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Important Updates to our Terms of Service

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Ace Contributor
Eugene B Member Since: Apr 29, 2015
21 of 55

Dear Upwork! Could you please, provide a clear explanation of the question asked at the beginning of this thread? Maybe your update is clear for a lawyer, but I'm just a designer and I'm interested in what's going to happen if calling feature in the Upwork Messenger doesn't work and what if the client asks to move the call to Zoom? Or what if I want to make the call on the go using a phone - and what if I propose a client to chat on Skype providing my Skype id OR requesting client's Skype id?

 

It's very useful to see different opinions of other freelancers, but this matter, in particular, is very sensitive and would be very nice to receive some clear explanations from Upwork Team about the matter. Would be also nice if the answers are provided in a clear way so that ordinary human beings without a law degree (like me, myself and I) could actually understand what's allowed and what's not.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
22 of 55

Eugene B wrote:

Would be also nice if the answers are provided in a clear way so that ordinary human beings without a law degree (like me, myself and I) could actually understand what's allowed and what's not.


It (clearly) states that you may not contact a client outside the platform without the other party asking you to do so

 

If a client asks you to communicate on Skype, that's fine if you agree

If you ask a client to communicate via email, that's fine if the client agrees.

 

What is NOT fine is making UNSOLICITED contact outside the platform.

 

It is to stop rogue freelancers hunting down clients via their website, social media, linked in, etc etc etc and hounding them to get hired.


THAT is what is being addressed here, not normal freelancers and clients going about their business.

 

 

 

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Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
23 of 55

Hi Eugene,

 

I understand your concern with the latest ToS update and appreciate posting your question in the Community.

 

I'd like to confirm the clarification and examples Petra, Preston, Rene, David, Mary and Valerie shared are correct. When a user agrees to use Upwork they also agree not to make unsolicited contact outside of Upwork, for example, spam or attempt to contact another Upwork user via a social media account, email address, etc. without their permission.

 

The scenario you mentioned does entail having an understanding with the client and their permission (and vice versa, the client having your permission) to use other communication platforms (while keeping that relationship on Upwork), which is in line with Upwork ToS.

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Ace Contributor
Dylan G Member Since: Sep 9, 2015
24 of 55

Vladimir, can you clarify how that would apply to the situation I described in my previous comment? I am concerned that an already abusive and gaslighting client could then use my attempt to contact them via previously established email communication to get me kicked off the platform.

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Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
25 of 55

Hi! Dylan.

Please note that, as a matter of convention, the mods tend to avoid making rulings on specific scenarios of your kind.

Please feel free to consult with an attorney for advice based on your specific situation.

Smiley LOL

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Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
26 of 55

Hi Dylan,

 

Thanks for the question. While I won't be able to advise on the outcome because I don't have the insight and all the information (not that I don't trust your account of the problem), I can confirm our team reviews all the information and can identify false reports. That being said this ToS update on unsolicited contacts will go into effect on April 3. and from the sound of it, it appears this situation occurred in the past. I do see you also mentioned the client shared their personal contact with you previously, which our team would take into account. We don't tolerate making false accusations and abusing our violation reporting features.

Going forward, in case a client is not responding to a freelancer's messages, you can always reach out to us here or to Customer Support and our team will take a look and would be able to reach out to them on your behalf.

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Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
27 of 55

Vladimir G wrote:

Hi Eugene,

 

I understand your concern with the latest ToS update and appreciate posting your question in the Community.

 

I'd like to confirm the clarification and examples Petra, Preston, Rene, David, Mary and Valerie shared are correct. When a user agrees to use Upwork they also agree not to make unsolicited contact outside of Upwork, for example, spam or attempt to contact another Upwork user via a social media account, email address, etc. without their permission.

 

The scenario you mentioned does entail having an understanding with the client and their permission (and vice versa, the client having your permission) to use other communication platforms (while keeping that relationship on Upwork), which is in line with Upwork ToS.


I should think it would help clients a great deal if, when posting a job, Upwork suggests (via a pop-up) that clients not include info that makes it easy to track them down. I realize for some job posts this may not work, but it might go a long way in decreasing being hectored needlessly by unprofessional freelancers. Otherwise, I can't imagine how Upwork could police this, unless the client comes to a forum to ask why/how freelancers tracked down their personal or work emails. Some do, but I'll bet a lot of them don't bother ... they just never come back to Upwork again.

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Community Guru
Richard W Member Since: Jun 22, 2017
28 of 55

Cristian B wrote:

 

Just to make sure I understand this correctly, I cannot contact a client who I started a contract with on Skype, without him inviting me to do so. Is that correct?

Thanks,

Chris

 


I'm sure it's OK for you to suggest Skype and then go ahead if he says yes. I don't think you have to wait for him to invite you first.

 

The wording of the text is not very good. I think sometimes you have to apply common sense and not take it too literally. Naturally, it's more difficult if you're not a native English speaker. I think Upwork could do better with its wording.

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Community Guru
Cristian B Member Since: Aug 23, 2017
29 of 55

Yeah, I had the same feeling, but unsolicited means that one of the parties has to solicit it first. Truth be told, one of the parties can be the freelancer, but I wanted to double check. I've put too much effort in my Upwork business to take a chance, so it's better to ask first Smiley Happy

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Ace Contributor
Vipul N Member Since: Sep 15, 2019
30 of 55

I received a mail describing an updated ToS coming into effect in April, 2020. One of the 2 points was:

"We are clarifying permissible modes of communication between individuals on our site to reduce unwelcome off-platform solicitation. We want to be clear that professionals and clients cannot make unsolicited contact off of the Upwork platform. While often well-intentioned, any type of outreach that bypasses our communication tools and safeguards without an explicit invitation from the other party can be perceived as unwelcome and a violation of privacy. Going forward, users who are found to be violating the privacy of other users in this way will be removed from using our service further."

 

I want to confirm that for ongoing contracts communications via emails, skype or other means will not amount to a violation of this policy. It does say unsolicited, so it seems that this is to stop FLs approahing clients outside Upwork for contracts. But I am confirming my understanding is correct in this matter. Is there anything else of note in this change?

Regards.

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