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Really upset and need to vent!

I've been working with a client for I think a couple of months now, writing book summaries.  He has been sending me the books either by Kindle or (one occasion) through the mail.  

Everything was going really well and I was looking forward to working with the client for the longterm.  A problem has arisen, however.  He found that some of the books he next wants me to summarize are not available through Kindle in Canada.  As he does not want to spend the money to mail the physical books to me, he suggested directly transferring money through Paypal (yes, seriously!) so that I could buy the books myself.  The fact that accepting money directly through Paypal (whether for materials or not, I'd assume) would compromise my account is apparently not as important as him being able to avoid the costs of shipping.  It's nice to see how highly I am valued. ๐Ÿ˜ž 

Obviously, I told the client that this is out of the question and that I am not sure I feel comfortable with continuing to work with him after this week (which I've already agreed to).  

Any thoughts or insight on this situation?  Anything at all would be appreciated.  

26 REPLIES 26
petra_r
Member

The client can pay you an expense payment through Upwork.

He doesn't want to because then there would be a five-day hold and we'd be put behind schedule with the summaries. 


@Samantha L wrote:

He doesn't want to because then there would be a five-day hold and we'd be put behind schedule with the summaries. 


 

Can't you buy them with your own money when the client pays? Once they paid you know it will be there in 5 days.... surely that 5 days is not an issue for the occasional cheap book?

I am unable to do that at the moment.  

Why do you assume they're cheap? 

Petra,

 

I actually was about to post a question on here about an issue I am having with a client and payment and read this post first and saw your comment about an expense payment.  If you don't mind me kind of hijacking this thread with my own question I would greatly appreciate your expertise and some information.

 

I have a client that wants me to receive products for him and send them into the Canadian Amazon Warehouse.  He is located in China I believe.  He wants to pay my hourly rate through Upwork but then after I accepted the job, he now asks if he can pay the shipping and customs fees through PayPal.  I obviously told him no, that's not an option.  He stated that UpWork charges him a 10% commission when he makes a payment via Upwork.  Now I am no expert, but I have never heard this before and am starting to feel like he is trying to pull one over on me.  I offered to allow him to pay upfront for the fees after I calculate them and then I will have them available to use via Upwork and that was when he said that about he commission fee.  I also suggested he open an account at USPS since that is how he wants to ship the products and his response was that he did not think he could do that since he is out of the country.  I don't see why he couldn't do that, he would just need a credit card to prepay postage fees into the account.  But that was his reply.  

 

I am starting to feel like this might be a scam and don't want to do anything to jeapordize myself if it is.  However, if it is not then I want to do my best to work with him.  You mentioned in this post about an expense payment.  How does that work for the client and are they charged fees on that amount and is the service fee we normally pay to Upwork deducted from that amount as well, as that would make a big difference in the amount I would receive to cover the actual costs.

 

Thanks for your help!

Alison, YOU are charged a fee between 20% and 5% when you receive money paid by clients, that is correct, the client is also charged a small payment fee, but not 19%.

 

That said, the whole "job" sounds dangerously dodgy and personally I would walk away from it....

 

 

Petra,

 

Sorry for the delay in replying to your help.  The client says the fee was 10% not 19%.  But I read through Upwork and it seems the fee is 2.75%.  Here is the thing, this client is not a fraud at all.  He has spent over $300k on Upwork and has a very long client history.  He has almost 300 completed jobs in his history.  I am sure there is an explanation, but I don't really know how to deal with it.  He clearly is a true client with a great reputation.  Any feedback.  Are you able to see my contract and possibly enlighten me further as to how to proceed.  I did email him back and told him that Upwork was the only option for payments.  He's hired someone before to do this same job, so I am not sure how they did it other than maybe they used PayPal when they should not have, I don't know.  I don't want to upset him as I believe him to be a genuinely good client.  But I can't agree to his suggestion either.

 

 

I agree with Petra ... it sounds beyond dodgy. But I want to add something I think others will back me up on.

 

There are clients with long histories and monies paid, but that doesn't mean everything they've done on this site is on the up-and-up or in alignment with UW policies. I think sometimes jobs with strange intents may be ignored by freelancers who need the work, and therefore are never reported or brought to light.

 

So take client histories with a grain of salt.

Alison, I would be wary of that project/job for all kinds of reasons. Why does he need you to send his product to Amazon? There may be legitimate reasons, but often thieves and money launderers hire online freelancers to accept and mail packages as part of their scam. Often it is to protect themselves from the paper/digital trail to avoid consequences. Sometimes it results in the freelancer being the subject of an investigation or even facing criminal charges. At the very least, it sounds like he might be either trying to circumvent customs charges or somehow mislead Amazon about the origin of the product. 

estrategic
Member

I commend you on your ethics, Samantha.  Its not easy to say no to the money or the job.  

