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How I lost $17,350 to Upwork and a freelancer - Upwork's dirty trick (unlawful in the UK) exposed.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
21 of 46

Amanda wrote: "...but someone in another thread schooled me that often the code has to be written as a deliverable. Was it a deliverable in your project?"

 

Kathy wrote: "As for the source code, - it depends on the freelancer and every freelancer should stipulate in their contract that the source code is included in the price of the job."

 

I disagree that this is an applicable question in this specific situation.

 

If this was a fixed-price contract, then yes: source code would need to be specified as a deliverable.

 

But because this was done as an hourly contract:

I have no concept of delivering the source code being in any way "optional."

 

I do not believe that there is any "wiggle room" or "gray area" in Upwork's ToS about this: My understanding is that with an hourly contract, all work produced while logging time belongs to the client. It was inappropriate for the freelancer to EVER have ANY work in his possession that was not immediately and completely delivered to the client.

 

A responsible, ethical Upwork freelancer doing development work on behalf of a client SHOULD MAKE SURE THIS HAPPENS even if the client does not ask for it.

 

I believe that if a client decides to fire a freelancer AT ANY TIME, for any reason at all, that all work done in an hourly contract belongs to the client. Ideally, it should be physically impossible for a freelancer to withhold any source code from the client - even if the relationship goes south... because the client has archived the source in a place inaccessible to the freelancer.

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
22 of 46

re: "I hope, some way that you can get at least some of your money back. But I have no advice as to how. The only thing I can say, is to do what Upwork told you to making sure you understand 110% what Upwork told you and what actions will be taken if you do that (subpoena ) and what outcome might happen."

 

It was my understanding that Upwork was telling the client that if the client produced a subpoena, then Upwork would be willing to answer additional questions.

 

I didn't get the sense that Upwork was in any way offering money to the client. (Aside from $480, which the client rejected).

 

Upwork doesn't have the client's money. The money has already been withdrawn by the freelancer.

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Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
23 of 46

Preston, You are totally correct concerning source code in relation to Hourly contracts. I should have mentioned that. In reality, for hourly jobs, a client IS paying for the source code. because they are paying for the hours the freelancer worked on the source code. So, if the freelancer correctly logged in his hours then the source code belongs to the client, if the client payed for those specific hours. But the client should not have to pay extra, such as additional manual hours or a bonus for the freelancer to deliver that source code since the client already paid for those hours.The client should check the screen shots to see if any show that the freelancer was working AND loging in hours for the source code. 

 

As for the subpoena, that's between the client and freelancer, and regardless or what Upwork did in the defense of the freelancer, the client should continue communications with his bank/charge card company and present evidence that he (the client) has and not really rely on what Upwork presented. 

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
24 of 46

Some of these things are tough for someone like myself to see.

 

As a freelancer and programmer, I really hate it when clients have problems like this. These are problems that are so easily avoided... if a client understands how things work beforehand.

 

But AFTER things have gone south like this... not everything is so easily fixed.

 

I honestly don't know if there is anything Upwork could do that it is not already doing. On the face of it... I think the way an hourly contract works is very straightfoward. But here we have a clear, real-life example of a client who was completely unaware of how things work.

 

I'm still thinking about this and similar situations and do not yet have any suggestions for how these types of problems can be avoided.

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Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
25 of 46

Preston H wrote:

Some of these things are tough for someone like myself to see.

 

As a freelancer and programmer, I really hate it when clients have problems like this. These are problems that are so easily avoided... if a client understands how things work beforehand.

 

But AFTER things have gone south like this... not everything is so easily fixed.

 

I honestly don't know if there is anything Upwork could do that it is not already doing. On the face of it... I think the way an hourly contract works is very straightfoward. But here we have a clear, real-life example of a client who was completely unaware of how things work.

 

I'm still thinking about this and similar situations and do not yet have any suggestions for how these types of problems can be avoided.


Except that plenty of clients and FLs understand perfectly how hourly contracts work without ever visiting the forums. In the end, a client awarded a contract without understanding his own contract and allowed himself to get screwed. There were plenty of reasonable ways to prevent this from happening along the way. It's very unfortunate, and I do feel badly for the client here, but I would never hook my CC up to hourly work without knowing exactly how to dispute it and when. 

