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Client promised me work and now has disappeared.

brad74
Active Member
Brad G Member Since: May 4, 2020
1 of 13

Hi guys, 

 

So I recently applied for a long-term contract and after some initial negotiation, I had a video-call interview, submitted a sample, and was offered the job - but via email, with no official contract. I asked for the contract to be formalized but was assured that it would be done so at some point further down the line.  I contacted the client about two weeks before the job was due to start and was told that everything was proceeding and that the job was due to start on time. So I waited. On the day the contract was supposed to start I got an email from them saying the project start had been delayed, but not by how long, so I replied and asked for a timeframe on this. No response. I emailed them again six days after the contract start date asking again for clarification and again got no response. 

 

This has been disastrous for me. The contract was for full-time work so I did not pursue any other opportunities and now have no money coming in. Call me naive for trusting them but I decided to go with it and see the good in people, plus there's a cultural difference. 

 

Any ideas? At the least, I do not think that this client should be allowed to use Upwork. 

 

Thank you. 

a_lipsey
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
2 of 13

When you say email do you mean through the Upwork messaging  system?  

 

There's nothing you can do. Apply for other jobs and don't expect to be working on a job until they've sent an offer through Upwork. 

 

As long as the client hasn't tried to pay you outside of Upwork,  they haven't done anything wrong and there is nothing to report. 

brad74
Active Member
Brad G Member Since: May 4, 2020
3 of 13

Hi Amanda,

 

Our initial contact was through the Upwork messaging system but the offer was on personal email. 

 

Surely there has to be a code of conduct for people who use Upwork? As I said, at least a way of reporting unprofessional conduct so other freelancers cannot be taken advantage of 

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 13

Contracts are what count on Upwork.

 

A promise doesn't count.

a_lipsey
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
5 of 13

Brad G wrote:

Hi Amanda,

 

Our initial contact was through the Upwork messaging system but the offer was on personal email. 

 

Surely there has to be a code of conduct for people who use Upwork? As I said, at least a way of reporting unprofessional conduct so other freelancers cannot be taken advantage of 


Well, you both broke TOS by communicating outside Upwork prior to  an Upwork contract being started. You must keep all communications on Upwork until a contract has started (through Upwork). 

 

The only conduct you can report is conduct that breaks the TOS.  This client has not broken the TOS, and projects get sidelined all the time.  If the client were to send you offensive messages, yes, you could report that, but simply delaying the project is not unprofessional.  That happens all the time. 

 

They haven't taken advantage of you. They didn't get free work from you. They simply delayed a project. How were you taken advantage of? You never had a contract and CHOSE to not seek other work while waiting for a  contract. Really the unprofessionalism is on your side, if you really want to look at it.  You broke TOS communicating via email, and you presumed you had a job when you had no contract.  

 

You need to read more about how Upwork works before you start reporting clients because they didn't send a contract. 

datatraveler1
Ace Contributor
Michael S Member Since: Oct 17, 2019
BEST ANSWER
6 of 13

Brad G wrote:

[...] at least a way of reporting unprofessional conduct so other freelancers cannot be taken advantage of 


Hi Brad,

 

I sympathize with your situation as I have been there too. Unfortunately, it is just not realistic to expect Upwork to be able to micro-manage and police every interaction. Especially when the parties are going off platform.

 

My guess is that you were probably left "in the dark" by the client on purpose. Then someone on the client side changed their mind (i.e. the project fell through) and it was easier to just ghost you (stop communicating) then it was to tell you the truth.

 


Brad G wrote:

 

Any ideas?


It seems that since we are in this digital world without in-person communications, you will have to expect to be ghosted 👻 until (as others have said) the contract is actually paying you. Until then, accept no promises, assume the worst and keep carrying on. Also, try to avoid going off-platform. In my experience, if the client is not willing to stay on-platform then the relationship is unlikely to develop into a successful contract.

 

Good luck

 

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a_lipsey
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
7 of 13

Michael S wrote:

Brad G wrote:

[...] at least a way of reporting unprofessional conduct so other freelancers cannot be taken advantage of 


Hi Brad,

 

I sympathize with your situation as I have been there too. Unfortunately, it is just not realistic to expect Upwork to be able to micro-manage and police every interaction. Especially when the parties are going off platform.

 

My guess is that you were probably left "in the dark" by the client on purpose. Then someone on the client side changed their mind (i.e. the project fell through) and it was easier to just ghost you (stop communicating) then it was to tell you the truth.

 


Brad G wrote:

 

Any ideas?


It seems that since we are in this digital world without in-person communications, you will have to expect to be ghosted 👻 until (as others have said) the contract is actually paying you. Until then, accept no promises, assume the worst and keep carrying on. Also, try to avoid going off-platform. In my experience, if the client is not willing to stay on-platform then the relationship is unlikely to develop into a successful contract.

 

Good luck

 


Well put. We also aren't trying to gang up on you, but trying to get you to quickly re-align your expectations so you don't have this happen again. 

brad74
Active Member
Brad G Member Since: May 4, 2020
8 of 13

Thanks Amanda

brad74
Active Member
Brad G Member Since: May 4, 2020
9 of 13
Thanks Michael, I appreciate it
feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
10 of 13

Brad G wrote:

This has been disastrous for me. The contract was for full-time work so I did not pursue any other opportunities and now have no money coming in. Call me naive for trusting them but I decided to go with it and see the good in people, plus there's a cultural difference. 

 


You're a freelancer, which means that even if this client had hired you, they're under no obligation to provide you with a specific number of hours and can stop working with you at any time, with no notice or explanation. That's how freelancing works. If you want a full-time job, then you should be applying for full-time jobs.

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