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irishtl
Community Member

Client asking you to buy from Amazon

Hi, is it risky to accept a job that requires you to buy books from amazon? But the client promises to pay you the cost only after you submit the book reviews? Is this a legitimate practice on projects such as writing book reviews? Thank you.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
yowiedesign
Community Member

That sounds like a big red flag to me. I would be very wary of any job that requires out of pocket expenses. 

 

I'm sure there is also a TOS somewhere that it goes against. 

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35 REPLIES 35
yowiedesign
Community Member

That sounds like a big red flag to me. I would be very wary of any job that requires out of pocket expenses. 

 

I'm sure there is also a TOS somewhere that it goes against. 

 

This is how it is stated:

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Well it is not my field but it certainly sounds wrong and exploitative to me.  In the real world of course books are provided to reviewers.  If you're not sure you want to report the client maybe open a ticket with support asking for advice.

ii-solutions
Community Member

According to the FAQ at https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211063118-Report-Suspicious-Activity you should actually report any client who:

 

"Asks you to pay money to get a job, including things like reimbursable site registration fees and assurance deposits."

I'm wondering about a similar job that I've been invited to, where they are asking me to order a product from Amazon and write a review for it. The invitation states that I will receive a certain amount up front for the item and shipping, and I would get paid an additional amount afterward for the review itself. Is it still against TOS even if the "reimbursement" for the product comes before the actual purchase, and not after it?

re: "I'm wondering about a similar job that I've been invited to, where they are asking me to order a product from Amazon and write a review for it. The invitation states that I will receive a certain amount up front for the item and shipping, and I would get paid an additional amount afterward for the review itself. Is it still against TOS even if the "reimbursement" for the product comes before the actual purchase, and not after it?"

 

Aki:

There are two completely separate issues at play here.

 

You must not accept the job you referenced, because writing PRODUCT reviews for pay is a violation of Amazon ToS, and Upwork ToS requires that user not violate Amazon ToS.

 

It IS GOOD that the client is offering to pay up front for the item and for shipping. Obviously that is what any client should do if a freelancer needs materials in order to do the job. So you are correct in your understanding that by doing this, the client is avoiding violating one specific Upwork rule. Another example of this would be: The client wants you to bake a cake and take a photo of it. The client uses the Upwork Reimburse Expenses tool to send you the money for the materials before you go to the store to buy the materials.

 

But that has nothing to do with the other issue, which is that the client is asking you to violate Amazon ToS by writing a paid product review. Amazon has DIFFERENT RULES for books versus non-book products. And those rules prohibit paid reviews.

 

You may read more here:

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 9.39.17 AM.png

Thank you for your clear explanation, Preston. I definitely had reservations about this job the minute I read the invite, so I hadn't accepted it, and I definitely won't now!

This is a good and clear explanation. I got mixed up with a client asking me to do the same thing only she did not tell me ahead of time it was an Amazon review. She wanted me to "write a description of a product, 125 words for $20. Sounded like a good deal so I accepted it. Then I found out the real deal was she wanted me to purchase the product for $15, plus because of the type of product it was (fake eyelashes) I'd have to book a salon visit to have them applied. 

Would not listen to reason. She never paid me, yet Upwork charged me the $4 fee for the job.

I'm just telling this story so others will be careful about  any job for "writing product descriptions."

 


Mary T wrote:

This is a good and clear explanation. I got mixed up with a client asking me to do the same thing only she did not tell me ahead of time it was an Amazon review. She wanted me to "write a description of a product, 125 words for $20. Sounded like a good deal so I accepted it. Then I found out the real deal was she wanted me to purchase the product for $15, plus because of the type of product it was (fake eyelashes) I'd have to book a salon visit to have them applied. 

Would not listen to reason. She never paid me, yet Upwork charged me the $4 fee for the job.

I'm just telling this story so others will be careful about  any job for "writing product descriptions."

 


How could UW charge you a fee if you were never paid for the job?

Amazon policy states: "The above changes apply only to product categories other than books. We continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books."

But they strictly do not allow PAID reviews - for obvious reasons - which is what this (old) thread is about. It's a violation of their ToS and Upwork's ToS.


Aki T wrote:

I'm wondering about a similar job that I've been invited to, where they are asking me to order a product from Amazon and write a review for it. The invitation states that I will receive a certain amount up front for the item and shipping, and I would get paid an additional amount afterward for the review itself. Is it still against TOS even if the "reimbursement" for the product comes before the actual purchase, and not after it?


______________________

 

This is easy. You tell the client to send you the product from Amazon, and then you test it and then review it. You don't pay anything.

