Pierce Group Atlanta (PGA) delayed payment for assignments I had completed, in some cases more than 10 weeks after they were submitted. The payment process was unclear and disorganized, and the owner was deceptive about the payment schedule and evasive in communications. A substantial amount of work still remains unpaid almost 12 weeks after submission, as of this writing. Long Version: I found Pierce Group Atlanta through Craigslist, where the company was advertising for open independent contractor transcriptionist positions. The contract/NDA and other orientation materials seemed very legit from the start, and I completed a substantial amount of work for them right off the bat. The materials I was given when I was brought on described a payment process that featured weekly checks to be mailed on Fridays for all projects that were ‘closed out’ on that week. The orientation handbook states that transcriptionists can expect payment for individual assignments to be mailed one to four weeks from the time of completion and submission. The amount of work I completed led me to believe that I’d soon be receiving a steady weekly check, even accounting for the potential hangups that can often occur in this line of work and cause delays in payment. I didn’t receive my first check until 43 days (6 weeks) after my first assignment was submitted. This was after a couple weeks of back-and-forth with the owner of PGA through email. I was first told a check would be mailed out about three weeks after my first assignment was submitted, and this was well within the aforementioned payment schedule, so I was satisfied at that moment. The next Friday (eight days later) I was informed that the check did not make it out because there was a glitch with the address. (And yet the address that the owner of PGA then sent me to confirm was correct…) It was fine, I thought, as I could still get the funds in time if the check was resent that day, which was what the owner told me would happen. Eight days later no check had arrived. I emailed the owner and was told that sometimes the first check takes longer than others (though I was told repeatedly that PGA pays transcriptionists through Bank of America bill pay, and it is my personal understanding that BoA bill payments are scheduled based on the arrival date, not the mailing date). The explanation didn’t really add up. This was the beginning of what seemed like continual evasion of my queries, and deceptive explanations to the various delays. I was told that this first check was now scheduled to arrive mid-next week. This first check didn’t actually arrive until that next weekend, about 2 1/2 weeks after I expected and was told it would arrive, and more than six weeks after I submitted my first assignment. This became the recurring theme of my experiences. Checks would arrive erratically, without any sort of invoice or explanation of which assignments were covered by any particular payment. I had to repeatedly ask for this information, as I needed to keep track of paid/unpaid assignments for my own records. Clearly checks were not ‘mailed on Fridays’. For one, I don’t think Bank of America bill pay works that way. Rather, you schedule the arrival date for any given check. The owner often blamed the bank for the delays, but I can’t imagine a service such as this from BoA could be so inconsistent and still be popular, especially considering that people are theoretically using this to pay their bills on time! I have long ago stopped taking any new assignments from PGA, and had brought my concerns up with the owner. I pointed out that nothing has really lined up with the payment process that was outlined in the orientation materials. I was given no real explanation for any of this; no apologies, no admission of fault or promises to rectify the situation. I was told in many words that basically this is how PGA operates, nothing about the process will change, and that if I don’t like it that perhaps PGA wasn’t the right fit for me. This came as a surprise, as I never missed a deadline, very rarely was any of my past work returned with any feedback, and I was repeatedly told that I was doing a great job. I was under the naive assumption that I was a valued member of a team. (I’m pulling that language directly from the PGA orientation materials.) I thought the amount of work I was being offered was evidence of that assumption. It seems that the payment process is being delayed even further since I stopped taking any new work from PGA, and I still have a substantial amount of work that is unpaid. These were submitted between eight and twelve weeks ago as of this writing. I’ve been keeping diligent records of all my assignments, and I’ve determined that, if I were to miraculously receive a check tomorrow covering all of my currently unpaid assignments, the average time to receive payment for any given assignment was 56 days, or eight weeks. I don’t think payment for a single assignment arrived in time to conceivably fit within the four-week payment window that was outlined in the new-hire documents I was initially given (perhaps one did). I have queried the owner about my unpaid assignments and I’ve received the same response that I detailed above. Still no apologies or explanations, and seemingly no attempt to rectify any part of this situation. I found this job through Craigslist and everything initially seemed legit. I even put up with some of the initial payment delays because I needed the income, and the work really wasn’t so bad and there was a lot of it. In the back of my mind though I was waiting for the one email to go unanswered and for PGA to simply disappear off the map (along with all my unreceived payments), but if there’s one good thing to say about PGA it’s that I generally wasn’t ever met with complete ‘radio silence’. As far as I can tell PGA is operated by one sole person, the owner (who is the only person I ever corresponded with), though that person was quick to blame other unknown employees for the various delays in the payment process. Now that I have diversified my transcription client base I see absolutely no reason to deal with this headache in the future. I can’t recommend PGA to any other transcriptionists. PGA would probably pay for some of your work (I still have a substantial amount that is unpaid), but you can expect the payment process to be drawn out and clouded in excuses and deceptive explanations. I don’t feel that PGA in any way advocates for or supports the contractors it employs. Quite the contrary, the owner is quick to raise the defenses and seems to have a large stockpile of excuses on-hand for any possible issue that a scam-wary independent transcriptionist might run into. I recently discovered this forum post that I wish I had come across before I started taking work from Pierce Group Atlanta. This is definitely not me, but it seems like this person has had a remarkably similar experience to mine: .
This complaint and/or review was posted on HolySmoke.org on 03:34 am, January 18, 2019 (CST) and is a permanent record located at: https://www.holysmoke.org/scam/pierce-group-atlanta-review/.
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