» Forums » Clients » Freelancer SCAMMED us. He built a website wit...
Page options
Community Member

Freelancer SCAMMED us. He built a website with suspicious code and made the website break regularly.

We hired a freelancer to build an entirely new version of our webshop. Everything went relatively smooth till the website was live. At that point we started to have random bugs regularly, layout breaking, features randomly disappearing etc. The icing on the cake was the day before black friday when the website randomly shut down. I texted him to look at it and was not communicating at all till 1am. That's when he said I needed to search for someone else because 'he couldn't fix it himself


I hired 2 external developers to go through the code and they found suspicious things 


1) random pieces of code where added that made the website crash=> 3 whitespaces in the theme that never were there before (only a human can do this the 2 devs told me)


2) a piece of code that made certain features on the website randomly disappeared (only a human can do this the 2 devs told me, we had to hire someone new to add them again)


3) I asked the original developer to speed up the website because it was extremely slow. Instead of improving the website we found out that he added a piece of code that made the website LOOK quicker for the tools we used to measure the speed without actually improving the website speed. (see attached files)


So to summarize: we paid this developer to build and maintain our website but we have solid proof he was actually breaking the website on purpose so we would keep paying him! 


1) how can we get our money back

2) how can we make sure this developer gets removed from upwork before he scams even more people!!


All help is appreciated!


Community Member

re: "Freelancer SCAMMED us. He built a website with suspicious code and made the website break regularly."


It sounds like this is the wrong person to have on your team.

The project manager needs to fire this particular freelancer and assign work only to high-quality members of your team.


re: "how can we get our money back"

It is typically a waste of time to try to get money back.

The best practice for clients is to proactively plan to NEVER ask for money back. Clients who decide to NEVER ask for money back end up saving time and money. Because instead of sending a bunch of money to an underperforming freelancer and then TRYING to get money back (which usually doesn't work), they monitor a freelancer's work. Especially early on. And if they don't love a freelancer's work, they fire the freelancer BEFORE sending the freelancer a bunch of money.

Community Member

Hi. Sorry for your failed webshop development.
But I can't agree with your "Freelancer scammed".
The most proper reason it that you hire no-skilled or low-skilled freelancer.
Yes. That's it.
You (or your QA) have to check each step(or ticket or page) and give freelancer feedback. 
For about money back, I think you have to pay him because he worked for you.
Of course he isn't a skilled developer, but he did something for you.

That's all your mistake.
Hire proper freelancer.

A serious client will hire a project manager for a project like this.

OR will act as a project manager himself.


A serious client knows that is is NOT the freelancer developer's responsibility to assure the success of the project. It is the project manager's responsibility.


Hi Nick,


I'm sorry to hear about your experience with this freelancer. I can see that you've already raised a support ticket regarding your concern. You can access your support tickets here. Note that support requests are responded to in the order they are received. Kindly allow 24-48 hours for the team to follow up with you and assist you further.


Community Member

Hey Nick, if you have already paid the Freelancer, it is going to be difficult to get any money back because it's a contract. Did you already pay? Thanks!

Community Member

Seen that before, more than once.


  1. Google Lighhouse measured that your website is slow.
  2. Scam freelancer use tricks in your website to present something else, that is fast, to Google Lighthouse.


So again, education is needed.


The freelancer and/or agencies should also be banned and money returned. You don't want this to happen.


And no, I don't think in this case the freelancer is a no/low skill that still needs to be paid for his time. They're scammers that should go to jail.


I can undertand leaving scam clients alone, but I see no reason to keep scam freelancers active.

re: "They're scammers that should go to jail."


But whether or not scammers should go to jail may be an interesting question to discuss. Or a fine statement of fact. But sort of irrelevent for me as a client. Because Upwork doesn't actually have the power to send scammer freelancers to jail.


And even if Upwork did have such power, where would that leave me if I'm a client who hired such a freelancer?

I still don't have a website. And I still lost money.

So I agree with the main points of your post:

Education is needed.

There will always be scammer freelancers out there.

But for me, as a client, the presence of such freelancers becomes less of a concern once I learn how to manage a project properly.


And I think one of the most important things that any client can learn is this:
It is not the freelancer's responsibility to ensure the success of your website or development project.

It is not Upwork's responsibility.

It is the project manager's responsibility.

Latest Articles
Learning Paths