 

Amazon is a global platform. I live in France and if I want to send something to the U.S, using my own account I go to Amazon.com, order the product and send it (I pay for it in euros). So your client should be able to do the same wherever they or you are.

 

You don't pay upfront for anything.  Nor do you agree to accept a check the client offers to send you to pay for goods. You tell the client how much you will charge to test the product and then to write the review. The client pays you via Upwork for the work you have done. End of.

 

 



Nichola L wrote:

 

This is easy. You tell the client to send you the product from Amazon, and then you test it and then review it.

 


No. She tells the client that any form of paid review is a violation of Amazon's terms of service (even writing a review for a free product is, except for free ebooks where it must be disclosed) and therefor not allowed on Upwork.


Any job that involves writing an Amazon review = forbidden.

Thank you for that clarification. I have rejected the invitation and I wrote something very similar to what you just posted as a message underneath it.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Irish T. L,

 

Please stop communicating with this client and report them directly to Customer Support. Please share the specific job details and screenshots of your communication so our team can take immediate action.

 

Note that jobs that violate the ToS of another service, product or website are also prohibited on Upwork, and you shouldn't be paying in order to apply to a job or as part of the work requirements.

 

I edited your comment since it's a violation of our Community Guidelines to share private communication in the Community.

 

 

~ Vladimir
Upwork
irishtl
Community Member

Hi Vladimir, thanks for the reply. Actually that was not a private message from the client. I copied that from the job posting itself. I applied but then I've already withdrawn after realizing that it might indeed be a scam. Thanks for your help guys! 

A client asking you to buy something (from Amazon.com or anywhere else), and promising you to reimburse you later after you review stuff?

 

I definitely believe this is against Upwork ToS. So you should definitely not do it.

 

BUT... EVEN IF this were not against the rules, I would advise against having anything to do with this. I see no possibility that this would benefit you. This certainly seems like something which will only benefit the client.

 

There ARE jobs in which a worker may legitimately incur expenses using their own money and then submit expense reports and get reimbursed.

 

But realistically speaking, anything you encounter like that on Upwork or anywhere else online that involves you buying products to review is likely to be a scam.

 

In the brick-and-mortar world, where you work with real people you meet in an office and there is a real HR department and a real accounts payable officer, etc., this kind of thing isn't so unusual. An online company, especially one that is recruiting you and starting you out buying things with your own money, is simply going to be a scam that is trying to take advantage of the fact that you're looking for a job, and the fact that you have a vague sense that reimbursed expenses exist in some parts of the real world.

 

But like I said, NOT on Upwork.

 

Keep in mind, that Upwork has a legitimate way for clients to reimburse contractors for expenses. The ONLY WAY to do this is by paying reimbursement money THROUGH UPWORK. But in practical terms, the situations where this is necessary are vanishingly rare. Because you and the client are both working online, right? So if you need to buy something, such as stock images to use on a website, you can just have the client buy them.

 

If you need special software, the client can buy the software. If you need to be registered with a paid account, they client can pay for the account directly and send you access codes.

 

A rare legitimate use of reimbursements might be when a contractor is purchasing things offline, in local stores. For example, I might hire a contractor to bake a cake the promotes my business, and take photos of it, and I'll use the photos on my website. A contractor COULD buy local supplies with which to make the cake, and I could reimburse her for the supplies. But even then, I wouldn't want to use reimbursement. I would post the job as a fixed-rate job and state that the amount I pay the baker will be all-inclusive, so they they should factor in what they're charging for labor AND materials.

tut tut tut.....

 

I have many author friends....and one of the things they have been moaning about is the numberof fake reviews on amazon and how their 'competition' gets people to buy their books (refunding them) in order post these fake, brilliant reviews.....and Amazon is clamping down on the accounts of those who are doing such!!!>....

 

Stay away...not only is it immoral, but could get you a suspended Amazon account to boot.

You're right, Irene. Actually, I also love to read. So if ever I do get to write reviews, it would be an honest one. :) 

Irish, you are obviously a clear thinker who wants to do the right thing.

 

Thank you for sharing this story.

 

Maybe there are people actually making money writing fake reviews, or maybe these writers are just wasting their time and make little or no money. I don't know.

 

Either way, I agree with Irene. This is a pretty low-down thing to do. Amazon.com didn't set up its review functionality so that companies could use fake reviews as a form or corporate warfare.

 

There may be people who actually make money knocking little old ladies over the head and stealing their purses. Obviously the fact that they can actually make money that way doesn't make it okay.

 

Having said all that, let me be clear that there ARE JOB POSTINGS on Upwork.com which ARE indeed immoral by your personal standards, but which should NOT be reported or flagged, because they do NOT violate any Upwork ToS.

