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Upwork team has allowed a Freelancer Fraud despite being given evidence

g_vasilevski
Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
11 of 23

Hi Gilead,

 

I'm sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. I would like to clarify that our team has already reached out to you via ticket to assist you further.  Please refer to your ticket with number 31387684. You can access your tickets on this Link, thank you.


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

I wish to provide an update regarding my case, so that it will be publicly known how Upwork dealt with my issue.

 

Since February, I have contacted Upwork numerous times. I have spent hours and hours in contact with several Upwork representatives.

 

I had 3 requests:

  1. Since I provided full proof of clear fraud, I requested full refund.
  2. I wanted the details of the freelancer to be released so I can press charges. In my correspondence with the Upwork team, they acknowledge that Subpoena protocol is not the only option by which a client can be entitled for disclosure of such details. Upwork has the right to disclose such details in cases they consider justified. I requested such disclosure.  
  3. I wanted the option to leave feedback for the freelancer. My first post on the forum was created following an event where the Upwork team closed my dispute without providing me any refund of their behalf (the freelancer refunded one month and was given a free pass to continue working on the Upwork platform). Since the post was created, I have repeatedly asked of the Upwork team to reopen the dispute. I stated I object the fact it was closed and therefore chose not to leave feedback to the freelancer yet. After more than two weeks passed the option to leave feedback was already blocked automatically. I contacted Upwork and asked that the feedback option be reinstated and explained why I waited with the leaving of feedback.

 

Since the proof I provided of fraud was so simple, clear, and undisputable, the Upwork team ended up admitting the wrong I was done by both the freelancer and the failure of the handling of my case on their part. Regarding points 2,3 I was told that my request will be seriously considered, and I will be answered soon.

 

I was pleased to see progress with the following:

  1. The Upwork team reviewed my case and admitted that I was defrauded by the freelancer.
  2. The Upwork team admitted that when I reached out to them for help in October, they did not manage properly my complain, and stated that indeed in my chat conversation with them on 27.10.2020 they failed to educate me on the dispute process.
  3. The Upwork team informed me about requests 2,3 that they are being considered.

Evidence for points a, b, c is found in my correspondence with the Upwork team and thus cannot be disputed.

 

As a point of reference-

 

The dispute with the freelancer was first closed by Upwork following an agreement they made with the freelancer, to my dissatisfaction, that she provides a refund of one month. In return her account that was suspended due to her fraud was be reactivated.

 

From that we learn that at the very least, one month worth of refund by the freelancer was evidently demonstrated as a possible result for the opening of a dispute in such a clear case of fraud (Upwork did request her to refund more than that but conceded to her paying one month only).  I will come back to this point in the “Conclusion” section.

 

Results:

 

*I was refunded the amounts billed since October. 670 US$ fraudulently charged by the freelancer between August and October, were not refunded.

 

*Requests 2,3 have been refused. The freelancer is still active on the Upwork platform, no feedback will ever appear on their profile regarding their fraud and the disclosure of details without Subpoena was denied.

 

*My last email to Upwork about the issue dated 8.4.2021 was not even replied.

 

Conclusion:

The Upwork platform failed miserably in their handling of my case.

As a client on their platform that fell victim to such self-evident, undisputable fraud, I had to struggle endlessly only to be given a partial refund. The freelancer remains active on their platform, no feedback is there to warn her future clients.

 

As mentioned before, where I provided a “point of reference”, the Upwork team has admitted that when I reached out to them for help in October, they did not manage properly my complain. In the correspondence, they stated that, indeed, in my chat conversation with them on 27.10.2020 they failed to educate me on the dispute process and acknowledged that they should take responsibility for that.

 

Should such a dispute have been opened back then, I would have been refunded by the freelancer the amount of one month at the very least as was evidently demonstrated in the way the dispute was eventually closed.  This can be clearly seen in the “point of reference” provided.

 

Therefore, at the very least, I would not be short of another month’s billings should the Upwork team have dealt properly with my complain in October.

 

I will, however, not be willing to settle this even if Upwork would suggest an additional month worth of refund. Nothing less then full refund will be acceptable to me.

 

I understand the tactics. By refunding me the money billed since October, Upwork team figured I would be satisfied that I got back most of the money. They figured I would avoid the trouble of pressing charges for “only” 670US$ and be pleased I got most of the money back.

 

Well… they were wrong.

