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Help please! I'm being scammed by a freelancer with evidence, and upwork don't act!

Active Member
Mark M Member Since: Jun 15, 2019
1 of 13

So good people 

 

I hired a freelancer to help me on a specific project. She misconvied me into being an expert, and she asked for hourly billing, of which I was fool to accept (believing upwork will be there whenever I needed help)!

 

After she took $410 over the course of three months, I discovered upon our discussion that she was literally joking around with no work at all produced. Whenever I asked for update "I'm working on it", until boom: I found she was even talking about different topic. 

 

I disputed, she rejected the dispute, the meditation came. The mediation employee asked her three times for proof of work, she literally provided a figure of her sending google links to me! She then claimed to have worked on a code that she claimed that she made it from scratch. When she uploaded it, I posted back with the original source of that code, that this scammer didn't even change a letter from it (Yep, it was a letter-by-letter, copy and paste code, even on different topic!). 

 

After all, the employee told me that she cannot rule out in favor or anyone as mediation is about reaching mutual agreement, and that she cannot force the freelancer to reufnd the money at any case!

 

WHAAAT! She has proof of fool play and lies in front of her eyes. That freelancer never even replied back to her continues request for proof of work. Now I'm being charged $410 for literally nothing. 

 

Please help. What should I do!

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
2 of 13

Based on your description of the dispute process, this was a fixed price job. It's confusing that your freelancer "took" $410" on a fixed price contract without providing any work, since the milestone system is designed to release payment when you have received a piece of work and approved it.

That aside, it sounds like you made the mistake of jumping in without reading how Upwork works. Upwork doesn't and can't enter a ruling on an escrow dispute. If they are unable to facilitate an agreement, your next step is to pursue arbitration. That costs $291, but that's not Upwork's fault--arbitrators have to be paid. In fact, Upwork absorbs 1/3 of the cost every time a freelancer and client go to arbitration.

Active Member
Mark M Member Since: Jun 15, 2019
3 of 13

No. It was hourly contract, and it was the first time using this one. 

 

I admitted it was a mistake to go into this type of contract. My concern is not about the quality of work, but on the fact no work was ever produced at all, and that what's submitted is purly 100% plaigrized content!

 

I'm ready to processs this to the third-party investigation, only If there's an assurance I'll receive my money if this this 3rd-party ruled to my favor, which I'm sure they will. Again, this is because no work was submitted at all. The plaigrized stuff was submitted during the mediation process, as the freelancer hoped to secure as much as she can. 

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
4 of 13

Mark M wrote:

No. It was hourly contract, and it was the first time using this one. 

 

I admitted it was a mistake to go into this type of contract. My concern is not about the quality of work, but on the fact no work was ever produced at all, and that what's submitted is purly 100% plaigrized content!

 

I'm ready to processs this to the third-party investigation, only If there's an assurance I'll receive my money if this this 3rd-party ruled to my favor, which I'm sure they will. Again, this is because no work was submitted at all. The plaigrized stuff was submitted during the mediation process, as the freelancer hoped to secure as much as she can. 


If it was an hourly contract, then you either misunderstood the mediator or were misinformed about his/her authority. This overview of hourly payment protection clearly states that the specialist decides in one party's favor or the other: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211062158-Dispute-a-Freelancer-s-Hours

Active Member
Mark M Member Since: Jun 15, 2019
5 of 13

Yes I knew that. But what happens when the freelancer turns to be fraud and scammer! 

This freelancer was asked to provid the proof of work, and she did provide nothing!

 

At some point of the mediation, she informed the upwork employee that she worked hard to do code from scratch, and she post it. After 5 minutes search on google, I found this code to be 100% stolen, letter-by-letter, from an old page on github. AND IT'S NOT EVEN ON MY TOPIC!

 

I proved this to the upwork employee. My question is: When someone prove such case of fraud, theft and plaigraism, what upwork can do in this case?!!

Community Guru
Riri A Member Since: Jul 21, 2018
6 of 13

Hi Mark,

 

We're sorry to learn this has been an inconvenience. We have escalated your concern to the appropriate team. Our representatives will reach out to you shortly. Let us know if you need anything else.

~ Riri
Active Member
Mark M Member Since: Jun 15, 2019
7 of 13

Thank you so much, I'm waiting for your help, and have all the evidence of the fool play from the side of the freelancer. 

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
8 of 13

Mark - You were not a fool to accept hourly billing. Hourly billing can work quite well if you know how to use it. For hourly billing a freelancer is paid for the hours they worked on your job, not for the work the freelancer produced. A client cannot file a dispute with Upwork because they are not satisfied with the quality of the freelancer’s work. Whereas in fixed rate jobs, a freelancer is paid for the work they produced not how long it took to complete it. 

 

Even though, on hourly contracts a freelancer is paid for the hours they worked, you have control of that. You can dispute hours that show the freelancer was not working on your job, That would include hours showing a freelancer reading/sending personal email, surfing the internet, playing games, showing no activity at all, watching youtube videos and any manual hours entered. 

 

As for the statement that a freelancer is paid for the hours they worked, not for the work produced. you have 5 days each week in which to review the work that was done the previous week. And you can dispute hours that fit the criteria above. In addition to that, you still have control on hourly contracts. You can tell the freelancer that at the end of the week, or every X days to send you the work that they have done up to that point. If they send excuses instead of the work, or if the work is half done and full of errors or not at all adhering to the scope of the job, you as a client have every right to cancel/close the contract right then and there and hire someone else, either hourly or fixed price. 

You don't let something like this go on for 3 months before you determine that no work was being done. 

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

Hourly contracts are not the only option. Another option is fixed-price contracts.

 

But hourly contracts are a very good option. A project owner who is concerned with quality and not simply with getting something done is obviously more likely to use an hourly contract.

 

But as Kathy states, a client needs to use an hourly contract properly.

 

On any programming/development project of significant size, there IS a project manager. (This is a general concept. This applies to Upwork, but isn't specific to Upwork.)

The project manager is one of the following:

- an independent project manager hired by the client

- the client himself

- the lead developer

 

It sounds like you definitely did NOT act as the project manager.

And you did NOT hire an independent project manager.

That means - by default - that the freelancer you hired was the project manager.

 

That is FINE with approximately 20% of lead developers. They can serve as their own project manager.

 

What about the other 80%?

 

Clearly the freelancer you hired fell ino the other 80%. Because definitely failed as a project manager, just as she failed as a developer.


So your mistake was in trusting the lead developer to be her own project manager. Usually that doesn't work.


If you are NOT going to do the work of a project manager yourself, and if you are NOT going to hire a developer who can serve as their own project manager, then you need to hire an independent project manager. Or your project WILL fail.

 

There are 3 options.

Pick one.

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

Just to clarify something:

The problems with the original poster's contract with the freelancer he hired had nothing to do with the contract model: fixed-price versus hourly.

 

The problems stemmed from:

- how the contract was managed

- who the client hired

 

This contract would have been a failure whether a fixed-price or hourly contract model was used.

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