I came across a post in a Facebook freelancing group. The person posted that he was seeking an editor. I responded with my usual direct message along the lines of: “I have over 30 years of professional editing experience and would be happy to discuss your project with you.”
I received a response directing me to email my CV to another person’s email address. Spidey senses tingling, I did so anyway. Next came an email message asking for my name (um … that was in the Facebook communication) and address. The message further explained (in poor English) what the potential client expected of me and asked how much I charged “Per page of 28 pages of Magazine and Manuscript?” Next in the message came the request that I “Precisely Calculate” my estimated cost per day for eight hours, then to calculate my cost per week with a total estimated cost. Simple math could solve that problem.
Spidey senses still tingling, I responded with my agreement to edit for them for their top-of-budget $4,000 per month, stating that I would not guarantee them full-time availability. I’m freelance, you know. That means I have other clients whose projects receive the same care and attention and the time they need as I would give to his. As response came back to the effect that the client would mail me a check for 40% of the agreed-upon fee. Without a contract. Without discussing the project itself.
Now my spidey senses were really tingling!
Yesterday evening, my husband received a notice that someone had texted my business number. The poor English was a tip-off. I understand that one cannot tell whether a number is a landline or a mobile number just from the number. Shortly thereafter, he received another notice: whoever was texting wanted immediate acknowledgement.
This morning, I replied via email that the business number he texted was a landline that did not receive texts and that my cell phone number was personal. He responded immediately via email: “If your cell phone is personal how do you expect us to communicate?because I still don’t understand you , Are you kidding on this project ?”
I replied that as we were communicating via email, that seemed to be a perfectly viable option. He also had the option to call me. The phone rang.
I enjoyed a short conversation with a gentleman who spoke English as a second or even third language. He demanded I give him my cell phone number. I refused. If he needed me right away, then he wanted a guarantee that I would respond immediately. I replied that I would respond to him within one business day. He said that wasn’t good enough; he needed immediate access regardless of the time of day or what I was doing. What if I were out of the office, he asked? How could he get hold of me then if I did not give him my cell phone number? I replied that if I were out of the office, I would not be at my desk to answer and would get back to him the next business day.
We went aroud and around on that for a couple of minutes. He was not pleased. Of course, I don’t think he’s entitled to my attention whenever he demands it. No one anywhere is guraranteed an immediate reply; a response within one business day is standard. He apparently doesn’t understand the concept of hiring a freelancer.
I ended the call, stating that I probably wasn’t a good match for his expectations and thanking him for his consideration. A few minutes later, the phone rang again.
He still wants me to edit for him even though I declined the project. He agreed to my restictions on communication via email or phone call. I received another message. The check is on its way and would I alert him when I received it?
I’ve been through this before. The check will undoubtedly be fraudulent. When it arrives, I’ll notify the issuing bank and the company which supposedly wrote the check.
I hope to hoist him with own his petard.
Thank you, William Shakespeare, for that lovely phrase.