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Sue Upwork

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Ace Contributor
Martin S Member Since: Nov 5, 2018
11 of 60

Avery O wrote:

Hi Martin, 


I understand how this can be frustrating for you. However, our team is unable to discuss this here to comply with our privacy policy. It would be best to discuss your concern further with the team handling your concern so that they can assist you further. 


I understand, but if I do it all behind closed doors I know I wont get far as I've been dragged around the passed couple of months without any realistic help from Upwork.

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Active Member
Patrick M Member Since: Dec 14, 2015
12 of 60

Something's not adding up here. 

 

Did you vet the freelancer initially? Did they have ratings, feedback, a portfolio?

 

Were they just incompetent, or are they clearly running a scam? If the latter, I can't imagine Upwork would allow the profile to remain viable. 

 

This sounds like a contract more suited for milestones rather than hourly where you can simply not release the payment until a milestone is properly met.  

 

Have you thoroughly read the TOS? Can you point to a place in the TOS where Upwork has failed to meet their obligation under same? 

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Ace Contributor
Rafeh G Member Since: Feb 23, 2014
13 of 60

I totally understand the OP's point of view in this case and I can also understand where he went wrong, a project like his was not suitable under hourly contract for sure; but having said that I can also understand for inexperienced clients words like "payment protections" can give a false sense of security however as always devil is in the details. 

 

As for milestones (fixed price) I have my own experience to share, I work both as a freelancer and as a client. So I had hired a freelancer for a project lets say to draw 3 illustrations of Cat, Dog and a Mouse each associated with its particular milestone but from my initial project listing, to communicating with freelancer, to offering the contract I have explicitly mentioned that these milestones will be taken into totality, completing one milestone and not completing others will void our agreement which the freelancer happily accepted as a Cat drawn by one artist while the other two by another will never match the style. 

 

He worked on the first draft of the first milestone and then disappeared, stipulated deadlines were passed, I kept on messaging him consecutively for a couple of days, started giving him notice that his non-responsivness will lead to termination and after getting tried of it, I filed for a dispute (for escrow funds). As soon as the dispute was filed he became active on UW and started taking a plee that since I do not require the work anymore as if the project is cancelled hence I am going for a dispute. On the other hand on same project listing, for the very same milestones, and exactly the same price I hired another freelancer (so he was clearly wrong) while the outcome of the dispute was that escrow funds were released to this freelancer and also refunded to me.

From my prespective UW played a zero sum game as they were going to make money on the project eitherway as I had hired another freelancer for the same sum and deliverables. But as being a client I think it was absolutly unfair towards a client(s), a freelancer that has violated his agreement with a client, missed all the deadlines, disappeared completely for days while the client is repetadly leaving messages and in the end he is rewarded by releasing escrow funds into his favour as well; I find it absolutely wrong and in a way it is encouraging and quite rewarding towards the non-serious, unprofessional freelancers. 

As being a freelancer I always go an extra mile for my clients so that they can have an impeccable experience with me (unlitmately it is beneficial for UW) so the overall outcome of this dispute has definitely left a bad taste.  I would like other experienced members to shed some light, as in where I went wrong as a client or how this freelancer got away with it?

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Ace Contributor
Martin S Member Since: Nov 5, 2018
14 of 60

Rafeh G wrote:

I totally understand the OP's point of view in this case and I can also understand where he went wrong, a project like his was not suitable under hourly contract for sure; but having said that I can also understand for inexperienced clients words like "payment protections" can give a false sense of security however as always devil is in the details. 

 

As for milestones (fixed price) I have my own experience to share, I work both as a freelancer and as a client. So I had hired a freelancer for a project lets say to draw 3 illustrations of Cat, Dog and a Mouse each associated with its particular milestone but from my initial project listing, to communicating with freelancer, to offering the contract I have explicitly mentioned that these milestones will be taken into totality, completing one milestone and not completing others will void our agreement which the freelancer happily accepted as a Cat drawn by one artist while the other two by another will never match the style. 

