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The client is harassing and bullying me online

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
21 of 71

Melvin,

 

Upwork says, "...if the parties are unable to agree in a reasonable period of time, the dispute specialist will make a non-binding recommendation."

 

Please let us know what your dispute specialist's non-binding recommendation is. 

 

And please leave professional but factual feedback on this client in your project feedback (assuming Upwork doesn't ban him completely). Other freelancers deserve to know how this guy operates.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
22 of 71

I rarely use fixed price contracts, but now that I have read through the current version of the Fixed-Price Escrow Instructions (effective April 20, 2018) in Upwork’s Terms of Service, it is interesting to see that the only way a freelancer can absolutely assure payment from an abusive/dishonest client under a fixed-price contract is to pay $291 and eventually win at arbitration. (Yes, a client might back down when forced to arbitration, but (s)he might not.)

 

For anyone who says Upwork has no discretion in releasing escrow, Upwork clearly says, “We believe, in our sole discretion, that fraud, an illegal act, or a violation of Upwork's Terms of Service has been committed or is being committed or attempted, in which case Client and Freelancer irrevocably authorize and instruct Upwork Escrow to take such actions as we deem appropriate in our sole discretion…”

 

Is wildly abusive behavior by either a client or freelancer not a violation of Upwork’s Terms of Service or acceptable standards of behavior (not all of which are publicly stated)?

 

Has no client or freelancer ever been booted from Upwork for abusive behavior?

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
23 of 71

Will L wrote:

I rarely use fixed price contracts, but now that I have read through the current version of the Fixed-Price Escrow Instructions (effective April 20, 2018) in Upwork’s Terms of Service, it is interesting to see that the only way a freelancer can absolutely assure payment from an abusive/dishonest client under a fixed-price contract is to pay $291 and eventually win at arbitration. (Yes, a client might back down when forced to arbitration, but (s)he might not.)

 

For anyone who says Upwork has no discretion in releasing escrow, Upwork clearly says, “We believe, in our sole discretion, that fraud, an illegal act, or a violation of Upwork's Terms of Service has been committed or is being committed or attempted, in which case Client and Freelancer irrevocably authorize and instruct Upwork Escrow to take such actions as we deem appropriate in our sole discretion…”

 

Is wildly abusive behavior by either a client or freelancer not a violation of Upwork’s Terms of Service or acceptable standards of behavior (not all of which are publicly stated)?

 

Has no client or freelancer ever been booted from Upwork for abusive behavior?


Fraud meaning a stolen card or it seems sometimes if the freelancer is lying about who they are, money goes back to the client. I would imagine the hardcore identity stuff is also legal cuz if Upwork got caught funneling money to ISIS or some poop, that would be bad.

 

Abuse is relative. And really if they are stupid and rage at you in the workroom and it does go to arbitration, it makes them look bad. Nobody cares if some dumb client hurts your fee fees. I get called unprofessional and arrogant allll the time when this stuff goes down. Just makes that payout even sweeter. lol

 

But yeah escrow should be avoided if you don't have $300. It's a pain. I go for hourly as much as I can, but there are some clients that don't give you any hassle and just pay you with escrow. 

 

I read freelancers say that anything under $300 is impossible to get, but I would say anything less than $300 is easier to get if you have $300 to throw around. It's the higher amounts that you have to fight to get a payout in mediation or you're going to arbitration which can drag things out for 6+ weeks. That's why if you go into mediation, it's really best for both parties to take a settlement. I always go for more than what I would get if I went to arbitration. If I can get the client to give me more than what I would make in arbitration (minus the $300) then I consider it a success.

Ace Contributor
Steven S Member Since: Jun 13, 2016
24 of 71

Hi Melvin and thank you for bring up an important issue.   I agree with everyone who says that the threats are meaningless because they are.  But that's not the point.

 

The point is that on a fixed amount contract, it will cost you $291 to get paid if the client refuses to authorize payment.  Mediation is non-binding.  If the client simply refuses to pay without so much as a blink of an eye, you forfeit or you have to pay $291.

 

I don't believe Upwork have thought this through at all.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
25 of 71

Steven S wrote:

Hi Melvin and thank you for bring up an important issue.   I agree with everyone who says that the threats are meaningless because they are.  But that's not the point.

