pentae
Member

How oDesk caused my VA to lose her livelihood

I've had a Virtual Assistant in South Africa working for me and she has been excellent.

 

She has been able to make a living working for multiple clients at once including myself and has proved to be a very reliable, useful worker and is relatively new to oDesk.

 

Around one month ago after one of her clients who was abusive and rude to her, she left him bad feedback on oDesk causing him to leave her 1 star and it has prevented her from finding new work.

 

oDesk support told her they would get her account fixed but its been dragging on for weeks and she's unable to support herself.

 

So today she hands in her resignation to me saying she now needs to go and find full time work 'offline' to support herself - all thanks to oDesk.

 

Pat yourself on the back guys, you've just lost me my virtual assistant and cost her her livelihood because you have not done your job right. I've put over $50,000 through oDesk and I'm PISSED.

 

57 REPLIES 57
chadworth
Member

This is sad, interesting, and unfortunately not unexpected.

 

Actions have consequences after all.  Bad policy always leads to horrible results.

 

Interested to see how this plays out.

g_nembhard
Member

 

Sorry to hear that, Heath

 

The management do view these forums, maybe someone will be along to help soon.

 

Let us know the outcome.

"Around one month ago after one of her clients who was abusive and rude to her, she left him bad feedback on oDesk causing him to leave her 1 star and it has prevented her from finding new work."

 

How can that be if the feedback is double-blind??

This seems to be an example of a freelancer being ultimately punished for leaving honest feedback. Luckily, I haven't been put it that spot myself--everyone who's ever hired me paid me and in return I always gave the client 5 stars, because that's the main thing that matters to me bottom line. But if I *ever* found myself with a client I could not recommend with a good conscience, I would be in a dilemma because I would have to weigh the duty to inform other freelancers to stay away from the client versus the likelihood that the client would retaliate against me with negative feedback.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

How can that be if the feedback is double-blind??

 

 

Agree with Stephen,

It is impossible to be punished (either way) by bad feedback. The only way someone (cleint or freelancer) gets bad feedback is by developing a very poor working relationship, whether because of poor quality, dialogue, payments, etc.

 

In this case I assume it was generally a very poor relationship between both client and freelancer, and they ended up mutually burning one another...

Garnor,

 

I wrote a reply before I read yours. So I deleted everything to address what you wrote. I was under the impression that clients could change their public feedback, or am I mistaken? In that case, double-blind or not, a client *could* alter their feedback based on the freelancer's feedback in order to retaliate against the freelancer. But if that's not permitted, then I have no further qualms.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce


@John K wrote:

Garnor,

 

I wrote a reply before I read yours. So I deleted everything to address what you wrote. I was under the impression that clients could change their public feedback, or am I mistaken? In that case, double-blind or not, a client *could* alter their feedback based on the freelancer's feedback in order to retaliate against the freelancer. But if that's not permitted, then I have no further qualms.


The client can only change feedback if the freelancer allows it. The freelancer has to click on a link on  the feedback page to let this happen.

No this is not what happened as the client first gave me a 5 rating.  Upon seeing that I gave him a 1 rating, a few weeks later oDesk allowerd him to change his rating and he then gave me a 1 rating.

Freelancer has to leave feedback before either shows up, then the Client can leave feedback.

garnorm
Member

I'm sorry to hear about the unfortunate situation Heath. We don't like to hear about any good freelancers leaving the platform.

 

We took a look at this case to see if there was anything we could do. In reviewing the freelancer's jobs, there doesn't appear to be any communication we could find that was abusive and rude. Should the freelancer have different evidence, we can absolutely take a look, as we don't want that type of behavior here. Additionally, as noted by Stephen, Feedback is left as double-blind meaning neither party will see the Feedback until both parties have left it, so we're not sure how, "he left him bad feedback on oDesk causing him to leave her 1 star." As you'll hear from others in the Community, while receiving low final Feedback ratings isn't a good thing, it does not prevent freelancers from finding new work.

 

Finally, it looks like the freelancer has some discrepancies in their profile they should probably address if they do decide to continue here on oDesk.  We can help address these if they reach out.

 

We have notified our team so they can reach out to you should you want further assistance filling your VA job.

Way to go the extra mile to address this Garnor. 

Thumbs up to you sir.

FYI- She's reached out about 5 times to oDesk over the last four weeks and been told repeatedly that her profile will be fixed and they are still "Waiting on the technical team"

 

She's officially given up.

 

I find your reply rather shocking as your are more concerned to help Heath fill the position of a VA than trying to fix MY, his previous VA, problem.  Please review my posts to this discussion to see the uselessness of the staff that I've had to deal with.  

Nathan you should not be shocked on the reply. This is how they are taking things now i.e. show top freelancers to clients so they hire and than when the feedback or success score goes down for those freelancers new faces starts to show up for the clients. Its more like use and throw for contractors and perfect world for clients now.

 

Also you are not the only one where the feedback was changed by the client with the help of customer support. Back in 2012 the customer support allowed one of my client to change the feedback on my profile without even telling me. I had left 1 feedback for that client because he was asking me to refund him 75% in exchange to 5 star feedback. He left a 4 feedback for me and I left 1 feedback because this is against oDesk TOS to bargain over feedback. He first asked me to change the feedback to which I did not agree because the feedback was honest. He approached Customer Support and told them that I manipulated him to leave 4 feedback for me. Without any proof the oDesk allowed him to change the feedback on my profile and he gave me 1 feedback. Not only this the oDesk CS Team sent me a message that my account has been flagged for feedback manipulation.

nathanfullard
Member

I would first of all like to thank Heath for being an amazing boss and trying to help me sort out the lack of response from oDesk.