 

He worked on the first draft of the first milestone and then disappeared, stipulated deadlines were passed, I kept on messaging him consecutively for a couple of days, started giving him notice that his non-responsivness will lead to termination and after getting tried of it, I filed for a dispute (for escrow funds). As soon as the dispute was filed he became active on UW and started taking a plee that since I do not require the work anymore as if the project is cancelled hence I am going for a dispute. On the other hand on same project listing, for the very same milestones, and exactly the same price I hired another freelancer (so he was clearly wrong) while the outcome of the dispute was that escrow funds were released to this freelancer and also refunded to me.

From my prespective UW played a zero sum game as they were going to make money on the project eitherway as I had hired another freelancer for the same sum and deliverables. But as being a client I think it was absolutly unfair towards a client(s), a freelancer that has violated his agreement with a client, missed all the deadlines, disappeared completely for days while the client is repetadly leaving messages and in the end he is rewarded by releasing escrow funds into his favour as well; I find it absolutely wrong and in a way it is encouraging and quite rewarding towards the non-serious, unprofessional freelancers. 

As being a freelancer I always go an extra mile for my clients so that they can have an impeccable experience with me (unlitmately it is beneficial for UW) so the overall outcome of this dispute has definitely left a bad taste.  I would like other experienced members to shed some light, as in where I went wrong as a client or how this freelancer got away with it?


I totally agree with you and Upwork should be held accountable for their actions.

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Ace Contributor
Martin S Member Since: Nov 5, 2018
15 of 60

Patrick M wrote:

Something's not adding up here. 

 

Did you vet the freelancer initially? Did they have ratings, feedback, a portfolio?

 

Were they just incompetent, or are they clearly running a scam? If the latter, I can't imagine Upwork would allow the profile to remain viable. 

 

This sounds like a contract more suited for milestones rather than hourly where you can simply not release the payment until a milestone is properly met.  

 

Have you thoroughly read the TOS? Can you point to a place in the TOS where Upwork has failed to meet their obligation under same? 


I actually worked with this freelancer before and was ok with their work, this project was a little different and required different skills, they assured me they can definitely do it within the timeframe and budget cap but ended up screwing me as they were simply incompetent.

 

If you sell anything without delivering do you end up keeping your money? If so you are a scam. When Bernie Madoff started his Ponzi scheme he was actually investing the money but he ended up in prison because, in the end, he took people's money without properly investing them.

 

Although this was an hourly project, it had clear defined deliverables in the project description to be delivered within a budget cap. The only reason I did it hourly is that the freelancer told me he only wants to do this hourly.

 

In regard to TOS, my claim is that Upwork is falsely marketing itself as a secure freelancer marketplace and dispute mediator in case it's needed and hiding the real face of Upwork in the terms of service.

 

Big tobacco firms were sued because of marketing smoking as a luxury while it is dangerous and not displaying a large, clear, bold warning message even though you were able to find a health warning in some legal terms and conditions fine print.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
16 of 60

It is possible to use fixed-price contracts for web development, mobile app development, and other programming projects.

 

But in order for that to work, the project manager needs to know how to use the fixed-price contract model successfully. This includes reviewing, testing, and archiving all submissions.

 

If the project owner's goal is to obtain a high-quality product, the hourly contract model works better than the fixed-price contract model. This is because the developers have an incentive to produce code which is high-quality. The fixed-price contract model is based on producing what is specified in a task specification. If something works, and fits the requirement, then it is done. Even if more work could be done to make it even better.


So the fixed-price contract model is best for development projects which have a tight budget, and for which quality is not a primary factor.

 

Everybody who manages a development project should keep in mind:

You can have it fast.

You can have it cheap.

You can have it good.

Pick two.

 

This is a principle of programming and software development. It is not something that the freelancer or client can "choose" to exempt themselves from.

 

Whether a project uses the fixed-price or hourly contract model, the project manager needs to know how to use the chosen contract model effectively.

 

Two of the main causes we see when programming project clients get into trouble when using Upwork are:

- Not having a qualified project manager

- Not understanding how Upwork works

 

Upwork does not provide programming, websites, mobile apps or anything of the sort. Upwork provides an opportunity to hire people who can work on these projects. But hiring people does not imply project management. Upwork does not directly provide project management.

