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whogg72
Member

Hmmm

Haven't dropped in in a while, summer and all, but just had two contracts closed without any feedback left by the clients in the last 10 minutes (clients closed the contracts). I am thinking this is a bug, given that one of the two clients is currently on vacation and not responding to their emails...Mods?

40 REPLIES 40
whogg72
Member

And now another closed 1 minute ago. Is upwork cleaning house without speaking with contractors/clients? 2/3 that were just closed are in Europe, and it's like 3-4 in the morning over there right now...

Ok, as per Upwork help desk, after 76 days inactive contracts will be automatically closed. I guess today is first day of such policy? Let's hope this doesn't cause undue stress for both clients and freelancers!

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi William,

 

That's correct and it's a new process we have in place for fixed-price contracts. After 76 days of inactivity the client will receive a notification followed by another notification in 7 days. If no action is taken on the contract still, it will be closed.

 

If there are funds in Escrow, the freelancer will be notified after 90 days of inactivity and will have 7 days to request for funds to be released. Funds will auto release to freelancers if the client does not take action 14 days after the freelancer requests release of funds

 

I hope this information helps.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Great point. I wonder if they took this into consideration. 

I said nothing when Odesk/Elance/Upworks systematically made changes that in all ways benefitted them and made being a freelancer here unnecessarily more difficult. There has been metrics added that are mystically ambiguous at best and completely one-sided in general. Applications over a certain number are charged with a fee for more chances to apply to more jobs. Then for a fee to you, you will allow other freelancers an advantage to see my bid price. All to โ€˜benefit the platformโ€™. None of these changes have affected me really, however they were noted, the path this is going.

Then today, the platform starts closing contracts with no feedback because it is deemed inactive and no longer viable I presume. This affects me and it bothers me that you are closing contracts with my clients without any notice/consent from me. Three months is not a long time to be inactive when a client drops hundreds of dollars on a series and takes some time off for the summer. I have had contracts inactive for longer and did more of the series or started another one. I shouldn't have to explain this, it was I thought, my contract to work. As long as I do not get such horrible feedback that I am a disgrace to the platform, which doesn't seem to be the case, or have violations, why would my contracts be meddled with? You get your ten percent for the platform, that, let's be honest, is buggy too much of the time. (There are no discounts for times that I cannot work because of failed patches and maintenance.)You are a platform, not my supervisor to look over my shoulder and cancel contracts at whim. Just wow.

And of course โ€˜youโ€™ is directly entirely to Odesk/Elance/Upworks and not to a particular moderator. I donโ€™t come on here often, but wow guysโ€ฆyou went a bit too far this time and I had to say something. Stop meddling with things and let me make US some money.

 

extramail000
Member

Things are getting weird lately. Had same experience as well.  3 contracts were ended in less than 3 hours in same day.

I'm hoping that this will not impact JSS calculation and our client's relationship.

Valeria

 

My patience is stretched to the extreme at this stage. Why is this in the freelancer section as a response to someone's concern? Why has there not been an announcement in the announcement section?? Do you even know that the announcement section exists? Why do we keep getting things dumped on top of use without any notification at all? What is wrong wiith this place?

 

As usual, it's a half-thought-out response to a real problem. Yes, something needed to be done about idle contracts. But what about ones that are idle by consent, and neither client or freelancer want them closed?

 

Why are people on here treated with such contempt, that they can't even be properly notified of significant changes?

William, could you please change the title of this thread to something more eye-catching?

I think it is really important that people see and read this.

 

I cannot believe they just did that. And without any notification.

I think this may be the end for most of us. I always suspected that Upitself would prioritise the elancers, and I think that the majority of longer-term workers with multiple contracts are going to be badly affected by this.

"I always suspected that **edited for Community Guidelines** would prioritise the elancers"

 

As an Elancer, and looking at all the features I'm used to that are missing or broken here, I don't feel very prioritised. I feel like I've just traded in a BMW for a Lada, then been hit with a higher road tax bill.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.โ€• George Orwell
zaidimariam
Member

My absent client suddenly resurfaced, as soon as the contract was closed, to ask for a refund. I'm so upset as he wasn't responding to my messages for 3 months and now here he is, wanting a refund through Upwork without communicating with me personally.

garnorm
Member

Hi all,

Sorry for the repeat posts (I just posted this elsewhere), but I want to make sure this message is posted to all relevant threads today. Valeria and I have been working with our teams to gather the relevant information for posting a reply and an Announcement, as you'll seeehere

 

First, we apologize for not announcing this update earlier. As these contracts had been closed for a minimum of 3 months, and much more in most cases, we did not anticipate that these closures would cause such concern. This was a miss on our part and we will aim to do much better in announcing changes as they are closer to fruition.

