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s_guryev
Member

Permanent account suspension for Top Rated Plus freelancer without any explanations

Hello Upwork,

 

We have a big community of Eastern European freelancers. Our friend Victor's account has been recently suspended without any explanations or reasons given. Victor is not the first one who faced this problem and we've heard about such cases before with both new and old members. We know about all possible reasons which can lead to account suspensions but it looks like none of these reasons are applicable to this particular case. We are heavy concerned that honest Upwork freelancer can be blocked without the reason and lose the ability to use the platform he used for many years.

 

Here is his profile URL: **Edited for Community Guidelines**


He has Top Rated Plus badge, 5k+ hours and $100k+ earnings and verified identity (both ID and video call from 2019).

 

Obviously he has lost access to his Upwork profile thus he can't connect with anyone from the platform except via the social networks.

 

We would like to expose our concerns about this situation and our future on the platform. Nobody wants to be permanently suspended.

- How can we help to improve the verification process and decrease number of invalid suspensions?

- How can we know the reason of this particular account suspension in order to meet the policy for other members in the future?

- Do you have some contact which can be reached out regarding such suspensions and explain the reasons?

 

Thank you!

44 REPLIES 44
hyptod
Member

It is not even a single case during the last week – I've seen another top-rated freelancer banned where Upwork also has not provided any reasoning for the ban, not even vaguely pointed to a section in the ToS.

 

So, no warnings, no explanations, and also stealing the already-reviewed money that banned freelancers haven't withdrawn to their bank accounts.

And please don't say "We don't take suspensions lightly here at Upwork" in this thread, we've all already seen it on screenshots and in Twitter.

 

Start telling freelancers the ban reasons and re-examine the latest cases to make sure there are no false positives. Any other reaction is just corporate speak and avoiding responsibility.

My partner account has been permanently suspended. Can i use the credit card of my partners, where he was using as billing method on suspended account? using that credit card will ban my account?

Hi Balavignesh,

 

Please use the method you are authorized to use. If any issues arise, the Upwork team will notify you directly.
 
Thank you.
~ Aleksandar
Upwork
d_zharikov
Member

Unfortunatelly this concerns me as well. Seems like it wouldn't be an issue if we had at least a reason and an ability to dispute the case. I believe that a support agent have to provide some kind of explanation on why they decided to ban someone, at least for internal statistics. There shouldn't be any major obstacles for upwork to also share this information with us freelancers. Thanks.

mobileka
Member

Unfortunately, this is a well-known and an ongoing problem that, in my eyes, makes Upwork a platform that I cannot trust both as a former freelancer and a current client. Because of such cases, we avoid hiring key people at Upwork as this can happen to anyone for no sensible reason, with no explanation and without any kind of responsibility taken by Upwork as a platform.

The key point here is that this kind of behavior means that neither freelancers nor clients have any kind of stability and protection of their rights on this platform, so a potentially useful tool becomes a dodgy service that I'll never recommend to other individuals and startups until there's a reasonable and a well-established process of handling false-positives such as this particular case.
kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Sergey and others,

 

We are unable to discuss the details of another user's account here for privacy and security reasons. The team will thoroughly review the account for TOS violations and communicate directly with the account owner.
Please, check out this help article for more information about the most common reasons for the freelancer account holds.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Valeria, we are not talking only about the specific user (though re-examining his case is a must), we are talking about a systemic issue: how Upwork treats freelancers who have invested years in its platform and earned Upwork tens of thousands of dollars with their labor.

 

Why would we stay on your tinderbox of permanent bans out of nowhere without a right to appeal? Why would those of us who hire via Upwork continue doing it when we can lose our contractors at any moment?

You're right, it's definitely a private information.

 

Let's instead discuss the approach used in these scenarios. Is there any possibility it could be modified to suit both parties? It would help all of us achieve our goals: for us freelancers to have a platform we could rely on; for Upwork to be the place your clients could have a longterm relationships which won't be interrupted at any moment without any particular reason. And I want to emphasize this, clients have their own reasons to keep a contact with us workers, it could be a deadline or anything else. Thank you.

The community Sergey is talking about has more than 2000 members. Sounds like a great opportunity for both sides to cooperate and work together to make the platform better for everyone. For example, adding an official Upwork representative to the community could be a brilliant step.