 

And there are Job postings on Upwork.com which DO violate Upwork ToS. THOSE job postings should be reported.

"You're right, Irene. Actually, I also love to read. So if ever I do get to write reviews, it would be an honest one."

 

Irish there is nothing in the world to stop you writing as many reviews as you like. What Amazon (and not only Amazon) does not like is people getting paid (or getting any other kind of compensation) to write them - honest or not. It is against their ToS.

 

The only time it is acceptable in Amazon's eyes is if a customer receives a book (or a product) in return for a review, but the author has to state clearly - publicly - that this is what he or she has done, and so must the review writer state that he or she received the book or product in exchange for a review - favourable or not.

 

 

 

 

Whew, thanks for the warning. So far, I have not done that yet. I have purchased a few books on my own from Amazon, but I have not even written reviews yet. Initially, I was just thrilled to be paid for doing something that I love, reading. :) But well, at least now i know....

sdunkel
Community Member

Note that jobs that violate the ToS of another service, product or website are also prohibited on Upwork

 

 

If that is so, why are flagged projects not being removed?

tlbp
Community Member

Removing scammers from Upwork is like removing weeds from a garden--there will always be more. 

gdc808
Community Member

I've been trying to contact support for a similar problem, but it keeps taking me back to this forum for help rather than letting me report the client. She's asking me to buy her book and then write reviews. Is there a different way to contact support that I'm not aware of? I'm new to Upwork and this is my first conversation with a potential client.  Thanks for your help!

 

Gaylene:

It is not necessary for you to contact Upwork Customer Support. You may ask questions here in the Forum.

 

Let's discuss this rationally:

If a person wants you to BUY something, does that sound like a JOB? Or does it sound like someone is getting you to use you own money to benefit them?

Also, if someone has written a book and wanted an honest assessment of that book, or wanted a review that they could post on their personal blog... that's all fine and good. But wouldn't that author simply send you the book, or the PDF file? Why ask you to buy the book?

And because you have already read this thread, you already know about Upwork's corporation with Amazon.com, such that jobs which violate Amazon.com ToS are prohibited by Upwork. Amazon.com's rules about reviews are very strict. You would want to be familiar with those rules, lest you run afoul with either site and face sanctions.


Gaylene L wrote:

Is there a different way to contact support that I'm not aware of? 


Yes, you can report the client by going to the project posting and clicking on the green "Flag as inappropriate" link on the upper-right hand side. 

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Gaylene, 


I can see that a member of the Social Media Team has responded to your Twitter message to assist you with your concern. 

Let me know if you will need further assistance with anything.


~ Avery
Upwork
gdc808
Community Member

Thank you! I blocked that person and flagged the job as inappropriate per
the twitter response. I appreciate all the help Iโ€™ve received from everyone
on this.
morgancarmody
Community Member

Hello, 

 

I mistakenly accepted a task and did not realize they were asking me to pay for a product upfront. I don't see the option to report it as inappropriate now that I have accepted it. Is there a way to reverse this? 

re: "I mistakenly accepted a task and did not realize they were asking me to pay for a product upfront. I don't see the option to report it as inappropriate now that I have accepted it. Is there a way to reverse this?"

 

You don't need to "reverse" this.

 

You need to close the contract.

 

Flagging as inappropriate? Thank you for being willing to flag this as inappropriate. But you are right: Now that you have accepted the job already, you may not see that option.

 

The simple truth is that the important thing for you is for this contract to be over, which you can do simply by closing it yourself. Anything beyond that is you being nice and trying to help others. I recommend that you simply click on the name of a Moderator here in the Forum and send a one-sentence note explaining what you encountered.

Thank you Preston! 

Hi Morgan,

 

Thank you for flagging this for us. Iโ€™ve escalated this report to the correct team for their review.

 

Make sure to check our Stay Safe series and learn more on how to work safe online:

If you see a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service, we encourage you to use Report Suspicious User Activity feature.

~ Bojan
Upwork

Thank you Bojan,

 

I have canceled the contract based on advice received here, however, I still feel as if they are pressuring me to go through with this. I do not see the option to "flag" - please let me know if there is any action needed from my side. 

 

Thanks 

Morgan

Hi Morgan,

 

No further action is needed from your side. We have already shared your report with the team. Please know that you can use the flag option for Job Postings, Freelancer Portfolios, Freelancer Profiles, Upwork Message Center but not on contracts.

 

However, you can always reach out to us and report suspicious or inappropriate behavior on contract and we will escalate your report accordingly to the appropriate team for a review.  

 

~ Nikola
Upwork
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