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Help-I Have A Problem w/ Client

Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
1 of 5

The first job I get after being away for 4 months and actively searching here for two months has turned into a nightmare and I don't know how to handle it.


The original job was for 1 article for a parenting magazine. That has now turned into 2 articles , an ebook and autoresponder messages.


Yesterday I wrote and edited the article. Sent it to the client who messaged back that everything was good and asked for bullet points.


The client is in Europe and at 1 AM this morning my time,  I get a message asking that the article be changed to a narrative in the first person based on my personal experience. Also I can tell the latest message has not been written by a native English speaker, while the original instructions were and a skype message conversation was an English speaking native. Also the name on the account I'm working for ends in Wilson, a very English name.


Basically the entire article is now worthless, needs to be totally rewritten and the whole scope of the job has changed. I have now asked to SPEAK with them on Skype to find out just who I am talking to.


I'm terrified to tell them this should cost extra time for fear I'll get bad feedback which then puts my account in jeapordy of suspension, after what I've read on here. If I withdraw and remove the logged time that will look bad as well. 


I really need help with some suggestions on what to do here.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 5
Jean, you said that you are logging time, so that means this is an hourly contract.

I think you do not have anything to be "terrified" of. Respect the clients' intelligence. They understand that you are charging them for your time.

When you work on the project, log your time. These clients want quality and value. They hired you to provide that. Why do you think they hired somebody like you, rather this somebody who is not a native English speaker but offers ridiculously low rates? This is not a nightmare project if they ask you to do things you know how to do, you charge them for your time, and they pay you for all the time you spend.

It sounds like you have become very cautious about bad clients while reading the community forum threads, but most of the complaints about clients asking for work out of scope was in reference to fixed rate contracts. That does not apply here, and nothing you have said here indicates to me that these are bad clients.

Also, I have no idea why you want to speak with them on Skype. If they pay you for your time and expertise, why is it important to you who they are are what their native languages are?

If you do a good job on the work they ask you to do and if you provide value to them, they will not give you bad feedback.

And to speak specifically to the concern you voiced: withdrawing your hours and closing the contract will look far worse to oDesk than getting a less-than-perfect feedback score.

ODesk wants contractors to earn less than perfect feedback scores. That is how their system was designed. ODesk's punitive measures are triggered far more by other factors, such as contracts that are started but for which no money is paid. Remember: oDesk does not make money from feedback scores, it makes money from clients paying contractors and contractors NOT refunding money. ODesk makes more money from a client who loves your work and gives you a four-star rating than from a client who feels pressured by you to grant a five-star rating and then doesn't come back to the platform because he thinks the contractors here are a pain in the neck who care more about feedback scores than doing quality work.

I say this as a general observation. I do NOT think Jean herself falls into this camp. Indeed, I think the clients hired her specifically because they could tell Jean is very interested in providing a quality product.
Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
3 of 5

Thanks Preston. I normally will not work with clients who do not speak English well as it seems to always lead to problems. I suspect that the client has farmed this work out to someone else to manage and I'm not actually speaking with the client. Their English is terrible and I couldn't understand why everythig changed overnight.


I'll try to breath and follow your advice. Thank you again.



Community Guru
Manish A Member Since: Nov 4, 2014
4 of 5

Kudos, Preston. I don't know what happened when I clicked on "Kudos" tab, may it be due to your edited submission at the same time. Well, I hope you won't mind written text for Kudos. Smiley Tongue

Community Guru
Natasa R Member Since: Feb 2, 2012
5 of 5

As I understand this Jean, your client had already confirmed that he was satisfied with the article but is now asking you to change it, correct? I am not sure if  I am missing something here, but why not just go ahead and log the hours as you would normally do? It sounds to me that the client just changed his mind and wants the article to be rewritten. Unless you have some kind of agreement that changes are free work, then I don't see the need to bring this up to the client.


You said that you are terrified to tell the client that extra work means extra cost because you fear they will give you bad feedback. I don't know why you feel this way, but if your fear is based on what you read in this forum, then keep in mind that each case and individual is different. It doesn't mean that every client is the same way. Have you had any issues with your client so far? How is your relationship with the client? If you think about it for a while, then I think you would feel a little better. Smiley Wink


I just want to clarify one thing. I read a couple of weeks ago in this forum that someone wrote that if a freelancer ends a contract, he or she would be penalized by oDesk. I now read that you are afraid that if you get bad feedback it could jeopardize and suspend your account based on what you read here.


Well, oDesk doesn't work that way. When oDesk review a freelancer, they see the bigger picture. They see the freelancer's account's history and they check factors affecting professionalism and client satisfaction. If you have a significantly high number of disputes, low feedback, ended contracts without feedback, reports for policy violation, contracts ended unsuccessfully, etc., then you will be regarded as a low performance freelancer, and that's when they will take actions. One bad feedback is not going to suspend your account. It seems to me that a lot of people are afraid to make the slightest move, and it only puts a lot more pressure on them. Don't let that affect you.


As long as you keep doing a great job, do the very best that you can and stay out of trouble, you have nothing to fear. Smiley Happy