Hey, Valeria!

First and foremost, I appreciate you coming forward and providing an answer in this thread so swiftly. However, I believe that the core message was missed, most likely because you have to deal with quite a bit of such requests on the regular basis.

I'm certain that this comes from a place of good intentions, so let me try voice my concerns in a way that I think you'll find it easier providing a tangiable answer with respect to the guidelines refarding PII that I'm sure you have to adhere to.

 

I have been active on the platform for over 6 years now, with 3500h+ and $200k+ earned. In the past couple of years I'm consistently paying Upwork over $5000 yearly in fees, which instantly makes it the most expensive work-related service by far. I believe Upwork acts as a great discoverability platform, but I believe that the most valuable aspect of Upwork is the Public Track Record that it provides. Anyone, at any time, can gauge your professinal life with clear numbers and quantifabile feedback. And I'm willing to shell out $5000 yearly for that alone. 

Being a reputation platform, I believe, it is absolutely paramaount for everyone on it to have transparency. And the platform should be the most transparent actor here - towards both freelancers and clients. If the platform (Upwork) fails to be transparent with me regarding the enforcement of rules and proceeds to do seemingly nothing about rampant bans with no actionable and clear reason for it - it makes it incresingly difficult for me to bring more of my clients to the platform and to continue to justify spending five thousand USD+ every year for a reputation platform that can collapse around me any moment.

I would appreciate if you could escalate this issue and make our voices heard internally. This has been an issue for a long time, and it's time to make a change. I'm putting aside how stressfull it can be for a person to go through such a humiliating process, I'm putting aside reputational damage when freelancer's clients will be informed of suspencion, I'm putting aside a lot of things - others expressed and will express it rather well.

Having an answer which directly address the pain points that I've mentioned above would demonstrate that Upwork is willing to acknowledge the areas where it can improve, and I hope to recieve such a reply.

This is not the first time I hear about Upwork being unresponsive and unfair. I clearly remember at least 3 cases when it took a lot of efforts of a lot of people in community for upwork to just admit its mistake and revoke people accounts. 

 

I really want to hear back from you, Upwork representatives, on what can do to keep us calm and continue our long-term relationships on this platform. I am working on long-term projects only. I already have one project where I am eligible to go out from platform without charges according to ToS, but I keep working through Upwork and bring more people here, although I find them outside of Upwork. I am really interested in making each side happy: the client, Upwork and freelancer, I care about client experience and make their products succesfull and efficent, I respect upwork rules and bring more people here (I promoted Upwork on local conferences, found people for my client locally to work on Upwork, I help people with recommendations in chats), but what Upwork does to keep me loyal? Restricts me from communicating with client in the way we both want (e.g. use calendly to schedule our meeting, we both have tight schedules, so what's the crime if we ended up working through upwork?), bans people with proven record of high earning and happy clients. 

 

It seems for me like it's easier for upwork to find new people than to care about communite. 

 

Valeria, you don't have to reveal any private information. To be fair, at this point I won't be satisfied if Upwork will just revoke his account as we will get explanations. I want to know what Upwork is ready to do for my to feel that my contribution is valueable and respectfull. For now it seems for me that I will be thrown away like a garbage without any discission only if your algorithms will falsely consider that I violate ToS somehow.

I like your this sentence ( For now it seems for me that I will be thrown away like a garbage without any discission only if your algorithms will falsely consider that I violate ToS somehow.) and you are right. 

utamons
Member

I am a Top Rated Plus with 400K+ earned for the last 5 years.

I never had a ban, but I cannot trust the platform and feel safe.

 

You can get a ban for unclear reasons. I know freelancers, who get banned because they used public VPNs. Yes, some of them got their accounts back again after long and unpleasant explanations to the support. But I didn't find any rule against VPN usage in TOS.

 

After that I deleted the Upwork application from my Iphone, because I use VPN in my iPhone from time to time, and I don't want problems. Is it normal?

 

I withdraw earned money every week. It costs me $120 every month, and I would prefer to do this every 2 weeks and save my money, but I don't want to lose my earnings, because someone in Upwork could decide to ban me just because he sees 'irregular activity' or maybe he's just in a bad mood today. Is it normal?

 

I'm ready for alternatives to Upwork, I'm ready to work directly with my clients, because I can lose my account anytime.