 

The point is that on a fixed amount contract, it will cost you $291 to get paid if the client refuses to authorize payment.  Mediation is non-binding.  If the client simply refuses to pay without so much as a blink of an eye, you forfeit or you have to pay $291.

 

I don't believe Upwork have thought this through at all.


It's not so much that they haven't thought it through as that the options are limited. Many people complain about this system (fairly, because it prevents low-earning freelancers who most need the money from effectively fighting for what they're owed), but I've never seen anyone complaining about it offer a viable alternative.

 

Upwork isn't allowed to make the decision.

 

Outside arbitrators are expensive (in fact, Upwork has negotiated a great deal here, probably based on volume--$1500 would be more standard, which would have the freelancer kicking in $500). 

 

Thinking it through, how would you address the problem?

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
26 of 71

Tiffany S wrote:

 

Upwork isn't allowed to make the decision.

 

Outside arbitrators are expensive (in fact, Upwork has negotiated a great deal here, probably based on volume--$1500 would be more standard, which would have the freelancer kicking in $500). 


Exactly.

People think Upwork Escrow Inc can just say "The client is a nasty human being so let's award the freelancer the money."

 

It does not work like that. The whole point of Escrow is that it is an entity that does not take sides. That is what arbitration is for.

 

Also, without hearing both sides we do not know whether the client has a point or not. It is super easy to jump on one side's bandwagon while ignorant of the other side's case. Just because the client is behaving like an (beep-beep) does not neccessarily mean they have no case.

 

 

 

Ace Contributor
Steven S Member Since: Jun 13, 2016
27 of 71

Actually no!

 

Escrow is to hold the funds until the job is complete.  Its not about nasty people.  

 

The way for a client to get funds back on a low paying job is to refuse to authorize payment.

The way for a freelancer to get paid on a low paying job is to pay $291.

 

If the AAA's fees were more in line with what freelancers actually got paid per disputed job, we may see eye to eye on this.

 

I maintain that Upwork have not thought this through.

Ace Contributor
Steven S Member Since: Jun 13, 2016
28 of 71

Tiffany, I don't believe its up to me to make any suggestion.   However, since you pose the question, lets assume that the client has no intention and has never had any intention of paying.   

 

Upwork can make a decision, based on its T&C's that the client is refusing to pay for no good reason.  If the client then disputes, lets say the credit card transaction, Upwork can point to its internal record of mediation.  

 

Nothing is fixed and therre is no "legal".  If a client has no intention of paying, then the client should be called out on it.  if there are grounds for dispute, then certainly, a compromise is called for.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
29 of 71

Steven S wrote:

Tiffany, I don't believe its up to me to make any suggestion.   However, since you pose the question, lets assume that the client has no intention and has never had any intention of paying.   


Tiffany is a US based lawyer..... and how are you "assuming that the client has no intention and has never had any intention of paying" - are you a mindreader? Or a US based lawyer rather than a South African tech person? Which US law school did you graduate from?

 


Steven S wrote:

 

Upwork can make a decision, based on its T&C's

You know that how, exactly? You have insight into both sides? You are a lawyer?

 


Steven S wrote:

 

Nothing is fixed and therre is no "legal". 


Really? You know that... based on... what, exactly? Of course there is "legal" - Escrow agents are very, VERY tightly regulated. You obviously have some inside info into this case that leads you to this post. Care to share how you know that "therre is no "legal" ?

 


Steven S wrote:

Tiffany, I don't believe its up to me to make any suggestion. 


quite. So why did you, then? Not just "make a suggestion" - but state stuff you could not possibly unless you had insight to both parties point of view AND legal knowledge of US Escrow laws.

 

From what I can see, you have neither.

 

 

Ace Contributor
Steven S Member Since: Jun 13, 2016
30 of 71

Petra - why are you attacking the messenger?

 

Why are you directing the conversation all over the place?

 

The only single point I have ever made on this thread, is that Upwork is not protecting the freelancer, in the situation of a small job and a reluctant client.  Escrow is failing some of us. 

 

Allow me to be very specific.  A small job by New York/San Fransisco/London standards could be a kings ransom elsewhere in the world.  The cost of arbitration is set by a standard which is affordable in some cases and not affordable in others.  

 

I am grateful to Upwork, for introducing me to clients that I would otherwise not have met.  But there is a working flaw in the system.  Why do I have to be a lawyer to understand that?

 

 

 

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