 

Please review my Announcement post for more information on this process. Based on your feedback thus far, we are already working on ways to improve this flow, including triggering a notification to freelancers when clients are notified at the 76 day mark of an inactive project. We'll do our best to keep you notified of these and other developments.

Garnor, 

thank you for your post, but there are certain things UpWork can't control. 

You guys closed one of my contracts today. My client had sent me a message a few months ago - his father was diagnosed with cancer. Now - I don't have a problem with client not communicating, I sent one polite message after a few weeks - the guy didn't respond. To be honest, I wasn't expecting any response from him, either. He funded the second milestone, I sent some stuff, he didn't respond. 

And that's the moment supermen from UpWork came to the rescue and closed the job. Now - should I ask for the release of funds? Something in the line of "Sorry, I know you're going through some rough times, but would you be so kind and release the funds and leave some nice feedback? BTW how's your dad?"

Is it possible for freelancers to "tag" a job when the client is unresponsive for, let's say, 90 days? And then UpWork investigates, and tries to contact the client? And, only then UpWork closes the job?

This way it will look like I complained and UpWork closed the job...in my name. 

...not to mention the loss of third milestone, quite possibly second milestone as well.

 

I was under the impression that UpWork is a platform connecting freelancers and clients. Looks like UpWork is interfering in all stages of freelancer's work here - from hiding applications to closing jobs.

 

*not happy*

Hi Sanja,

 

Sorry about the delayed response. If the money were funded in Escrow and you submitted the work through the system, the money will be released to you 14 days later even if the client takes no action.

 

If there is money in Escrow and the freelancer hasn't requested for it to be released, the freelancer will be notified and will have 7 days to ask for the funds and clients will have 14 days to be refunded or pay the freelancer. Funds will auto release to freelancers if the client does not take action 14 days after the freelancer requests release of funds. 

 

I have checked the job you may be referring to and it looks like all the money that were funded in Escrow was released to you. 

~ Valeria
Upwork

Garnor,

The only thing most of us care about is the impact on Job Success. You specifically, personally, told us that closing many jobs without feedback will negatively affect our scores. Yet now your company has specifically done what you told us not to. If there is a negative impact, this is now your fault, not the fault of clients and/or freelancers, and as such you are responsible for repairing any damages caused.

Cheers,

William

William,


Sadly like everything else on Upwork they are not thinking of anyone but Upwork and possibly the clients. Upwork is sorely broken right now. I suggest to anyone else here that they start looking elsewhere. I have.

 

They messed up my profile with a remark of freelancer has hidden the feedback on one of my last jobs closed. There is no way for me to hide my feedback and it was not negative so why would I? But their response to my issue is it is not an immediate problem and will be fixed on a future update, but in the mean time I have a remark that looks like I was hiding feedback which new clients don't know why. How do you think that looks?

 

I doubt they really care how any of us feel or how it impacts any of us all the changes, and neglect to update us on any of the changes.

 

It just shows me more and more they don't care and want to rid Upwork of anyone who they don't want to be bothered with.

johntatlock
Member

"I doubt they really care how any of us feel or how it impacts any of us all the changes, and neglect to update us on any of the changes.

 

It just shows me more and more they don't care and want to rid Upwork of anyone who they don't want to be bothered with."

 

I think that's a given. This is a work marketplace, not a social club or a support group.

 

I don't mean to seem harsh or indifferent to people's woes, and I think there are any number of things that Upwork could, and should, do better. But if you're disappointed that the place is a business that's only interested in you for your monetary value, well, I think that's the feeling of shedding a useless delusion.

 

I don't think that makes Upwork useless, or bad, or a let down. I didn't expect any more of it.

