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laursilverstein
Community Member

Client trying to move off of Upwork / arguing with me

I was an active candidate for a job, and the client requested a video chat via Zoom. I told him I would prefer to stay within Upwork. We had some technical difficulties with sound using the Upwork platform, and he insisted we go back to Zoom. I declined multiple times. I explained to him that for both of our safety the conversation needed to remain within Upwork, and if he couldn't work within those guidelines then perhaps another freelancer would be better suited.

 

This was his final message: "Just one piece of advice: Don't let anyone take away your power and sense of safety. If you don't deal with this situation from within, my project is not the only one that you will lose."

 

Did I do the right thing here? Why does this feel like a threat?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Laurie:

I understand where you are coming from. It IS true that there can be advantages to keeping communications on Upwork because Upwork employees CAN read the discussions.

 

BUT: I am at a point in my understanding of Upwork that I don't give any thought to that. Instead, I can manage clients and contracts myself, without needing Upwork to be able to read conversations in the Messages tool.


Upwork doesn't necessarily "have your back" if you keep all communications on Upwork.

 

Upwork is a business and its employees operate according to specific rules. As a freelancer, I need to manage my business thoughtfully. Upwork is not going to manage things for me.

 

I can assure you that many freelancers have had things go terribly wrong and Upwork has not bailed them out, even if the communications were all on the Upwork tool and if somebody read the transcripts it would be clear that the client was out of line.

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11 REPLIES 11
researchediting
Community Member


Laurie S wrote:

I was an active candidate for a job, and the client requested a video chat via Zoom. I told him I would prefer to stay within Upwork. We had some technical difficulties with sound using the Upwork platform, and he insisted we go back to Zoom. I declined multiple times. I explained to him that for both of our safety the conversation needed to remain within Upwork, and if he couldn't work within those guidelines then perhaps another freelancer would be better suited.

 

This was his final message: "Just one piece of advice: Don't let anyone take away your power and sense of safety. If you don't deal with this situation from within, my project is not the only one that you will lose."

 

Did I do the right thing here? Why does this feel like a threat?


Well, you didn't have to choose this hill at this time. The stricture against off-platform communications before a contract doesn't go into effect for a couple more days.

 

I don't read the final message as a threat. It is manipulative rhetoric, and to my mind signals the kind of client (and person) who will be all up in your face and in your business in the guise of help and support.

I do hope you reported to Upwork CS that the system they are requiring us to use exclusively in two days still doesn't work.

I think the technical difficulties were on my end (I wanted audio on but not the camera, and I think I turned off both). I didn't know it was a required platform; I just try to use it as a best practice. 

 

All in all, the interaction did not leave me with a good taste in my mouth.


Laurie S wrote:

I think the technical difficulties were on my end (I wanted audio on but not the camera, and I think I turned off both). I didn't know it was a required platform; I just try to use it as a best practice. 


You might want to consider as a best practice using whatever standard communication tools a prospective client is comfortable with. So might Upwork.

prestonhunter
Community Member

It would have been appropriate to talk with the client via Zoom.

 

There genuinely are problems with Upwork's video-conferencing tools. This isn't the client's fault.

 

The client wasn't trying to pay you off-platform. He may be frustrated by the situation. He could well be a good client.

I agree - I don't think he's a bad person. I guess my concern was that I made a request and did not feel comfortable with how it was handled.

petra_r
Community Member


Laurie S wrote:

I explained to him that for both of our safety the conversation needed to remain within Upwork, and if he couldn't work within those guidelines then perhaps another freelancer would be better suited.

 


Can you tell me how a call over the Upwork app somehow makes you feel "safer" than a phonecall or a call over Skype or whatever, given that those calls are not recorded or listened to?

 

Just how does using it contribute to the client's safety in any way? Or yours for that matter, but as you tried to argue with the client that it was for his safety....

I could be totally wrong here but I have been operating under the impression that Upwork basically doesn't have your back the minute you move offline. So, if I text a client (or Zoom/FaceTime/email/whatever) and I need help with something, I can't report it. Is that wrong?

Laurie:

I understand where you are coming from. It IS true that there can be advantages to keeping communications on Upwork because Upwork employees CAN read the discussions.

 

BUT: I am at a point in my understanding of Upwork that I don't give any thought to that. Instead, I can manage clients and contracts myself, without needing Upwork to be able to read conversations in the Messages tool.


Upwork doesn't necessarily "have your back" if you keep all communications on Upwork.

 

Upwork is a business and its employees operate according to specific rules. As a freelancer, I need to manage my business thoughtfully. Upwork is not going to manage things for me.

 

I can assure you that many freelancers have had things go terribly wrong and Upwork has not bailed them out, even if the communications were all on the Upwork tool and if somebody read the transcripts it would be clear that the client was out of line.


Laurie S wrote:

I could be totally wrong here but I have been operating under the impression that Upwork basically doesn't have your back the minute you move offline. So, if I text a client (or Zoom/FaceTime/email/whatever) and I need help with something, I can't report it. Is that wrong?


Upwork's mediation services are extremely limited. As escrow agents, they cannot pass judgment on whether the terms of a contract have been fulfilled; they can only urge the client and contractor to come to agreement themselves. Some freelancers recommend that any substantive discussion of contract matters that takes place off-platform be reported/summarized in Messages. That's to ensure clarity and consistency of communication, and to confirm understandings between us and our clients. Upwork is not in the business of "helping" us resolve contract disputes, and in the case of a substantive dispute over facts, will refer us to third-party arbitration. At that point, it is indeed prudent and convenient to have a single record of all contract discussions.

Upwork will assess reports of client misconduct (ToS violations), and may in its sole discretion act on those.

martina_plaschka
Community Member


Laurie S wrote:

I was an active candidate for a job, and the client requested a video chat via Zoom. I told him I would prefer to stay within Upwork. We had some technical difficulties with sound using the Upwork platform, and he insisted we go back to Zoom. I declined multiple times. I explained to him that for both of our safety the conversation needed to remain within Upwork, and if he couldn't work within those guidelines then perhaps another freelancer would be better suited.

 

This was his final message: "Just one piece of advice: Don't let anyone take away your power and sense of safety. If you don't deal with this situation from within, my project is not the only one that you will lose."

 

Did I do the right thing here? Why does this feel like a threat?


I personally don't hear a threat, just somebody wanting you to feel bad. You were right wanting to keep communication on upwork, as it's going to be law in 2 days anyway. Oops, I mean new regulation on upwork. 

lysis10
Community Member


Laurie S wrote:

I was an active candidate for a job, and the client requested a video chat via Zoom. I told him I would prefer to stay within Upwork. We had some technical difficulties with sound using the Upwork platform, and he insisted we go back to Zoom. I declined multiple times. I explained to him that for both of our safety the conversation needed to remain within Upwork, and if he couldn't work within those guidelines then perhaps another freelancer would be better suited.

 

This was his final message: "Just one piece of advice: Don't let anyone take away your power and sense of safety. If you don't deal with this situation from within, my project is not the only one that you will lose."

 

Did I do the right thing here? Why does this feel like a threat?


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