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Bad Apples

rabih_kassar
Active

Freelancers that make you give up on Upwork, or at least force to give the next Freelancer a hard time.

 

I had a very bad experience with a Freelancer, and i have 2 choices.. Leave Upwork or the next time I hire a Freelancer make sure that they only get paid when they finish the Job completely.. No more Milestones for me.. Maybe a $20 initial payment, but the rest Upon completion of Job.. and whne you know my experience, you would not blame me.

 

I hired a Freelancer to build a website with database.. i was clear on what i wanted... I didn't choose the cheapest Freelancer, and not the most expensive.. I showed the freelancer a template for teh front end, she asked me to buy it and she will set it up and do the small changes needed and work on the backend.. i agreed and paid for it.. and paid for it to be installed on teh server because she didn't know how to.. (i should have taken the hint here)

 

Milestone 1, initial Payment paid.. Milestone 2, changes to the front end.. came 2 weeks late, for couple of hours of work, i still paid it in full..

 

Milestone 3, final.. 33 days late, complicated and useless backend, over 13 errors and the Freelancer claimed to have completed the job.. daaa

 

Negotiation didn't work.. execuses execuses.. i filed for a dispute..

 

Freelancer dragging the matter longer and longer, mediation didn't get anywhere.. Freelancer waits for the last hour to reply to mediator... pushed us to go to Arbitration.. 2 months later and another $291 for Arbitration..

 

The funny part, Upwork Escrow does not allow me to retrieve the Mileston payment already released.. That is REDICULOUS.. what can i do with a frontend (which is a template i paid for anyway) without the backend?

 

Well, it seems that it was my fault i released the payments..  

17 REPLIES 17
rivetsandink
Active

My unbiased advice here for the future would be to get a little more intense with your interview process to weed out the candidates that may be unfit for the position.  Prepare questions for every project regarding areas of knowledge the ideal candidate would be able to answer.  A question as simple as "How many years of experience do you have in database management?" or "Do you possess the skills necessary to create and manage a website database?" might have saved quite a bit of heartache if asked before the project began.  I interview potential clients in a similar fashion to determine what kind of client they are going to be.

Interviews can only go so far.

Disputes and arbitration are wastes of time.

 

What matters is results.

 

Look at profile pages. Pick the best people to interview. Do some interviews in order to choose the people who you think will best fit your project needs. But be aware that interviews alone can NOT predict which people will provide you the best value for your project, and interviews can not even screen out everybody who might be a disaster. Do brief interviews. But don't place too much faith in interviews.

 

Hire enough different developers for small tasks so that you get a feel for who is able to produce quality results, and who isn't.

 

Continue working with the people who deliver high-quality results. Forget about the rest.

re: "Maybe a $20 initial payment"

 

No. Don't do that.

 

Why? Why pay for something you haven't received.

 

Don't work with freelancers who ask for up-front payments.

I appreciate Corey's tips about interviews.

 

BUT... Good interviews won't solve all problems.

 

If you interview a brilliant freelancer who DOES know how to do all that... database design, website creation, etc., etc., that does not guarantee that she will work out.


She may be over-booked, and yours might not be her top-quality project.

 

If she doesn't deliver any work, or if she delivers some high-quality work but gets behind schedule, you may need to stop working with her and have the other freelancers on the project take over her responsibilities, or hire new people to continue the project.

This is honestly a strange response to me.  Typically, in the offline world, if someone wants to get me locked into a project a 25%-50% deposit must be secured before I initiate work on a project.  Seems a bit odd that something so common in the professional world would be frowned upon on a freelance site where the number one complaint is dealing with unprofessional users.  Securing a deposit on work, shows me that I will get paid at least partially for my efforts, even if the client is unhappy with the work(everyone should be paid something for their time), and that the client is serious about their project.  Just food for thought.

hodgesh
Community Guru

@Rabih K wrote:

Freelancers that make you give up on Upwork, or at least force to give the next Freelancer a hard time.

 

I had a very bad experience with a Freelancer, and i have 2 choices.. Leave Upwork or the next time I hire a Freelancer make sure that they only get paid when they finish the Job completely.. No more Milestones for me.. Maybe a $20 initial payment, but the rest Upon completion of Job.. and whne you know my experience, you would not blame me.

 

Nothing forces you to give freelancers a hard time. You have a third choice: Work smarter. That means:

 

1. Don't pay for shoddy work next time (check the work before releasing payment).

 

2. End the job early if your freelancer is not delivering work that is up to your standards. Don't keep setting and paying milestones.

