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Upwork team has allowed a Freelancer Fraud despite being given evidence

bb850f08
Active Member
Gilead D Member Since: Mar 27, 2021
1 of 23

Upwork website offers to connect customers with a “trusted independent provider”, to find “the right talent” for customers, to connect customers with “professionals”, saying that the talents provided are “reviewed” and are “trusted experts” as well as other promises that make customers feel that they are protected and that Upwork environment is safe. As a client, I relied on these presentations and commitments when I used their services and engaged one of their translators for a single translation work in August 2020. 

However, and to my great dismay, I discovered that I was fraudulently billed additional sums of money, accumulating to thousands of US$.

I contacted Upwork and they in turn, rightfully requested the freelancer to provide proof of communication with me, or any other kind of proof that she has performed any kind of work whatsoever for me after August 22, 2020. Not surprisingly, the translator was not able to do so, falsely claiming that she was bound to some “terms of license” and could therefore not provide proof of the work she claims to have performed. No proof of existence of any such perported “terms of licence” was provided. Furthermore, I informed both her and Upwork that I am waiving any privilege I might have and am authorizing the translator to provide any writings, documents or communications that she claims to have had with me to Upwork. However, the translator was still unable to provide any shred of proof of the claimed work she had purportedly performed.  

Please note, that the translator’s claim, as if she is bound by some “terms of license” that do not permit her to disclose communications with a client, and that, furthermore, those purported terms are not waivable, is false as well as absurd. First, no such terms exist in her profession and there is no “translator privilege”. Second, even the highly protected communications between an attorney and his or her client are easily discoverable once a client waives his privilege.  The translator’s claim that she cannot provide you proof of the work she claims to have performed due to some “terms of license” is clearly a feeble excuse. It is as clear as can be that the translator did not perform any kind of work for me after the single August 22, 2020 task. By using Upwork services and the platform they offer she was able to defraud me of thousands of US$.

In light of Upwork commitment to their clients, to the fact that they have negligently listed a fraud on their website - a website which promises secure transactions to its clients, that they negligently dealt with the billing inquiry I had made back in October 2020 about this, I still continued to be fraudulently charged on a monthly basis.

 

My requests that Upwork provide me with the full personal details of the translator, including proof that she is indeed a certified translator, so that I may take appropriate steps against her were ignored and the case was closed leaving me short of thousands of US$.

 

Should anyone want to know more details you are welcome to contact me.

Thank you Upwork for your "proffesional service".

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
2 of 23

Gilead D wrote:

Upwork website offers to connect customers with a “trusted independent provider”, to find “the right talent” for customers, to connect customers with “professionals”, saying that the talents provided are “reviewed” and are “trusted experts” as well as other promises that make customers feel that they are protected and that Upwork environment is safe. As a client, I relied on these presentations and commitments when I used their services and engaged one of their translators for a single translation work in August 2019. 

However, and to my great dismay, I discovered that I was fraudulently billed additional sums of money, accumulating to thousands of US$.

I contacted Upwork and they in turn, rightfully requested the freelancer to provide proof of communication with me, or any other kind of proof that she has performed any kind of work whatsoever for me after August 22, 2019. Not surprisingly, the translator was not able to do so, falsely claiming that she was bound to some “terms of license” and could therefore not provide proof of the work she claims to have performed. No proof of existence of any such perported “terms of licence” was provided. Furthermore, I informed both her and Upwork that I am waiving any privilege I might have and am authorizing the translator to provide any writings, documents or communications that she claims to have had with me to Upwork. However, the translator was still unable to provide any shred of proof of the claimed work she had purportedly performed.  

Please note, that the translator’s claim, as if she is bound by some “terms of license” that do not permit her to disclose communications with a client, and that, furthermore, those purported terms are not waivable, is false as well as absurd. First, no such terms exist in her profession and there is no “translator privilege”. Second, even the highly protected communications between an attorney and his or her client are easily discoverable once a client waives his privilege.  The translator’s claim that she cannot provide you proof of the work she claims to have performed due to some “terms of license” is clearly a feeble excuse. It is as clear as can be that the translator did not perform any kind of work for me after the single August 22, 2019 task. By using Upwork services and the platform they offer she was able to defraud me of thousands of US$.

In light of Upwork commitment to their clients, to the fact that they have negligently listed a fraud on their website - a website which promises secure transactions to its clients, that they negligently dealt with the billing inquiry I had made back in October 2020 about this, I still continued to be fraudulently charged on a monthly basis.

