 7th, 2003, 5:44 pm
Posts: 6
Location: New Zealand
I really appreciate the comments - good and bad about this situation. My problem here I think is that Paper Experts supposedly pay me to take ownership of my papers, which they then sell on to students too lazy to write their own. I understand this. I thought that i owned the papers until I was paid and therefore I felt that Paper Experts were in the wrong because they were selling on my papers (written to client specifications) which they did not own, because they had not paid me.
I don't know enough about law in Canada - particularly copyright and debt aspects. If anyone out there knows any more about this type of situation please answer me off list with any suggestions. I realise that if this company had been in the States, I could sue them, but can I in Canada? Do they have a copyright law? Can they stop checks after receiving goods? Does anyone know?
I have always thought academic writing like this was almost the 'prostitution' side of a writing life. Selling all rights for a few dollars a page is not a great way to be a 'writer'. Unfortunately it is one aspect of writing I am really good at and I know there are firms like Doctortext for example who do pay their writers regularly and who are a decent firm to work for. The money I lost equated to two months worth of groceries for my family which I now have to make up in some way. So if anyone out there themselves work for a good academic site, and know they are looking for writers, please let me know off list.
I really appreciate all comments and assistance
regards
Lisa
dcc@maxnet.co.nz

_________________
Author of 29 Ways to Thrive through Perimenopause
Author - How to Find Your Soul Mate
Freelance Journalist for Out and About and Hibiscus Publishing, NZ


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PostPosted: January 15th, 2004, 7:04 pm 
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Joined: September 18th, 2003, 11:18 am
Posts: 21
Location: Texas
Kiwi, I think that it's very sad that you are going to continue to persue work with companies who are unethical in the work they do and will continue to be part of this unethical business. I understand that you don't have a lot of money (do any of us writers have big bucks? hee) but since your talent lies in academic writing maybe you could investigate another outlet for that talent. Maybe you can do technical writing or even work for a place like the Psychological Copr./Harcourt who put out standardized tests for schools. That's one avenue at least. I do hope you will not have to be a "writing prostitute" as you put it. Try to hold out for somethingbetter or maybe just look into other things you can do with your skill. Academic writing isn't all there is, and it would be a shame not only to support these firms but to maybe end up burned again with all that effort and time lost.


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 Post subject: expect more
PostPosted: January 16th, 2004, 1:15 pm 
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Joined: January 13th, 2004, 4:38 pm
Posts: 426
These companies are in the business of cheating. That is what they do. They encourage students to cheat, and you are a part of the cheating when you work for them. If you continue to work for cheaters you can expect to be cheated by them regularly. This is only common sense.

You really need to put some effort into finding a better way to make money at writing.


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 Post subject: paper experts
PostPosted: January 20th, 2004, 5:31 pm 
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Joined: December 25th, 2003, 5:15 am
Posts: 2
Location: England
watcha Lisa,
you have to remember, you are in NZ, the offenders are in Canada, both places have laws rooted in the English system, the House of Lords will hear(I think) appeals from all Commonwealth countries, so very likely the legal systems are similar. Over here in England it has been my experiance that claims for money owed are heard in the claiments area, not the debtors. Get some legal advice and screw them girl.
best
Mick


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PostPosted: January 20th, 2004, 8:50 pm 
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Joined: October 8th, 2003, 4:46 pm
Posts: 687
Yes, but so to are the rulings only relevant in the claimant's area, or whatever area the legal procedings are heard in. So, assuming her $2000 legal fees get her a positive outcome, all that means is that any monies the debtors MAKE in the jurisdiction of the rulings can be rendered executable, garnished or attached (or whatever the legal term is depending on where and the type of prceedings and rulings) a certain amount (often 15% of net - but again, that vaires depending on the type of ruling, where it is, etc.)......chances are the company never makes any actual monies in her state (you cannot garner virtual funds in most instances). And in most instances you cannot slap any garnish on funds outside of jurisdiction, unless the rulings fall under some sort of federal jurisdiction, and in this case, since she is dealing with a foreign government, the US feds mean squat. As far as I understand collection of debt, and I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.


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PostPosted: January 20th, 2004, 11:12 pm 
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Joined: February 8th, 2003, 9:06 pm
Posts: 296
Location: Canada
Why don't you try contacting one of the TV news stations in whichever province The Paper Experts operates in. I took a fast look at the site but didn't see any contact information. On the order page for students paying via Western Union it used the state's initial's ON, assuming they may be operating out of Ontario? Here's a link to contact Global TV in Ontario http://www.canada.com/toronto/info/contactus.html CBC is another big news station http://www.cbc.ca/ and CTV is a national station too http://www.ctv.ca/ It's hard to say how interested they are in a story about someone in NZ being scammed by a Canadian company, but they might be already be looking into a story about them selling papers to students and one more thing about them is they bounce checks to persons they hire to write these term papers. Who knows? You could also search for the Better Business Bureau website in whatever city they operate in and send them a report. Its hard to say what kind of sympathy you'd garner. As someone else pointed out this company is in the business of helping students cheat. You're helping the students cheat by supplying papers, and ironically you got cheated too.


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 Post subject: a bit unfair?
PostPosted: January 28th, 2004, 2:11 pm 
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Joined: January 7th, 2004, 3:22 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Oklahoma, USA
I'm not trying to stir the pot, here, but I think it's a bit unfair for people to jump on poor Lisa for asking our advice. I've been a college teacher for 10 years, so I'm the last person to advocate cheating, but the fact is the business is legal, which means that if the company cheats a writer that writer is not to blame. If I went to a photo shoot for Penthouse (just an example--I don't do that) and they used my pics but didn't pay me, I would not expect the BBB to say, "Well, what did you expect? It's a dirty business. It's your own fault!" It's not her fault. Of course they're full of it, but term paper companies do make buyers promise not to use this copyrighted material as their own work, under penalty of law. I understand they have no intention of following through, but students are the ones breaking the law, not the company--and certainly not the writers.

As a side note, any teacher with even a bit of awareness catches these kinds of papers anyway; it has become a routine part of the job, unfortunately. Free internet papers are terrible, and they're also easy to find when you want to bust someone. Bought ones tend to be higher quality, often too high to be written by the student. So even though you don't have direct evidence, all you have to do is set them down and say, "I really love your use of Barthes here--can you tell me how you came up with that idea?"

Again, I'm not advocating the business--it's a sad symptom of the huge disease called commodified education. But let's not pile on Lisa for bringing a perfectly legitimate question about a legal business to the forum.


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