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isuzdal
Community Member

Lawless feedback policies?

I've had a client in the past who has set unreasonable expectations, and of course I was unable to fit all of their expectations.

 

They've left me a decent review on a previous contract, but now I see that it has been removed? How is it possible that they can remove a feedback they've left earlier without my consent? This seems to be illegal since they should contact me first to enable editing the feedback.

 

Another contract with the same client has been ended, and somehow they were able to leave me a negative feedback after the 14 days window has passed. How in the world is that possible??? I've delivered documentation that I haven't been paid for, and now they leave me a negative feedback after the review window has passed???

 

Upwork policies seem to be lawless, after making over $60k on Upwork, this is how you treat your freelancers? You're not gonna see me work through Upwork anymore for sure.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION


@Tiffany S wrote:

@shipra N wrote:
This is one if the issue that Upwork hasnt been able to resolve. (2) Its highly biassed and solely client based.

 (1) You will find a great many successful freelancers here who disagree with that assessment--


 Tiffany:

(1) Yes, that might be very true.  There is also a possibility that they may not want to publicly criticize the hand that feeds them.

 

(2) If you were to objectively look at the payment policies, buyers threatening the freelancers, and freelancers being penalized for situations beyond their control you would have to conclude that some bias does exist.

 

Since there are too many freelancers and very few buyers Upwork has no motivation to invest time and effort to revise their matrix that may be fair to freelancers.  They have zero interest to determine if the feedback was fair or just a way to get back at freelancer by buyer becasue the freelancers would not agree to lower their negotiated rates or refused to work on ever changing goal posts. 

 

Yes there are very many freelancers, but they are humans - not vending machines.  Many of them depend on this income.  When they see their public profile go down down due to no fault of their own or not getting paid or work at a lower rate then what was agreed or had to compromise because the buyer was waving the feedback stick  they are hurt, feel their livelyhood is threatened and feel that Upwork has no safegurads to stop the exploitation.  

 

Yes they can come here rant  but that is like pissing in dark pants.  It give them warm feeling, but no one notices it.

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21 REPLIES 21
nidhishipra
Community Member

This is one if the issue that Upwork hasnt been able to resolve. Its highly biassed and solely client based.


@shipra N wrote:
This is one if the issue that Upwork hasnt been able to resolve. Its highly biassed and solely client based.

 You will find a great many successful freelancers here who disagree with that assessment--and a great may unsuccessful clients who voice this same complaint except that they say everything is slanted to the freelancer.


@Tiffany S wrote:

@shipra N wrote:
This is one if the issue that Upwork hasnt been able to resolve. (2) Its highly biassed and solely client based.

 (1) You will find a great many successful freelancers here who disagree with that assessment--


 Tiffany:

(1) Yes, that might be very true.  There is also a possibility that they may not want to publicly criticize the hand that feeds them.

 

(2) If you were to objectively look at the payment policies, buyers threatening the freelancers, and freelancers being penalized for situations beyond their control you would have to conclude that some bias does exist.

 

Since there are too many freelancers and very few buyers Upwork has no motivation to invest time and effort to revise their matrix that may be fair to freelancers.  They have zero interest to determine if the feedback was fair or just a way to get back at freelancer by buyer becasue the freelancers would not agree to lower their negotiated rates or refused to work on ever changing goal posts. 

 

Yes there are very many freelancers, but they are humans - not vending machines.  Many of them depend on this income.  When they see their public profile go down down due to no fault of their own or not getting paid or work at a lower rate then what was agreed or had to compromise because the buyer was waving the feedback stick  they are hurt, feel their livelyhood is threatened and feel that Upwork has no safegurads to stop the exploitation.  

 

Yes they can come here rant  but that is like pissing in dark pants.  It give them warm feeling, but no one notices it.

Prashant, this is actually something I've given a fair amount of thought to, since it's raised here so often (and, I'm sure you've noticed that I'm game to bite pretty much any hand I think warrants it). I have honestly identified only one area in which I believe the Upwork system to be unfair to freelancers, and that is the automatic return of disputed funds in escrow unless the freelancer pays to initiate arbitration.

 

I may be in the minority in this, but I think it would be catastrophic and also a serious overreach for Upwork (or any other platform) to get into the business of second-guessing whether feedback was "fair". That's simply not how customer rating systems work, nor should it be.


