I did. I actually gave him a good review because I did enjoy working on the book, and he was, at the time, pleasant to deal with. Although, I've asked Upwork if I could change that, since I saw the review he left for me, which was saying on my profile that I had plagiarized the book.
I asked Upwork if they could remove that. They did. But, I asked them if I could change my feedback for him, they just changed it to 'solve'.
@Jennifer S wrote:
I don't think it's true that Upwork can't do anything, or can't pay the Escrow.
Translation: I have chosen not to educate myself about the relevant law and contract terms, because they don't support my position.
I'm very confused by your repeated assertion that Upwork found it to be a false claim. Upwork generally doesn't make that type of determination--that's what arbitration is for. In what context did Upwork determine that the claim was false?
I assume a copyscape check and a 97% result of originality is enough to debunk any claim from any side, correct? But here comes the issue with Upwork...it doesn't matter whatever proof you have, even if it's the client saying "Yea you got me, I didn't want to pay you from the beginning"...Upwork won't take sides even in those cases, which means that you'll have to gamble your money on the arbitration process regardless, hoping that your client doesn't pay the fee or doesn't take more than 2 weeks haggling around; You also have to hope that the dispute doesn't reach its maximum-duration-limit in the process, giving the client his automatic refund.
The thing is, even when you have that kind of proof, you are never 100% on going to arbitration either, as it'll always mean losing money on low-paying jobs.
Example: I get hired for a 300$ project (like in this case), get paid only half of it because my client said that it was 50% plagarised (no proof or anything), so that's 150$, minus the 20% that Upwork takes, which results in a whooping 120$ payment. Now, if I want I can file a dispute and try to reason with someone who clearly tried to scam me, and since the money is still his money and Escrow offers little to no protection on fixed price jobs, it means that you'll have to accept whatever offer your client proposes (if he's willing to reach an agreement) or go to arbitration; I'd have to pay a fee of 291$ total for arbitration, meaning that I'd lose 51$ for sure, even if I win the dispute itself.
Do you realize how annoying that is? Why would I go in and lose even more money instead of just walking away? For "justice"? I personally care a little bit about justice itself, but is it worth losing money over it?
Sure, you can easily "call the bluff" of your client by paying the fee and hoping that since he tried to not pay you 150$, he won't pay a 291$ fee almost 100% sure...but you never know who you're dealing with nor how convinced they are about their refund-claim...making even an arbitration win feel like a huge defeat.
Plus, I was recently involved in a dispute, and one single sentence from the Upwork middleman really worried me:
"If you choose to pay the arbitration fee, I will inform your client..."
Does that mean that if, for some reason, I decide to pay the fee, they'll inform my client that I paid it? That doesn't sound right...right? I thought the whole paying the fee was "hidden". I still have to receive an answer from her, but it was the weekend and all that; Hopefully I'll get an answer today.
Upwork definitely needs to address this issue before more of those "special" clients start realizing how to exploit the system...either that or (and I know they can't do that...but a man can dream, right?) take side when there's undeniable proof of lying and the likes.
If I'm not mistake, we've discussed our dispute process in detail with you and addressed the concerns you had, some of which you've shared here. I'd like to kindly ask you to follow up on our previous conversation, review the information and resources we shared, to avoid creating confusion since Community posts are public and new users are using forum discussions as a valuable source of information about Upwork and its processes/features.
I understand that initiating a dispute is not an outcome any contracting party would prefer but it's necessary in order to resolve issues that can't be resolved directly between the contracting parties. Only a small number of contracts end up going in dispute and even a smaller number are decided through arbitration. We do advise users to consider using all options provided by our Payment Protection program, including going to arbitration to resolve a disagreement if they believe they have honoured the terms agreed with the other party.
@Davide O wrote:
Does that mean that if, for some reason, I decide to pay the fee, they'll inform my client that I paid it? That doesn't sound right...right?
That's actually to your advantage. If the client knows you've already paid for arbitration, then she knows that, if she chooses arbitration, she will definitely be paying the $291. There's no chance she'll get the money back due to you declining arbitration. That should put her off going to arbitration unless she thinks she'll win it. And if she's knowingly scamming you, she'll know she's not going to win. So (hopefully) she'll decline arbitration and you'll win by default and get you arbitration fee back.
If the client didn't know that you've paid, she might be tempted to go ahead and pay for arbitration without a good case, on the assumption that you will decline arbitration and lose by default.