I think it does a rather good job, as it happens. But that's because I don't expect it to be a nurturing best pal. Indeed, I think that would be too much to ask. It's a work marketplace. That's it.

This is what freelancing is. There are no retirement presents or people bringing cakes to the office on your birthday. There's no office. You don't have a job. You're a freelancer.

 

On a slight tangent, I notice people talk about "leaving" a lot. I don't get that. You're not under any exclusive contract here. You're a freelancer. You don't need to quit. Indeed, you can't. Because you're not employed here. You're a freelancer.

 

 


@John T wrote:

"I doubt they really care how any of us feel or how it impacts any of us all the changes, and neglect to update us on any of the changes.

 

It just shows me more and more they don't care and want to rid Upwork of anyone who they don't want to be bothered with."

 

I think that's a given. This is a work marketplace, not a social club or a support group.

 

I don't mean to seem harsh or indifferent to people's woes, and I think there are any number of things that Upwork could, and should, do better. But if you're disappointed that the place is a business that's only interested in you for your monetary value, well, I think that's the feeling of shedding a useless delusion.

 

I don't think that makes Upwork useless, or bad, or a let down. I didn't expect any more of it.

I think it does a rather good job, as it happens. But that's because I don't expect it to be a nurturing best pal. Indeed, I think that would be too much to ask. It's a work marketplace. That's it.

This is what freelancing is. There are no retirement presents or people bringing cakes to the office on your birthday. There's no office. You don't have a job. You're a freelancer.

 

On a slight tangent, I notice people talk about "leaving" a lot. I don't get that. You're not under any exclusive contract here. You're a freelancer. You don't need to quit. Indeed, you can't. Because you're not employed here. You're a freelancer.

 

 


John.

 

No one is expecting Upwork to be someone's best friend or give out prizes.. But one does expect some respect for the work put in to Upwork for the money they do make. I for one don't care aymore but your stinking attitude just shows you either work for Upwork or you like stirring the pot. So I really could care less what you think.

 

There are a lot of people affected by Upworks lack of professionalism. All anyone is asking for is that. 


As far as exclusive contract, Upwork for many has a 24 month clause so some especially long term contractors are sadly yes under a contract and stuck here till they can take their clients elsewhere.

 

So Please don't give those greive that really have an issue with being walked all over.

 

"This is what freelancing is."

 

No, it isn't. Freelancers don't compete for coloured badges; freelancers don't have their proposals randomly hidden by some brainless algorithm; freelancers get to submit professional bids for jobs instead of being forced to answer ridiculous and irrelevant questions about their favourite pet.

 

I am a freelancer. All I want Upwork to do is let me find clients and offer them my services, then give my my **bleep** money as soon as I've earned it.

 

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.โ€• George Orwell


@John T wrote:

But if you're disappointed that the place is a business that's only interested in you for your monetary value, well, I think that's the feeling of shedding a useless delusion.

 


John,

ST(very_strong_word)U. If Upwork was interested in our monetary value, the platform would actually work so that clients would stop leaving this place.

 

I doubt you know this, but some persons here are actually worth more than others - Suzanne is one of them.

 

I'll accept the blame for this post.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----

You may be technically correct, but when we "leave" we take with us (many of us), tens of thousands per year in fees they have been earning on our backs.

When we "leave" we take the 10% with us.

Get it?

monstersong
Member

If Upwork resembled a business right now, I'd be thrilled.

"I think it does a rather good job, as it happens. But that's because I don't expect it to be a nurturing best pal. Indeed, I think that would be too much to ask. It's a work marketplace. That's it."

 

a) No one expects it to be a nurturing best pal; but neither did they expect it to turn into a self-obsessed backstabbing traitor.

 

b) it's not a work marketplace. It used to be. It's become a micro-managing corporate sweatshop.

 

**Analogy alert**Say it was a marketplace. A real one, with barrows, fruit stalls and all. Arthur Fowler has been there for years selling his fruit and veg. Life is hard work but good. And he is renowned for the quality of his fruit and veg.

 

Then a new market manager is appointed. Within a year:

 

He (or she) starts randomly taking away the signs that point to the stalls. Arthur is sitting in his stall at one end of the market with no way of knowing whether the supervisor has moved his sign or not.

