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Client breaking several Upwork rules

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Active Member
Mark W Member Since: Mar 22, 2019
1 of 6

My current client asked me to contact him outside of Upwork to explain the job. I spoke to him once and said we need to communicate through Upwork's system. He then said I was hired and starting sending me his brief. I started work but then noticed that he had not started our contract. He also continued to contact me by phone, text, and email that he found on my website. After repeated requests, he started the contract the next day. I finished the job completely and submitted it by email at his request.  He said it looked great and asked for several revisions and I completed them as well. At 10 PM last night he started calling and texting saying I was not done. I explained that he was looking at an earlier revision and resent the final copy. He then said that I was not worth the money (he set the price and invited me to interview) and would contact Upwork and end the contract. I believe this client never intended to pay me in the first place and violated several Upwork rules. I don't mind taking one on the chin. I've been in this business for a long time and know the ropes so if I don't get paid I don't get paid. I just do not think this client should be allowed to continue here on Upwork and I certainly don't think my 100% success score should be affected. What are my options?

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Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
2 of 6

Mark, from what you wrote, the client actually hasn't broken rules. It's a common misconception, but communicating outside Upwork messaging is permitted, once a freelancer sends a proposal. Only payment outside Upwork is prohibited. It's too bad you're not yet Top Rated, in which case you could remove whatever negative feedback you get from this job. There isn't any way to prevent the client from closing the contract without approving a milestone, assuming this is a fixed price job. So my advice is to refuse to refund the escrow, because even with a full refund the client can give you negative private feedback, which will impact your Job Success Score. Then you'll go through the mediation process and with luck you'll get a partial payment. If you or the client don't agree with the mediator's recommendation, then you'll have to put up $291 for arbitration to get paid, which probably will not be cost effective.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
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Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 6

John, I have a feeling there was never a contract in the first place, just the client saying "you are hired" - in which case there is no dispute or arbitration or anything whatsoever at all.

 

Mark said "He then said I was hired and starting sending me his brief. I started work but then noticed that he had not started our contract. "

 

Ignore me, I did not read carefully.

John is spot on.

 

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Michael K Member Since: Mar 23, 2019
4 of 6

Hello, John. You said it's not against Upwork rules for a client to communicate with a freelancer outside of Upwork once a proposal has been sent. Does this include when a client asks you to like their Facebook page or connect with them on Whatsapp first, and then they will send you documents for the job you've sent a proposal for? That may not be the particular case here with Mark, but it happened to me twice and it certainly seemed like a red flag. To make matters worse, when I visited said Facebook page there were comments from other freelancers, saying it was a scam. If the Upwork platform provides a means of communicating directly, why the need for going off platform? It seems to me that documents could just as easily be sent through Upwork. By the way, one of the clients was taken off Upwork, and the two clients who responded to my proposal had the exact same message. This was also a red flag for me.

 

Here is the message I received from both of the clients:

 

Pls add me to friend on Facebook/WhatsApp. I will send u some documents about the job.

WhatsApp Info: XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Here is the info of my Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Notice: The job post will be removed in several minutes when we hire enough people for the job position.

Thanks for your trust!

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Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 6

Michael K wrote:

Hello, John. You said it's not against Upwork rules for a client to communicate with a freelancer outside of Upwork once a proposal has been sent. Does this include when a client asks you to like their Facebook page or connect with them on Whatsapp first, and then they will send you documents for the job you've sent a proposal for? 


That is a simple scam, created to make facebook accounts "valuable" through likes etc.

But it is still perfectly fine to speak to clients via whatever suits both parties.

As with everything on the Internet you need to keep your wits about you.

 


Michael K wrote:

If the Upwork platform provides a means of communicating directly, why the need for going off platform?


What when the wretched messenger isn't working and the client is waiting for their work? What when clients want their freelancer to be a part of their on-site team?

 

I work with my clients via whatever works for them. Slack or Skype or email or phone or whatever works for them.

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Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
6 of 6

Michael K wrote:



Notice: The job post will be removed in several minutes when we hire enough people for the job position.

Thanks for your trust!


Thanks for your trust? This scammer has a sense of humor. If the job post was removed, it would be Upwork removing it for violating site terms. 

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