 

It is true that taking legal action might end up in time and money expenses that many would not be willing to invest for 670 US$. Indeed, Upwork is US based, I am not from the US, and the freelancer- even once her details are disclosed, is (to the best of my understanding) from Spain. The legal process will, indeed, be complicated, and many would have been deterred.

 

However, due to the mental distress I have been through as a victim of fraud that encounters unjust handling of his case, this became emotionally charged, and I am now committed to spend the time and money necessary to press charges against: Upwork, the freelancer as well as press charges for public defamation should anyone on the forum try to answer this post with any victim blaming rhetoric.

 

I want to thank you all for your help.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
13 of 23

This is a prime example of "refund thinking."

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Valeria K Community Manager Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
14 of 23

All, 

Thanks for the discussion. This thread has now been closed from further replies. 

Gilead, I encourage you to refer to your support ticket number 31428676 for any additional information the team is able to share or if you have any further questions. You can access your tickets via this link.

~ Valeria
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petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
15 of 23

Gilead D wrote:

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.


Upwork will immediately hand those details over when you produce a subpoena. Otherwise, they will not. As per data protection regulations.

 

Also, even if you take the freelancer to court (Are they in the same jurisdiction as you are?), this may not mean you get any money back, as they may not have any. 

 

Obviously what the freelancer did was horrible, but it could happen only  because you left an active contract open and didn't check your payment method's statements for a long time. That's the equivalent of giving a stranger your ATM card and the PIN number to go and get $50 they are entitled to and then forgetting all about it for a few months. And then expecting the bank to get your money back for you somehow.

 

Gilead D wrote:

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


No. You didn't.

The responsibility lies firmly with the freelancer, but you let it happen.

 

 

 

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

Dear Ms. Petra R,

 

Your response is nothing less than outragous.

 

Upwork will immediately hand those details over when you produce a subpoena. Otherwise, they will not. As per data protection regulations.

 

Let me quote from an email I recieved from the upwork team yesturday-

**Edited for community guidelines**

 

Please notice that according to the email, Upwork's process for contact requests starts with Upwork reaching out to the freelancer and requesting the release of the information. I have asked for this to happen several times, starting on February, and only yesturday was my request attended. 

 

Obviously what the freelancer did was horrible, but it could happen only  because you left an active contract open and didn't check your payment method's statements for a long time. That's the equivalent of giving a stranger your ATM card and the PIN number to go and get $50 they are entitled to and then forgetting all about it for a few months. And then expecting the bank to get your money back for you somehow.

 

Please notice that throwing public acusations of a person who fell victim to a fraud, that took place on a platform, is an action open to legal liability. Your assertment that I did not provide proof of the fraud is simply unfounded and false. The tendentious retorics and absurd comparisson is nothing less than publish defameation.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
17 of 23

Upwork is not a "fraud investigation" company. Upwork is not a "look at evidence" company.

 

Upwork provides a service that lets clients find, hire and pay freelancers.

 

I do not doubt that the original poster (a client) is disappointed by his experience in using Upwork. I believe Upwork could do a better job with messaging so that clients have a better idea about what services it provides.

 

But ultimately, if a client assumes that Upwork will do things that Upwork never claims it will do... how much can we hold Upwork responsible for that?

 

Upwork does not claim that it manages projects for clients. The original poster is not the first client we have heard from in the Forum whose disappointment boils down to that: Assuming that Upwork will manage their project for them. Upwork simply does not do that. It has never done that.

a_lipsey
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
18 of 23
Upwork definitely needs to do better messaging. If a contract is idle a long time, upwork could remind the client to close it. But what I don't understand is how the client could allow continued billing, claim to be unaware, and not just close the contract and put a stop to it? As a client myself I get updates more than once a week from Upwork telling me hours have been billed, etc.
prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
19 of 23

Gilead:
A lot of people here have provided you with accurate, useful information.

 

This thread provides useful information to any client or potential client who reads it as a result of doing a search.

 

But it is clear to me that you are still frustrated, and perhaps you have some questions that have not yet been answered.

 

What would you like to see happen next?
Do you have any questions at this time? Anything that you still feel confused about? Or a question that you feel has not yet been answered?

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

Dear bb850f08,

Thank you for writing. 

 

Following the post, Upwork contacted me and assured me that they are looking into the issue. I have no interest in having a "public trail" on the forum. My last posts were merely meant to defened myself from public defeamation on the forum. I don't have any questions nor confusion. 

 

I would like to thank you for offering assistance. 

 

 

 

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