Is it possible for Upwork just think about it? Become more open, clear and honest? I don't know. But this is not trust and not safety.

 

 

riouske
Member

Checking in to voice my take on the situation. At some point I also was randomly banned and it took me enourmous amount of stress and time to "un-ban" myself.

 

Lack of transparancy and easy ways to really discuss such events require re-evaluating. Upwork has become a sole source of income for many sincere professionals. Knowing that it might or might not go away in a blink is not acceptable.

 

All the best and thank you,

Gregory.

Personally I decided to not spend time on Upwork if I get banned.

 

Yes, Upwork is a big marketplace, with many advantages, but the world is much bigger, and there are a lot of opportunities for good professionals. I don't want to spend time trying to protect myself in the place where you in fact have even no right to get a simple explanation why you was kicked off the platform.


Oleg Z wrote:

Personally I decided to not spend time on Upwork if I get banned.

 

Yes, Upwork is a big marketplace, with many advantages, but the world is much bigger, and there are a lot of opportunities for good professionals. I don't want to spend time trying to protect myself in the place where you in fact have even no right to get a simple explanation why you was kicked off the platform.

 


But why would Upwork ban you though? Have you done something wrong? I just don't see how Upwork would ban you, you are bringing them revenue... unless there's some serious repeated offense on your end.

pafnutov
Member

Can we have the Upwork representative here?
How many Kudos is enough to be noticed? 112 is not the number?

Hi Community members, 

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I lead Trust and Safety here at Upwork and want to reiterate that we do value your concerns and points of view. 

 

I have read all of your comments and shared them with my broader team to ensure that your feedback is fully heard and that we take meaningful actions to support you. Our freelancers and the experiences you have on the Upwork platform are a key priority for us. 

 

Ultimately, our goal is to foster a safe, professional, and trustworthy marketplace. We always aspire to catch bad actors with minimal impact on good users. It’s a nuanced balancing act but it is an important one that we realize has real implications on people’s lives. Our intention is certainly not to create an atmosphere in which you are concerned about your personal profile’s security.

 

We have several projects underway that we expect to address many of the concerns here. For example, we are actively working on more user-friendly processes that enable freelancers to continually verify their identities and provide us with the necessary information to keep Upwork safe for all on the platform. Our team will share more details about this and other improvements over the coming weeks.

 

Given the feedback in this particular thread, I can commit that we will also work on providing more transparency on an individual basis and providing freelancers support they need. We will continue to make decisions in the best interest of all of our stakeholders but we will strive to be more accurate and more transparent.

 

We use feedback like this to drive continual improvement. Thank you for raising this issue, and please keep the feedback coming. This is how we get better and we sincerely appreciate your help here. 

 

Many thanks,

Anna

Anna, let me start by admiring the speed with which this whole conversation is moving. I personally appreciate that you answered our call in such a manner and I'm sure community does too.

Moving to the contents of your message, I can't express how happy I am to see a message that addresses most of our concerns whilst paraphrasing them and addressing point by point, and from a lead of Trust and Safety to boot.

If you would, I'd like to ask for a bit more concrete info on the projects underway. Naturally, you can't disclose too much, but having something like "Q3/Q4 2020" or like "Q1/Q2 2021" timelines for the projects, as well as their general outline would, I'm certain, really help the community feel more secure continuing pouring our heart and soul into our work and being sure that our favorite platform will be improving in the very specific ways that would be graciously provided by you. 

Is that something that you would be able to provide to us as a way to back up your commitment, or we would have to make do with the general outline provided by you earlier?

Hello, there. I'm upwork user since 2015. Top Rated, 100k+ earned. Last 2 years I'm almost moved out of the platform(other platforms and direct contracts) because I don't want to totally depend on it and in one moment(ban) lose everything. And all these problems are only because of this untrusty policy from Upwork.

I'm not going to spend my time and work on the platform until Upwork will allow us to know the exact reason of a ban and the ability to discuss the problem with the support.

pafnutov
Member

Thanks, Anna. That sounds really promising!

However, could you give us more details, please?
All of us heard the general phrases too often.
Every support request ended up with "we'll share the ban reason to the freelancer". While the freelancer (Victor in this case) still claims he has NO explanations. Even after all of this discussion. He has been banned "permanently". Then (after a lot of movements) unbanned. That's it. No reasons. No details.