Tiffany S wrote: That's simply not how customer rating systems work, nor should it be.

 I disagree.  The customer rating systems - the way Upwork has adopted is based on 'stuff' people buy.  Here we are not talking about poor work.  Here we are talking about freelancers at the mercy of buyers who purposely use that to harm a freelancer becasue they could not sqeeze them enough.

 

Again, my assertion that Upwork does not want to invest time and money to develop a matrix that is fair to a freelancer is not entirely wrong.  Actually, developing this matrix might be easier than developing a system not to automatically return the escrow funds.  By keeping the $300 limit they know that most $5/hr people would not go that route.  Buyers become happy that they got their money (and many times the work product too).

 

I believe Upwork counts closed contracts in calculating the strange animal called JSS (I admit that I might be wrong on this).  Why?

Prashant P

 

I totally agree. People should not be rated on a "star" system, we're not a good/bad product. In my case the client was forcing me to work for free, threatening to leave a negative review if I don't comply. Which I did, and they still left me a one start feedback.

browersr
Community Member

The issue is one that exists far and wide and is certainly not specific to UW. Where you have a business (freelancer) and a customer (client) you have a situation where the former needs the latter much more. The situation exists on Yelp, Amazon, eBay, etc. The reality is that a system at scale cannot send investigators every time someone believes they received a dishonest review. Obviously there are extremes such as name calling that can and would be dealt with. Otherwise this is the system we buy into when deciding to be a business (freelancer). 

 

What we do have is the ability to respond to a review (be extremely careful with this power). If you are Top Rated you also have the ability to have a review removed within certain constraints. Also, much like a product on Amazon or a seller on eBay, you hope the preponderance of reviews will tell your real story.

 

No one should like to receive a bad review let alone when you know it to be unfair. It would certainly eat away at me even with all other reviews being fantastic. However, there are certain realities you have to be able to live with if you want to do this kind of work. You are dealing with humans who all have their own motivations and quirks. It doesn't always work out. In the end you simply cannot legislate everything. Tilting at windmills won't help you. Find a way to deal with this reality or find something else less prone to public criticism. 

Ilya, a client who is attempting to force you to work for free will be suspended, and hence not in a position to leave feedback. Your mistake was in failing to report that situation to Upwork while it was happening.

> Ilya, a client who is attempting to force you to work for free will be suspended, and hence not in a position to leave feedback.

Thank you, can I please get a link to this policy?


@Ilya S wrote:

> Ilya, a client who is attempting to force you to work for free will be suspended, and hence not in a position to leave feedback.

Thank you, can I please get a link to this policy?


 Honestly, since I don't work here and was just offering the information to assist, I kind of think you should do your own research. Both feedback manipulation and asking for free work are TOS violations. It's always dangerous to jump in and work in any environment without taking a few minutes to learn the rules.

Prashant, once upon a time, I ordered a bed frame and headboard through Amazon. It was perhaps the worst ordering experience I ever had. The delivery was three weeks late, I couldn't get any response to inquiries, and then when I finally reached someone (a few days before I was scheduled to leave town for three weeks), I was told that their truck only came to my area once a week and it had been that day, so I couldn't get it for another week.

 

I threw a fit and they moved it to another shipper and had it delivered to me the next day...and then sent me a $273 bill for next-day shipping.

 

I left them a terrible review on Amazon and they reached out and told me they would offer me a 50% refund, but only if I removed my feedback. When I declined, they harassed me ceaselessly. Rather than giving in, I wrote a series of blog posts about the experience. The ultimate outcome was that they sent me a full refund and paid for the shipping...I paid zero and my negative review stood.

 

This seems pretty similar to the type of feedback abuses that happen here on Upwork.


@Tiffany S wrote:

Prashant, once upon a time, I ordered a bed frame and headboard through Amazon.


 Ok Tiffany let us wrestle in mud like pigs.  Soon you will realize that pigs love that!

 

Ok i will stay with your 'stuff' and vending machine type service example.  Let us pause and change the scenerio a bit.  Let us say that you got your stuff the provider did everything that could with the deliver deadline, no chipped pieces etc.

 

But then you turn around and threaten the seller with negative feedback to 'extract' refund or something else?

 

On Upwork I have seen posts after posts that matches the situation.  Last night I read a post by Luda in which the buyer wants to end the contract and refund the escrow money and pay her ONE CENT. 

