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Outrageous requirement for submitting feedback for releasing funds held in escrow back to client

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
11 of 26

Steve B wrote:

Are you incapable of reading?

 

In at least two points of the original post I took responsibility for my mistake. The explanation of my mistake serves to walk through the steps of how I came to find the real issue which is highlighted in the title of this post, "Outrageous requirement for submitting feedback for releasing funds held in escrow back to client".

You do raise a good point, that they may be more interested in getting feedback of why funds were refunded rather than allowing funds to be released from escrow. As for profits, last I knew, there is a 2.5% (or so) processing fee on all funds, I'm not aware if this is still the case, though, or if those fees are refunded on refunded escrow funds. If they are charged those fees, they still are covering their merchant charges in some portion.

 

Elance didn't go down the drain, it was acquired and merged. It's actually Upwork that is "going down the drain" according to the financial disclosures:

"We have a history of net losses, anticipate increasing our operating expenses in the future, and may not achieve or sustain profitability.

We have incurred net losses in each fiscal year since the combination of Elance and oDesk, including net losses of $16.2 million and $4.1 million in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and a net loss of $7.2 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018, and we expect to incur net losses for the foreseeable future. As of June 30, 2018, we had an accumulated deficit of $130.8 million. We expect to make significant future expenditures related to the development and expansion of our business, including enhancing our Upwork Enterprise offering and our U.S.-to-U.S. domestic offering, expanding domestic-to-domestic offerings into new geographies, and broadening and deepening the categories on our platform, and in connection with legal, accounting, and other administrative expenses related to operating as a public company. These efforts may prove more expensive than we currently anticipate, and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue sufficiently, or at all, to offset these higher expenses. While our revenue has grown in recent years, if our revenue declines or fails to grow at a rate faster than increases in our operating expenses, we will not be able to achieve and maintain profitability in future periods. As a result, we may continue to generate losses. We cannot ensure that we will achieve profitability in the future or that, if we do become profitable, we will be able to sustain profitability."
Ref: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1627475/000119312518267594/d575528ds1.htm#toc575528_2

Upwork is currently the leader in the freelance community, but it is not perfect. Everything that is a potential issue should rightfully be discussed and considered in the interests of a better future.

All of these things are important to the survival of Upwork, so feel free to spend your time arguing and insulting those that make a point to get vocal about issues.

What do you think my end goal is here? I want Upwork to improve where possible and succeed.
_______________________________________________

 

Your reference is a bit out of date. You might like to read this one: 

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1627475/000156459018028629/upwk-10q_20180930.htm

 

Also tempting though it is. It is sometimes better not to cherry pick in order to support an argument. There is nearly always a broader picture. 


 

Ace Contributor
Steve B Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
12 of 26

Nichola L wrote:

Steve B wrote:

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

In at least two points of the original post I took responsibility for my mistake. The explanation of my mistake serves to walk through the steps of how I came to find the real issue which is highlighted in the title of this post, "Outrageous requirement for submitting feedback for releasing funds held in escrow back to client".

You do raise a good point, that they may be more interested in getting feedback of why funds were refunded rather than allowing funds to be released from escrow. As for profits, last I knew, there is a 2.5% (or so) processing fee on all funds, I'm not aware if this is still the case, though, or if those fees are refunded on refunded escrow funds. If they are charged those fees, they still are covering their merchant charges in some portion.

 

Elance didn't go down the drain, it was acquired and merged. It's actually Upwork that is "going down the drain" according to the financial disclosures:

"We have a history of net losses, anticipate increasing our operating expenses in the future, and may not achieve or sustain profitability.

We have incurred net losses in each fiscal year since the combination of Elance and oDesk, including net losses of $16.2 million and $4.1 million in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and a net loss of $7.2 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018, and we expect to incur net losses for the foreseeable future. As of June 30, 2018, we had an accumulated deficit of $130.8 million. We expect to make significant future expenditures related to the development and expansion of our business, including enhancing our Upwork Enterprise offering and our U.S.-to-U.S. domestic offering, expanding domestic-to-domestic offerings into new geographies, and broadening and deepening the categories on our platform, and in connection with legal, accounting, and other administrative expenses related to operating as a public company. These efforts may prove more expensive than we currently anticipate, and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue sufficiently, or at all, to offset these higher expenses. While our revenue has grown in recent years, if our revenue declines or fails to grow at a rate faster than increases in our operating expenses, we will not be able to achieve and maintain profitability in future periods. As a result, we may continue to generate losses. We cannot ensure that we will achieve profitability in the future or that, if we do become profitable, we will be able to sustain profitability."
Ref: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1627475/000119312518267594/d575528ds1.htm#toc575528_2

Upwork is currently the leader in the freelance community, but it is not perfect. Everything that is a potential issue should rightfully be discussed and considered in the interests of a better future.

All of these things are important to the survival of Upwork, so feel free to spend your time arguing and insulting those that make a point to get vocal about issues.

What do you think my end goal is here? I want Upwork to improve where possible and succeed.
_______________________________________________

 

Your reference is a bit out of date. You might like to read this one: 

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1627475/000156459018028629/upwk-10q_20180930.htm

 

Also tempting though it is. It is sometimes better not to cherry pick in order to support an argument. There is nearly always a broader picture. 


