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c5f76c33
Community Member

Shady Freelancer Trick

Recently I contacted a freelancer that I had successfully worked with before. I told him about a new project and he was interested. So I created a job and invited him (only). We talked about requirements, I sent a project scope, etc. He started working. Like the first time, he didn't immediately ACCEPT the job. I thought this was odd, and reminded him. He said he'd get to it, but wanted to keep moving on my project. He did this on the first project. In fact, on that project, he didn't accept the job until it was finished. 

After a few days in, he and I started to have disagreements. He became irritable and eventually messaged me and told me he wouldn't be finishing the project. Then I finally understood why he didn't accept the job. If he doesn't accept the job, I can't review him if he doesn't finish. His job rating is impeccable and now I see that he's using a shady trick to make sure it stays that way.

 

Meanwhile, I lost more than a week on a very tight deadline and had to start over, while he goes on to the next, unsuspecting client.

18 REPLIES 18
katrinabeaver
Community Member

I have seen other clients talk about this also. The best thing to do is when you find a freelancer that doesn't accept your offer when you know they are clearly pulling this stunt, just move on to another freelancer who will.  

 

 

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"

I agree with you, but I think we should give them some time so they can at least try, that time frame should be 3 to 6 hours or may be 1 day. If they are able to deliver you then it is good, otherwise, you always have the option to find another one.

kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Hi Jon,

 

Thanks for sharing your situation with us and I'm sorry to hear that the freelancer didn't follow the proper process. We always advise that freelancers dont' start working without an active contract in place because in that case both the client and the freelancer can benefit from Upwork Payment Protection.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Valeria - I presume the freelancer was very well aware of what he was doing.  It seems to be less about payment protection and more about JSS protection.  

 

For clients I would suggest that the message to the freelancer should be that if the job is not accepted by them that you are assuming he/she is not interested and you will begin sourcing another freelancer immediately.  I would not provide the freelancer with anymore documents/directions than what they need to properly speak to the project as you make decision about whether to hire them.  There is really no chance the freelancer has time to work on a project but does not have the time to accept the job which is accomplished with a simple click.  

Jon:

You are correct in assuming that the freelancer is intentionally NOT accepting a contract in order to avoid any negative repercussions in case he can not complete a project or ends up not having time to complete the project.

 

If deadlines are NOT an issue at all, then you could just allow freelancers to do something like this.

 

But as others have pointed out, this is a freelancer who:

a) might complete the assignment

[or]

b) might NOT do the assignment at all

 

If that is not a situation that is acceptable to you, then your best bet would be to withdraw the offer and hire somebody else.

 

I would never work with a freelancer who did this. Apart from the fact that you have no access to any protection from Upwork at all if there's not contract in place (I don't just mean payment protection, but also if the freelancer does some other dodgy behavior), it demonstrates the freelancer does not have faith in their own ability to satisfy me as a client, and also that they're willing to undertake shady business practices in their effort to do so.

 

I hope this is something Upwork cracks down on as it seems to be becoming more common.

javimoregarc
Community Member

Hi Jon,

 

I'm sorry about what happened but it's probably due to the JSS calculation.

 

I can tell you I ressort to that approach every now and then and I'm not proud of it but it's the way it is.

 

When you start working with a new client is like a lottery. You just accept the contract and then you realize that:

 

  • the requirement is completely different to what you discussed initially in the interviews or
  • the existing software is not maintenable/ something you can work with or 
  • simply you just don't get on with the manager/ the other devs

The reason doesn't matter but I can tell you that most of the time - first hand experience  - it's not really the freelancer's fault. You've just worked 2 hours and bang...you already know you shouldn't have accepted the contract but you cannot just "rollback" the contract: the client is going to destroy your JSS .

 

The review of a successful +500h contract counts the same than a review for a failed project of +2h so you can imagine that freelancers with not many contracts are quite cautious when entering into a new contract with a new client.

 

In that sense the freelancer you're talking about prefers to work for free than receiving an unfair review ๐Ÿ˜‰ You're complaining that he lost your time but he didn't earn a penny.

 

Regards,

 

Javier


@Javier M wrote:

Hi Jon,

 

I'm sorry about what happened but it's probably due to the JSS calculation.

 

I can tell you I ressort to that approach every now and then and I'm not proud of it but it's the way it is.

 

When you start working with a new client is like a lottery. You just accept the contract and then you realize that:

 

  • the requirement is completely different to what you discussed initially in the interviews or
  • the existing software is not maintenable/ something you can work with or 
  • simply you just don't get on with the manager/ the other devs

The reason doesn't matter but I can tell you that most of the time - first hand experience  - it's not really the freelancer's fault. You've just worked 2 hours and bang...you already know you shouldn't have accepted the contract but you cannot just "rollback" the contract: the client is going to destroy your JSS .

