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Frequently Asked Questions on TOS changes regarding information sharing and interviews

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Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
101 of 794

Nasif S wrote:

My client wanted to take my interview in a zoom call. But right then and there Upwork bot said it would be a violation of ToS to communicate before the client hires me! It even treated that they would suspend my account. 

This is strange. I attached a screenshot. If the client wants to communicate in his preferred way, what can I do about it? And it's pretty normal to do this from the client perspective.

So can anyone please help me with 100% knowledge regarding this?
I don't want my profile getting suspended.


The pop up is correct. To communicate with the client PRIOR to a contract being in place, you need to use Upwork calling system. You cannot use Zoom (unless they are an Enterprise client, I believe). 

 

This TOS change occured on June 26. You and the client (if they are not new) both should have received an email about it. Additionally, if you are new, it was in the TOS that you and they signed when you joined. 

 

So yes, that is the rule. Communicate through Upwork. Use the Upwork call system. If the client asks for Zoom, simply reply to use the Upwork call system per their TOS. It's pretty simple. 

 

If you have a contract offered and accepted with this client, then you can communicate through any means you want, but not until you have an accepted contract. 

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Active Member
Jessica G Member Since: May 27, 2020
102 of 794

Nasif S wrote:

My client wanted to take my interview in a zoom call. But right then and there Upwork bot said it would be a violation of ToS to communicate before the client hires me! It even treated that they would suspend my account. 


 

You are correct to be concerned.  It sounds as if the potential client was not fully aware of the new Terms of Service changes that took place in late June.

 

In this case, a simple reminder helps:

"To abide by the Upwork TOS, prior to the contract we must keep our communication confined to the Upwork tools.  I'm happy to jump on an Upwork Call with you which will provide us with video calling and screen sharing features. I can initiate the call now if this is still a good time for you.  Once I am under contract we can use the communication tools of your preference."

To start the call click on the phone icon at the top of the conversation and choose an Upwork call (like a Zoom) or a phone call if you need audio-only.  

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Active Member
Waleed A Member Since: Jul 22, 2020
103 of 794

As a beginner on Upwork, I just to know about Upwork Policy of sharing link in Proposal.

I just want to share my dribble portfolio link in Proposal so I can explain and display my previous work to my client. Can I share this link in the proposal? **Edited for Community Guidelines**

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Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
104 of 794

Hi Waleed,

 

Thanks for your question. Yes! We know sharing your past work is important. Therefore, you can share links to external portfolios when you submit a proposal. Note: We understand external portfolios may include contact information, it is still fine to share these, though please make sure to ask the client to only contact you via Upwork.


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Ace Contributor
Emmanuel I Member Since: Jan 28, 2018
105 of 794

What do you do when one of the screening questions by One of Upwork’s largest Enterprise clients is to share your email address, and yet according to upwork you'll be violeting the TOS??

 

What is the best thing to do??

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
106 of 794

Emmanuel I wrote:

What do you do when one of the screening questions by One of Upwork’s largest Enterprise clients is to share your email address, and yet according to upwork you'll be violeting the TOS??

 


The rules specifically exclude Enterprise clients

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Ace Contributor
Emmanuel I Member Since: Jan 28, 2018
107 of 794

Thank you Petra, that's very helpfull.

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Community Guru
Rafsun S Member Since: Feb 10, 2018
108 of 794

In 3 days, 103 Pages had passed on this original post. There are lots of Freelancers and Clients shared their opinions.
Maybe more than 95% of people just shouted against it as a bad decision. Here, you didn't change anything except the NDA process which was the funniest force to both Freelancers and Clients. But it's good that you have changed it and permitted it before accepting a job.

In a word, you have restricted all kinds of communication ways...even sharing an e-mail address during the interview for the reason of your insecurity. And today I installed UW mobile app. That was horrible. I even can't enter the messages there and everything was too slow...like a snail. Also, I didn't find any video call options neither from desktop or mobile (I failed to enter in messages from the mobile app) I uninstall that and was thinking, how come a company can have such a bad App! Even any unknown company has a better app than yours.

As a Freelancer of Upwork, I never contacted any UW clients or any UW clients had never contacted me outside of Upwork. Yes, sometimes, I might need to talk/chat with them via Email, Whatsapp/Skype especially when I was outside of my studio. But we were always contracted through Upwork and as a commonsense, it's safe to get the money from the clients via Upwork. Personally, I can't even think to get money from the outside of UW...simple reason...there is no guarantee to get payment from outside of UW without a milestone. So I can't even think about that. So whatever the media we choose for the communication, we must have to come here for the deal...for getting the money guarantee. Upwork will never miss a 20% commission.

Honestly, I can manage it without using other communication media. But I really have a major problem if I can't share my email address during the interview if a client is not able to share their Gdrive/Dropbox links without email ID. Though I am not clear what do you mean by "We also have Dropbox integrated already in Upwork Messages". Please note that there needs to create a link for GD/DB and there are many clients who are not able to create and share properly the GD/DB links. I taught many clients how to create GD/DB links. At the same time, I failed to teach them this simple thing. The client asked my E-mail ID and I needed to share my email ID in the UW message in those cases. I can't accept any job without checking the client's sources. Avoiding those clients or Flagging them as Inappropriate only because of asking an E-mail address can't be a good way. This thing will make the process harder and you might lose potential clients. This is a very major thing UW should think about. Please don't submerge yourself in your imaginary insecurities.

Again especially when we are at the outside, your app or browsing from Mobile Chrome is not comfortable. your app is useless and browsing from chrome or others is a long process. You should have a Mobile App which can show a notification (messages/offers/invitation) after turning on the internet connection like messenger, WhatsApp or other media have. It's okay when we are on the PC but it's not okay when we are outside... on the mobile.

I am not sure but I guess, you are suspecting the clients who are posting jobs but not hiring. I guess you are thinking those clients perhaps hiring from the outside. They might or they might not...who know? But blocking everything will not give you anything positive. You will lose Freelancers and clients.

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Ace Contributor
Adam P Member Since: Jul 3, 2015
109 of 794

Hey Rafsun,

I don't think Upwork has a problem with you contacting actual clients off the platform.
They have an issue with you sharing and communicating off the platform with potential" clients.

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Ace Contributor
George S Member Since: Jun 2, 2011
110 of 794

I haven't read all messages so not sure if this has been mentioned, but one further thing that comes to mind is that this new rule makes it impossible to perform any due diligence / know your client (KYC) on prospective clients that must be done before entering a contract. This is potentially illegal in some countries or circumstances. I have personally been asked on a number of occasions by both my bank as well as anti money laundering authorities to provide both my due diligence procedures for prospective clients and certain due diligence reports on my past clients. So next time that they ask me I'll have to say that I'm not allowed to get identification details about the client before entering into a contract?! My bank won't be happy about that for sure. Do you even realize the gravity of this? Are we supposed to enter into a long term contract with a client and not be allowed to fully identify the client beforehand?

 

As I think has also been mentioned by others, there is also the issue of Tax. When I work with fellow EU clients, I need to ask for the VAT status and if they are VAT registered I need to check the validity of their VAT number (which includes identifiable details) before starting the contact as that will determine whether my rate should include VAT or not.

 

Does it seem that with the new exceptions you are now allowing identification details to be shared? ..I really cannot make any sense out of this. By the way, you can write as many exceptions as you like in this forum but unless they are specifically written down in the Terms and Condition document these exceptions don't really apply. So hopefully there will be a clear list of exceptions in the ToCs

 

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