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New Payment Processing Fee Complaint

April 12 I listed an ad to seek freelancers.

May 3 I got a message about the new processing fees.


Only if that I knew of the new fees on April 12, I most likely would adjust my offer to meet inital budget. For example: listing for $1,000 on April 12. If I knew of the fees, I would list for about $970 so that there is about $30 room for processign fees.


The above was an example. I listed $7,000 on April 12. The fees increase.


Anyone stuck in my situation should not need to pay for the new processing fees during the project. Of course, any project listed after May 3, they should pay the processing fees because they were notified about it.


I request to be free from being charged the 2.75% processing fee during my listed $7,000 project that will be paid out over a few months including any additional payments necessary.


Having clients like myself in such situation is like Upwork saying, "Pay up or you can't work with your freelancer."

It is like the client is forced at will to obey or be required to no work with the freelancer anymore, when money and time was invested in them already.

It is cruel.


I request immediately that all people all over freelancer who is in my situation to be an exception for paying the new processing fee if they listed a project before May 3 and is still active in that project.


I have deliverables to pay, so I reqeuest kindly that I am immediatly free from paying such fees.



lol yeah that's not gonna happen. They were pretty clear that the processing fee was gonna hit on June 21st.


Unless you're a high roller with a history, you're gonna have to suck this one up.

Wow, you are not helping.


I assume you didn't read anything.


The message for the processing fee was listed May 3rd. Anyone who listed before May 3rd didn't get that message.


With that said, it was NOT clear to all of those people who listed before such date.


Did every qualified proposal bid exactly $7000? I'm sure you got quite a few $7000 proposals, quite a few more than $7000 proposals, and quite a few less than $7000 proposals... some propobably quite a bit less.


I can't see dropping your stated budget by 2.75% as having a massive difference in the grand scheme of things.


Worst comes to the worst, negotiate with the freelancers you like the look of, explain the most you can spend is $7000, and that includes the transaction fees which werent around when you posted your budget. They'll go for it or they won't. I appreciate it'll be pretty annoying if your chosen freelancer doesn't go for it, but the thing to keep in mind is that if the freelancer in question was so set on $7000 for the work, they wouldn;t have submitted a proposal in the frst place if you set it at $7000 minus 2.75%. Whatever that is... can't bo bothered to 'do the math'!  

"Welcome, humans. I'm ready for you!"
- Box, Logan's Run (1976)

Joshua, Scott's advice is what I would have said as well.  Look at it from the provider's point of view - we got hit w/ a 20% fee.  Yeah, it decreases over X dollars but most definitely not as low as 2.75%.

Wendy C,


Look at the client's side.


They can simply "cancel contract" and continue with the freelancer with a loss of about $700 that Upwork could make. This can happen by any other client. Secondly, I am sure this can be fought in court, since this is concered a force payment or lose service. The part that can be fought is the under the table service. Best if Upwrok spend $200 and keep $500 in profit.


In such my situation, these things can happen. Cancel contract with freelancer through Upwork is fine. Then we can decide to hire the freelancer again, from outside Upwork, since we will not be using Upwrok platform. By no means can Upwork prevent anyone, even with contract, from hiring such freelancer during our lifetime. And in such situation that we were placed under, the force payment while we were in active project, this should be able to be fought in court and my case should win.


I am trying to work a deal with Upwork. In other words, if I refuse to pay such percentage, then I cannot work with the freelancer anymore. That means that the client's last option is to cancel such contract and go under table.


My situation is simple to fix. It is ethical to stick with such proposal to allow the client to continue without paying the 2.75% fee.


I am a contract follower. But if Upwork will stop me from my freelancer because I followed the inital rules when posting such listing, then I have the right to continue on with my freelancer.


Wendy, new rule says to pay up $1,000,000 or else you cannot work with your freelancer anymore after investing $500,000 in the freelancer thus far in the project stage. What do you do?

The Terms of Service, which you agreed to when you created your Upwork profile, pretty clearly state that they can change their fees at any time and also change the ToS at any time. They also state that you can't just take a freelancer offsite without paying an exit fee.


They gave over a month's warning that the fees were coming in. You could have chosen to stop using Upwork at any time. The fees have now been in place for over a month. Why should they give you a discount on your $7000 project? I've already paid nearly $200 in transaction fees since they were introduced and I'm not complaining because I know its pointless. It's a cost of doing business. Either you accept it in return for the service you get, or you go elsewhere. But every competitor I looked at had worse fees, worse service, worse freelancers, or a combination of the three.

Haven't you read what I said? The notice came about 20 days after the listing was up. In your case, you don't complain because you posted your listing on May 3 or after that date, according to your quote, "I've already paid nearly $200 in transaction fees since they were introduced."