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S S Member Since: Sep 26, 2019
26 of 46
A few facts again:

1. I always hired freelancers on fixed fee and once u have ur credit card added, you cant remove it from upwork. Upwork point blank said credit card cant be removed even after issuing a written request - this clearly is in breach of my privacy

2. Upwork lied to the bank and simply disputed the charge back stating the work was delivered and that the freelancer was like an employee on my payroll. I did ask UW executive complaint handler why they would lie. The response I received after several days is that I agreed to not to dispute the payment with the bank and as such I am in breach of their terms of service. Section 75 consumer Ceesit act 1974 in the UK gives me the right and put the credit card company severely responsible. However, upwork believes their terms and conditions supersedes the law.

I am a victim of this scam and I do understand that I should have checked the FL carefully. But all of you are missing the point. The FL could be out there scamming someone else. What has upwork done to ensure he is accountable? Upwork wouldn't respond to my request relating to this.

Therefore I concluded that upwork is designed to profit from scams and have no interest in accountability.

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Andrei T Member Since: Aug 30, 2016
27 of 46

What was your understanding about the maximum period of time money would stay in escrow?

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Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
28 of 46

S S wrote:
A few facts again:

1. I always hired freelancers on fixed fee and once u have ur credit card added, you cant remove it from upwork. Upwork point blank said credit card cant be removed even after issuing a written request - this clearly is in breach of my privacy

2. Upwork lied to the bank and simply disputed the charge back stating the work was delivered and that the freelancer was like an employee on my payroll. I did ask UW executive complaint handler why they would lie. The response I received after several days is that I agreed to not to dispute the payment with the bank and as such I am in breach of their terms of service. Section 75 consumer Ceesit act 1974 in the UK gives me the right and put the credit card company severely responsible. However, upwork believes their terms and conditions supersedes the law.

I am a victim of this scam and I do understand that I should have checked the FL carefully. But all of you are missing the point. The FL could be out there scamming someone else. What has upwork done to ensure he is accountable? Upwork wouldn't respond to my request relating to this.

Therefore I concluded that upwork is designed to profit from scams and have no interest in accountability.


think we all agree with you that the FL owes you the code, and this FL should be banned. No disagreement there. 

 

As to the other issues, with the credit card and TOS, I'm not sure. UpWork is pretty clear that FLs aren't employees, so it seems odd that they would state such to your CC company. As to TOS and contracts, all companies think their contracts are iron-clad, but we wouldn't have these cases going to court if that were the case, would we? 

 

I just hope this won't deter clients away from hourly contracts. They can work very well if both parties understand how the function works and when an hourly contract wil benefit them. 

 

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
29 of 46

re: “think we all agree with you that the FL owes you the code, and this FL should be banned.”

 

According to the client, the freelancer has already been banned.

 

So if that was one of his goals, then that has already been accomplished.

 

S S said that is what another client who hired this freelancer told him. The client wrote in his original post:

 

”From the freelancers account, between February 2019 to June 2019, he has earned 920 hours between two clients (one of them is us) and this is highly suspecious. I understand from the other client that Upwork has suspended the freelancers account.”

 

Kind of an unrelated topic, but I did wonder why the client thought that it was “highly suspicious” that a freelancer worked an average of 46 hours per week over the course of five months. I would imagine that many freelancers on Upwork (and many people elsewhere) work 46 or more hours per week.

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Active Member
Ali R Member Since: Nov 29, 2010
30 of 46

why didn't they check the age of the freelancer in upwork. and how many happy clients he have. and always check the country of the freelancer too. you should have taken weekly source codes from the programmer. or when he reached 1000-2000$ bill. i know few people are doing 300$ per hour programming jobs. but i don't thinks this one was something like that.

 

Edit: he was nothing but conman. when he visited your office, you should have know. a normal freelancer, don't like to visit any office. we can't breathe in the office atmosphir. thats the reason we are Online Freelancer. hope you  understand now. meeting anyone personaly isn't normal in upwork jobs.

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