 

I am sure no matter what she does she will take a hit.  The private feedback creature Upwork has created allows all kind of abuses.  In your example of Amazon - there is only one feedback that is visible to both buyers and sellers.

 

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

 

Now let us have round 2 of wrestling.  I am too lazy to find out the question you posed to Stefan about ethicality of charging whatever price for something you got it for free.

 

First of all in software world there is nothing Out-of-box solution (like MS Office or Photoshop).  But still to continue along your line of thinking.

 

Let us say by training you are a geologist and love hiking.  You have explored every inch of Rocky Mountain and studied the formation, evaluated every terrain, dug holes and studied what is underneath of those big rocks.

 

The suddenly once day you found a location that has big diamonds.  You don't have to do anything.  Diamonds are flawless and cut with perfection precision (Now for a moment assume that it is legal to get stuff from federal land). 

 

A buyer comes along and wants a 10K blue diamond.  Would you just give it away or charge market price?

 

Remember you found that diamond mine becasue of your love for hiking and your training as a geologist.


@Prashant P wrote:


 

Ok i will stay with your 'stuff' and vending machine type service example.  Let us pause and change the scenerio a bit.  Let us say that you got your stuff the provider did everything that could with the deliver deadline, no chipped pieces etc.

 

But then you turn around and threaten the seller with negative feedback to 'extract' refund or something else?

 

On Upwork I have seen posts after posts that matches the situation.  Last night I read a post by Luda in which the buyer wants to end the contract and refund the escrow money and pay her ONE CENT. 

 

That's exactly my point, Prashant. That's a risk inherent in a rating system. If you don't think it happens to businesses, think again. It's simply part of the package when you run a business. And, as a freelancer, you are running a business. If you aren't prepared to manage that type of event, you aren't in a position to run a business. Maybe that sounds harsh, but it really is that simple. If you need a giant safety net of laws and rules and higher-ups stepping in to protect you, then you should be an employee. When you choose to go out on your own, you choose to trade those protections for whatever benefits drew you to independent contracting.

 

I am sure no matter what she does she will take a hit.  The private feedback creature Upwork has created allows all kind of abuses.  In your example of Amazon - there is only one feedback that is visible to both buyers and sellers.

 

Actually, public feedback is much more susceptible to abuse. A client can't blackmail or bargain with private feedback, since the freelancer will never have any way of knowing whether he did what he said he was going to do. It's those damned, useless star ratings and comments that are the focus of the vast majority of feedback manipulation from both sides (which is a large part of the reason they became completely useless and necessitated private feedback)

 

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

 

Now let us have round 2 of wrestling.  I am too lazy to find out the question you posed to Stefan about ethicality of charging whatever price for something you got it for free.

 

First of all in software world there is nothing Out-of-box solution (like MS Office or Photoshop).  But still to continue along your line of thinking.

 

Let us say by training you are a geologist and love hiking.  You have explored every inch of Rocky Mountain and studied the formation, evaluated every terrain, dug holes and studied what is underneath of those big rocks.

 

The suddenly once day you found a location that has big diamonds.  You don't have to do anything.  Diamonds are flawless and cut with perfection precision (Now for a moment assume that it is legal to get stuff from federal land). 

 

A buyer comes along and wants a 10K blue diamond.  Would you just give it away or charge market price?

 

Remember you found that diamond mine becasue of your love for hiking and your training as a geologist.

 

I'm not arguing this one here for two reasons: it's way off point in an important thread, and I already responded to this issue on the appropriate thread, a couple of days ago. If in fact the person is one of a handful in the world with the knowledge to do the job, that's an entirely different issue from "one of the 1.5 million or so who could easily help you with this."

 

More on point to this thread, I will say that I am consistently troubled by your persistent declaration that freelancers are at the mercy of, hostage to, etc. client feedback--that's one of the reasons I keep engaging in what you see as wrestling (something I don't enjoy, by the way--I try to reserve it for when I think public statements are harming someone)

 

I think it is horribly irresponsible of you, as a seasoned professional, to ratify the idea of new freelancers with little or no professional experience that caving in to unreasonable client demands is normal, a function of the system, and their only option.