 

And only about 20% of lead devs can effectively serve as their own project manager. So if a project owner hires a developer or group of developers and is neither qualified to serve as the project manager, nor hires an effective independent project manager, then the project has an 80% chance of failing.

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Ace Contributor
Martin S Member Since: Nov 5, 2018
17 of 60

Preston H wrote:

....

Everybody who manages a development project should keep in mind:

You can have it fast.

You can have it cheap.

You can have it good.

Pick two.

....

Upwork does not provide programming, websites, mobile apps or anything of the sort. Upwork provides an opportunity to hire people who can work on these projects. But hiring people does not imply project management. Upwork does not directly provide project management.

....

Two of the main causes we see when programming project clients get into trouble when using Upwork are:

- Not having a qualified project manager

- Not understanding how Upwork works

....


I'm not complaining about code quality etc. I simply did not get a working application at all.

 

In regard to project management, the freelancer I'm talking about is actually part of an agency that also provided a project manager for this project.

 

In regard to "understanding how Upwork works", my claim is that Upwork is falsely marketing itself as a secure freelancer marketplace and dispute mediator in case it's needed and hiding the real face of Upwork in the terms of service.

 

Big tobacco firms were sued because of marketing smoking as a luxury while it is dangerous and not displaying a large, clear, bold warning message even though you were able to find a health warning in some legal terms and conditions fine print.

 

Upwork should have the basic responsibility to ensure this does not happen and help scammed victims in case anything like this happens.

 

Upwork simply has the option to tell the freelancer and his agency: You were involved in charging a client thousands without delivering the deliverables, we cannot have this happening on our platform and we will have to close all your agency's operations to ensure other Upwork clients don't get scammed as well unless you (the freelancer) refunds the whole project so we know we could trust you and you won't do this again.

 

If Upwork does not do this they are complicit and an active partner in this fraud by supporting a freelancer who scammed me and keeping him on the platform where he can scam other vulnerable clients.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
18 of 60

re: "In regard to project management, the freelancer I'm talking about is actually part of an agency that also provided a project manager for this project."

 

By definition, this project manager failed.

 

If the project manager had succeeded, you would not have a complaint about having spent thousands of dollars with "nothing to show for it."

 

The project owner did not act as a project manager.

The project owner did not hire an independent project manager.

The lead dev did not act as a project manager.

 

Nobody acted as a project manager in any meaningful sense of the word.

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Ace Contributor
Martin S Member Since: Nov 5, 2018
19 of 60

Preston H wrote:

By definition, this project manager failed.

 

If the project manager had succeeded, you would not have a complaint about having spent thousands of dollars with "nothing to show for it."

 

The project owner did not act as a project manager.

The project owner did not hire an independent project manager.

The lead dev did not act as a project manager.

 

Nobody acted as a project manager in any meaningful sense of the word.


Either way, the bottom line is that a freelancer took my money without delivering the project deliverables and Upwork doesn't do anything to stop them.

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Active Member
Hannah O Member Since: Dec 17, 2019
20 of 60

 

As a freelancer, I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with one of us. There's a good reason why I always strive to do something right, preferably the first time. Both hourly and fixed-price clients deserve my best effort. Just to give you a different perspective: sometimes freelancers have trouble with their clients. In particular, doing the work and not getting paid. This is particularly true with fixed-price contracts. We sometimes have to wait two weeks after pushing "submit" to get paid if the client can't be bothered to look over our work. This can get really, really frustrating. We're lucky that there is payment protection at all. 

 

Nonetheless, I've dealt with scammers too. In particular, people who try to get me to work for free, or who just want to harvest my personal information through fake job offers. There are bad actors all around. Luckily, Upwork has been good enough to ban the scammers.

 

My reaction is this: give the jerk a one-star review. Complain to his agency, and let everyone know not to hire him. Keep in mind that the feedback system is skewed in the direction of the client: a bad review on a long-term contract will absolutely kill his success score. Cost him business in an amount more than he scammed out of you, and move on.

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