If your project was active and the notice came in and you are happy to pay additional amount, that is you who is willing to spend extra money. Good for you. Be happy. Send me $200 if you are all that happy so that I can be happy to.


According to their contract, I am certian that they meant to imply that their fees will change accordingly. That is fine! What is not fine is to fluctuate with fee changing during an active project. That is not fine.


Why not they say to you, "Jennifer, pay up $100,000 or else you cannot work with the freelancer you already invested $50,000 into."



Actually, the vast majority of my contracts are long-term contracts that have been in place for *years*. I meant my "nearly $200" as an example that I'm in the same or worse position than you, paying as many fees. When they announced the fee change, more than a month in advance, I reviewed my accounts to figure out what my average fees would be and investigated other freelancing platforms. I came to the conclusion that it was better to stay on Upwork and pay the fee.


If they said to me "pay up $100,000 or else you cannot work with the freelancer you already invested $50,000 into" then I would of course walk away. That's not what they're saying though.


If you are not happy, you have the option to go to a different platform. Upwork are providing a service. If you think that the service you receive is not worth the 2.75% fee, then you can walk away. I think it is worth it, so I stay.


And like I said, the ToS say it *is* fine. If you weren't happy with the ToS, then you shouldn't have joined the platform.

ToS, it don't matter.


You can have a ToS that says, "You can never during the liftime you are alive work with the freelancer again unless through Upwork." Things like these are not ethical and can be fought in court.


So, with the ToS saying about what you think of the fees, the ToS in such situation poses a risk on all clients if Upwork decides to force all clients to pay $100,000 or else lose their ability to work with the freelancer again. Of course, it is not ethical, and it can be fought in court.


Moral of story, people don't join a service knowing they will get screwed over. The situation of such fee addition was ethically wrong to force someone to pay extra when they came in knowing they will pay X amount. Ethical CEO's know for any good business practice is that when a change occurs, those who are remaining near the end, dies out. In other words, those who are still remaining will not need to abide to such change until the service is complete.


Upwork posed a bad ethical business practice which can lead to loss of profits, loss of clients, and potiential lawsuits.


If I were in their shoes, I would do what is good business practice and that is to let the client to continue in the project without paying such processing fees to make the client happy, to keep the freelancer happy, money still will come in my pocket (as CEO of Upwork) and no lawsuits. Simple. They don't really lose anything, since they are gaining $500 out of the $700, simply for providing a platform that they did for years to those others who didn't pay a single penny for processing fees. Simple really. They did it for a very long time, just let it die out until everyone who was already in active listing to pass with no pay of processing fees. Then, of course, if they decide to do projects after May 3, they eaisly can adjust their listing to accomindate the processing fee... no problem.

Hi Joshua,


I understand your frustration. Note, however, that an active contract is created when a freelancer accepts an offer the client made, not when the job is posted on the Marketplace. You are free to edit, repost your job posting and negotiate terms with freelancers who are interested in completing the job.

The client payment processing fee is charged on all transactions now regardless on when the original job post was published.


Additionally, to leave Upwork and pay freelancers outside the platform, you must first pay an “Opt-Out Fee.”  When you sign up to use Upwork, you agree to make all payments on the platform for 24 months after you form a client-freelancer relationship. This applies to both freelancers and clients. To learn more about the Opt-Out Fee, please see Section 7 of the User Agreement.

~ Valeria

Lets face it. You buy a McDonald burger meal. You go and sit down. Then you ate the meal. Then you get up to leave, but the manger comes to you and says, "Ma'am, you need to pay us additional $50 for that meal. If you leave our establishment, you are required to vomit your meal and pay the "opt-out" fee of $1,000."


There are many different ways to give examples. What Upwork did was created a crooked and wrongful fee based payment in the middle of a project forcing clients to choose to pay up or to forever leave the freelancer.


What you are agreeing is that you will pay up  any amount that Upwork asks of you to continue your client-freelancer relationship. Good for you. But, that is a scam in the workings with a no win situation for the client if they don't pay that extra fee demanded by Upwork.


That can easily be fought in court and I am sure Upwork don't want a court case.


Loss of profits, clients, and freelancers. Yikes. And if they choose to sue the client, loss of reputation (media headlines) and loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. And guess what, it will be a domino effect as other people will see this and try to sue in attempt to get some money from Upwork. It happens. I've seen things like this happen before.


Wise if Upwork do what is good business practice now.

Scott E,


It don't matter what their bid was.


What matters is the team's qualifications within such proposed offer of $7,000.


The team I selected qualified, even though they requested full amount.


I am not going to ask the team later to reduce their price by about $200 because of Upwork's new fees, which is wrong.