 

My requests that Upwork provide me with the full personal details of the translator, including proof that she is indeed a certified translator, so that I may take appropriate steps against her were ignored and the case was closed leaving me short of thousands of US$.

 

Should anyone want to know more details you are welcome to contact me.

Thank you Upwork for your "proffesional service".


____________________________

 

 

1) Why did you not do your own due diligence on the translator in question? (Upwork is only an introductory platform - a bit like a dating site only for work) 

 

2) How is it that the freelancer got away with thousands of dollars when it was just for one translation. Surely, if this was an  hourly job, you followed closely the hours that the freelancer was billing? 

 

3) Why have you waited over 18 months to complain about this? 

bb850f08
Active Member
Gilead D Member Since: Mar 27, 2021
3 of 23

Dear Nichola L,

Thank you for your reply.

I appreciate you taking the time to try and help me with the issue.

Let me begin my answer by stating that I have clearly been defrauded and I have supplied proof of that to the Upwork team.

I do hope, however, that in your reply you are not implying that I am to blame in some way of the fact I was defrauded. Surely you do not intend to blame the victim or at least I sincerely hope so.  

 

As with regards to your questions:

1)Why did you not do your own due diligence on the translator in question? (Upwork is only an introductory platform - a bit like a dating site only for work)

 

The freelancer’s name is  **Edited for Community Guidelines** . Her profile seemed legit, and I am coming from a predisposition of trust. On  **Edited for Community Guidelines** profile, you will find claims for high level education and good reputation on Upwork. In addition, I was under the impression that Upwork as a platform will not allow for fraud and would have my back should something go wrong.

 

2) How is it that the freelancer got away with thousands of dollars when it was just for one translation. Surely, if this was an hourly job, you followed closely the hours that the freelancer was billing? 

 

As I have pointed out to the Upwork team, a review of the whole correspondence I had with the freelancer on the Upwork chat system, shows that I sent her 1 text for translation and received from her the translation requested. After this, no further communications or documents were exchanged on the Upwork platform and at no point in the chat did the freelancer provide me with any contact details for the establishment of a possible communication outside the Upwork platform.

 

Furthermore, let it be mentioned that  **Edited for Community Guidelines** , as you can verify yourself, is literally impossible to be found on Google by her name. I know this, since once the upwork team has ignored my request to get her personal details which I requested so that I can file a law suit against her, I have recently been trying to find her on Google, Social medias etc. without any success. How then, may I ask, could I have possibly had any working relations with her having no means of communication?

The claim that the freelancer has been working for me after August 22th 2020 is thus absurd and is nothing but a fraud.

In addition to that, since in October 2020 I have, in fact, written to the freelancer, as can be seen in the Upwork chat, and inquired why is it that she is billing me even though our collaboration has ended, the idea that after October this non existing working relationship continued is simply ludicrous and unjust.   

 

Please find attached a screen shot from my correspondence with the freelancer back in October.

As is obviously documented in the Upwork system, I have contacted the Upwork team in October as well and informed them of suspicious billings. In my correspondence with the Upwork team back in October 2020 I express in every possible way that I am in confusion, at a loss and do not understand my situation with Upwork in general and  **Edited for Community Guidelines** in specific. I express this confusion, ask for assistance guidance and help. A careful review of the correspondence clearly shows that I am NOT being told I should take any action to terminate the contract of which existence I was not even aware. It seems obvious that Upwork was supposed to defend me as a client requesting assistance and terminate the contract on my behalf at that point.

In conclusion, 

The freelancer has unjustifiably charged me with a total of 2112.5 US$. I have been clearly defrauded.  **Edited for Community Guidelines** was unable to provide proof that she has indeed performed any kind of work for me, even though I waived any privilege I might have of any communications with her, and explicitly authorized her to provide the Upwork team any such proof if she indeed had it. Still, no proof was provided, and this is due to the fact that she did not perform any work for me after August 22, 2019.

 

3) Why have you waited over 18 months to complain about this? 

 

Please accept my apology. In my initial post I was using the wrong date. After noticing the error, I edited my post, and it should appear correctly now. Instead of writing 2020 as the year in which my contact with the freelancer was made, I wrote 2019. The correct date when a contact was first established between the freelancer and myself is 22th of august 2020.

pradeephele
Moderator
Pradeep H Moderator Member Since: Jan 11, 2021
4 of 23

Hello Gilead,

 

I am sorry to hear about your experience. I see that one of our team members has already reached out to you via support ticket to assist you further. Please don't hesitate to follow up with them on your support ticket if you have additional questions regarding your concern.

