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Trust to UpWork service for clients collapsed

After longer discussion with UpWork representative; after his confirmation, that they discovered a freelancer they offered through the platform and I hired was fake; they do not want to accept responsibility.

I was mislead by their quotation. Since the trust into quotations is the only reason I'm paying UpWork a fee, since this is the only service, that I need and that is/was valuable for me, their avoidance is simply unacceptable. I have suffered a loss of 1.700$ because they discovered a consultant was a fraud in the time of my running contract and they even did not bring their discovery to my attention. 

This is very close to a criminal act.

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Hi Andrej,


I'm sorry to hear about the bad experience you've had and the inconvenience this has caused you. I checked your account and I can see that you have already communicated with our team directly on your ticket with the number 33854732. Please refer to the information shared with you on your ticket with the number 33854732 and feel free to follow up directly there with any additional questions you may have. Thank you.

~ Goran


The dispute is open from January 3rd. With so many exchanges, to different dispute managers – with the same result: You admit a mistake, but do not accept consequences.
So I have two options:

1. To work on social media attack. Which I certainly will.
2. To handle the issue to my lawyer, which I have not yet decided to do.

The case is so clear, and the solution so easy – but then, you are avoiding it. So... What else can I do?



Thank you for sharing your story with the Forum.


Please help us understand this situation better:

What did Upwork do wrong in this situation?

What did the client do wrong in this situation?

What would you like to see happen next?

Community Member

I don't understand what is your actual claim. Freelancers do not belong to Upwork, the same way that clients de not belong to Upwork.


If you get in contact with a woman in a dating site, and when you meet turns out to be a man, will you pursue the dating site? Is the dating site responsible for making sure everyone is actually what they claim to be? No. The dating site will tell you that you are right, the person lied to you and he was a fake woman, and they may apologize but they will deny all responsibility. It is you who have to check and trust, or not, what people say they are. The only thing they do is give you tools to contact each other. If you got in contact, they did a good job.


Upwork is a dating site, it helps you find (business) partners. It does not and cannot certify that everyone registered (freelancers and clients) is a honest individual. There are some mechanisms in play to try to prevent it, but all they can do is try.


You may consider that they don't do enough, that is a fair opinion. But no global marketplace will offer you a 100% guarantee. Trying to build a legal case against Upwork based on your misfortune is a waste of time and trying to build a social attack even more so. It is like going against Tinder because someone lied in their profile or going against the city of New York because you got mugged on the streets of this city during your holidays.


You suffered a loss of $1700 because you were not careful enough. If you did not know the freelancer well enough, why would you provide a milestone of $1700? You could have started with a smaller milestone and assess that first task. If the freelancer is a scammer, in the worst scenario you will loose maybe $100 but not $1700. If is legit, you can keep adding milestones and gradually increase the magnitude of each milestone.


You can even start an hourly contract and ask the freelancer to use the time-tracker to log the hours and capture screenshots and camera shots. This way, you can see almost in real time what are they doing and you can close the contract as soon as you see something you don't like. But you must be on top of the project at all times. You must assess your freelancer's work very closely, especially at the begining when you are not sure if they are legit or scammers.


If you release a big sum of money on escrow and then don't keep track of what is going on with your project, then these things are eventually bound to happen, at Upwork or anywhere else.


You had tools to prevent it. Maybe you did not know, maybe you did not care. But none of those is Upwork's fault. The project is yours and you either manage it yourself or hire a project manager to do it for you. If someone scammed $1700 off you is simply because there was no project manager or the PM did not do a good job.

1. As a non-native speaker, I needed a native speaker for proofreading.

2. As a non-native speaker I cannot evaluate native speaker work. I have to trust him or her. Trust was based on profile.
3. UpWork discovered the fraud while my contract was still open and closed her profile.
4. UpWork did not let me know either of fraud nor that they closed her profile. My contract looked like everything is ok.
5. I took my part of responsibility even though for the reason I explained in 1. And 2. I could solve my responsibility only to hire a supervisor to check her work, - which is obvious nonsense.
6. Freelancer finally accepted her fraud and is willing to compensate me 1/3.
7. For reasons explained, UpWork clearly is not exactly like a dating site. Should it be, there would not be all kinds of regulations involved in different kinds of contracts.
8. UpWork will develop in a plain dating site if id does not handle issues with their reputation. Dating sites have no reputation, while UpWork has or at least had. They have to manage it. They pretend to manage it. Brandlife that I wrote years ago and tens of cases I’m working on give additional insight into what management of reputation means.
9. My loss is incomparable small to the loss of UpWork shareholders that I’m causing and I will cause.

I'm very sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, Upwork does not make guarantees about the quality of work provided by freelancers here; anyone can sign up and make false claims about their skills. So unfortunately, it's a buyer beware situation. If you're unable to evaluate the quality of work that you're receiving, then the only solution is to have the freelancer do a short sample and have somebody else evaluate it. Then when you do find a good freelancer, you can keep working with them without the additional supervision.

Andrej D wrote:

1. As a non-native speaker, I needed a native speaker for proofreading.

2. As a non-native speaker I cannot evaluate native speaker work. I have to trust him or her. Trust was based on profile.


The problem is you were expecting upwork to do this job, but Upwork never told you they would. You thought this job would be done automatically, but that is not the case either. 

If you hire an english speaking freelancer you must be able to assess their job. If you can't do it yourself you need someone else to do it. Upwork never promised they would do this, so you should have hired someone else to review your freelancer's work.

Upwork is a dating site, they put you two together. If you are not a match it is for you to decide. Upwork has a reputation, like Tinder has one. Upwork offers many more guarantees than Tinder, just not 100%. Believe me, you will do close to 0 harm in the justice court or outisde of it.

Community Member

It looks like you do not understand English and not me.

The focus of my complaint is, that UpWork did not let me know, that a contract was running with a fake freelancer despite they knew it!

I'm not so stupid not to accept this logical truth, that I, ad non-native can never asses a proofreader's work. Even if I hire a supervisor, I will not be able to assess his work and so ad-infinitum. Please, do not make me stupid, for I'm not. I simply have to trust the result:  I can only establish trust based on credentials. If the trusted page presents credentials, I trust them. If the trusted page finds out that credentials were false, it would be its moral and legal obligation to let me know about it. (They did not!) It would bring them good karma (reputation) to ask me, how they can assist me in the situation when I can not trust the freelancer. 

And please do not avoid the unavoidable: I'm taking my part of the responsibility. I know that UpWork is not responsible for the work performed by freelancers. Could you please stop throwing red herrings into the air!






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