 


**Edited for Community Guidelines** The document you provided was published the same month as the report I linked to, and it contains the same information, except the accumulated deficit ($138,134,000) is higher than in the disclosure I posted ($130,800,000).


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Active Member
Lee C Member Since: Sep 25, 2015
13 of 26

I've had an issue like this before. There seem to be too many 'rules' applied to releasing funds you've earned. Clients are often unclear about the process as well and it can sometimes take several communications to 'get it done'.

 

I've had other issues with Upwork customer service as well. It can take several days to get a response, only to have the issue unresolved. In fact, I have one ongoing right now and it's an issue that's been ongoing for almost a year. It seems tech support can't make it happen although other sites like this have made it happen.

 

I didn't find anything rude in this initial comment. What I did find rude was the response from the Community comment leader. 

Community Guru
Jessica S Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
14 of 26

I had a similar situation to this and I have to agree with the OP.  I had a client hire me to do a job. It took FOREVER to do it due to lack of communication on the client side. But the client was otherwise very friendly and easy to work with.  After that job was completed, she wanted me to do more work and she funded a milestone. I needed additional content from her and once again, no communication and Upwork came in eventually and closed it because it went on so long with money in escrow and no work - this generated an escrow refund request.

 

I was happy to refund her money. But.. I had to leave feedback in order to refund her money. And I didn't want to leave feedback because while the lack of communication wasn't ideal, I don't really care if the job stays open indefinitely and she comes back when she is ready. What difference does it make if the client is busy and the job is open?  Whenever she sends over the content I need, I would be happy to put it in the queue and do her job.

 

 I didn't want to leave bad feedback in case she eventually came back to ask me to do the work - that would hurt our relationship. But I didn't want to leave good feedback either because in principle, the lack of communication should be noted... and that goes back to my point about leaving bad feedback.  So.. I let it sit and after 7 days (I think) Upwork refunded her and closed the contract with no feedback on both sides.  Now.. its neutral and if she should come back, I'll happily do the work.

 

I know.. many of you will say "why would you want to work with a client like this?"  or "why wouldn't you warn others about her in feedback?"   She was great. I talked to her on the phone a couple times. She was very busy and this job clearly wasn't on the top of her to-do list. Why does it have to be? Who cares? I work on my clients' timeline. In reallity, It's *just* a contract sitting open. It didn't affect my daily life in any way.  Again, why does it matter to me? The only reason it "matters" is because Upwork makes an issue of idle contracts.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
15 of 26

Jessica S wrote:

I had a similar situation to this and I have to agree with the OP.  I had a client hire me to do a job. It took FOREVER to do it due to lack of communication on the client side. But the client was otherwise very friendly and easy to work with.  After that job was completed, she wanted me to do more work and she funded a milestone. I needed additional content from her and once again, no communication and Upwork came in eventually and closed it because it went on so long with money in escrow and no work - this generated an escrow refund request.

 

I was happy to refund her money. But.. I had to leave feedback in order to refund her money. And I didn't want to leave feedback because while the lack of communication wasn't ideal, I don't really care if the job stays open indefinitely and she comes back when she is ready. What difference does it make if the client is busy and the job is open?  Whenever she sends over the content I need, I would be happy to put it in the queue and do her job.

 

 I didn't want to leave bad feedback in case she eventually came back to ask me to do the work - that would hurt our relationship. But I didn't want to leave good feedback either because in principle, the lack of communication should be noted... and that goes back to my point about leaving bad feedback.  So.. I let it sit and after 7 days (I think) Upwork refunded her and closed the contract with no feedback on both sides.  Now.. its neutral and if she should come back, I'll happily do the work.

 

I know.. many of you will say "why would you want to work with a client like this?"  or "why wouldn't you warn others about her in feedback?"   She was great. I talked to her on the phone a couple times. She was very busy and this job clearly wasn't on the top of her to-do list. Why does it have to be? Who cares? I work on my clients' timeline. In reallity, It's *just* a contract sitting open. It didn't affect my daily life in any way.  Again, why does it matter to me? The only reason it "matters" is because Upwork makes an issue of idle contracts.


If you were worried about more work, personally then I woulda just given her 5 stars. At that point, you gotta worry about you, not others.

 

And I wouldn't ask you why you would want to work with her. Smiley Happy  It's your business. If it's cool with you, then who am I to say who you work with? You gotta do you, boo. Smiley Happy

Community Guru
Jessica S Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
16 of 26

Jennifer M wrote:

Jessica S wrote:

I had a similar situation to this and I have to agree with the OP.  I had a client hire me to do a job. It took FOREVER to do it due to lack of communication on the client side. But the client was otherwise very friendly and easy to work with.  After that job was completed, she wanted me to do more work and she funded a milestone. I needed additional content from her and once again, no communication and Upwork came in eventually and closed it because it went on so long with money in escrow and no work - this generated an escrow refund request.

