Stuck paying for useless work! ODesk Policy.

Does anyone have any comments about ODesk's dispute process where they do not take into account the quality of the work?  I was just forced to pay for 30 hours of code that I have to throw in the garbage.


ODesk in my opinion is not a trust worthy service.  Has any else found ODesk to be a minefield? 





Hi Richard,


Was it an hourly contract? Didn't you check the work diary as the freelancer was progressing?


All of who frequent the community forum are sincerely disappointed whenever a contractor has a negative experience while using oDesk.


We do not want that. Anything like this has a negative impact on the platform that we use.


The ultimate blame for bad work must be placed at the feet of the person who did that work. In this case, that is the contractor.


But Isabelle is asking a good question.


I might ask the same question, and I would do so not to blame a client who may be inexperienced in using oDesk, but to hopefully illuminate the availability of very helpful, very powerful tools available to clients to prevent or avoid negative outcomes like this.


The oDesk time tracker logs work in real time, and is updated every ten minutes.


I'll refrain from commenting on Richard's situation, because I know nothing about it.


But I can tell you from my own experience that when I have hired a new contractor, I closely monitor the work being done, especially at first, and would only let an hour or two go by at the most before checking up on the work.


The quality and styles of contractors are WIDELY divergent. So I want to know early on if this is a good fit. Even for a programming project, which may be difficult to gauge early on, 30 hours is a long time to let work go unchecked.


If I don't have the expertise to personally evaluate a particular type of work, then I hire somebody to look the work that has been done after two to four hours, and assess its quality and efficacy.


Also, hiring only one contractor for a job may be a mistake in many situations. I typically hire multiple contractors for the same job. After an hour or two, I can decide which one is providing me with the best value. I can continue working with that contractor, while paying and thanking the others for the small amount of work they briefly did.

LOL Preston, I think you mean Gillian, not Isabelle? I didn't ask any question on this thread Smiley Wink

Since the OP mentioned paying for 30 hours, I assume it was an hourly job, and on hourly jobs, clients can choose a contractor with the money back guarantee:


from https://www.odesk.com/i/howitworks/client

Freelancers with a Money-Back Guarantee stamp on their profile are covered by our Money-Back Guarantee. Hire one to an hourly contract, and if you are at all unsatisfied within the first two work weeks, you can get your money back—no questions asked.


Also, there's a review period of one week or so following each work week, during which I assume clients can dispute the work done or undone.

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

"Preston, I think you mean Gillian, not Isabelle? I didn't ask any question on this thread"



Well, you're both fine contractors with double L in your name. I thought it was a good fit.


Sorry for your poor experience, contractors like that ruin the experience for all of us. But to be fair, how exactly should oDesk verify the quality of the work of millions of freelancers and clients across 100s of different fields in dozens of different region and computer specific languages? It's just not possible and that is something every client and freelancer should be aware of and design the job/contract accordingly. Because oDesk can't verify/judge the quality of the work except for a few, very select and super obvious cases, they implemented a system that takes screenshots of the freelancer's working screen at random, 10 minute intervals - the trade off for this intrusion of privacy and the ability to constantly look the freelancer over the shoulder is that the payment is guaranteed. The alternative is the fixed price model where a client can't see screenshots, but can decide whether or not to pay for the work if not 100% satisfied.



I, too, paid for many hours of work that is just thrown down the toilet.   I didn't just choose one contractor.  I've been through several that have read my specfications, had a beautiful resume listing their skills and solid portfolio.  Unfortunately, they couldn't do simple programming tasks and had limited web design ability.     I've had to waste a few hours of billing and few days delayed on the project for each.  


The so-called designers - expecially tthe one's listed as agency - are advertising services for which they have no skill.  I've had web designers with attractive Wordpress portfolios that couldn't figure out how to load a theme or a plugin.    One designer showed me an extensive library of flash projects, then worked for several hours, then told me he didn't even have the software to do the job.   


The only solution  I can think of is to work on a fixed price until the designer shows some kind of skillset.   I'm breaking down my project into parts and will do the first part on a fixed price.  If the designer does well, I can consider hourly on a later project.


Odesk should shoulder some of the responsiblity for this.   There should be better skills testing and some kind of filtering for the bad apples that are plugging up the site.  At least, these crappy liar-programmers should not be paid.    





Sorry to hear about your experience. As a freelancer, I can't speak on behalf of agencies, since I never worked for one and never will. I can't speak for designers either, because I do strictly development, meaning programming. If you don't mind sharing, what sort of rates did you pay when you received subpar work? There's no guarantee that higher pay means higher quality, but like anything else, you generally get what you pay for. Also, if I were a client, I would be hesitant to hire any indiviidual who claims to do both design and programming. I'm sure there are a few gifted freelancers equally skilled at both, but I would think they're exceptions. It's tough enough keeping up with best programming practices without taking on graphic design duty.

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

Yes, Andrew... I too feel bad that you had negative experiences with dishonest contractors who misrepresented their abilities. But like John, I wonder if you were paying on the low end of the spectrum.

You guys want to know a secret?
My rates are pretty high, among the highest on oDesk. But I think the people who invite me to do work are filtering contractors based on rate and simply trying to find the most expensive contractors available. I think they save money and time by paying high hourly rates.