 

3. Don't ever pay any freelancer up front (except maybe if you require that person to buy some materials).

rabih_kassar
Active

Thanks to everyone who replied.. and i take every suggestion on board..

 

As much as i am disappointed with the Freelancer, as much as i am disappointed with Upwork dispute policy and procedures..

 

If you come to me complaining that the Freelancer is not sticking with their due dates.. it is easy to check the message logs to confirm.. even easier to confirm when i, as a mediator, contact the freelancer and not get a reply until the last minute of the due date to reply.. especially when it becomes clear that they are buying time and leaving matters to drag on..

 

And more disappointing is that there is nothing a client can do about it.. For example I agreed to now to move the matter to Arbitration... the deadline to file for Arbitration is today 27/09/2016.. i haven't heard back from the mediator... I asked Customer Support what happens if the Freelancer refused to go to Arbitration.. the answer is we will ask the Freelancer to suggest a resolution...

 

Daaaaa!!!!! we already wasted 6 weeks doing that... i bet you we will waist another 6 weeks doing that again.. that's a joke

If the freelancer refuses to go to arbitration you win the dispute by default.


The 3rd milestone goes back to you and you get your arbitration fee back.

 

Money already released to the freelancer can not be disputed

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Rabih,

 

I'm sorry about the disagreement with your freelancer. I see a dispute ticket was created on September 2. and our agent's most recent message is dated September 26. As with any disagreement there are two sides of the story, and since Upwork won't take any sides and has a procedure in place for the users to utilize in order to resolve their differences, we don't allow users to discuss dispute details in the Community.

 

I can confirm the agent is following correct procedure so lease keep checking your dispute ticket, and avoid creating new support tickets.

Untitled

Vladimir, thanks for your input.

 

I am sharing my experience to learn from the replies and someone else's experience in those matters. I have not named the Freelancer, Job number or the job particulars. And clearly didn't break any rules.

 

Thanks

 

re: "Seems a bit odd that something so common in the professional world would be frowned upon on a freelance site where the number one complaint is dealing with unprofessional users."

 

Corey, I don't disagree with you that this is a practice in the brick & mortar world.

 

I think there are simply too many "bad apples" and scoundrels among Upwork contractors for it to be a good idea to pay up-front fees.

 

It IS possible for clients to pay up-front fees, but I think the practice is too easily abused. Unlike hiring somebody in person, who you meet face-to-face, and who lives in the same community that you do, hiring on Upwork entails hiring strangers who can too easily take the money and run.

 

Keep in mind that Upwork doesn't prohibit paying up-front fees to contractors.

 

But my recommendation is for all clients to NOT do so.

 

The escrow program is sufficient. Keep in mind what Upwork funded milestones mean: The money has ALREADY been charged to the client's credit card. The money is ALREADY waiting for the contractor, to be released to her once she finishes the work. This is very safe.

 

The freelancer WILL get paid unless the client refuses to pay AND the freelancer agrees to that decision.

Preston, whether it is bricks and moror, or otherwise, the ability to charge an upfront work fee should not be across the board, frowned upon.  If a clent is comfortable with a freelancer, whether it be as a result of an interview, reliance on the JSS and/or past reviews, it should be totally up to the client whether they pay an upfront or not.

 

Depending on the nature of work, if the real world practice calls for the ability to get an upfront fee then it should also be an alternative on Upwork.  Afterall, isn't the goal of freelance sites like Upwork, to become a real world hiring alternative?

Well, it IS an alternative. It IS allowed.

 

But why would you want it? I just don't understand why a freelancer would want to have that hanging over their head. The money is guaranteed to be there because escrow is funded.

 

Is it just fear of not getting paid, even though escrow is funded?

 

I have no fear of any client trying to not pay me. They want what I produce too much to try to rip me off. I'm much more afraid of not completing a project and owing something to the client.

 

It is BAD for a freelancer to agree to do a fixed-price project and not deliver. It is FAR WORSE to fail to deliver work you've already received money for.

kim_wong
Community Leader
Because it IS the way some of us work in the "brick and mortar" world. Because it IS an accepted way if doing business. Bad freelancers will always be bad freelancers. That IS life.

I don't ask for upfront payments on Upwork but I do insist that the money is placed in escrow (all of the money).

 

In my work off-site, I require a 50 percent upfront payment before I begin work. I have yet to run into a client who has a problem with this.


@Kim W wrote:
Because it IS the way some of us work in the "brick and mortar" world.

 That is because in the "brick and mortar world" neither client nor freelancer have Escrow.

 

Here they do.

 

A freelancer asking for up front payments in an environment that has Escrow will set off every warning bell going in an experienced  client.

kim_wong
Community Leader

If you say so.

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