 

Thank you

Pradeep H.

Untitled
luiggi_rosado
Moderator
Luiggi R Moderator Member Since: Jul 3, 2020
5 of 23

Hi Gilead,

 

I'm very sorry to hear about your experience with the freelancer. Note that for hourly contracts, you are invoiced every Monday for the previous week's hours the freelancer logs and you have until Friday of that week to file a dispute if you see any discrepancies with those hours. You can find more information in this help article. Regarding your request, someone from the team will be reaching out to you directly via a support ticket to assist you further.

 

Thank you.

~ Luiggi

Untitled
bb850f08
Active Member
Gilead D Member Since: Mar 27, 2021
6 of 23

Hi Luiggi,

Thank you for your reply.

 

Please notice my second post which contains proof that Upwork should asume full responsibility in this case. 

 

Best regards,

Gilead 

a_lipsey
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
7 of 23

Gilead D wrote:

Hi Luiggi,

Thank you for your reply.

 

Please notice my second post which contains proof that Upwork should asume full responsibility in this case. 

 

Best regards,

Gilead 


Why didn't you just close the contract so she couldn't bill you anymore?  This doesn't make sense. You were in full control to close the contract and end the billing once you got the translation you needed.  I'm not defending the freelancer, but Upwork can't protect you if you don't use it correctly and protect yourself. 

bb850f08
Active Member
Gilead D Member Since: Mar 27, 2021
8 of 23

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for writing.

 

As mentioned in my previous posts, I was not even aware I have a contract with the freelancer. 

I used Upwork before, a few times, using the one-time project option. 

Back on 22.8.2020, I offered to help a friend that was under severe time pressure, deal with the translation of several texts. My friend needed the translations ASAP, and time was the main issue.  

My idea was to find freelancers on Upwork and offer them payment for translating these texts.

I am not very experienced with Upwork, I am not a Lawyer and a long time has passed since 22.8.2020. Therefore, I am afraid I cannot report to you with precision and confidence about all the settings involved in the Job offer I sent on 22.8.2020. I will, however, try and recall, to the best of my ability and detail it here:

 

I established contact with several different translators and tried to organize so that the texts be translated simultaneously to save time. Not knowing how long each translation work will take, I chose two translators for which I offered the "Ongoing project" with the "pay by the hour option". The idea I had when doing so, was that if needed, I could send these two freelancers several texts (while the freelancers offered one-time project were given one text only). I was experimenting with the system trying to figure out the fastest way to get a bunch of translations ready. I recall that the "pay by the hour" option, on the form that establishes the settings of the project, was followed by some form fields, where the scope of the project had to be specified. I kept my specifications to those fields to the bare minimum possible on the form (I believe the minimum is "less than a month", "less then 30hr/week"). I did not understand that by doing so I am considered as signed on an open-ended ongoing contract which allows for automatic recurrent billing. My assumption was that I will have the option to send one text for translation, pay according to the time it took the freelancer to work on it, and then assess whether I want to send a few more after I have had an idea about the speed and quality of the translation provided. 

In fact, **Edited for Community Guidelines** provided a one-page text translation rather quickly. I thanked her, sent her 16 USD, and said that "I will send a few more later today". I was very happy with the work done by **Edited for Community Guidelines**, another freelancer I hired on Upwork and ended up not sending **Edited for Community Guidelines** any further texts for translation. **Edited for Community Guidelines**, in any case, did not reply to my “Thank you” message, and this was thus the end of our working relationship. It was not clear for me that I am supposed to take any further steps to establish an official end of our collaboration. I am attaching a screen shot showing that the next message in my chat with **Edited for Community Guidelines**, following the “Thank you” message, was already a message where I am complaining to her about suspicious billings by her that I do not understand. This message was written on 27.10.2020.