Could you share your plans on how to increase account locks transparency?
Could you also give some warnings before this can happen?
Currently, we can't be sure in our future with the Upwork.
Hope that makes sense.

I’m glad to provide more details where I can. A few highlights:

 

  • Verification flows: This is on track to launch for the identity verification flow this month. We expect to launch a system for recurring verification flows later this year
  • Improved suspensions messaging: This is on track to launch for half of our teams in Trust & Safety later this month, after which we will begin work for the remaining teams
  • Improved detection: We are actively and regularly launching new system improvements behind the scenes that help us more precisely identify bad actors and prevent false identifications
  • Suspensions revamp strategy: We are on track to have a strategy and roadmap in place by the end of this month after starting research last month. This is a major project, and we expect execution to take 6+ months, with improvements visible to our users launching throughout

The strategy we are developing is designed to improve accuracy and user experience, informed by feedback from customers via Community, our customer support tickets, and focus groups. 

 

I don’t think we can or should strive for 100% transparency as that would make it easier for dangerous actors to reverse engineer our safety checks. That said, we can and are striving to ensure that good users are given a clear and reasonable opportunity to prove themselves if they are mistaken as dangerous actors.

 

More feedback always makes us better, and the Trust & Safety team will be reaching out to you Alexey, Mikhail, Oleg, Gregory, and Daniil to see if you might be willing to participate in a call to talk through your concerns in more detail. Ultimately we want to ensure we're building solutions that put our users first.

 

This is probably the most transparent forum post in response to a freelancers community concern and is massively appreciated. I would gladly participate and expand on the concerns I personally see with the current system, please do reach out to set up a call.

Anna,

 

>I don’t think we can or should strive for 100% transparency as that would make it easier for dangerous actors to reverse engineer our safety checks.

 

I completely understand, and it does make sense in terms of security. I really appreciate your efforts to make your internal procedures more perfect, that's great. Also, I understand that Upwork isn't a democracy, you are a business after all, and we shouldn't await an open judicial system from you.

But trust cannot be one-sided and you will be trusted as much as you trust. You can decide those false positives and accidental punishments of some (maybe a few, but I don't think even you know the real number) honest freelancers is a fair price for cleaning Upwork from scammers. But, ironically, your efforts to make Upwork safer make me feel less safe.

You can continue to improve your safety procedures and reduce the number of false positives to almost zero. But a lack of transparency will play against you. We will see neither scammers who are banned as they deserved nor your perfect safety rules. But we definitely will continue to see those who are unfairly banned, and we will continue thinking "What I will do if I will get in such a situation?"

 

You are a business, but we also are businesses, and we should calculate risks. As for me, Upwork is still the place where I can work and build my reputation. But it isn't a place that I can 100% rely on. I try to search for more comfortable alternatives from time to time, and I will leave Upwork without doubts once I find someplace maybe with some number of scammers on board, but more reliable for me personally.


So this problem doesn't have any solution except for transparency. The price of transparency is increasing the number of scammers in the marketplace. But do you think this number will be that critical compared to the number of honest freelancers and clients who will start really trust you?

>This is on track to launch for the identity verification flow this month. We expect to launch a system for recurring verification flows later this year

 

By the way about identity verification. Will your verification procedure take into account some national or cultural characteristics? For example, some freelancers might not have passports but have just national ids. It might be just impossible to provide other identification documents. And what if there's something unclear to you in a valid national id?

If you think it's not enough you might demand bills for identity verification, but personally, I don't get bills at all. In my country, I pay all bills via mobile apps. I get a notification to my mobile, "Hey you should pay for public utilities" and when I open the app I see just an electronic form with fields and pay via credit card.

I can provide you with some documents from our electronic government site, such as title to real estate. But first, the docs from the electronic government have electronic signatures in QR codes, and how you guys can verify them? And second, what can do those who don't have a real estate?

 

The same with banks, taxes, everything in my country. I forgot when I last time have seen a paper document. Thank God I have at least an international passport. But if you will find something suspicious in it, I feel I will get into a real disaster.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Oleg,

 

To address your question about users might not be able to provide a passport, we do accept other forms of a valid government-issued ID, like the national ID you mentioned.

~ Vladimir
Upwork

>To address your question about users might not be able to provide a passport, we do accept other forms of a valid government-issued ID, like the national ID you mentioned.