It is like me asking you, Scott (pretend you are a freelancer), to sacarfice $200 worth of hours or profit. Not going to happen.


Secondly, $200 or whatever it is may not be much to you. But, $200 is quite a difference!



"Then we can decide to hire the freelancer again, from outside Upwork, since we will not be using Upwrok platform. By no means can Upwork prevent anyone, even with contract, from hiring such freelancer during our lifetime."


Perhaps not. But they can prevent the freelancer from working on Upwork again due to them breaching the terms of service. Which is much more likely now you've suggested you might do this. 

This can be fought in court, because the freelancer is in the same situation. They are prevented from working unless "they" pay the $200 extra if the client does not

And Netflix customers are prevented from watching movies unless they pay the extra after an increase, McDonalds customers are prevented from eating burgers unless they pay the extra when the prices go up, and Travellers are prevented from flying if a fare goes up one month after making an initial enquiry, as they don't want to pay the extra. That's just the way it works.


You were informed a month before it happens which seems pretty fair. The fact you're complaining about this now gives the impression that you might not have read the email. Doubly so as it would have explained that active contracts at the time of the increase wouldn't be charged the fee, so you could have awarded prior to the increase.


Prices go up, that's the way the world works. Sometimes you get quotes and prices go up between you getting the quote and agreeing to the sale. I don't think there's a court in the world that would award in your favor for this one. But there are probably plenty of courts that will side with Upwork if you try to circumvent giving them what they're owed by working off the platform. 


I appreciate that you don't want to pay the $200, and you don't want your freelancer to pay the $200... but it's slightly unfair to assume that Upwork should have to bear that cost, just because you don't want to. It's not idea, but you basically have to pay up, or source a different freelancer somewhere else.  



"Welcome, humans. I'm ready for you!"
- Box, Logan's Run (1976)

While I agree with you Scott E, I do feel obliged to point out that clients have to pay the 2.75% fee on every payment after the rollout date, regardless of when the contract started. The only exemption to the fee hike is for freelancers who had active contracts with clients worth less than $500. 


Your general point still stands though. Prices change. You either accept that the thing you are paying for is worth the price or you don't.

True, but I'd like to hope the client would fnd escrow at the beginning, thus eliminating the fee if paid prior to the increase... rather than funding as he goes along. That's an 'in an ideal world' scenario though. 

"Welcome, humans. I'm ready for you!"
- Box, Logan's Run (1976)

Scott E,


You clearly don't understand the situation. Did you read anything I said?


This is not a complaint about new projects after May 3, but a complaint about projects still active since before May 3. I am okay with the payment fee if I list any projects after May 3 (day the message was given out about fee increase).



@Joshua R wrote:

Scott E,


You clearly don't understand the situation. Did you read anything I said?


This is not a complaint about new projects after May 3, but a complaint about projects still active since before May 3. I am okay with the payment fee if I list any projects after May 3 (day the message was given out about fee increase).



Didn't you say that you had only listed this project by the time the new fee went into effect? It was not an active project when the new payment fee went into effect; it was nothing more than a job listing. Valeria has already explained this to you.

The moment that something is listed becomes an active project. Truth.


It is like me telling you, after such investment in searching after 20 days and wanting you to be my freelancer, that you have to pay $200 for the processing fee. Chances are, you won't. In other words, reduction of offer by $200. Then I lose a good team because of such new fee.


Active project starts the moment the listing is public.


Not only that, forced to abandoned such investment in searching and time, as time is at essence? 20 days is almost a month. Who can afford spending 20 days to the trash and starting over? Investment, money, time. All starts when the listing is made public.


Tell you what. Each time that you list something, me, Upwork, I am going to every few random days while your listing is open, change the fee. That means every few days you gotta pay up the new fee to accomindate your offer or abandoned your current search if the team don't want to pay for it so that you meet budget. You already invested $50 in contracts and plenty of hours drafting with your team and speaking with your investor that the team is ready to join and etc, to have all of that stripped from you due to the fee change in the middle of the listing. Um... no. It was an active project, time, money are already invested. Choice is yours.

@Joshua R wrote:

The moment that something is listed becomes an active project. Truth.



Something becomes an active contract the minute you hire.


The End.

I LOL'd at that too.


No contract. No workie.

Any wise CEO and business owner knows that the moment they seek employees is the moment of activity for a business. Employers need to go through various stages, such as cost for advertising, recruiter fees, stages of interviewing, inter buisness interaction relations, contract drafting, and plenty of time before an employee signs a contract. So, Yes. It is active once a job ad is listed.

Community Manager
Community Manager

This thread has been closed for further replies.


Joshua, unfortunately, we will not be able to make an exception to our policies regarding the new payment processing fees.


Thank you.

~ Valeria