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I have been scammed by a client that refused to pay. Now my reputation has been damaged?

I will still be publishing an article in support of the Profound Initiative that supports individuals with neurodiversity. Why upwork takes advantage of freelancers just starting out. How your website rewards clients that pay next to nothing for over a months work. How you are threatening me for complaining that one of your clients stole code from me. I don't need to register my code under the Australian copyright act of 1968. The copyright act by default protects business owners like me from having their code stolen from clients who do not pay. Not only that but the defamation that I was exposed to for not working for a client that couldn't afford me. All of this will be supplied in a lengthy review on Upwork. I am sorry but this has upset me and I feel that Upwork will not have my back or my support. 


You don't support your freelancers. You support your clients and anyone can be a legitimate client on your website, even those who are only looking to steal code and work for little payment. 


I will be quoting you specifically in the article and will be screenshotting this conversation...to expose the business practises of your website. I work with neurodiverse individuals and we as a community are tired of people taking advantage. We are tired of it now! 




Just letting you know that I will be writing an article for a Perth newspaper and magazine in regards to this experience. **Edited for Community Guidelines**. It aims to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation, being funded through the $16.7 million New Industries Fund. Other successful recipients include **Edited for Community Guidelines**


I will be writing an article on how I was awarded a Certificate from Profound and decided to try my luck on Upwork...had an experience with a client that refused to pay...worked like a **Edited for Community Guidelines** for him for over a month, was only paid a hundred dollars...and he kept on asking for more work...no support was provided to me by Upwork...so I felt robbed and taken advantage of and that neurodiverse individuals and other **Edited for Community Guidelines**. The article will be published in association with the **Edited for Community Guidelines**. You can read about them here. If you don't believe I am part of this initiative then you can contact the coordinator of the program . My article will protect neurodiverse individuals and others starting out with programming freelancers from this website! 


If I went to a store and demanded that the store owner gives me one of his products for free...and if he refuses...does that give me the permission to sabotage his store and his reputation? Does that give me the freedom to do that?


The clients workload for me did not match the job description or contract. I went into the contract thinking I only had to connect a chess game to Google Firebase...I had no idea that there was NO game to begin with...I had to build everything from the ground up and I did that because I was hoping the client would be kind enough to leave me a good review...NOT STEAL MY WORK! 


If this issue cannot be resolved from a client who left me a 1 star review after he refused to pay. Then I will make sure that every cell in my body has that article published and that this information gets out there that **Edited for Community Guidelines** that protects clients that refuse to pay and only ask more of you...and if they refuse to pay, Upwork support will not resolve the issue for you and that unpaying clients are welcome to leave bad reviews at their own discretion even though you worked for them like a **Edited for Community Guidelines** without any payment for a whole month! You think that just because I am one individual that I can't do any damage to your sites reputation. Well how well do you think your website will go down when word gets out that you allow clients to scam neuro diverse individuals? That you allow unpaying clients to leave bad reviews? I think you're website will go down the **Edited for Community Guidelines**pretty quickly and rightfully so! I have never felt this robbed in my entire life! 


So basically that client was actually blackmailing me the whole time because if I didn't submit to his demands...he can completely ruin my reputation? I ended the contract because I saw no end in sight with the client. He was refusing to pay and kept asking more of me...a small job turned into a months worth of work...and I did out of fear of my reputation. 


I feel I have been harassed, bullied and scammed by a client. Read his review:


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

He calls me a selfish greedy person even though he only paid me a 100 dollars for a months work? 
This is gaslighting someone...In Australia, the Copyright Act 1968 automatically copyrights source code, executable code and data banks and tables. There is no need for registration in Australia.
This issue has upset me so much because I feel like a **Edited for Community Guidelines**....that I am even going to pursue legal support in regards to stolen code and work submitted by me. I will be seeking legal support from the **Edited for Community Guidelines**. As I have no other option to save my reputation from a thief!  I have evidence and confirmation from the client that he was never going to pay and was only squeezing everything out of me....and because I never submitted to the demands of a thief...I get punished? Harrassed and bullied by the client. So what do you expect me to do in this position? Because I am not going down without a fight! 
**Edited for Community Guidelines**
Community Member

I am not sure why the text is not being written clearly here. But if TLDR....basically a client ripped me off...refused to put money into escrow...kept demanding more and more work from me for little to no payment and on top of that, he was intentionally gaslighting me with his poor review because I refused to submit to the demands of a **Edited for Community Guidelines**. I will be pursuing legal action as I feel abused, harrassed and taken advantage of. Not once in my entire career have I ever felt forced to work for someone for little payment out of fear of being left a bad review and my reputation destroyed by a thief. The article will be written for neurodiverse individuals and other freelancing programmers who are starting out here in Perth Western Australia...to protect the community of developers and to make sure this situation never happens again. I am upset that I had to submit to the demands of someone who couldn't afford to pay me and was only taking full advantage of me because of the Upwork system...because he knew he could get away with this because of the faulty system here at Upwork. Clients can leave poor reviews...demand more work than what was outlined in the project overview...they can lie


He said he only needed me to connect a Chess game to google firebase and after I accepted the contract, the project he sent me was a Chess game that hadn't even been started yet...had to build everything for him from the ground up and he was continously harrassing me...telling me that I wasn't putting in enough hours....for a 250 dollar job? The client was from **Edited for Community Guidelines**....so obviously they can afford to pay extremely cheap rates...and they also have Upworks support? They also have the support of Upwork when it comes to bullying and harrasement? 


I sincerely hope the article I write does dmaage to Upworks reputation...because never not once in my life...have I felt the pressure to work for someone who could not afford to pay me.