 

He turns up every day and sticks up a new sign (that only he has the key to) over Arthur's stall. It keeps changing but he won't tell Arthur why. One day it's "Arthur's excellent premium fruit and veg" - and the next it's "Arthur's quite good fruit and veg". And he dreads the day when he'll turn up and the sign will say "Arthur's really rancid fruit and veg".

 

He starts telling Arthur what shape his bananas have to be, and how many grapes in a bunch.

 

He keeps sending people to Arthur asking for steaks and pork chops, and he penalises Arthur if he doesn't treat them all with the utmost courtesy, even though the sign above his stall clearly says "Fowler's Fruit and Veg."

 

The he introdces a quota system whereby Arthur can only serve a fixed number of people in a day. Big problem is, even if they come up to him and ask for brown shoe polish or a little porcelain dog, or get him to weigh out a lovely bag of plums before telling him they haven't got any money, it still counts as one of his customers for the day.

 

He introduces rules for cleaning up around the stalls, especially since customers are prone to throw down their apple cores and orange peels when they've finished them (despite Arthur having provided two large bins next to his stall). The problem is, Arthur isn't allowed to do the cleaning up himself, as he'll be penalised and moved to a bad pitch away from the crowd if he's seen to be cleaning up too much. He has to tell the customers to clean up their own mess (even if by now they've left the market and have gone to the big supemarket for the rest of their goodies). Whenever he sells someone a bag of apples, he has to say "There you go my darling - best apples in town. Don't forget to thow the cores in a bin when you're done with them, Princess." And if it turns out that they went round the corner and threw down their apple cores, he has to try and chase them through the streets to ask them to lift up the cores themselves, despite the fact that he should be at his stall selling fruit and veg.

 

One day, when Arthur's at his lowest ebb, the manager gets his team to come in at 5AM before opening, clean up the whole floor around the market, and empty the bins all over Arthur's stall. Arthur doesn't know anything about this until he comes in to open up. He spends all day frantically trying to find out what's going on; and at 5PM just before closing, the market inspector's assistant turns up to tell him that they're sorry, they didn't realise throwing the rubbish all over Arthur's stall would affect him so badly; and that they'd started working on putting in place measures to tell him in the future when they were going to dump the rubbish on his stall.

 

Oh, and that despite these concerns, it was possible that Arthur might be be moved down to the very end of the market next week and have his signs taken away for failing to keep his stall clean. But it's possible that might not happen.

 

And Arthur sits down, has a cup of coffee, and thinks back to the day when he worked in a marketplace.

Stephen, that is absolute genius.

 

I'm glad you stopped before Arthur stole the Christmas Club money to make ends meet, mind you ๐Ÿ˜‰

Arfur's son went to my school, he was an arrogant little twerp Cat Very Happy

 

 

 


@Stephen B wrote:

"I think it does a rather good job, as it happens. But that's because I don't expect it to be a nurturing best pal. Indeed, I think that would be too much to ask. It's a work marketplace. That's it."

 

a) No one expects it to be a nurturing best pal; but neither did they expect it to turn into a self-obsessed backstabbing traitor.

 

b) it's not a work marketplace. It used to be. It's become a micro-managing corporate sweatshop.

 

**Analogy alert**Say it was a marketplace. A real one, with barrows, fruit stalls and all. Arthur Fowler has been there for years selling his fruit and veg. Life is hard work but good. And he is renowned for the quality of his fruit and veg.

 

Then a new market manager is appointed. Within a year:

 

He (or she) starts randomly taking away the signs that point to the stalls. Arthur is sitting in his stall at one end of the market with no way of knowing whether the supervisor has moved his sign or not.

 

He turns up every day and sticks up a new sign (that only he has the key to) over Arthur's stall. It keeps changing but he won't tell Arthur why. One day it's "Arthur's excellent premium fruit and veg" - and the next it's "Arthur's quite good fruit and veg". And he dreads the day when he'll turn up and the sign will say "Arthur's really rancid fruit and veg".

 

He starts telling Arthur what shape his bananas have to be, and how many grapes in a bunch.

 

He keeps sending people to Arthur asking for steaks and pork chops, and he penalises Arthur if he doesn't treat them all with the utmost courtesy, even though the sign above his stall clearly says "Fowler's Fruit and Veg."