For the sake of comparison, the other freelancer with whom I had a so called "Ongoing project", **Edited for Community Guidelines**, did a great work and I did send her a few more texts to translate. In contrast to **Edited for Community Guidelines**, **Edited for Community Guidelines** charged me only for the hours that she spent working on the translation of the texts I sent her on the 22.8.2020 and 23.8.2020. Just like with **Edited for Community Guidelines**, I failed to understand that I am signed on a contract that should be terminated. Thus, the contract remained open and thankfully **Edited for Community Guidelines** did not use this fact to try and charge any further billings. Only during my talk with the Upwork support in October, was I informed that I have an open contract with **Edited for Community Guidelines**. I was told that in case have no more work relations with her, I can simply close it by ending the contract. With regards to **Edited for Community Guidelines**, however, since I had unacceptable billings that had no basis, I requested that the Upwork support team will intervene and help me solve the issue. I was reassured by the Upwork support representative that this will be taken care of, and there is nothing else I am needed to do on my side. 

Once again, all this took place as early as October!

 

With regards to the billing notifications- 

Unfortunately, the Upwork email notifications were directed to my "Spam folder" which resulted in me not being even aware that I am being charged. 

 

Indeed, in retrospect, I should perhaps have been more careful. I should have paid careful attention to any details that left me vulnerable to fraud. I especially regret not having followed closely my credit card billings and failing to notice repeated suspicious charges. Indeed, whenever one falls victim to a fraud one needs to draw conclusions and be more careful and not only demand that lawful justice be done. Indeed, not all people are as just as **Edited for Community Guidelines**, and some would take advantage of opportunities to charge one as much money as possible if one is not attentive, which is exactly what **Edited for Community Guidelines** did. 

 

Perhaps, here is the time to mention that upon contacting the Upwork support team in October, they assured me they will intervene and they have. They contacted **Edited for Community Guidelines** which refunded all payments without trying to defend herself from my accusation of fraud. The fact that **Edited for Community Guidelines** did not refute the accusations of fraud, gave immediate full refund, and did not reply a single word as a response to the accusations neither to me nor to the Upwork team, was a clear sign that she knows she has been caught. Little did I know back then, that not only did the Upwork team not close the contract, though they implied they would, and certainly should have, but **Edited for Community Guidelines** was not embarrassed to continue attempting further fraud after being already caught!

 

I certainly will be paying more attention from now on, when using my credit card details online. Let us hope, however, that what**Edited for Community Guidelines** did will remain the exception and not the norm and that most service providers will remain just and not opportunistically corrupt and conning as **Edited for Community Guidelines** behavior is in this case. I hope to post here soon, thanking the Upwork team for solving this. They have made contact with me assuring me that this will be attended, and I should expect to here from them soon.

a_lipsey
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
9 of 23

So the thing is, even after you got refunded in October, you didn't check to make sure the contract was closed. You keep trusting others to check your contracts for you. Those are your responsibilities. 

 

Most freelancers on Upwork are ethical and honest. But freelancers like the one you have prey on clients like you, who aren't paying attention, and who don't seem to be invested in understanding how to use the system they are hiring through. Every step of the way you had the power to easily prevent what happened to you if you had read through the how-tos Upwork provides so you know how to create contracts, how payments work, and when to end them. 

 

You want to keep making it Upwork's fault, but you weren't even checking your bank statements. Upwork emails going to spam is not on them. And even after the first refund, you didn't check your statements more closely, follow up to make sure the contract was closed, or stop emails from going to spam? I don't mean to sound victim blaming but the second time around you were practically volunteering. Frauds and scammers will target clients like you, who aren't paying attention. 

bb850f08
Active Member
Gilead D Member Since: Mar 27, 2021
10 of 23

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for writing.

 

The fact that fraud was commited on the platform is not necessarily Upworks fault. It is, however, obviously the freelancer's fault. The freelancer should thus be demanded to provide full refund. 

 

The undeniable truth remains the following-

I have provided Upwork proof of fraud commited by a freelancer on the platform.

To the best of my understanding, and I am consulted by a lawyer at this point, Upwork team when provided such proof should suspend the freelancers account and demand that the freelancer refund me with the amount stolen. To date, Upwork did not take such action and so far has not provided me with the details of the freelancer so that I can press charges. I see no justification in further shaming of a client that was frauded when the request is that upwork will demand of the freelancer that commited the fraud to provide a full refund. In fact, public defamation of a defrauded client, that provides proof of fraud, and has a reasonable request, is open to legal liability.

 

Let us hope that the upwork team will kindly contact the freelancer soon and resolve the issue.

This situation has been causing me substantial mental distress and I trully hope it can be resolved soon.

 

Best regards,

Gilead

 

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