The vTestify Lie

I’ve often worried we too often buy into hype from voice recognition sellers. Dragon represents itself as being 99 percent accurate, but only has about a 3-star rating. Opened up to scrutiny, VR and digital recording companies don’t make the cut.

So we had a company mentioned on Facebook called vTestify. They brag about all the money they can save people on depositions. Just knowing what I’ve reported in the past, other voice recognition companies have raised a lot of money. Verbit raised $20 million. Trint raised something like $160 million. As far as I can tell, vTestify raised $3 million. Either they’re 50 times more efficient than everybody else or they’re woefully underfunded and their investors are set to lose while the company lurches along burning capital. Let that sink in for the next time somebody is trying to sell you the future, investors!

I would’ve left it there, but then another reporter brought up that they have a calculator. The claims there are laughable. They claim that they can save attorneys $3,198 per deposition. I don’t know what reporters in North Carolina are charging, but I know here in New York I could get somewhere around $4.00 a page, and maybe on a great day a $100 appearance fee. A pretty thick day is about 200 pages, only ever getting to that 300 or 400 page count occasionally. So take 200 pages multiplied by 4. 800. Add on that sweet appearance fee, and maybe it comes to 900 bucks. Even real-time reporters only charge a buck or two a hookup, so even with 6 hookups, we’re still only talking maybe a $2,000 day. We can all acknowledge that these glamorous multi-thousand dollar days exist, but the bottom line is that’s not the norm and vTestify isn’t actually saving anybody a dime. Their calculator doesn’t even make any sense. When I added the numbers they gave, I got $3,646. Somehow their calculator comes up with $4,329.

It gets better — or worse — you decide! Then we have this snippet about the court reporter shortage. Using their numbers and assuming it’s totally true, they say there are 23,000 reporters to cover 3 million depositions. What a crisis! Except when you take three million and divide that by 23,000, you get 130 and change. If every reporter took 131 depositions a year, using vTestify’s own numbers, we’d be just fine. There are about 260 weekdays in a year. Succinctly, if every reporter worked half the weekdays in a year, by vTestify’s own argument, there’d be no shortage. Let’s not forget all of the steno-centric initiatives like Open Steno, A to Z, Stenotrain, and Project Steno, that have taken place since the Ducker Report to bring people into this field. Are we really expected to believe there was zero impact and things went exactly as predicted? I don’t, and you shouldn’t either. Let’s put this another way. If the median salary of a reporter is about 57,000, reporters are only taking home, on average, 5,000 a month gross. So how can vTestify be saving anyone 3k or 4k per deposition when the average reporter is only grossing 5k per month? They can’t. But that doesn’t stop them from saying they can.

We have one decision to make in this field. Are we going to get out there and educate the consumer, or are we going to lay down and let these irresponsible companies fake it until they make it? There’s zero compunction with lying to make a buck, and customers need to know. Smart purchasers have already seen through this BS and stuck with stenographers through thick and thin, and they’ve done better for it. Tried, tested, efficient; stenographic reporters are the way to go. Maybe vTestify will figure that out and make the switch themselves!

Remember all this next time you see somebody peddling a similar product. And next time you’re making a sales pitch, ask your buyer what their monthly budget for depositions looks like. If it’s more than $5,000 a month, I have a few numbers above that say they can save a whole lot by switching to stenography.

7 thoughts on “The vTestify Lie

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  2. Hello,

    I do pretty much agree with your post here but here are some things to note.

    1- Your numbers are not factoring in the middle man (reporting firms) charges. $4 is more like $7 and even $8 a page + upcharges on pretty much everything in between.

    BUT this brings me to 2
    2- You can’t just replace the court reporter with a computer, you need a Notarized human to swear in the witness and stay on to make sure the proceedings are… well, proceeding.

    So yes, your numbers are give or take accurate. A 200 page will cost the attorney around $1400 but he has to pay that notary around $400-$500 + transcript cost which at best will end up saving him around $200-$300 all while risking objections by the other side when it is time to show it in court.

    Lot’s of reporters think that their job is to create a transcript, little they know it is a lot more complex than that.

    1. Right on. That’s a thinking technique I use for most ideas or arguments, I’ll round things up or down, usually against my argument, to see the best case scenario for the other side. I didn’t really think about the numbers in the way I think you’re looking at them, but I like the way you’re looking at them. Even if we assume using the reporter is double the money, they’re definitely not saving $3,000 a dep. I think the site has been updated since, so I may do a followup. It could be nice to see then v now.

      As far as the reporter’s job being so much more, this is something I think we got to touch on briefly in NCRA Strong’s Stenopalooza 2020 presentation. We can think of reporters as witnesses to a proceeding and a guarantor that the transcript is accurate or that someone will be available to testify if it is not.

      I’m pretty much with you. Thank you so much for coming on and leaving a comment.

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