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I have been scammed by a freelancer and the person in the mediation team is doing an horrible job

Active Member
Gabriel S Member Since: Aug 1, 2019
1 of 8

I have been scammed by a freelancer and upwork is not helping me even worst the person in charge is making it worst which makes me want to take legal action against upwork.


I hired someone on upwork to work on developing a website. I gave the freelancer crystal clear instruction he had to do a website that is an exact copy of another one.


He kept showing us work that was 10% done and was barely working. We kept asking the freelancer when he will be done and deliver the final version. He kept claiming he is working on it and will deliver at a later date. When suddenly I noticed that the money that was in escrow was released to him because the freelancer has marked the work as completed and payment was released to him. We realized later that we have only recieved one email from upwork that the money will be released if we didn't act.


Once I realized that the freelancer got paid and hasn't delivered anything I rushed to speak to the customer support to ask them to hold the fund and make him unable to withdraw until someone had proper time to review the case. Any sane person who will look at it will realize that we have been scammed. I also reached out to the freelancer and told him that he now got paid but he clearly knows that he hasn't delivered anything. He claimed that he was still working on it and would deliver by the end of the weekend.


At the end of the weekend the freelancer still didn't deliver anything.


The customer support told me that only the dispute team was able to put a block on his ability to withdraw and they will look at the case before he has the ability to withdraw the money. The case has now moved to the dispute center and the mediator from upwork is doing a terrible job making the case even worse.


When the dispute started the freelancer claimed to have delivered and showed a ridiculus barely working website that was not even 10% completed. I told him that he could avoid this whole dispute by putting the money back in escrow and finishing the website which he refused. What is outrageous is that upwork can clearly see from our conversation that he hasn't delivered anything and what he sent as his proof of work was sent to us months ago and he kept claiming that he is working on it and will deliver soon.


When I say that to the mediator she kept claiming the he acted according to upwork TOS. Really? Does upwork TOS enable freelancer to charge money without delivering anything or any work? Lying to the clients? Misleading? Scamming? Extorting?


I am being asked to pay for arbitration but they would not tell me if he has withdrew the money which is insane how can you claim money from someone if you have no ability to get it back after you pay an additional fee. But worst of all the mediator refuse to answer the questions I am asking him purpusefully ignore them and replies within long period of time like if he was trying to delay it as much as possible. It has now been over a week that I have asked them to charge my card and proceed to arbitration and they still haven't done so. I have asked the mediator to speak to his supervisor but also didn't get any answer. Even worse I'm getting answer that are completely absurd any time I ask something.


What can I do? Who can I speak with? Has anybody here taken legal action against upwork because they were responsible for them getting scammed? Also this delay is costing me a lot of money. Can I legally make upwork pay for it?


Any help is appreciated.

Community Guru
Rafsun S Member Since: Feb 10, 2018
2 of 8

It feels very strange to read your post! It takes 14 days for releasing payment from a client if the client doesn't release the escrow after submitting a job from Freelancers. A client gets 14 days for reviewing or changing the milestone! If you had problem with the freelancer and the work, you could stop to release the payment during those 14 days! 

Active Member
Gabriel S Member Since: Aug 1, 2019
3 of 8

I know but haven't seen anywhere that he has submitted the job as done only after the payment was recieved we noticed that we have recieved only one email from upwork saying that they will release the payment if we didn't respond. But once we realized that they have released the payment they still had plenty of time to block it.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
4 of 8

Gabriel S wrote:


Does upwork TOS enable freelancer to charge money without delivering anything or any work? Lying to the clients? Misleading? Scamming? Extorting?


Of course not, but you already know this.


Here's what happened: you hired a fraudster and you made a mistake in not learning how Upwork handles payments before using it (when freelancers submit requests for funds to be released, clients are notified and they have 14 days to review the work before accepting or disputing it.


Mediation is not useful against a fraudster. What works is arbitration, because both parties and Upwork have to pay. If the fraudster doesn't pay, you keep arbitration money and you win the arbitration automatically.



"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Active Member
Gabriel S Member Since: Aug 1, 2019
5 of 8

Hi Rene,


Thank you for your reply.


But what is the point of Arbitration against a fraudster that has probably withdrawn the money. When I am going to win in arbitration how can someone enforce them to pay?

Bojan S Moderator Member Since: Mar 9, 2018
6 of 8

Hi Gabriel,


I'm sorry to hear about the inconvenience this caused. I’ll follow up with the team that’s handling your case and they’ll update you directly as soon as possible on your existing ticket.


Thank you for your patience. 

~ Bojan
Active Member
Gabriel S Member Since: Aug 1, 2019
7 of 8

Thank you Bojan

Active Member
Gabriel S Member Since: Aug 1, 2019
8 of 8

Hi Bojan,


The mediator is still doing an horrible work and not answering.


I have recieved a response from the Mediation Team Lead apparently that said to have reviewed the case because he was asked by the mediator to do so which I doubt.


But her response is outrageous because she is saying to have reviewed the case but is asking me questions that clearly anyone who has reviewed this case would not be asking because it was obviously stated many (Many) times previously.


I am also not getting a response for days after I send a reply within minutes which is causing delays and costing me a lot of money.


How can I reach out to the most senior person at upwork that would be able to provide any help before I file a lawsuit?