 

Yes, Vladimir, I see it. I just read a message from a freelancer who got banned despite the fact that he provided a national id and bank documents. And because Upwork's decision isn't transparent, and because the freelancer wasn't able to get an explanation of what was wrong, he doesn't know and nobody knows whether it was a real problem with his documents or it was just misunderstanding some local or national details which the decision-maker doesn't know clearly.

 

Again this is a question of transparency. With transparent rules and communications, the freelancer could get an explanation of what's wrong. And we would know it and correct our docs if needed. I mean legal, valid docs. Maybe it would help scammers to make fake docs.   But it also would help us to feel more confident and trust Upwork. What's more important? You decide.

jessdrizin
Member

Hi Everyone,
 
We wanted to take some time to follow up on this post with a summary of an incredibly productive discussion we (myself, along with Dorian and Anna from our Trust and Safety team) held with Alexey, Gregory, Serj, and Mikhail a few weeks ago that we truly appreciate your time for. During our time together we wanted to listen to your stories and concerns, as well as share our own updates and plans to tackle this issue of suspensions without compromising the safety of our freelancers. The following is a brief summary of what we discussed during our hour together:
 
First, we took some time to listen to each of you about how Upwork suspensions has affected you:
  • The Upwork Trust & Safety team had the opportunity to listen to personal stories of dealing with suspensions, and the impact it had on your ability to conduct work on Upwork. This included the loss of potential clients, projects, and earnings- not to mention your trust in Upwork. 
  • The most frustrating part of these suspensions is that many of you a) don’t know why the suspension occurred, and b) a quick/efficient way to resolve it, especially if it felt unwarranted and/or abrupt.
  • Freelancers need more transparency- especially when it comes to suspensions and how they work.
  • As a result, some of you have needed to diversify your earning opportunities outside of Upwork (in the event you face another suspension).
We then spent the remainder of the discussion brainstorming solutions together that could potentially help increase trust and transparency between Upwork and freelancers. In our continued efforts to keep Upwork a safe place for freelancers and clients to connect without compromising the trust of our users, we are carefully weighing the risks and benefits of some of these ideas, along with continuing to design and build out the solutions that Anna mentioned in her previous post. That all said, we don’t want this to be the end of the discussion.  Please continue to post here or reach out to us with additional concerns or ideas that will help us support you and keep you safe.  Thanks so much again for such an insightful discussion!
 
Jessica

Hello @Jessica, @Anna and Everyone

 

I know I'm new to upwork but behind me there is a strong experienced husband (Adeel) who has worked on upwork for 10 years (since upwork was elance and odesk), until an year ago when he was banned permanently, he had earned 300+k of dollers with thousands of hours work on this platform and remained Top Rated for years. He was banned when he got few contracts, and based on completion milestones received payments. But right in the middle, due to his mother health issues which finally resulted her death, he was unable to properly handle under-going projects due to which upon 1 client's reporting he was banned for life time. Although he remained Top Rated for years. Although as per upwork ToS, there is no guarantee to client or freelancer for fixed price based jobs, then how upwork can suspand someone upon reporting of a client whose job was not completed. I agree the client suffered, but sometimes emergencies, health issues etc. happen due to which a contract cannot be completed timely. But still, its fine my husband couldn't deliver the promissed work, but as a result punish is life-time ban? Although he worked efficiently for 10 years and meanwhile got permanent clients who have spent thousands of dollars, so he doesn't deserve to get another chance?

 

I think there are hundreds or may be thousands of similar cases I went through on upwork. I agree there should be some punishment for voilating a policy, or doing bad acts. But there should be warning or may be a temporarily suspension. I think instead of life time ban, there should be accounts limitations or suspensions for few days, weeks or months. So that at least whoever is the serious freelancer he/she should be more serious about his/her future jobs with more cooperative and responsible behavior. Banning someone for life time is like, you're punishing someone on just a small sin, or even bigger sin but its not like a murder where punishment should also be life-time jail or hang till death. I feel if upwork gives small punishments like banning for specific time, or let them work and do not withdraw money for specific duration like for weeks, months so that at least meanwhile freelancer should repent on his sin/bad act due to which he/she was suspended and I'm sure in future he/she would definitely avoid such cases. At the same time clients also remain in secure hand while getting their work done properly from the same freelancer.

