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Scammed on my first Upwork job??

mil_sar_mt
Active Member

Hello.  

 

Last week I submitted a proposal (as a freelancer) for a job here.  On Thursday she sent me a MESSAGE with an typed offer.  It would be a difficult assignment with a short deadline, but I accepted it based on the specific payment terms listed in the Details page of the job offer.  

 

Details:  

I am in need of a few excellent transcriptionists that are wanting to work FT or PT on a weekly basis. I pay $0.30 per minute of audio on the 5th and 20th of each month. I need someone who is dedicated and hard working and who can meet deadlines given without excuses.

 

After discussing the terms in the MESSAGE, she sent me an audio recording of 406 minutes, and a crude, industry-standard voice recognition document.  According to the listed terms, 406 minutes at $.30 per minute is $121, minus Upwork fees.  

 

She never notified Upwork that I was hired.  She never offered me an official contract.  I pointed this out and she said she would have "accounting" take care of that for me right away.  

 

As we discussed in the messages, I transcribed the 406 minutes by the deadline of Sunday evening.  I sent her the finished document to a personal email account.  And I reminded her that Upwork still did not know I had been hired or completed the job.

 

Instead, she sent me an offer for an editing job worth $60.  I did not accept it, and I pasted a copy of the original terms ($.30 per minute equalling $121 for 406 minutes.)

She withdrew the offer, and now she claims that I did not transcribe the document correctly.  She's having someone review it.  

 

Am I covered on this at all?  I've already done the work which took roughly 31 hours over the weekend.  All I want is to get paid the agreed amount.  As far as the quality of the work, I would be happy to have someone (Upwork?) mediate this claim.  I stand by my work, I transcribed it verbatim, to the absolute best of my abilities.  

 

I absolutely feel as if she is attempting to work outside of the Upwork system and use petty, false claims in order to pay less than the agreed amount.

 

Please help!  Thank you. 

 

Sarah

11 REPLIES 11
versailles
Community Guru

@sarah M wrote:

 

 

She never notified Upwork that I was hired.  She never offered me an official contract.  

 

(...)

 

Am I covered on this at all?  


I guess that you already answered you own question, right?

 

Why haven't you spent some time reading the help section in order to understand how this platform works, and to get familiar with the terms of service, before prospecting for a job?

 

It would have saved you a lot of unpaid work.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
mwiggenhorn
Community Guru

You never had a contract.  Sadly, Upwork can't help you.  Never, never work on a project until you have an Upwork offer which you accept.  It will show in your "My Jobs" tab. You didn't work through the system.  Even the payment timing doesn't comport. It doesn't matter how good your work was, you were scammed big time.

 

Please, please read the terms of service and all the other relevant documents before you accept another scammer.

 

prestonhunter
Community Guru

re: "She never notified Upwork that I was hired.  She never offered me an official contract."

 

That means you were not hired.

 

re: "I pointed this out and she said she would have 'accounting' take care of that for me right away."

 

That means you tricked you.

 

Sarah: It is OKAY that this happened!

Every Upwork contractor must eventually learn how to use Upwork properly. This learning can come in different forms, whether by reading Help documents, manuals, watching Upwork's instructional videos, or diving in and getting scammed once or twice.

 

These are all just different paths to the same destination.

re: "All I want is to get paid the agreed amount."

 

No, don't worry about that.


@Preston H wrote:

 

Every Upwork contractor must eventually learn how to use Upwork properly. This learning can come in different forms, whether by reading Help documents, manuals, watching Upwork's instructional videos, or diving in and getting scammed once or twice.

 

These are all just different paths to the same destination.


Right Preston.

 

And she worked 31 hours. Reading the whole help section would have taken only 2 hours. Some people don't like the short route.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
lizablau
Community Guru

Scam. You made the mistake of working without an official Upwork contract. If you'd read the TOS, you'd know that's one of the strictest rules here. Chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. 

colettelewis
Community Guru

Sarah,

 

All you can do is to report the client and hope that their account is suspended. Unfortunately, you have absolutely no come-back at all on payment. You are not going to get paid, and Upwork can't help you, as they clearly state. If you had read all the Upwork rules and regs and the help pages, you could possibly have avoided falling into this trap. You will just have to put it down to experience and move on. But before you do, read everything there is to know about setting up as a new freelancer on Upwork. 

 

No matter what a client says, you never, ever start without an official contract in place. If it is fixed-rate, escrow must be funded with the full amount agreed to. If it is hourly, you do not work unless you have the tracker turned on and log in everything you do in the diary.

 

Better luck next time, but arm yourself with knowledge before accepting another job.

mthornton-cpc
Community Guru

Sarah, I'm sorry to say, but you got played. Don't ever - EVER - work without an accepted offer and a funded milestone or hourly job in your My Jobs list. Unfortunately, you did work before having an offer and have no recourse at this point. An offer is only made via the official job posting when the client hires you. A written description in a message is not an offer. The flow goes like this:

 

Submit proposal > Interview (sometimes, not every time) > Receive offer > Accept offer (or propose changes) > Start work (only after offer is accepted and you see that milestone is funded [if fixed-price]) > Deliver work or track time with time tracker > Get paid

 

Newbies are bad-client magnets. Knowing the rules will help you protect yourself. Read the ToS and know all the rules before doing anything else. That's how you will be able to prevent anything like this from happening again. 

petra_r
Community Guru

.................pay $0.30 per minute of audio
............... she sent me an audio recording of 406 minutes, and a crude, industry-standard voice recognition document.  According to the listed terms, 406 minutes at $.30 per minute is $121, minus Upwork fees.  

 

.............. I've already done the work which took roughly 31 hours over the weekend. 


 

You agreed to work at an effective hourly rate of $ 3.12 an hour? ( 121 - 20% : 31 )

 

 

 

 

sam-sly
Community Guru

Wow Sarah, I am sorry there are all kinds of wrong in the situation described.

 

As others mentioned, do not work until there is an acceptable offer in place. I know it is easy just to jump into it. I accidentally did that once on the second milestone for a client; I went to submit the work, and there was no button. Luckily, I had a trustworthy client, and I had not submitted the work yet. I sent a message, "I have your article ready to go, but I am afraid I cannot submit it until a funded milestone is in place." The client funded the milestone right away, but this client was not a scammer. I then submitted the work. 

 

Now when a client seems keen to get started, I just send a message like: "I can't wait to get started, but I am afraid I cannot start until the milestone is funded. Thank you!"

 

The lower paying milestone is kind of strange as it sounds like the client intended to pay you something. This is where it is especially important not to start the work until that business is in order. If you did the work, don't submit it until you have a milestone.

 

Also, since you are new here is one more tip. I am assuming you took the low pay rate because you wanted to complete a project and receive good feedback. Be sure to look at that client's feedback history. I am referring to the feedback they leave freelancers. You don't want your first project to be with a client who routinely does not leave feedback (some clients are not in the habit of leaving any feedback). Also, if the hire rate percent is low, that may be a red flag. I would also stick with clients that have a history of paying freelancers. You can learn a few things from the feedback freelancers leave, but the feedback the client leaves for other freelancers is equally telling. There are amazing new clients with no feedback, but you would want to be extra careful accepting them especially when you are also new. 

Anonymous User
Not applicable
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A bit of common sense could help and some people really should not work here.

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