 

It is not possible to build a successful business without the courage of one's convictions. It may be fine for you, as a retired person who has stated that you don't need the income, to cop out to "oh, clients have all the power," but by stating and restating that to younger people just starting out in business, you are doing serious harm--perhaps irreparable harm--by helping to convince them that they are powerless, not in contro of their own businesses, forced to comply with client demands or face insurmountable consequences, etc.

 

I argue this point every time you (and others) make it, and will continue to do so, because I want to see people succeed and grow thriving businesses, not cower in the corner, scraping by and feeling like victims.


 

Wait...what do you mean by "$300 limit?"


@Tiffany S wrote:

Wait...what do you mean by "$300 limit?"


His take on the minimum amount that needs to be at stake, for a freelancer to reasonably consider arbitration?


@Phyllis G wrote:

@Tiffany S wrote:

Wait...what do you mean by "$300 limit?"


His take on the minimum amount that needs to be at stake, for a freelancer to reasonably consider arbitration?


 Oh, maybe. Thanks.

 

I don't agree with that (if the client was being shady, I'd arbitrate $10), but I realize that's not realistic for many freelancers.

 

But, Prashant, (if that is what you meant) Upwork didn't create that cost as a deterrent--that's the discounted rate they've negotiated for an outside arbitrator to decide the issue.

cylver1z
Community Member

Hello Ilya,

 

I'm sorry to hear that. Your clients can't edit their feedback unless you enable the edit feedback optionThe feedback period is 14 days from the end of a contract. The system is double-blind, which means that feedback wonโ€™t be visible until both parties provide it for each other. If only one party leaves feedback, it will be posted after the 14-day period has expired.


Untitled
isuzdal
Community Member

Hi Ryan,

 

Thank you for your reply. The contract was ended on January 5th. This means that the feedback window should have ended on January 19th. I've checked on January 22nd, and there was no feedback from them. I've checked today and now there's a negative feedback, even though 19 days have passed. How is that possible? Seems like they have contacted someone on Upwork to post the feedback manually? This seems to be lawless, and I would like to have their feedback removed.

tlbp
Community Member

Clients cannot change their feedback after 14 days, but can ask to have it fully removed. (As I understand the process).

 

With regard to the 14-day issue. It is possible that the client left the feedback within the required time frame but it did not appear on your profile until several days later. Often there is a lag between the giving of feedback and its publication. 

 

Worrying about the feedback is probably a waste of time. The client is a bad one who chose to attempt to harm your reputation. You can file a report with Upwork and if there is a pattern of such behavior, you might see results. But, it may also just waste your time. Don't agree to work with the client again. Leave honest feedback about his behavior if you have the opportunity and otherwise just move on to the next job. 


@Ilya S wrote:

Hi Ryan,

 

Thank you for your reply. The contract was ended on January 5th. This means that the feedback window should have ended on January 19th. I've checked on January 22nd, and there was no feedback from them. I've checked today and now there's a negative feedback, even though 19 days have passed. How is that possible? Seems like they have contacted someone on Upwork to post the feedback manually? This seems to be lawless, and I would like to have their feedback removed.


 Nope, it doesn't work that way. There have been roughly 12,000 posts in the forums lately about how profile updates were being delayed by days, so presumably that's what happened in your case, as well. A lot of people have been noting that feedback was left but nonetheless didn't show up on their profiles for a few days, or that contract status wasn't updating.

petra_r
Community Member


@Ilya S wrote:

1) The contract was ended on January 5th. This means that the feedback window should have ended on January 19th. I've checked on January 22nd, and there was no feedback from them. I've checked today and now there's a negative feedback, even though 19 days have passed. How is that possible?

2) Seems like they have contacted someone on Upwork to post the feedback manually?

3)This seems to be lawless,

4) and I would like to have their feedback removed.


1)  Where did you check? On your profile or on the contract?

The profile does not update immediately, it can be many days, in some cases weeks out. Feedback can be seen on the actual contract as soon as iboth parties have left feedback, but not on the profile

2) No. That categorically does not happen.

3) Which law in which jurisdiction in which country does it break?

4) If you are top rated you can use your perk to remove it. Otherwise the only way to remove the feedback is to issue a full refund. This would remove the contract from your profile, but its impact on your JSS will remain.

 

@Ilya S wrote:

I totally agree. People should not be rated on a "star" system, we're not a good/bad product.

 Sorry, you as a person may not be a product, but the services you sell most certainly are.

 

 

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