I apologize that this is lengthy, but I feel others should be aware.
I am a freelance contractor and have a pretty good profile. I used Odesk/Upwork when I first started and don't use it too often now as most of my work comes from outside of Upwork.
I also have a client account which I basically use randomly and whenever I need some help with something. I might post for personal things or even on occassion when I need some bookkeeping help.
On Thursday, my daughter who is 21, was in need of some extra cash. Does she really like working for her mother? no. But I have a number of odds and ends that she can do for me. Calling on appointments, organizing and filing documents, running a couple errands. I decided to hire her on Upwork so that she could get direct deposit and have some consistent income weekly.
She worked one day for me. I am not even sure of how long. By Saturday morning I received a message from Upwork stating that they found some irregular activity on my contract with X (my daughter) and that some features were placed on hold while they investigated. They wanted to know the nature of the work completed including screenshots and how I was communicating with her.
This hold prevented my other contractor from working as well.
My response to them was I wanted to know: 1. An explanation of what appears to be irregular? 2. Why the nature of the work completed is any of their business and 3. Why how I communicate with her is relevant.
While they posted this question on Saturday morning, they did respond to my two inquiries (and two chats to customer service) until Monday. The response failed to answer any of my questions and instead noted that they "are limited in the amount of information we can provide regarding our investigation. While this may not be ideal for you, we've taken these precautionary measures that users cannot employ this information to circumvent our detection systems" The response then asked for the following: 1. How I know my freelancer 2. The nature of the work completed including examples 3. How I am communicating, with example screenshots of conversations.
While I responded with an explanation of this is my daughter and I don't have any screenshots, as I talk to her because she is standing in frong of me, via text and phone calls, and what I had her do,
I write this post because this whole bizarre situation raises a bigger question for me. What about the privacy of the communication and information I share with my contractor? What if I had shared financial statements with them and didn't want Upwork to see them (granted they could have via screen shots); Are there rules to how I must communicate with my contractor? They indicate that this whole thing is part of their "quaity review process" but its also an investigation. They failed to explain why? Perhaps if they mentioned something like we have people that do illegal activity, etc. I might have been more willing to give information. Keep in mind the charge for her work is $3.33. The loss of income on my part is about $300 and the the costs associated with this should my client's information be filed late (I am a bookkeper and its Tax season) could be greater.
Perhaps I am missing something? But it certainly feels off.
Why on earth wouldn't you just drop the money through paypal to your daughter or pay her cash? Why pay 10% to upwork when she's sitting right there with you?
I have no idea if your story is true, but people have been using the relative excuse for a while to double dip into the marketplace with multiple accounts. That's what got your account flagged.
This really makes absolutely no sense hiring your daughter through Upwork. I don't know about everyone else but my daughter would balk at giving up 10% of her income unnecessarily. I believe Upwork had every right to place a hold on your account.
@Danielle H wrote:
The question and concern are still the same. What caused the flag? I don't know what the relative excuse is and perhaps if I'd spent more than 3.33 cents it might have been more relevant to me.
You paid your daugher only $3.33?
huh? I told you why the account was flagged. You hired someone within the same household and it's a common excuse people use to double dip into the marketplace.
It makes no sense that you would force your daughter to pay 10% escrow fees through upwork. Makes no sense.
The relative excuse is "I have 42 people living in my house and we all work on Upwork is it OK if we work from the same place?" In other words, they make fake accounts and then say it's a relative (sister, aunt, brother blah blah).
That's what got your account flagged. It looks like you hired one of your own accounts to artificially rate multiple accounts. It should be obvious to you why they wouldn't like this.
Not because my daughter balked but because it is not normal to hire someone within your own household to do a job and pay them through a 3rd party.
Suppose I hired my daughter to babysit her two younger siblings at $20 an hour. After two hours I only give her $36 because I am giving $4 to a 3rd party monitoring the payment. WHY?
You know what you did and again it was within Upwork's right to hold your account.