 

Right now as per my research, I feel there are thousands of freelancers who have now realised what mistake and sin has happened by them(due to which they got banned for life time), they repent on those voilations and they are trying different ways to get in again on this most popular platform. So a flexible policy should come in place for those who have been suspended for a specific time (like for more than 6 months or one year), those freelancers can request to reinstate their account and ensure in future they don't repeate the similar behavior and upon agreeing this, they should be given another chance. Further more, as suggested above, there should not be life-time ban but a temporary ban based on sin or voilation which can be less or more sevare to someone.

 

Hope above suggestion and idea can be very helpful for upwork if they really care about freelancers as well.

 

Thanks.

Arwah.

Hi Arwan, 

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. 
We won't be able to discuss the status of your husband's account here in the Community nor share specific details. Please refer your husband to the support tickets and notifications the team sent to him. When an account is suspended, the team works with the user to provide a chance to appeal and supply more information to work towards an appropriate resolution. Rest assured, a thorough review is completed before a final decision to permanently close an account is made.

~ Valeria
Upwork
c4a2ea5d
Member

Yes, I totally agree with you. At least we have the right to know the reason behind the suspension. I am worried too as I am new here.

To add to the discussion, you don't have to tell us HOW did you discover somebody was acting up, only that you DID discover. What is wrong to tell the freelancers the reason - getting Upwork contracts outside of Upwork, false representing etc. If you don;'t tell the reason, it feels extremely unjustified, as what if the person is innocent?

And as others pointed, many of us are depending on Upwork.

 

If we trust in you, show us that you trust in us as well.




I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Opening this thread / can of worms as it was the post that helped me understand why Upwork permanently banned my account only one day after joining. I hadn't messaged anyone or posted anything, I was just doing some prelim research on freelancer's rates for a project I intended to hire for. As my project is very sensitive, I've been using VPNs and secure email addresses as I do prep work, which is necessary to keep me safe. I didn't realize that was a problem and, after reading Upworks TOS over and over again, I'm still not convinced it is a problem. 

 

When I got a message saying that my account was deleted permanently, I responded and politely asked how I could have possibly violated the TOS if I hadn't actually done anything yet. My first thought was that my account had been compromised and -- given the nature of my project -- this left me feeling very exposed and concerned about my security. The agent who banned me was not forthcoming at all with Upwork's assesment of my account, only that "after further review [they] determined this decision to be final". Zero explanation. A few google rabbit holes later, and I find myself here with a reasonable explanation that I was left to figure out myself. 

 

I'm not a threat to anyone's security. I had a legitimate job that I needed a legitimate specialist for, which payed legitimate money. I know a couple of thousand dollars is nothing to Upwork, or even the major players here who seem to warrant a response because of their earned reputation (and rightfully so, though it would be nice for that courtesy to also extend to new users). I know it's not a lot of money... but in COVID times, it could have really made a difference to one of the freelancers here who are trying to make ends meet. This matters because as this company continues to grow its profile, it becomes a viable solution to a lot of people who need a place to go when they can't go into an office. It has the potential to become an agent of change. If they continue banning people out of hand with zero transparency or respect for its users, then it's just another faceless monolith. 

 

All this to say that I'm disappointed. The vibe on this thread really looked like they were going in the right direction. I regret to inform you that either they are not, or that new direction is only for a select few. Either way, it's a bad look, Upwork.

Hi Thomas,

 

Could you please click on my name next to this post and send me a private message with the username or registered email address for the account you're referring to? We'd like to check on its status. 

Thank you.

 

UPDATE: Thanks for sending me the information, Thomas. One of our agents will be reaching out to you directly to assist with your account. You'll receive a notification to the email registered with your original account.

~ Valeria
Upwork


Thomas J wrote:

Opening this thread / can of worms as it was the post that helped me understand why Upwork permanently banned my account only one day after joining. I hadn't messaged anyone or posted anything, I was just doing some prelim research on freelancer's rates for a project I intended to hire for. As my project is very sensitive, I've been using VPNs and secure email addresses as I do prep work, which is necessary to keep me safe. I didn't realize that was a problem and, after reading Upworks TOS over and over again, I'm still not convinced it is a problem. 

