Reply
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Is Upwork creating a "spec" site where freelancers are subject to the whim of the client for payment

rjsha
Ace Contributor
RJ S Member Since: Jul 17, 2016
1 of 63

I'm going to be starting a new topic in a moment, but I wanted to reply to this. There is a significant question about Upwork's support of freelancers. I just finished (a few weeks ago) a month-long project. I added 20,000 words, Yep, you got that right...20,000 words to a 14,000 word, very primitive manuscript. I do this kind of work a lot. It's not unsual for someone to want to bulk up their manuscript, but it is hard to do well. 

 

The client, from **edited for Community Guidelines** decided they would reject the manuscript. Now their job posting, and our agreement, was that they would allow me to use my own judgement regarding what the manuscript needed. With 25 years of experience, I know what a manuscript needs. Because they rejected the manuscript, we went to "arbitration."

 

For those of you who've not been through that process, you are required to make a payment of $275, and then post (on adr.org, if you are interested) various documents. In my case, the "arbitrator" (placing this in quotes since she was so inadequate) in her award decided that the client did Not have to pay me. She cited no legal prevailing authority, or any difficulty with the manuscript, which I had rewritten and added to. The arbitrator noted in her award to the client that she would not make me REPAY the intial payment (about $3,000 before Upwork's 20% deduction). Hoo hay! As I pointed out to her in my postings DURING the process, the client had no right to Request the return of the initial payment, since we were past the 30-day period. Upwork's rules do not allow for payments to be refunded after 30 days. Thus, it would...initially...appear that the "arbitrator" is being Solomon-like and cutting the baby in half. Oh, so fair, you might think? But no. As noted, the "arbitrator" VIOLATED Upwork's own rules by even considering the client's request for return of the full amount, and by citing it as part of her arbitration award. Further, the adr.org Requires that all parties be served, via email, all loaded documents. I pointed out to the "arbitrator that I had not been served via email the intital statement from the client, and the arbitrator also ignored that. It is my belief that Upwork forcing freelancers into arbitration, and forcing freelancers to incure additional costs and delayed release of payments...if they are "awarded" the payment from the client, violates the laws of the United States. When you do work, in the United States, you are paid for your work. Do any of us have a "will-work-on-spec" on our profiles? No. I would note that in my feedback on the job, I posted that I should have not worked with anyone in **edited for Community Guidelines**. However, I have a degree in the social sciences and tend to work with a wide-range of people, especially from other cultures. It's something I usually enjoy. Regardless, the POINT here is this: Are we working on spec or not? Should we be forced into "arbitration" or is it Upwork's responsibility to hold client's responsible for their payments when the work is done. Please note, I had an agreement with that client that they would pay me within 24-hours of providing them the work. I do this, specifically, because I do Not work on spec. I know how good I am and if I provide the work, I cannot get it back. This policy of mine prevents abuse, in almost all cases. Further, in 25 years, I have never had a client unhappy with my work or ask for any changes. Imagine that this happened with a client from **edited for Community Guidelines**. You figure.

 

In closing, are we working on spec here at Upwork, and don't know it? Do we have to PAY in order to be paid? Your thoughts, please.

rjsha
Ace Contributor
RJ S Member Since: Jul 17, 2016
2 of 63

Ah, and here is an interesting article on the payment abuse of freelancers.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/abdullahimuhammed/2018/04/24/shocker-58-of-freelancers-have-experienced...

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
3 of 63

RJ S wrote:

Ah, and here is an interesting article on the payment abuse of freelancers in SouthEast Asia.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/abdullahimuhammed/2018/04/24/shocker-58-of-freelancers-have-experienced...


 

joansands
Community Guru
Joan S Member Since: Mar 18, 2019
4 of 63

Sorry, but in view of all the corruption in **edited for Community Guidelines**, I don't think I would ever enter into a job with someone from there.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 63

re: "...in 25 years, I have never had a client unhappy with my work or ask for any changes."

