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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
11 of 63

You make a good point. Unfortunately, Upwork needs to create some kind of Enforcement if that kind of thing happens. For instance, Upwork could state that ANY request for additional work means that the freelancer automatically receives a 5 star review (since we all know that this is done under the aegis that the freelancer will comply because the "review" is still to come and Won't be good if the freelancer doesn't comply. 

 

Second, Upwork could create a guideline for All clients that any request for work AFTER the job starts means the client won't be allowed to post again.

 

However, as I've noted here, the idea that the freelancer has to go into a dispute/arbitration process After the work has been received by the client is just a pit of abuse. I also question the fact that Upwork notes that the client can Ask for two additional opportunities for change to the work without additional compensation to the freelancer. Where and when in the United States do you not get paid for Work Done or for Additional Work. Theoretically, Upwork states that there is no free work to be done. But by stating that the clients can have Two additional opportunities to request changes, this is EXACTLY what they are doing. This also ignores the right of the freelancer to have prompt payment. 

 

And lastly, Purportedly Upwork has created a place for just US freelancers. But when clients are posting jobs asking (for instance) for a book to be written for $60 or $100, it's clear they are targeting overseas freelancers, who can only be plagiarizing material in order to do that kind of job. These kind of jobs should be recognized by Upwork for what they are and cleared off of Upwork.

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

RJ S wrote:

You make a good point. Unfortunately, Upwork needs to create some kind of Enforcement if that kind of thing happens. For instance, Upwork could state that ANY request for additional work means that the freelancer automatically receives a 5 star review (since we all know that this is done under the aegis that the freelancer will comply because the "review" is still to come and Won't be good if the freelancer doesn't comply. 

 

Second, Upwork could create a guideline for All clients that any request for work AFTER the job starts means the client won't be allowed to post again.

 

However, as I've noted here, the idea that the freelancer has to go into a dispute/arbitration process After the work has been received by the client is just a pit of abuse. I also question the fact that Upwork notes that the client can Ask for two additional opportunities for change to the work without additional compensation to the freelancer. Where and when in the United States do you not get paid for Work Done or for Additional Work. Theoretically, Upwork states that there is no free work to be done. But by stating that the clients can have Two additional opportunities to request changes, this is EXACTLY what they are doing. This also ignores the right of the freelancer to have prompt payment. 

 

And lastly, Purportedly Upwork has created a place for just US freelancers. But when clients are posting jobs asking (for instance) for a book to be written for $60 or $100, it's clear they are targeting overseas freelancers, who can only be plagiarizing material in order to do that kind of job. These kind of jobs should be recognized by Upwork for what they are and cleared off of Upwork.


Since you refuse to use the quote function, I can only speculate that you are addressing my point. Be that as it may, It is not Upwork's job to manage client expectations, or our contracts.

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

Hi Preston, Thank you. Ah, I fear that my natural sense of honor and fair play disallowed me from thinking that they would find my work "unsatisfactory." It may be of interest to those on the forum that in my complaint to the ADR (the arbitration association, adr.org), I've noted that the neither the arbitrator nor Upwork has provided the client adequate information on copyright law. Since the work has not been paid for, each and every word I wrote, all references I made, and every grammatical correction I made, is copyrighted work, which is still owned by me. Thus, if the client were to publish their manuscript and, say, use any of my corrections, they are plagiarizing my work. As Upwork has not informed them of this, I think there is a concern here for Upwork's liability as well. Now I do wish to say that I've worked with some amazing clients on Upwork recently that I enjoyed immensely. But, if Upwork fails to uphold the right of freelaners to be paid for their work, it is simply a "spec" site. I'm going to explore the Department of Labor on this subject, and then provide information to Upwork and the American Bar Association and adr.org (the arbitration association). It is my position that the point of Escrow is that freelancers cannot be denied payment for their work. As well, I had a specific point made to this client that I do not under any condition work on "spec." And my requirement, in writing to them and listed in the "messages" back and forth required payment within 24 hours. I do this because I believe that the providing of two opportunities for "revisions" by the client is a natural conduit for abuse. I am not opposed to making Minor revisions were the client to request them, althought it's not happened with me before, but as that requires Further Time from the freelancer, I believe that payment should be made. This provides an equitable playing field.

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

RJ S wrote:

 It is my position that the point of Escrow is that freelancers cannot be denied payment for their work.


No. .

The point is to hold the money safely for both  parties (freelancer and client)

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

Actually, I completely disagree with you. Where exactly do you find anyone in the US working for free? Where do you find anyone in the US not compensated for their work? The funds are in escrow so that when the work is finished the payment can be made immediately. As I noted previously (in a response to another poster), Upwork should also Not be allowing for "free" work by requiring freelancers to give the client changes (2 are allowed according to Upwork) without additional compensation. 

 

Freelancers have the right to be paid in a timely manner and without any additional free work. The client has a responsibility to choose someone they believe will do the work. Ever had a meal that was horrible and you didn't want to pay for it? I have but it was always the Discretion of the restaurant to decide I didn't have to pay. I could not walk out the door after eating the meal without being arrested just because I decided I didn't want to pay. I'm going to be checking California labor laws because I absolutely believe Upwork has missed the boat on this.

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

RJ S wrote:

....The funds are in escrow so that when the work is finished the payment can be made immediately. 


No. The funds are in escrow so that payment can be made when the buyer and seller are in agreement that the terms of escrow have been fulfilled. Upwork has procedures to determine when this is done, including default conditions that overall favor the contractor.

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

HI, Thank you. Yes, I've learned my "lesson." I'm afraid that my social science degree created a false sense of support for those folks.

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
18 of 63

RJ S wrote:

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.


So the TL;DR on this is that you went to arbitration and did not win the full amount you asked? 

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

RJ S wrote:

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.

 

This is a near universal misconception, and one Upwork does nothing whatsoever to clear up. In fact, you have to click a few levels deep, all the way to the details of fixed price protection and disputes, to see that what the policy actually says is that the 30-day period runs from the last milestone, but the arbitration that can be opened within that window is "on a fixed price contract," not on a specific milestone.

 

It is absolutely not Upwork's responsibility to make rulings on who is right or wrong and who should get escrowed funds. In fact, they are not allowed to do so. If there's a dispute regarding your mortgage escrow, the escrow agent typically freezes the funds while the parties either come to an agreement or go through arbitration or litigation. If you use a third-party escrow site like Escrow.com, you agree to arbitration just like you do through Upwork.

 

Side note: you're the first freelancer I've ever heard of losing arbitration. I'm sure you're not the only one, but it seems to be pretty rare.

 

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

Tiffany,

 

You don't know what you are talking about. Upwork is not a real estate company. It presents itself as the responsible agent for the freelancers and their work and the clients and their payments. As such, Upwork should absolutely not be forcing anyone into arbitration. It is their responsibliity to handle these functions. **edited for Community Guidelines**

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