 

 

Thanks but there's really not much to commend me for: I'm simply unwilling to compromise my Upwork account.  

He could buy and dwnld them himself then mail them?

I don't think you can do that with Kindle. 

The client can also buy you kindle gift vouchers for your country. That way no money changes hands and you can buy the books with the gift voucher.

As I mentioned, he has already done that successfully with many of the books but for some reason that option was unavailable for these specific titles. 

Samantha, kindle ebooks are mobi format. Your client should be able to send you a mobi file. You should then be able to import it to your kindle device. If you can't figure out how to do that, there are free apps that can import mobi, like Calibre for example. 

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

I'm unsure about the legality of this.  

You can lend books which I am assuming is legal - https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?tag=skim0x76384-20&nodeId=200549320

http://www.ebook-converter.com/109-how-to-share-kindle-books-with-friend.htm

 

My guess is that can only be done with certain books though. This is not my space so I don't know much to comment and not sure if lending is possible, but I assume you aren't supposed to remove the DRMs from the books or anything, so the second half of the 2nd article I sent would probably be illegal, at least in certain countries. 

 

The only other thing I read is to have a shared account -Kindle permits up to 6 Kindle devices to be attached to one account and any number of apps. This would obviously require a lot of trust with personal info though. I don't even know if this works between different countries or if it's just for your family in your house. This one is probably not even an option, at least I wouldn't do it with someone I don't know. 

tlsanders
Member

I must be missing something...why wouldn't he just order the books shipped directly to you?

 

If that won't work, one or both of you is going to have to take a risk or make a compromise.

 

For example, you could reduce your rate on those jobs to split the cost of shipping.

 

Or, he could send you a bonus payment that would cover 2-3 books so you could get through the holding period and use that money to purchase these books as necessary.

 

Also...I'm assuming you've thought of this, but just in case...have you checked your local library?

He wants to avoid the shipping cost.  

I am entirely unwilling to take any sort of risk with my Upwork account by violating terms of service.  I fully assume that wasn't what you were suggesting.  

I'm a bit too tired to answer the rest of the questions, but thanks for the interest!  ๐Ÿ™‚ 


@Samantha L wrote:

 

I am entirely unwilling to take any sort of risk with my Upwork account by violating terms of service.  I fully assume that wasn't what you were suggesting.  


 You don't need to assume.

 

I spelled out exactly what I was suggesting.

 

For the record, though I thought it was clear, I would definitely not suggest violating TOS. It wouldn't be because you'd be "taking a chance with your Upwork account," though. I just believe in having integrity and honoring the agreements you made and that sort of thing.


@Samantha L wrote:

He wants to avoid the shipping cost.  

I am entirely unwilling to take any sort of risk with my Upwork account by violating terms of service.  I fully assume that wasn't what you were suggesting.  

I'm a bit too tired to answer the rest of the questions, but thanks for the interest!  ๐Ÿ™‚ 


I would suggest the obvious, that if he wants you to continue working for him, the simple solution is that he can't avoid shipping costs and to proceed from there. The shipping is his problem, not yours.

 

If he's not willing to do that, and all the other suggestions are not doable, then kindly tell your client you'll not be able to continue working for him. The client has you running around in circles - to quote Nancy Reagan "just say no".

 

ETA: Samantha, as top-rated, you can remove his feedback should he decide to go pear-shaped on you if you end the contract. (I just like the opportunity to use the phrase "pear-shaped")

I agree with Virginia here. It's something the client wants and there is an obvious extra cost to get what they want done, whether it be to compensate through upworks and have to wait or pay the shipping. That should be the client's expense and I would just say no if they don't want to take on the expense that it costs for you to do the job. 


@Virginia F wrote:

I would suggest the obvious, that if he wants you to continue working for him, the simple solution is that he can't avoid shipping costs and to proceed from there. The shipping is his problem, not yours.

 

If he's not willing to do that, and all the other suggestions are not doable, then kindly tell your client you'll not be able to continue working for him. The client has you running around in circles - to quote Nancy Reagan "just say no".


 Good point, Virginia. I had initially assumed, since book shipping costs appear to be an insurmountable obstacle, that this was one of the many clients paying a writer pennies and book shipping costs would exceed or come near to the cost of the job.

 

After reading your post, I looked at OP's profile. She's made $665 on this job over the past couple of months, leaving me entirely unclear on why the client can't just pay the shipping AND why the OP won't just buy the book and let him reimburse her.

 

Clearly, someone will just have to decide to compromise. Or not to.

allysonk_h
Member

Does the public libary have the books...?

How many days will he lose to search for a new freelancer, get him to know the work and actually let him produce the work?

 

That the client is unwilling to provide you with the materials you need in order to do the job is an indication that his interest seems to be selfish and not cooperative.

 

In the end, you should do what you think is best.