That makes sense to me, but at the same time there might be a very "inexperienced" client on the other side, and maybe he/she truly believes in his own claim...and it'll still screw with you a big deal if he/she decides to pay the fee in the end. Either that or you meet a really insidious client who tries to condition you with claims and threats, and an inexperienced freelancer might fall for it (we have freelancers still posting about scam attempts on the forums, can't imagine what an actual person with english knowledge is capable of, heh)
At the end of the day...I don't know. I feel like the freelancers on low paying contracts are still in a very troublesome position when it comes to disputes. To quote a community guru from one of my past posts:
"This issue is bigger than this particular contract and this particular freelancer, though. There are tens of thousands of active freelancers on Upwork who will never be in a position to post $291 in hopes that the client doesn't pony up, and those freelancers are 100% unprotected by the fixed price escrow system."
With that said, I'd be curious to see the actual data on the percentage of contracts that go to a dispute/arbitration, without the contracts that never get a hire or the flagged/scam ones counted in the "overall" number of total contracts of the platform. How many initiated by clients in comparison to freelancers; How many of those are below the 300$ budget and all that kind of stuff...but I'm pretty sure they can't share that type of data with the "public", which is a shame, but understandable.
With the recent dispute I was involved in and how Upwork handles those type of things it's hard not to lose faith in the platform itself...especially when you meet those type of clients and they're more protected than you.
Thanks for your reply by the way, Richard. It really opened my eyes to a perspective I didn't consider (When you have to repeat and push your arguments/opinions that many times as in a dispute process you tend to tunnel-vision)...better than copy-pasting a template answer, that's for sure.
Thank you for your reply.
The clients are more likely than the freelancers to be able to afford the fee, so it's really set up in the client's favour. Most jobs on Upwork are pretty lowed paid. So, I doubt that most freelancers could afford to be able to take it past the dispute and pay the fee.
I don't really see disputes as disputes. Really, if you don't accept the clients offer in the dispute, you can't win. It's their terms or nothing. I tried to search for other stories online to see other freelancers experiences, you come across many other stories of the same feeling from other freelancers.
Exactly, low paid freelancers are in a troublesome position, in several ways. Firstly, the fees are high, they say they take 20% off, it's 25% when other fees and withdrawing money comes into account. Then, no low paid freelancer is going to be able to pay $291, the clients know this, they know that the odds are stacked in their favour to win a dispute. Escrow doesn't really protect freelancers, it protects clients.
It would be interesting to see what the percentages are in the win/lose of disputes.
It does make you lose faith in Upwork. To me, if I'm not going to be protected against clients who are acting in an immoral and corrupt way, what's the point. It means that any job I would do from now on, I would feel that it's a gamble. It's a gamble where I can only rely on the good nature of a client to play fair.
Most clients I have worked with haven't behaved in this way. I think it isn't only fair on freelancers, but also on clients who are good clients. It makes you lose faith in clients too. For any working relationship, trust and being fair is essential.
For me, the way that Upwork deals with contracts has to change. A client should be able to cancel at anytime they want. But, the minute you hand over work, freelancers should be protected. As it stands, a client can just get away with saying 'I don't like it', take the work and not pay for it.
Jennifer, the thing is that if your account is remotely accurate you would have won arbitration hands down...
I agree it is a cr*p shot for people who genuinely can not afford to pay the arbitration charge, but for those who can it actually is great, because a client arguing over $ 100 is categorically NOT going to pay the arbitration fee, so the freelancer wins by default, gets their arbitration fee back and the full funds in Escrow.
I have never had a dispute or any client not wanting to pay, but I always keep $ 400 to $ 500 or so in reserve and I would totally go for arbitration if I knew I was in the right, and with small contracts more than with big ones because I'd know for sure that the client won't pay it. In that respect the freelancer has the upper hand as as long as they fund arbitration first the other party has no chance to get the arbitration fee back, even if they win.....
I think I mentioned in my original post that I couldn't afford the fee. I'm in no doubt that I would have won it. But how can I win something that I can't afford to pay? I either had to agree to what the client offered, or lose everything.
My hands were tied really. I can't just magic money out of nowhere. Not to mention, I think that paying $300 to resolve a dispute is a ridiculous amount of money.
I'm glad you've never had a dispute. And, I hope you never have to go through one.