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Freelancer Fraud - no work provided by freelancer

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Active Member
Aaron S Member Since: Apr 25, 2017
1 of 14
I am in dispute with a freelancer who did not do or submit any work.
The messages between us clearly show this yet Upwork claims that paid for arbitration (circa $800) would be necessary for a refund to take place...
The freelancer has stopped responding to my messages and seems to have a very low rating.
Is this typical of Upwork?
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Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
2 of 14

@Aaron S wrote:
I am in dispute with a freelancer who did not do or submit any work.
The messages between us clearly show this yet Upwork claims that paid for arbitration (circa $800) would be necessary for a refund to take place...
The freelancer has stopped responding to my messages and seems to have a very low rating.
Is this typical of Upwork?

 If you mean is it typical that Upwork doesn't unilaterally undo transactions between clients and freelancers, yes--and thank goodness.

 

Arbitration costs $291 per party; if someone quoted you a figure in the 800s it must have been the total that you, the freelancer and Upwork pay.

 

It sounds as if something must have gone wrong in your process to create this situation. If the contract were fixed price, you should never have released funds until you received the work. If the contract was hourly, you would have had nearly a week to review hours against work completed before payment was made. How did you get to this point?

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 14

Tiffany S wrote

It sounds as if something must have gone wrong in your process to create this situation. If the contract were fixed price, you should never have released funds until you received the work. If the contract was hourly, you would have had nearly a week to review hours against work completed before payment was made. How did you get to this point?


 

Tiffany, where did you get the idea that any money was released? Only funds in Escrow can be disputed so it does not sound like anything was released.

 

This also means the contract was fixed rate, as arbitration is only for fixed rate contracts, (not hourly, which is decided purely on the criteria for hourly contracts, activity, screenshots, etc, and not on deliverables at all.) and only cover the funds still in Escrow, unless the process has recently changed.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 14

@Aaron S wrote:
I am in dispute with a freelancer who did not do or submit any work.
The messages between us clearly show this yet Upwork claims that paid for arbitration (circa $800) would be necessary for a refund to take place...
The freelancer has stopped responding to my messages and seems to have a very low rating.
Is this typical of Upwork?

Arbitration happens after dispute mediation, only if dispute mediation has failed to reach an agreement. has the freelancer cooperated during the dispute mediation?

 

Arbitration costs each party (Upwork, the freelancer and the client) $ 291 each, but it only goes ahead if both freelancer and client pay.

 

This means if you know you will win, go ahead and pay as the freelancer will know that they can't win arbitration, so they will not pay.

 

in the above case you get your arbitration fee back and win the dispute by default.

 

why did you hire a freelancer with a very low rating, and how much money are we talking about here? 

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 14

Aaron:

 

You don't need to bother with a dispute or arbitration.


Simply stop working with that freelancer and continue only working with freelancers who provide the best value and benefit to your project.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 14

@Preston H wrote:

Aaron:

 

You don't need to bother with a dispute or arbitration.


Simply stop working with that freelancer and continue only working with freelancers who provide the best value and benefit to your project.


I know this is your standard "one (Preston's)  solution fits every possible scenario" answer but you have no idea how much money is in Escrow or what the circumstances are, so telling people to simply walk away from their hard earned cash is not necessarily always the right answer. For all we know the amount in Escrow could be $ 1000, for all we know it's just $ 20.

 

without knowing more details " Oh, just walk away from it"  is too simplistic by far. What if there ARE $ 1000 in Escrow?

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Active Member
Aaron S Member Since: Apr 25, 2017
7 of 14
It's only $100 but I shouldn't have to pay for the non completion of work (not even a part of it). No funds have yet been released due to the fact that I started the dispute in time.
Competing sites protect against far less.
The messages should be enough to show the attempted fraud.
Arbitration for such a straightforward situation shouldn't be necessary.
It means that any freelancer can rip off a client without a worry provided they charge less than the cost of arbitration...
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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 14

@Aaron S wrote:
It's only $100 but I shouldn't have to pay for the non completion of work (not even a part of it). No funds have yet been released due to the fact that I started the dispute in time.
Competing sites protect against far less.
The messages should be enough to show the attempted fraud.
Arbitration for such a straightforward situation shouldn't be necessary.
It means that any freelancer can rip off a client without a worry provided they charge less than the cost of arbitration...

By arbitration regulations Escrow funds can only be decided on by an independent third party. What justification does the freelancer provide in the dispute process for wanting the funds?

 

Has the dispute process run its .course? 

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 14

@Aaron S wrote:
It's only $100 but I shouldn't have to pay for the non completion of work (not even a part of it). No funds have yet been released due to the fact that I started the dispute in time.
Competing sites protect against far less.
The messages should be enough to show the attempted fraud.
Arbitration for such a straightforward situation shouldn't be necessary.
It means that any freelancer can rip off a client without a worry provided they charge less than the cost of arbitration...

According to Escrow regulations Escrow funds can only be decided on by an independent third party. What justification does the freelancer provide in the dispute process for wanting the funds?

 

Has the dispute process run its course? 

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Active Member
Aaron S Member Since: Apr 25, 2017
10 of 14

I haven't been given any reason.

Not yet though the staff member isn't much help. I've asked to speak with someone higher up.

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