Mark A wrote:

I will be pursuing legal action 

Good liuck raising the money to sue someone in India. Or getting any money out of the client even if you could raise the money to sue someone in India.


Well I will be writing an article in regards to this experience...maybe I won't win...but eventually when this happens again anad agin to more freelancers...Upwork will be exposed as a scam site. 


In my article I will be writing that Upwork does NOT support qualified workers. Upwork supports freelancers who charge the lowest fees and the website is designed to undercut freelancers from the get go. The bid always goes to someone who charges the lowest fees, NOT the most qualified. I am a qualified professional coder that works for Apps people and I had my code stolen from me, a month worth work stolen from me. Upwork rewards the clients that charge extremely low rates...almost**Edited for Community Guidelines** The guy I worked for was from India and couldn't afford to pay for my work...Upwork rewards him...gives him the ability to leave me a bad review for not giving away free work. **Edited for Community Guidelines**


That is gaslighting and that is harrasement...you can't force someone to work for you and then if they don't submit to your demands...they have the freedom to leave a bad review. **Edited for Community Guidelines**

Mark A wrote:

In my article I will be writing that Upwork does NOT support qualified workers. Upwork supports freelancers who charge the lowest fees and the website is designed to undercut freelancers from the get go.  

This is actually not true. It could easily be proven to be untrue, and thus writing it would be libel.


Mark A wrote:

The bid always goes to someone who charges the lowest fees,

This, too, is easily proven to be untrue, and thus also be libel.


Mark A wrote:

Upwork rewards the clients that charge extremely low rates.

As above....


In fact, Upwork support freelancers who use the site correctly and who set up their contracts in such a way that things like this do not happen in the first place, and has dispute and mediation processes which help if thngs go wrong. None of that is foolproof, of course, and professionals are expected to educate themselves how to set up contracts to protect themselves and to make sure that their contracts have nailed down what deliverables are included an which are not.

Professionals are also expected to make sure that their contracts are properly funded before they start working.

Professionals are further expected to have the interpersonal skills to manage their contracts and their clients professionally and effectively.


I you worked for a month for $100, you clearly failed at one or more of the above.

First of all Petra R...


The client lied! So lying is permitted on Upwork? He said he only needed me to connect a Chess game to Google firebase. Still a hefty project for 250 dollars....but I accepted it because I knew I could complete the work. However after accepting the project, it was soon revealed to me that nothing had been started on this chess game. So I have to accept that responsibility...that I have to take on lying clients? 


Secondly, the client was refusing to put money into escrow after I accepted the contract? So what am I supposed to do in that situation if he can't hold up his part of the deal and was only for more and more work? 


So basically the message you are giving me is that I have to accept the responsibility if a client lies, cheats and steals code and also has the permission to destroy my repuation as a programmer...


I hope you have a store Petra...I hope you have a business. Because the message you are sending me is loud and clear...that Upwork will support lying and cheating clients if they can get away with it. 


Thanks I will be quoting you in this article I will be writing! 

Mark A wrote:


I hope you have a store Petra...I hope you have a business.

Yes, I have a business. Righ here on Upwork. With over 300 contracts. That's how I know how to run a business on Upwork and to avoid situations such as what you describe.


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Hi Mark,

I`m sorry to hear about the bad experience you`ve had and the inconvenience this has caused you. 

To learn more about how to protect yourself, check out the Safety First section Here. To learn more about how you`re protected under our Fixed price protection, check out this Help Article.

Our team will also follow up directly on your ticket as soon as possible and will assist you further. If you have any additional information that you would like to share regarding your client, feel free to follow up directly on your ticket. Thank you.

~ Goran

If I hadn't have ended that contract, that client would have forced me to work for him for a year...he would just keep changing his story "yes I will pay you but first do this and this and this and this and this..."....the job was only for 250 dollars...so when can a freelancer on your website say enough is enough? Do we have to coninue working like **Edited for Community Guidelines**in order to keep a good rep? 

Mark A wrote:

If I hadn't have ended that contract, that client would have forced me to work for him for a year 

Here's the thing, though, Mark. The client has no such power. Clients can't "force you" to do anything whatsoever at all. You could have made sure the contract was properly defined, funded and set up from before accepting it. Trying to do that would likely have outed the client as a flake and you could have walked away without wasting any time or having such feedback on your profile.


Mark A wrote:

..the job was only for 250 dollars...so when can a freelancer on your website say enough is enough? 

Any time they want. The minute a client asks for something that isn't on the well defined list of deliverables, the response is: "Sure, great idea, we can do that. The cost will be $ XX." Upwork really can't hold the hands of tens of thousands of freelancers and clients who are working together at any given time. You need to manage your own business, which includes choosing clients very carefully. The great clients with the good budgets are out there. It is up to you to identify them and win their projects. Upwork provides you with a platform and processes your payments. It gives you access to warm leads and ways to communicate. It does not offer a nannying service, nor can it be called a scam simply because it does not prevent users from making poor choices. Your anger is aimed in entirely the wrong direction. It should be aimed 90% at the client and 10% at yourself.

Hi Mark,

You described this job as coding connected to neuro diverse individuals,  and  related to chess.    


Do you code for high functioning autistic children and adults with  islets in music, maths, art and language? Have you worked with autistics in the social care sector?

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi all,


We've removed and edited a number of posts on this thread for violating Community Guidelines.  Unfortunately, due to continued posting of the same content that we actioned and notified users before, we're forced to close this thread for further replies.


Please keep in mind our Guidelines in your future posts. Thank you.

~ Vladimir
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