To Whomsoever It May Concern
This open letter is in response to a false comment I received by a freelancer in my feedback section as Upwork doesn't allow me to respond within the feedback section itself. This open letter also shares my efforts to get this issue resolved with help from Upwork's support & Executive Escalation Desk (EED) and to share their response I got. It seems, it can not be resolved and reasoning behind this conclusion leaves me completely dismayed.
I will welcome your suggestions on what to do next so hopefully I can resolve this issue for good.
As it happened...
Some months ago, I got in contract with this freelancer to complete a project in three milestones (initially there were two but first one was further divided into two). First two milestones out of three were paid in full as agreed. Third and last milestone was not completed by the freelancer even after repetitive reminders so we mutually agreed that I can end the contract if the freelancer fails to deliver the work until a certain day and time. He failed to deliver the work until the agreed deadline and I ended the contract as discussed with him earlier. After my ending the contract, system prompted me to leave the feedback, so based on my experience working with him I left feedback for him. I can support each sentence I wrote for him in the feedback section with proofs from our chatroom.
A few hours after my ending the contract, the freelancer dumped a file in our chatroom without my permission and/or having any prior discussion about dumping the file and asked me to release the payment. I refused to release the payment because
Anyways, upon my refusing to release the payment to him, he to took the matter to Upwork's Dispute Management Desk where he lost the case because he could not show any proof of submitted work and I got my refund because of Upwork's dispute resolution desk's judgement.
At this point, he leaves a nasty comment on my feedback section where he has made false allegation of fraud against me.
Naturally, I approached the Upwork support and the matter eventually got escalated to their EED which, I have been told, works directly with the company CEO. I made a request to delete this comment from my feedback section, they replied they don't know whats the truth so they cant take action. So I requested them to investigate the matter find the truth and deliver justice. They informed me their current ToS doesn't allow them to investigate feedback barring certain exceptions and my situation does not fall into those exceptions. They also rejected my further suggestions to write a comment as a neutral third party or allow me to write a rebuttal within the feedback section.
At this stage, I asked EED some fundamental questions related to objectives of policy frameworks and what Upwork does when injustice happens. They unfortunately, chose to ignore answering those questions. I am now left in total disbelief that EED acknowledged the problem but would not take corrective measures. They prefer to hide behind their current ToS document and escape from their moral responsibility to deliver justice to their community members. After all, how hard it is to investigate the chatroom content which is accessible to them on their own platform?
Further, I requested them to amend their ToS so that they can investigate selected cases/ situations, I find their answer even more baffling as the rejected this suggestion too and preferred to give more importance to someone's "Subjective Views" as they like to term the comments in feedback section, over and above facts and evidences. "Subjective Views" trumps the truth and justice at Upwork. That's the message I got.
Moreover, I did not find EED serious enough to resolve this issue, they were not well read about my case when I pointed out they apologized, in a saperate incident they stopped responding to my email and closed my ticket arbitrarily. Upon my reminders, a new ticket was raised, I received apology for the closing my ticket but they refused to take corrective measures.
They are not willing to defend their own colleague's judgement from Dispute Resolution Desk, I doubted they care about what I have to go through.
At this point, I wrote to Upwork CEO Ms. Brown, hoping for her direct intervention. I received an acknowledgement from EED as a response but still they chose to hide behind their current ToS document.
To Upwork's credit they offered me two solutions
So to conclude, I do not feel safe on this platform even after following all the rules and regulations laid out by Upwork. I even asked them how could have I conducted myself better to avoid getting such feedback? I got no response, they chose to ignore this question too. I am deeply concerned about what kind of questions I might have to face from freelancers during my future projects on Upwork? Their silence/no response will be even more disturbing. A couple of my projects have already been stalled, Upwork doesn't seem to care about that, for them someone's "Subjective views" are of the highest importance. That is the irony.
I don't know if anyone else is going through such experiences on Upwork? I hope not.
Moreover, I will be happy to have a fair investigation into this matter by Upwork as a neutral third party and hope that this comment gets deleted from my profile based on the available evidences. I will appreciate any valuable suggestions on how to resolve this issue especially from qualified lawyers in this community.
The list of some fundamental questions related to policy framework I had asked, which remained unanswered during my interaction with EED
Some more questions which remained unanswered during my interaction with EED
I would advise you not to waste time on these negotiations, Upwork will never remove this review. But you already understood that. I don't advise you to continue, it's a dead end. You will receive useless template responses from bots or be ignored. Unfair reviews here remain for both clients and freelancers.
Go to third-party methods, such as court, if you think it's worth it.
Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. I am sorry to hear about your experience with the freelancer and your situation with the reported issue. I want to assure you that we are committed to providing a safe and fair platform for all of our users.
I see that our teams have already investigated your case and reviewed the feedback left by the freelancer. You can refer to the support ticket for more information if you wish to pursue a claim against the freelancer. You can access your support tickets here.
I have the same problem. It is even worse because top-rated freelancers can edit their already posted reviews about you the client. Yet, clients do not have that opportunity. I think Upwork should be fairer in this issue of malicious and nasty reviews.