 

The he introdces a quota system whereby Arthur can only serve a fixed number of people in a day. Big problem is, even if they come up to him and ask for brown shoe polish or a little porcelain dog, or get him to weigh out a lovely bag of plums before telling him they haven't got any money, it still counts as one of his customers for the day.

 

He introduces rules for cleaning up around the stalls, especially since customers are prone to throw down their apple cores and orange peels when they've finished them (despite Arthur having provided two large bins next to his stall). The problem is, Arthur isn't allowed to do the cleaning up himself, as he'll be penalised and moved to a bad pitch away from the crowd if he's seen to be cleaning up too much. He has to tell the customers to clean up their own mess (even if by now they've left the market and have gone to the big supemarket for the rest of their goodies). Whenever he sells someone a bag of apples, he has to say "There you go my darling - best apples in town. Don't forget to thow the cores in a bin when you're done with them, Princess." And if it turns out that they went round the corner and threw down their apple cores, he has to try and chase them through the streets to ask them to lift up the cores themselves, despite the fact that he should be at his stall selling fruit and veg.

 

One day, when Arthur's at his lowest ebb, the manager gets his team to come in at 5AM before opening, clean up the whole floor around the market, and empty the bins all over Arthur's stall. Arthur doesn't know anything about this until he comes in to open up. He spends all day frantically trying to find out what's going on; and at 5PM just before closing, the market inspector's assistant turns up to tell him that they're sorry, they didn't realise throwing the rubbish all over Arthur's stall would affect him so badly; and that they'd started working on putting in place measures to tell him in the future when they were going to dump the rubbish on his stall.

 

Oh, and that despite these concerns, it was possible that Arthur might be be moved down to the very end of the market next week and have his signs taken away for failing to keep his stall clean. But it's possible that might not happen.

 

And Arthur sits down, has a cup of coffee, and thinks back to the day when he worked in a marketplace.


Very well put, Stephen. I know it must read like a gross exaggeration to visitors and newbies because it defies logic and common sense, but the sad reality is, it's absolutely not. It's the welcome to Upwork story.

There's a difference between being pragmatically objective and destroying people's livelihoods for no logical reason. What everyone wanted was just for them to take their 10% and largely leave people alone to get on with it.

 

Incidentally, I am fairly sure I remember the moderators saying at one point to leave absent contracts open in case of damage to JS score.

Maybe they can install virtual benches around the site where clients and freelancers alike can sit and watch the world go by - each one in memory of a long-gone freelancer.


@Ramon B wrote:

 

Incidentally, I am fairly sure I remember the moderators saying at one point to leave absent contracts open in case of damage to JS score.


 Well...lately my impression was that lately moderators' advice was to contact absent clients and ask them to close the contract, and if the client was unresponsive, to close the contract(s) themselves. I read a few posts by freelancers who followed this advice by occasionally closing contracts so that they would blend in somewhat (with job history and JS).

 

However, I came across this advice in threads here and there, but obviously there was no more 'official' guidance in this regard.

 

-------------------------------------------------

 

I'm kinda wondering if this same mechanism will be applied to hourly contracts next?

 

Something I haven't read anywhere yet but wanted to throw in - I get that people are worried about their JC scores. However, I think since the displayed JS score is chosen from three different scores (6 months, 1 year, 2 years), the fact that a bunch of closed contracts is now being figured in might pull down a freelancer's 6 month score, but if the other two scores are good, one of them will kick in and there might actually be not so much of an impact (for now).

 


@Ramon B wrote:

 

Incidentally, I am fairly sure I remember the moderators saying at one point to leave absent contracts open in case of damage to JS score.


Certainly that was the widespread impression, lately modified to "Close contracts only as a last resort." Garnor must not have been in the room.

 

Best to all,

MM


@Douglas Michael M wrote:

@Ramon B wrote:

 

Incidentally, I am fairly sure I remember the moderators saying at one point to leave absent contracts open in case of damage to JS score.


Certainly that was the widespread impression, lately modified to "Close contracts only as a last resort." Garnor must not have been in the room.

 

Best to all,

MM


This gives me another opportunity to post Jeff Chen's dissenting & confusing opinion on this matter (though Garnor claims that it's not different from what the mods have been telling us - until yesterday):

 

"Ending these (inactive) contracts quickly or requesting the client close the contract as soon as possible can prevent this situation."

