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Re: Terms of Service Update 2018

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
1 of 128

We’ve updated the layout of our Terms of Service making it easier to navigate, as well as added clarification to some of the content.

Our updated Terms of Service will take effect on April 20, 2018  for new users and on May 20, 2018 for all other users. The updated User Agreement was posted on Upwork.com/legal#terms today.

What’s changed?

 

Nothing major has changed in our Terms of Service, mostly modifications to improve clarity and readability.  We’ve added plain English intros to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy, as well as reorganized the Terms of Service to make them easier to read and understand.  Here are some of the key changes to be aware of:

 

  • The Site Terms of Use covers more detail - including information on how visitors can use Upwork.com, whether or not they register for an account.  

  • We reorganized the User Agreement so that topics are grouped in a more clear and understandable way  - for example, now everything in the User Agreement that you need to know about fees is in Section 5 and everything about our escrow services is in Section 6.  In addition:
    • You’ll note we’ve added a “plain English” intro to each major section explaining what the section is about.
    • We added a table of contents, making it easier to sort through the information and go directly to the section you’re looking for.  
    • Section 8 of the User Agreement used to list out the default terms between Clients and Freelancers if they didn’t make another arrangement.  We broke these out as a new agreement named the Optional Service Contract Terms.
    • We made the Circumvention and Opt-Out provisions more clear, and have raised the Opt-Out Fee from $2,500 to $3,500 per relationship.
    • We’ve made some clarifying changes to the arbitration agreement - but haven’t broadened the scope of the agreement.

  • We’ve also added Mark Use Guidelines so you know how you may use “Upwork” and our other trademarks. These are effective immediately.

 

Please read these updates carefully, including the updates to the arbitration provision.  

 

We’ll be emailing customers later today to notify them of this change. Thank you for being a part of the Upwork community.

 

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Highlighted
Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
2 of 128

Under Section 4.1 of the new User Agreement Terms of Use, "Examples of Prohibited Uses of the Site," this line is now included:

 

  • Sharing or soliciting contact information, such as email, phone number, or Skype ID, in a profile or job post or at any time prior to entering into a contract with another user on the Upwork platform;

It used to be that you COULD provide direct contact information in a proposal, and during an interview, including links to a personal website or portfolio that may contain that information. Is it now Upwork policy that there is NO off-site communication between clients and freelancers before the freelancer is officially hired?

 

This is a humongous change, if so, and deserves specific attention and announcement.

 

UPDATE: this term has been walked back. See this post below.

 

Edited to add link and correct title of document. I've had to change the link THREE times for accuracy as this seems to be a moving target!!

Community Guru
Joseph C Member Since: Jan 22, 2016
3 of 128

Confused!

 

Does that mean if the prospective client, in response to my Proposal, wants to have a telephone interview, I can't provide my phone number?

Joseph M. C. ,P.C., CPA/ABV
Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
4 of 128

Hi Jess,

 

The update noted in section 4.1 is a process we are considering but have not yet enforced. By not allowing contact information to be exchanged before entering a contract, we believe this will help deter users from being victimized by many scams which happen outside of the platform and help prevent circumvention.  Unfortunately, this is a constant issue we hear in the forums.

 

As stated previously, this has not yet been enforced and before doing so we will be making an announcement informing users of this change.  To avoid confusion, we’ve updated the Terms of Use that will become effective on May 20 to omit this change.

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Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
5 of 128

@Lena E wrote:

Hi Jess,

 

The update noted in section 4.1 is a process we are considering but have not yet enforced. By not allowing contact information to be exchanged before entering a contract, we believe this will help deter users from being victimized by many scams which happen outside of the platform and help prevent circumvention. Unfortunately, this is a constant issue we hear in the forums.

 

As stated previously, this has not yet been enforced and before doing so we will be making an announcement informing users of this change. To avoid confusion, we’ve updated the Terms of Use that will become effective on May 20 to omit this change.


So to be clear, the provision now reads that prohibited behavior includes:

 

  • Sharing or soliciting contact information, such as email, phone number, or Skype ID, in a profile or job post;

Thank you for that important clarification. (Terms of Use)

 

Yes, this is a constant issue with scammers looking to lure people off-site, but it's also an issue that clients want to verify that they're able to communicate effectively with a freelancer using their preferred methods of working. Phone/Skype interviews are common and completely legitimate ways of assuring both client and freelancer that they're actually talking to who they think they're talking to, and to get a personal sense of how they will work together. Not everyone is comfortable with a text-only exchange, and the video/voice functions in the Upwork messaging system are so buggy as to be practically useless.

 

Let's also be clear that yes, these Terms ARE in force for anyone who signs up for Upwork after today, and every page of the terms has the statement, "Effective April 20, 2018" right at the top. Your assertion that this particular section is "a process that we are considering but have not yet enforced" only applies to current users, as detailed in the Terms themselves.

 

Edited to add link, which I've now had to correct THREE times as it keeps changing!

Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
6 of 128

Hi Jess and others, 

 

The links in the the original announcement post haven't changed and we have verified that the pages they lead to are working correctly. I'd also like to clarify that the part about exchanging contact information prior to creating a contract has been removed from the new version of Terms of Service. Users will continue to be able to exchange contact information in proposals and invites but not in job posts and profiles. If anything were to change in the future, we will announce is separately.

 

We appreciate your feedback.

~ Valeria
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Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
7 of 128

@Valeria K wrote:

Hi Jess and others, 

 

The links in the the original announcement post haven't changed and we have verified that the pages they lead to are working correctly. 


This is simply not true. When the announcement first went up, the links to the new material pointed to where the old material is now. The new material had completely replaced the old. Now both versions are available, thankfully.

 

Links with the word "updated" were added at some point earlier today, while I was writing my posts here, as I had several go dead on me and had to fix them. The announcement obviously went up before the pages were ready for public viewing.

 

The problem is not that there are mistakes, the problem is when the mistakes are obscured instead of admitted and corrected. I really do not appreciate the attempt at gaslighting here - "edited" also appears quite clearly at the top of the post.

 

Additionally, there is still a major error in the labeling on the main Legal page:

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 4.16.49 PM.png

 

Obviously, that should read "effective on May 20th" and not UNTIL, which makes all the difference as to the statement's meaning...

Active Member
Sheila G Member Since: Aug 25, 2018
8 of 128

In your post you quote the TOS as saying, "

  • Sharing or soliciting contact information, such as email, phone number, or Skype ID, in a profile or job post; [is prohibited]

To look at that what you are really saying or giving some leeway on is that a person who hires another can ask for email, phone number, or Skype idea... jut not in a profile or in a job post. I know that would be legally correct if push came to shove but I just want to make sure I know ODesk's intent.

Moderator
Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
9 of 128

Hi Sheila, 


I would like to confirm that you are correct. Freelancers are not allowed to post their contact information, or any website that has a means of contacting the freelancer on their profile. At the same time, clients are not allowed to have their contact information on their job post. I hope this clarifies things. Let me know if you have other questions!


-Avery
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Active Member
Sheila G Member Since: Aug 25, 2018
10 of 128

In your post, you quote the TOS as saying, "

  • Sharing or soliciting contact information, such as email, phone number, or Skype ID, in a profile or job post; [is prohibited]

To look at that what you are really saying or giving some leeway on is that a person who hires another can ask for email, phone number, or Skype idea... jut not in a profile or in a job post. I know that would be legally correct if push came to shove but I just want to make sure I know ODesk's intent.