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negrusti
Community Member

Client trying to contact outside Upwork before the contract is made - experiences

Here is my shortened conversation with the new client today:


client: Hey Gregory! what's your skype id ?
me: Hi, not allowed to share it by Upwork ToS before we have a contract, sorry. There is a Zoom call option right here
...
client: ok thank you we will find someone else
client: That’s how we and all other people we know have been working for the last 10 years for your information. You don’t seem collaborative.
client: With all the money we spend ion upwork, I don't think they would ever ban us...

I wonder if clients ever face consequences for ToS violations, or all they ever get are the "stern warnings"?

12 REPLIES 12
jr-translation
Community Member

I had a new client reaching out through Skype the other day during the interview. So he violated the ToS twice: unsolicited contact outside Upwork and sharing his contact information before a contract was in place. I reported the client bur he is still there (as are many other clients and freelancers I reported for ToS violation).

 

Report the job post so you get your connects back and move on.

roberty1y
Community Member

Sometimes clients are genuinely unaware of the ban on off-platform contact before a contract is placed. If they keep trying to get you off Upwork after you've told them it's not allowed, they're scammers. They're usually kicked off the site (though it can take a while), so they want to maintain contact with you after that happens.


Robert Y wrote:

Sometimes clients are genuinely unaware of the ban on off-platform contact before a contract is placed. If they keep trying to get you off Upwork after you've told them it's not allowed, they're scammers. They're usually kicked off the site (though it can take a while), so they want to maintain contact with you after that happens.


IME that is not necessarily the case. I've experienced what Gregory described. The client didn't say he would find someone else but was similarly dismissive of the policy -- "With what we spend, I doubt UW is going to bother us about this". I agreed that was likely the case but noted that as a FL, I felt more vulnerable and preferred not to risk my UW account in which I have so much invested. He ghosted me after that. The project was a great fit for me and a largish one, revenue-wise. I didn't grieve too much because that client was clearly kind of a**Edited for Community Guidelines**. But all this to say -- to repeat, because evidently we have to keep saying it -- regardless of intent, the policy is having the effect of rewarding those willing to break ToS and penalizing those of us who are not.

 


Phyllis G wrote:


IME that is not necessarily the case. I've experienced what Gregory described. The client didn't say he would find someone else but was similarly dismissive of the policy -- "With what we spend, I doubt UW is going to bother us about this". I agreed that was likely the case but noted that as a FL, I felt more vulnerable and preferred not to risk my UW account in which I have so much invested. He ghosted me after that. The project was a great fit for me and a largish one, revenue-wise. I didn't grieve too much because that client was clearly kind of a **Edited for Community Guidelines**

 


A client who's dismissive of your concerns - after you explain that you could have your account suspended - does sound like a **Edited for Community Guidelines**. There's no real reason to use Skype instead of the Upwork calling system anyway; I use it all the time and haven't had any technical issues for ages now. A client who would ghost you after you make a perfectly reasonable and logical suggestion, and who's so rigid that they have their own way at all times, isn't somebody that I'd want to work with. I can see how the policy is a pain for some, but for me, it's a good filter.

And now that UPwork has added a scheduling feature, there really is no reason to go off-platform before a contract is in place.  

 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Announcements/Scheduling-Meetings-Now-Made-Simple/m-p/938807#M61226

 


Christine A wrote:

Phyllis G wrote:


IME that is not necessarily the case. I've experienced what Gregory described. The client didn't say he would find someone else but was similarly dismissive of the policy -- "With what we spend, I doubt UW is going to bother us about this". I agreed that was likely the case but noted that as a FL, I felt more vulnerable and preferred not to risk my UW account in which I have so much invested. He ghosted me after that. The project was a great fit for me and a largish one, revenue-wise. I didn't grieve too much because that client was clearly kind of a **Edited for Community Guidelines**

 


A client who's dismissive of your concerns - after you explain that you could have your account suspended - does sound like a jerk. There's no real reason to use Skype instead of the Upwork calling system anyway; I use it all the time and haven't had any technical issues for ages now. A client who would ghost you after you make a perfectly reasonable and logical suggestion, and who's so rigid that they have their own way at all times, isn't somebody that I'd want to work with. I can see how the policy is a pain for some, but for me, it's a good filter.