Because obviously hassling and nagging at clients to close contracts as quickly as possible is great customer service, and guaranteed to give you a 5 star rating Cat Frustrated

johntatlock
Member

a) No one expects it to be a nurturing best pal; but neither did they expect it to turn into a self-obsessed backstabbing traitor.

 

I kind of do, though, that's my point.

 

People seem to think I'm speaking in support of Upwork in my post back there. I'm really not.

 

If you take a step back and look at what it is, by design: it's a global marketplace that atomises and disempowers workers, undermines minumum wage rules, makes unionisation somewhere between impossible and useless, and stacks the deck entirely in favour of the clients. That's not some new flaw, that's what it is at heart.

 

All I was driving at really, is that I think everyone might as well get from it what they can, but be realistic about how it's going to be. Which is: pretty harsh and challenging, and a bit of a rip-off fees-wise. I don't see that changing unless a significant competitor emerges and starts to take business away from them with a more worker-friendly model. Which, you know, might never happen.

johntatlock
Member

Thinking more about that, probably its greatest vulnerbility to a competitor is that it's wildly over-designed and under-engineered, and someone or a group of someones in the organisation is addicted to the notion that you can automate away all the complex decisions that go into hiring. It's a superficially appealing idea, but I'm pretty sure it's not really possible. 

@Valeria

 

This is a great feature but can I ask what the timelines were based on?

 

  • 76 days of inactivity and the client is notified
  • Client then has 7 days to respond (83 Days)
  • Another 7 days which are not explained what these are as the client already failed to answer within the 7 days (90 Days)
  • Contractor requests the funds released
  • Client then gets another 14 days to responds(105-112 Days)

What happens if the client responds on day 112 of this situation? Am I forced to continue the project? Does he get his money back cause I can't take additional time out my schedule and lose money based on his egregious misbehavior in business? 

Hi Brian,

 

The process is based on Escrow terms and to ensure compliance with them. If there is no money in Escrow and the contract is inactive, it should be closed after 90 days. We send two notifications to the client before that day.

 

If there are funds in Escrow, the process for the release of those funds is initiated after 90 days of inactivity. If the client requests for the money to be refunded to them on 112th day, the freelancer will still have an option to dispute the refund as usual.

~ Valeria
Upwork

With all due respect what's the point of even telling us about this program then as you just stated that the contract could stay open up to 112 and then beyond if a client decides to dispute on the 112th. I'm looking more for facts, guarantees and timelines. 

 

Kind of like when a client ask to have project done on wednesday and I provide the work on wednesday. Not Saturday 2 weeks after and the drag on the project for another 4 months. Also, I made a separate post directly dealing with custom contracts that are created in addition to the terms of Upwork.

 

My contracts explicitly lay restrictions on project abandonment and mission creep. If the client explicitly agrees to that contract before the project begins will odesk then interfere at a later date encroaching on a separate legal agreement? These are serious matters. Some of us were bringing thousands of dollars.

 

We then got publicly bullied and legally threatened last week in regards to the elance platform closing and a lot of our clients not wanting to come here. While I understand the most discussed topic on this forum have been when you raised your minimum rates to $3.33 and a bunch a people found it horrendous that they couldn't pay $1.30 anymore to a person nearly everyone who is trainsitioned and planned to stay here more than a month make exponentially more than some going rates here.

 

I've went through +30 pages of forum posts here and 80% is accounts suspended, site not working, clients running off and money not being paid. Every post I've personally read from an Upwork employee concerning a situation has also been factually wrong.

 

Most notably one where we we're being told how the profile completion works and it was all false. Now a declaration of Upwork's contract closing terms is not terms at all. If they were terms then they're wouldn't be unexplained blackout dates, no consequence for breach of the terms and an additional allowance for an extension time past the maximum date of those terms.

 

 

tj1972
Member

Where is that second, larger topic on this "contract closing" issue?

I can't find it ... Wen up to 10th page here.

I was not availale for couple days and anything new on the subject?

Hi Tamaz,

 

You can check out the official announcement thread about the issue here.

 

You may be referring to this thread.

~ Valeria
Upwork