 

You already know that this cilent was not "unhappy" with your work.

 

This client was planning to get a refund by claiming to be unhappy with your work no matter what you did.

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 63

Preston H wrote:

 

This client was planning to get a refund by claiming to be unhappy with your work no matter what you did.


You need to stop leaping to obscure conclusions like that. How did you come to that conclusion? Because of the client's location?

 

It would be very unusual (but not impossible), for a client who is "planning to get a refund by claiming to be unhappy" to release $ 3000 and put another $ 3000 in Escrow.

 

Scammers don't usually put their hand in their pocket to the tune of $ 6000...

 

It sounds more like this client, rightly or wrongly, with or without justification, actually was unhappy.

 

This is the first time I have seen a freelancer report that they lost arbitration by the way. Usually it's the clients.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 63

re: "Because of the client's location?"

 

Because of the client's actions.

 

The freelancer did the work that was agreed upon.

 

Rather than pay for the work, as agreed, the client said he was unhappy, asked for a refund, and went all the way through arbitration to get out of paying anything for it.

 

I agree with you that this not typical scammer behavior.

 

I don't believe the quality of the work had ANYTHING to do with the client's actions.

 

I have no way of knowing that for certain.

 

I think the freelancer is in agreement with me. She would know better than anyone about the quality of her work.


The freelancer completed the agreed-upon task, as specified in the fixed-price contract. The client was wrong to ask for a refund.

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 63

Preston H wrote:

I have no way of knowing that for certain.

 

I think the freelancer is in agreement with me.


Of course she is. She lost arbitration.

 


RJ S wrote:

freelancers are hired because they know how to do something the client doesn't. There's a point in that last sentence and I hope you "get it." Again, 25 years of experience and considerd an exceptional writer, and never a complaint before.


I do get it, totally.


What I suspect (having some experience with writers from that country) is that your (perfectly correct) English may sound as alien to the client as their (overly flowery, bombastic) English sounds to us.

 

That might have something to do with it.

 

rjsha
Ace Contributor
RJ S Member Since: Jul 17, 2016
9 of 63

Actually, considering that there is a $275 payment from the freelancer to Enter arbitration, I would imagine that most freelancers simply decide to "lose." And, I had given some serious consideration to working with this client because I realized that the client was from a country that has a significant and serious disparity in how people are treated. What I mean by this is that those who are educated or have solid incomes in Nigeria are an extreme minority and this creates a sense of "I am king," if you will. There were other indicators that this client had an elevated sense of importance, but no need for that here. I felt that, since I've worked with a lot of high-powered people, it would not be a problem for me. As to your statement that there had to be some kind of problem, allow me to clarify for you. The PROBLEM was that the client doesn't have the skill set to understand or recognize what I did for them. Althought their job posting specifically stated that they wanted the freelancer to "use their own judgement" to make the project better, retrospectively, I believe that the over estimation of their own discernment about what works and what doesn't work is the source of the problem. Do note that, as with so many clients here on Upwork, they repeatedly asked for additional points to be made with the project; e.g., TWO days before the project was due they asked me to read another book (originally they had requested I read 8 books) and incorporate an aspect of that book into their project. I did this.  In closing, freelancers are hired because they know how to do something the client doesn't. There's a point in that last sentence and I hope you "get it." Again, 25 years of experience and considerd an exceptional writer, and never a complaint before.

researchediting
Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
10 of 63

RJ S wrote:

....Do note that, as with so many clients here on Upwork, they repeatedly asked for additional points to be made with the project; e.g., TWO days before the project was due they asked me to read another book (originally they had requested I read 8 books) and incorporate an aspect of that book into their project. I did this....


...rather than saying "I'm sorry, that would be an additional specification that is not part of this contract. I would be happy to accommodate you if we can agree on timing and payment for a new milestone."

An "ask" is not a contract specification change.

TOP SOLUTION AUTHORS
TOP KUDOED MEMBERS