The filter effect is real, I agree. But I haven't always had the luxury of dodging **Edited for Community Guidelines** clients. Earlier in my career, I found it advisable to pursue and accept any and all good-fit work that I could find, and just figure out how to deal with difficult clients. Honestly, I never learned much about client management from great clients -- it's the **Edited for Community Guidelines** that offer teachable moments. And we need to know how to manage them because sometimes they don't reveal their true colors until after we've tied up. Anyhow, if that same thing had happened to me when I was just getting started on UW -- when I was a seasoned FL and equipped to cope with difficult clients, and needing to book and deliver as many good-fit projects as I could -- then I would have been massively upset. UW needs to just let us do our thing and not try to help.

 


Phyllis G wrote:

Robert Y wrote:

Sometimes clients are genuinely unaware of the ban on off-platform contact before a contract is placed. If they keep trying to get you off Upwork after you've told them it's not allowed, they're scammers. They're usually kicked off the site (though it can take a while), so they want to maintain contact with you after that happens.


IME that is not necessarily the case. I've experienced what Gregory described. The client didn't say he would find someone else but was similarly dismissive of the policy -- "With what we spend, I doubt UW is going to bother us about this". I agreed that was likely the case but noted that as a FL, I felt more vulnerable and preferred not to risk my UW account in which I have so much invested. He ghosted me after that. The project was a great fit for me and a largish one, revenue-wise. I didn't grieve too much because that client was clearly kind of a jerk. But all this to say -- to repeat, because evidently we have to keep saying it -- regardless of intent, the policy is having the effect of rewarding those willing to break ToS and penalizing those of us who are not.

 


I wasn't aware that some genuine clients do prefer to go outside Upwork for pre-contract contact. I thought it was all scammers. It does show huge arrogance on the part of the client, because the on-site communication channels work fine. Some people must think breaking the rules is a perk they're entitled to when they spend a lot of money here.

egaruth
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Gregory,

 

I am sorry to hear you had a bad experience with this client. Thank you for reaching out to us and bringing this to our attention. You were right to let them know that sharing contact information before a contract has started is against Upwork’s Upwork's Terms of Service and that all communications prior to the contract starting must take place on Upwork. We also encourage you to let us know if a TOS violation has happened by using the Flag as Inappropriate option throughout the platform. You can learn more about user reporting here.

 

Additionally, could you please click on my name and send me a PM with more information about the client you are referring to? I will be sure to look into your report and escalate it accordingly to our team for further review.

 

~ Nikola
Upwork

I just want it on the record that the word I used that was 'edited for community guidelines' was not profane or IMO especially harsh. (It's a four-letter word that starts with 'j' and ends with 'k'.)

 

UW, would it be more acceptable to say 'a client who was behaving like a j--k' rather than simply 'a j--k'?


Phyllis G wrote:

I just want it on the record that the word I used that was 'edited for community guidelines' was not profane or IMO especially harsh. (It's a four-letter word that starts with 'j' and ends with 'k'.)

 

UW, would it be more acceptable to say 'a client who was behaving like a j--k' rather than simply 'a j--k'?


This thread is as frustrating (because the issue described has been brought up many times already by freelancers) as it is oddly hilarious because of the multiple *edited for community guidelines* blanks. Freelancers, be warned: no matter how justified you may be in your complaints and no matter how restrained you are in your ire, you can still tone it down more to PG-13 language level. 


Gergana K wrote:


This thread is as frustrating (because the issue described has been brought up many times already by freelancers) as it is oddly hilarious because of the multiple *edited for community guidelines* blanks. Freelancers, be warned: no matter how justified you may be in your complaints and no matter how restrained you are in your ire, you can still tone it down more to PG-13 language level. 


The term that was used was definitely PG-13 level, even "G" level - it started with a "J" and rhymed with "perk". I have no idea why it was necessary to moderate this word. Perhaps a list of forbidden words might be useful?

Hmm, no idea Christine, but maybe the moderator who slapped you and Phyllis on the wrist, figuratively speaking, is not a native English speaker and thought the word that starts with 'j' and rhymes with 'perk' is as offensive as the one that starts with 'd' and rhymes with 'bobsled'?
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