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A Warning on Scam Websites Offering “Proofreading Services”

21st February 2019 blog

We often have people coming to us for help after being either outright scammed or extremely disappointed with the service they received from another proofreading and editing service provider.

Quite simply, there are a number of “proofreading service” websites online that are either outright stealing people’s money or are ripping them off by giving very poor quality service.

This is bad for everyone in the industry because it makes potential clients wary of ordering proofreading services online.

As such, we have written a checklist of considerations you should make before choosing a proofreading service to ensure that it is both:

1) Safe, secure and reliable

2) Providing a quality service

Analyse any proofreading services you are thinking of using against the five following considerations to be sure you will not be left disappointed with your choice.

Consider costs

You want to find a service that is affordable for your budget, but do be wary of any that appear a little too cheap. Remember, it should take between 30 minutes and 1 hour to complete 1,000 words of proofreading to a good standard.

As such, it is easy to work out whether a price is too good to be true by asking yourself the following question:

Would the rate for 1,000 words cover up to 60 minutes time of a skilled professional that is suitable to the task of proofreading and editing your document?

For example, if you’re a student, would the price you’re being quoted per 1,000 words cover a PhD from your field to work for 30 minutes to an hour?

If the price seems low, it almost certainly means that the editor who will review your writing is either inexperienced/under-qualified or will rush through the document at the expense of its quality.

Look for independent reviews from previous clients

One of the best ways to evaluate if a company is providing a good and honest service is to search for reviews from previous clients.

A Google search of ‘company name + reviews’ should provide some links to reviews. Look for externally hosted reviews. That is, reviews on websites that are not owned by the company.

If there are lots of positive reviews then this is obviously a good sign. If there are only a small number or no reviews at all, this is a sign to be cautious.

Search reputable review sites like TrustPilot for company names or service types.

Check for a company registration

Check that the website is owned by a registered and licensed company.

For US based companies, see this list of State registrars:

US State Company Registrations

For UK companies visit the official Companies House website here and enter the name or registration number listed on the site:

Companies House WebCheck

Check for confidentiality and security policies

Look for information on the company’s policies on document confidentiality and safety.

  • Who is going to have access to your document?
  • Will it be deleted after it is returned?
  • Are they willing to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) if the information is sensitive?
  • Do staff members have to sign confidentiality agreements?

Remember, by hiring a proofreading service you are entrusting them with your important work. Be sure you feel comfortable doing this with the company in question.

Consider payment options available

Consider how the website takes payments. Are they using reputable payment gateways, such as Paypal or Google Checkout?

PayPal, for example, offer buyer protection and is a safe and secure way to make payments. They accept debit and credit cards and do not require registration.

It is best practice to never give your card or bank details to a website directly. Make sure they are using a secure payment gateway such as Paypal, Google Checkout or WorldPay.

Final comment

Use your wits and trust your instincts when you choose a proofreading service. There are a number of dishonest websites offering proofreading services and it saddens us when we hear from distressed people that have fallen victim to their unscrupulous practices and need us to help correct the other company’s mistakes.

There are also good proofreading services out there.

Whether you’re considering our service or another one, make sure that they meet these five safety checks to ensure you find a quality, honest service provider.

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