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No Protection of Fixed Price Contracts

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
21 of 29

re: "I don't see how you can be in a position of always declaring that people are 'bad clients', when you have no way of knowing whether the work that they received was done with any degree of competence."

 

If Upwork's business model is based on this:

a) Client hires freelancer

b) Freelancer does work

c) Client pays freelancer

d) Upwork collects fee

 

...Then we can classify a client who breaks this business model as a "bad client," regardless of whether or not that client is a bad person or not.

 

I'm not making a judgement about the freelancer's work.

 

Perhaps you would prefer to use the phrase "unprofitable client" or "unprofitable client/freelancer transaction." Or something else?

 

This is NOT the proper way to use Upwork:

a) Client hires freelancer

b) Freelancer does work

c) Client pays freelancer if client likes the work, but doesn't have to pay if client claims not to like the work

 

That is DIFFERENT than what I am saying should be the approach clients have to using Upwork. I am saying that Upwork is better off if clients simply pay for the work they hire freelancers to do. Furthermore, I am saying that clients themselves are better off if they simply pay for the work they hire freelancers to do.

 

Upwork allows clients to hire freelancers, with essentially no regulation of rates. If clients want to try to hire a freelancer to do Task X for $X.00.... then I'm fine with that. If freelancer actually does Task X, then the client should pay the agreed-upon rate. If the client doesn't love the work, she doesn't need to use it. And she doesn't need to hire that freelancer again.

 

Clearly it doesn't benefit freelancers when they finish a task and clients avoid paying for the work by claiming to not like the work. Clearly Upwork doesn't make money if a client demands a refund and that refund is granted, thus allowing the client to receive work without paying for it and without paying fees.

 

Real clients are hurt by this refund practice as well. (I'm not counting scammers who never intended to pay from the outset.) The success of real clients is undermined and hindered when they think that they can use refunds as a "get out of jail free" card. Rather than managing their projects thoughtfully, it is damaging to clients' success if they think they can just put a few coins into the "Upwork vending machine" and get whatever they want at whatever price, because they can always click a "refund" button.

 

In this post, I have attempted to explain my thoughts about what you wrote about: Which is what happens when clients receive work from low-quality freelancers. But I want to be very clear about something: This is NOT the "bad client bahavior" I have been talking about. I have been criticizing clients who request refunds for valid, completed work as a way to manipulate Upwork's system and avoid paying.

 

Is there a way for Upwork's automated algorithms and software systems to know when a client is requesting a refund because:

a) the client is trying to manipulate the system to get free work

b) the client is asking for a refund because the freelancer's work was low-quality

c) the client is asking for a refund because the freelancer did not complete the work

 

...?

No.

There is no way for Upwork's software to know that.

======

Clients SHOULD be allowed to hire cheap, incompetent freelancers.

They should not seek a refund if they don't like the results.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
22 of 29

Christine A wrote:

That is obviously a bad client.

I don't see how you can be in a position of always declaring that people are "bad clients", when you have no way of knowing whether the work that they received was done with any degree of competence.


Consider the source... Some people just state the figments of their imagination as fact. Repeatedly.

Presumably on the assumption that those who don't understand the source will be impressed.

Preferably in multiple long, rambling posts.

 

Edited to add: Q.E.D.


 

Ace Contributor
Chris P Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
23 of 29

To the OP, dispute any refund vigorously!

 

On the general topic now raised, perhaps the alarming increase in reports of clients raising disputes, reported on these very pages should serve as an indicator?

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
24 of 29

Chris P wrote:

 

On the general topic now raised, perhaps the alarming increase in reports of clients raising disputes, reported on these very pages should serve as an indicator?


Is there such a thing as an "alarming increase?"

Ace Contributor
Chris P Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
25 of 29

Petra R wrote:

 

Is there such a thing as an "alarming increase?"

The frequency of such reports does seem to suggest so.

Presumably the 'gurus' here somehow feel able to debunk that - but on what basis?

 


 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
26 of 29

Chris P wrote:

Petra R wrote:

 

Is there such a thing as an "alarming increase?"

The frequency of such reports does seem to suggest so.

Presumably the 'gurus' here somehow feel able to debunk that - but on what basis?

 


I was asking whether there is such an alarming increase. I have been active on the forum for many years, and disputes have always been "a thing" - I have no data, so can't say whether there has been an increase, let alone an "alarming" one, but I haven't noticed one.


As you state that there has been an alarming increase, presumably you have some basis on which you state this?

 

 

Ace Contributor
Chris P Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
27 of 29

I take your point.

But to my eyes, this topic does seem to be picking up in frequency here.

Active Member
Haider I Member Since: Sep 6, 2017
28 of 29

Christine A wrote:
whether the work that they received was done with any degree of competence.

 

I think you didn't notice this part of the Original Post.

 

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Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
29 of 29

I agree with you that this is a real problem. The people most in need of fixed price payment protection are the least likely to be able to use it, and it is least worth their while to do so (because it will usually result in a net loss if they go to arbitration and win). 

 

This bothers me a lot, and I've given it a lot of thought over the past couple of years, but I haven't been able to come up with a better alternative. As the escrow agent, Upwork can't be the "judge" in a conflict between client and freelancer. And, qualified arbitrators are expensive. In my experience, the minimum fee is $1200-1500, so it seems that Upwork has negotiated a nice discount, probably due to volume. 

 

The one thing I wish Upwork would do is make it much clearer to freelancers up front that they really have no protection on fixed price jobs if they aren't willing and able to pony up $291.

 

I'm surprised, though, that Upwork didn't just pay you. Even though that's not required, they often do when a very small amount is in dispute.

 

 

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