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

c56c8f90
Active Member

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!

12 REPLIES 12
tlsanders
Community Guru

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.

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. 


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

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?!!

nyrrielatienza
Community Guru

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

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. 

kat303
Community Guru

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. 

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.

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.

The freelancer name is **Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

The whole thing happened at once. My project was lengthy, and I never ever used the hourly contract. The reason why I allowed it is because the freelancer assured me the work is gonna be very complex and that she needs payment on weekly basis so that she could be able to survive. I was fool to believe, but this foolish act came from my believe Upwork would intervene if something went wrong. 

 

At one point after the first month, when I saw no evidence of work, I was gonna cancel the contract. She then informed that she's about to produce the most important part, and is about to prepare it to send as first milestone. She went absent for two weeks, took execuse for another two weeks due to family issues per her say. 

 

The third month is when I emphasized that the contract would be suspended. At that time, seh took $250 so far. She started to send stuff that has nothing to do with my original contract. Upon suspending the contract, she was able somehow to take around $150 few days later. 

 

Once the meditation began, the upwork employee asked her multiple times to show proof of work. She submitted nothing, but a claim that she was already putting up some code from scratch. When she sent that code, and after 5 minutes search on google, I found it completely and 100% plaigraized from old source, even letter-by-letter. 

 

What drove me crazy is that even when the employee told me that it's a mediation so no enforcement of any kind of refund against the freelancer's well! 

 

So my concern is not about what happend before the contract, but now if someone knows for sure, with a 100% evidence that the freelancer was scamming the client, what upwork can do then?! I mean she literally produced nothing, and when she claimed to upwork's employee that she did a code, she just stole it from the internet and claimed she just did it from scratch! And it's not even on my topic!

 

 

Mark:

I'm very sorry that you had a bad experience while using Upwork.

 

As you have learned, filing disputes or using Upwork-based dispute and arbitration processes are not a real part of project development.

 

Disputes and arbitration processes exist on Upwork. I think of them mainly as aspects of marketing and customer retention.

 

But no client who is doing really serious project development is using those things. The really successful clients manage their projects proactively. They actively look for under-performing team members and simply fire them before they waste a lot of their organization's time and money.

Agree with you on this. I've learned it in the hard way, since I'm more familiar with the fixed-type contract, and thought the kind of relationship is the same of that one in the hourly. 

 

The issue I'm having now is more related on how I can get my money back. I don't think upwork will allow with all the evidence they have on their table now to pass easy money to a freelancer who literally did nothing but promises and stolen code. 

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