 

When I got a message saying that my account was deleted permanently, I responded and politely asked how I could have possibly violated the TOS if I hadn't actually done anything yet. My first thought was that my account had been compromised and -- given the nature of my project -- this left me feeling very exposed and concerned about my security. The agent who banned me was not forthcoming at all with Upwork's assesment of my account, only that "after further review [they] determined this decision to be final". Zero explanation. A few google rabbit holes later, and I find myself here with a reasonable explanation that I was left to figure out myself. 

 

I'm not a threat to anyone's security. I had a legitimate job that I needed a legitimate specialist for, which payed legitimate money. I know a couple of thousand dollars is nothing to Upwork, or even the major players here who seem to warrant a response because of their earned reputation (and rightfully so, though it would be nice for that courtesy to also extend to new users). I know it's not a lot of money... but in COVID times, it could have really made a difference to one of the freelancers here who are trying to make ends meet. This matters because as this company continues to grow its profile, it becomes a viable solution to a lot of people who need a place to go when they can't go into an office. It has the potential to become an agent of change. If they continue banning people out of hand with zero transparency or respect for its users, then it's just another faceless monolith. 

 

All this to say that I'm disappointed. The vibe on this thread really looked like they were going in the right direction. I regret to inform you that either they are not, or that new direction is only for a select few. Either way, it's a bad look, Upwork.


Many of us use VPNs and this would not be the sole reason your account was banned. You had to have set off a number of red flags besides just using a VPN. 

 

Regardless, it seems like a moderator chimed in to assist you pretty quickly. 

 

I appreciate Upwork's attempts to create a safe community, and I agree with most here that a faster and more transparent way has to exist to resolve suspensions. Obviously one can set off the right flags and get a suspension, but especially for top-rated freelancers in good standing, there has to be a faster way to resolve and the customer service agents need to be better trained to recognize different forms of ID, etc. 

s_guryev
Member

Hello Upwork Community, it's me again.

 

I have started this thread almost 1.5 years ago. Our previous conversation was really great. We have believed that Upwork hear us because we even had the video call with Upwork employees from different departments and we were able to explain our fears and concerns. We were ensured that solution can be found and we hoped that it will be found.

 

Upwork has released a lot of new features allowing us to create own brand and make is more successful. We have new badges to prove our skills, we can build own pro community and refer other freelancers, we often receive invitations to webinars about how to build our brand, improve our service and become successful.

 

But one thing seems remain at the same stage it was from the beginning. And unfortunately this thing can ruin all the great things above because it can force us to lose everything. Yes, I'm talking about permanent account suspension without explanation again. We have noticed one more case similar to one we had in 2020:

  1. Top Rated Plus status & 6000+ hours & $300k+ earnings.
  2. Temporary hold and request for ID uploading and passing video verification.
  3. Completing all the required steps without any concerns and hoping to be un-holded soon.
  4. Success response about account verification but keeping account on hold.
  5. 2 weeks of silence even with follow-up requests.
  6. Notification about permanent account suspension without any explanation and ability to defense himself.
  7. Lost account, balance and everything was built during years.

 

We totally understand that there should be the balance between sharing information and preventing the circumvent the detection system. But I can't believe that such great "Trust and Safety" team we spoke with in Sep 2020 which promised us to find the solution was not able to do it. And it's even more bigger disappointment that we should lose freelancers in order to check it.

 

We have no new questions. I think I can just copy ones we had 17 months ago:
- How can we help to improve the verification process and make it more reliable and transparent?
- How can we know the reason of this particular account suspension in order to meet the policy for other members in the future (yes we read policies and know most of the possible edge cases but still have no ideas about the one became reason for the particular account suspension)?
- Do you have some contact which can be reached out regarding such suspensions and explain the reasons?

 

Thank you!

Hi Sergey,

 

Please keep in mind that I can't share details about another user with you, or regarding our investigation, or actions taken. 
To learn more about how you can stay safe on Upwork, check out this help article. Thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork

Hi Goran. Thank you for answering my message.
I didn't ask to share details with me. I'm totally OK to share details with the blocked freelancer only (I can provide his email in DM). It will be totally enough for us if he would say: "Guys, Upwork has contacted me and I know the reason now. Also they allowed me describe my point of view. They have accepted my arguments. I have no more questions about it".

Thank you!

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