  

The trouble started when I worked for a client whom, as mentioned, became a bit unbearable.  We ended the contract and I was honest in my feedback and I gave him a 1-star rating.  He gave me 5 stars.  

 

A few weeks later, I saw the 5 stars had changed to 1 star.  I sent a query to oDesk as to why the client got to change his rating and I got their usual reply "We are sorry for your inconvenience but will get back to you with feedback"

This was on the 8th of February!!  

Since then, I've been sending regular emails and I get the same reply back "please be patient, we will get back to you"  They did admit that it was a error on their side but the last reply, after asking that this be escalated to a manager:

***********************************************


**edited for Community Guidelines**

*************************************************

The bottom line is that the client got to see my rating and somehow managed to change his rating (without my permission) from a 5 star rating to a 1 star rating and this is not allowed.  Due to that, I'm no longer being recommended for new work and am battling to find anything as people don't want to hire a freelancer with a poor rating.

 

Thanks again Heath for trying to assist.

Nathan 

OMG. How is this possible?? Now people can change ratings without permission? That doesn't sound like a bug to me. 

 

I'm so sorry Heath & Nathan. I would really like to know how this turns out.

 

I hope everything works out well for you, Nathan.

Hmmm, the only way I can envisage a client changing the my evaluation after the initial one is if the freelancer clicked the "let client change feedback" button...


wrote:

Hmmm, the only way I can envisage a client changing the my evaluation after the initial one is if the freelancer clicked the "let client change feedback" button...



This is terrible!! 

William said: "Hmmm, the only way I can envisage a client changing the my evaluation after the initial one is if the freelancer clicked the "let client change feedback" button..."

 

I think that was the point William.  She didn't grant the client permission to do that, and oDesk Tech Support more or less admitted that there's a bug that allows clients to do what they shouldn't be allowed to do.

 

Curiouser and Curiouser.

Hi Chad,

Yes, there is an insinuation, tough not an admission, and I hope if it is the case the hole is plugged and the reputation fixed. But if it truly exists, it would have been noted by MANY more people, and it would not have been specific to a single case. Then we would have grounds for a general and unlimited strike. 😉

Cheers,

William

nathanfullard
Member

oDesk has been admitting since 08 February that it is indeed a bug.  Why haven't they fixed it yet?  

 


**edited for Community Guidelines**

 

This is All they say ALL THE TIME.  A bug doesn't fix my rating! 

nathanfullard
Member

Why are they deleting and editing my comments?

Cuz unfortunately you're not allowed to post what the famous folks at CS say...

oDesk has been admitting since 08 February that it is indeed a bug.  Why haven't they fixed it yet?  

 

Why is it taking so long? oDesk crew, please help her.

 

😞

leeannfullard
Member

I think it's terrible that oDesk has not even attempted to comment on this situation but very quickly changed the comments.  

Can confirm that nobody has gotten back to either of us appropriately yet.

 

727d9b3e
Member

Smiley Very Happy

nhansen
Member

I always thought "Nathan" was a male name. I also find it strange that "Nathan" has a twin named Elsa Kvarnback.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC34chIdoGAopb1jJieaTYsQ

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/elsakvarnback

 

https://plus.google.com/106384309005679143512/about

 

Perhaps that explains Garnor's comment about "discrepancies" in "her" profile?

Seriously, Nicole... That's hilarious.

 

The photos of the oDesk virtual assistant who was suspended and woman whose LinkedIn and Google Plus accounts you linked to are obviously the same person, and even the exact same photo. Despite having completely different names.

 

I guess this doesn't mean that the virtual assistant wasn't doing a good job as a virtual assistant for the client who was paying him/her.

 

So I can still understand why the client would be upset at having a valued virtual assistant's account suspended (whover the assistant happens to be).

 

But yeah... if oDesk even SUSPECTS duplicity in terms of contractors posing as somebody other than themselves, they have something of a "trigger finger" when it comes to suspening accounts. (NOT THAT WE'RE SAYING THIS HAPPENED IN THIS CASE.)

Best to say Nathan about it. (OK, it only works in a Donegal or a Scottish accent...)  


@Stephen B wrote:

Best to say Nathan about it. 


Good one, thanks for the laugh!

 

 

Doesn't *everything* work better with a Donegal accent?

"If it's not Scottish it's crap!" said a good Canadian of English roots on an American TV show. Nothing Irish about that 😉

I thought it was strange about the name too, but decided to ignore it. Wow, now this certainly changes things! Awkward...

whogg72
Member

I must say Nicole, your "researcher" tag fits you perfectly... 😉

nathanfullard
Member

I used my friends photo for oDesk she helped me sign up and we didn't have a photo of me available at the time. She helped me sign up from her computer when i was just starting out.  But I do appreciate everyones concern regarding my profile. 

re: "I used my friends photo for oDesk she helped me sign up and we didn't have a photo of me available at the time"

Ah. That explains it.
No, in all seriousness, not even your own grandmother believes this explanation.
You played fast and loose with oDesk's rules.
Got caught.
Take your lumps and move on.
Nobody here is saying you didn't do good work for your clients or that you yell at your dog.

I appreciate your later posts in this thread in which you own up to what you did.