 

The review of a successful +500h contract counts the same than a review for a failed project of +2h so you can imagine that freelancers with not many contracts are quite cautious when entering into a new contract with a new client.

 

In that sense the freelancer you're talking about prefers to work for free than receiving an unfair review ๐Ÿ˜‰ You're complaining that he lost your time but he didn't earn a penny.

 

Regards,

 

Javier


 
So you are manipulating the system.  This is why JSS came about in the first place.  If people start doing this, Upwork will be forced to make the rating system even less transparent.  Contracts are there to protect you, the client and Upwork.  By doing this practice you're cheating yourself, the client and Upwork.  

 

Personally I think this practice should be considered feedback manipulation in a sense. 

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"

 

> So you are manipulating the system.  

 

Am I? If I were It shouldn't be an issue in a site that missrepresents the JSS score in such a blatant way.

 

> This is why JSS came about in the first place.  

 

NO.

 

JSS was introduced as a marketing trick so that clients think they're hiring the best freelancers.

 

It just a mechanism to increase the dispersion of scores. It's obscure and was introduced in a retroactive way (the Elancers remember!) with no guarantee that our calculation is correct.

 

If people start doing this, Upwork will be forced to make the rating system even less transparent.  

 

Freelancers are already doing it from the moment that the review for a 50'000 USD contract counts the same than the review for a 1 USD contract.

 

> Contracts are there to protect you, the client and Upwork.  By doing this practice you're cheating yourself, the client and Upwork.

 

Contracts are not here to protect me or you or anyone...they are here to give money to Upwork.

 

> Personally I think this practice should be considered feedback manipulation in a sense.

 

Your opinion. Mine is that it's a self-defense measure ๐Ÿ˜‰

Javier - Avoiding "fixed bid" contracts and sticking with hourly is a very good way to help mitigate the issues you expressed.  The reality, and something I discuss with every new client, is that specifications are never detailed enough for a proper fixed bid.  The vast majority of clients are not versed in creating requirements and thus a lot is unintentionally left out (not to mention testing time).  Freelancers don't have the time to iterate through the requirements for free.  In the corporate world this is a large complex process that takes a while.  I don't find it well suited to this space.  The client can protect themselves by setting reasonable weekly hour limits and evaluating the work and communication done within those limits.  With an hourly contract, requests outside of scope are no longer an issue.

Regardless of one's position on these issues, I appreciate Javier's clear, well-written description of how he grapples with these issues.

I guess when you end up with a conclusion that both sides are right then it is not a perception matter only it is a system failure.


Amer I wrote:
I guess when you end up with a conclusion that both sides are right then it is not a perception matter only it is a system failure.

How does that in any way relate to this 4+ year old thread?

Hi Javier, there are other options.

 

I do hourly contracts (I'm a freelancer, not client) and twice it has happened that a short time into the project it became clear that the service I offer and the work the client needed done were not in alignment. In both cases, I had a conversation with the client and offered a partial refund.

 

In the first case, I was new and a bit naive and really shouldn't have offered a refund. In the second case, we both came to the contract in good faith and it was just a mutual misunderstanding that got us in that situation; I had worked quite briefly on the project and wasn't out much money for my time. Both gave me good reviews, and the second actually hired me again when his project got to the point where my services were needed.

 

Just be straightforward with people. 

bakhtawar_shah
Community Member

Yes, this case existing, some people do the same things because they do not want any bad reviews on their profiles. I think he should tell you before starting that he could try to find a solution within this time frame, and then he should show you his first demo work, If you like the work then you can move on. I think this is the ethical way. This is just my opinion you could totally disagree with it ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi Bakhtawar S,

I see you are talking about some kind of probation a pre-work phase as some kind of proof of concept. Nice idea, old but gold, I think that there is room for a lot of improvement in the online working practice.

Have a great day Smiley Happy

you are right, I hope I will improve day to day, and your suggestions help me a lot.

Obviously there are problems with this "trick" for the client.

 

But it's also not a smart play for the freelancer.

 

If I post a job, and you reply to my job posting and then do the work... without accepting the contract, then you are at my mercy in terms of whether or not I will actually pay you.

 

A lot of good clients are indeed going to be grateful for your successful work and pay you, even if you didn't sign on to the contract at the right time. The client may simply think you're new to Upwork and didn't know how to use it correctly.

 

But they're not obligated to do so. A client may just be annoyed by your willful disregard of protocol and decide to not pay you at all.

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