 

I was happy to refund her money. But.. I had to leave feedback in order to refund her money. And I didn't want to leave feedback because while the lack of communication wasn't ideal, I don't really care if the job stays open indefinitely and she comes back when she is ready. What difference does it make if the client is busy and the job is open?  Whenever she sends over the content I need, I would be happy to put it in the queue and do her job.

 

 I didn't want to leave bad feedback in case she eventually came back to ask me to do the work - that would hurt our relationship. But I didn't want to leave good feedback either because in principle, the lack of communication should be noted... and that goes back to my point about leaving bad feedback.  So.. I let it sit and after 7 days (I think) Upwork refunded her and closed the contract with no feedback on both sides.  Now.. its neutral and if she should come back, I'll happily do the work.

 

I know.. many of you will say "why would you want to work with a client like this?"  or "why wouldn't you warn others about her in feedback?"   She was great. I talked to her on the phone a couple times. She was very busy and this job clearly wasn't on the top of her to-do list. Why does it have to be? Who cares? I work on my clients' timeline. In reallity, It's *just* a contract sitting open. It didn't affect my daily life in any way.  Again, why does it matter to me? The only reason it "matters" is because Upwork makes an issue of idle contracts.


If you were worried about more work, personally then I woulda just given her 5 stars. At that point, you gotta worry about you, not others.

 

And I wouldn't ask you why you would want to work with her. Smiley Happy  It's your business. If it's cool with you, then who am I to say who you work with? You gotta do you, boo. Smiley Happy


ha! I struggled with the thought of giving her 5-stars... and I didn't care if I got more work, I just knew there was more work to do and I was happy to do it whenever she came back. I felt I should be honest and communication was very lacking. Objectively, I know many freelancers would go CRAZY having a client like this. But I do a zillion short term one-off jobs and it doesn't matter to me if clients disappear for a while and come back.  So I was torn because it wasn't that big of a deal to *me* personally and if she did come back, my prior bad feedback would throw a wrench in our working relationship.   So I didn't want to leave feedback at all - this way I wouldn't have to lie, but I didn't have that option so I just waited out the 7-day timeline (I didn't dispute it) to get my way...  Smiley LOL

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
17 of 26

Jessica S wrote:


ha! I struggled with the thought of giving her 5-stars... and I didn't care if I got more work, I just knew there was more work to do and I was happy to do it whenever she came back. I felt I should be honest and communication was very lacking. Objectively, I know many freelancers would go CRAZY having a client like this. But I do a zillion short term one-off jobs and it doesn't matter to me if clients disappear for a while and come back.  So I was torn because it wasn't that big of a deal to *me* personally and if she did come back, my prior bad feedback would throw a wrench in our working relationship.   So I didn't want to leave feedback at all - this way I wouldn't have to lie, but I didn't have that option so I just waited out the 7-day timeline (I didn't dispute it) to get my way...  Smiley LOL


Yeah I think we all have our tolerance threshold for the divas. I've got some clients that would make some people here cry in the fetal position in a corner somewhere. They pay me, so whatever, but mannnnn I've had to walk away from the computer a few times.

Community Guru
Jessica S Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
18 of 26

Jennifer M wrote:

Jessica S wrote:


ha! I struggled with the thought of giving her 5-stars... and I didn't care if I got more work, I just knew there was more work to do and I was happy to do it whenever she came back. I felt I should be honest and communication was very lacking. Objectively, I know many freelancers would go CRAZY having a client like this. But I do a zillion short term one-off jobs and it doesn't matter to me if clients disappear for a while and come back.  So I was torn because it wasn't that big of a deal to *me* personally and if she did come back, my prior bad feedback would throw a wrench in our working relationship.   So I didn't want to leave feedback at all - this way I wouldn't have to lie, but I didn't have that option so I just waited out the 7-day timeline (I didn't dispute it) to get my way...  Smiley LOL


Yeah I think we all have our tolerance threshold for the divas. I've got some clients that would make some people here cry in the fetal position in a corner somewhere. They pay me, so whatever, but mannnnn I've had to walk away from the computer a few times.


yea.. me too.  I tolderate a lot I think. I am ok with most things as long as they aren't "difficult" but I draw the line at praising them for it in feedback. Smiley Very Happy  I definitely think me approving the refund request and leaving feedback should be two separate things.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
19 of 26

@ Jessica

I agree it doesn't seem quite logical, but feedback is a double blind, so the  client won't  see it until he or she has left feedback for the freelancer.  If communication was a problem then this should be reflected in the feedback,and unless things really went pearshaped in the job, it shouldn't affect a future hire. 

Community Guru
Jessica S Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
20 of 26

Nichola L wrote:

@ Jessica

I agree it doesn't seem quite logical, but feedback is a double blind, so the  client won't  see it until he or she has left feedback for the freelancer.  If communication was a problem then this should be reflected in the feedback,and unless things really went pearshaped in the job, it shouldn't affect a future hire. 


I was pretty confident, she wouldn't come back in the 2 week time period after I left feedback. It would be well after that and the feedback would be visible to her by then. At that point, I would turn down the job rather than work for a client who I gave bad feedback to in an earlier job - I would fear it would be reflected in any future feedback she could leave for me.

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