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Time Wasting Bait and Switch Clients

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
1 of 18

I've encountered too many job posts and invites wherein the client specifies an hourly job and that they are looking for the most experienced freelancers and says they are willing to pay for experience and expertise. What I find irritating is after the interview and discussion, they come up with something like they will only pay fixed rate (with a miniscule budget to boot!).


Mind you, these are clients with a history of paying upwards of $15/hr and high ratings so it is impossible to see that they will pull off this tactic later by looking at their history.


Is there something that can be done to make this time wasters accountable for their actions?


What I do is withdraw my application, click rate too low as the reason, and flag the job as posted in wrong category (because they picked hourly and the option for highest paid freelancers when they never intended to hire hourly and only have a laughable budget). 


There were times when the client hired someone for super cheap and then came back to me later, wanting me to fix the mess. What I do is charge them higher because fixing stuff takes more skill y'all!


These days I simply decline repeated invites from those types to teach them a lesson; but one time, a CLIENT REPORTED ME FOR DECLINING HIS OFFER, stating the reason as me being 'too proud' because I clicked the rate too low box. Support sent me an email about being nice to clients etc etc. Seriously!


Anyway, there should be a way to mark these types of clients and support should stop treating them like spoiled bratty children.

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Community Guru
David G Member Since: Oct 6, 2011
2 of 18

I've had that happen to me a number of times as well although I don't really mind switching to a fixed price because I like working on fixed-price jobs better than hourly jobs.


That said, I don't accept  a bottom-feeder budget. I will tell them my regular rate and if they don't want to pay it then I don't take the job.


Quite often, I will get the price that I want to do the job and my life is a bit easier with not having to worry about the time clock.


One thing I really hate is when a job posting states they are willing to pay expert rates and then the posted budget is extremely low. It makes me feel as if the client is using the claim to pay expert rates just to pull freelancers into reading their post. I mean, they can't honestly believe that paying one hundred dollars for editing one hundred thousand words is an expert rate, can they?

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
3 of 18

True David, some clients got an okay budget and for them, switching to a fixed price contract is not a problem. What I posted about are those who say their job is hourly and they are willing to pay the expert price only to say much later that 1. the project is fixed rate, not really hourly  2. the budget is only a fraction of what they originally mentioned.


I think those kind of actions from clients border on scam and spamming as well, especially when they send job invites.

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Community Guru
Gillian Michele N Member Since: Mar 15, 2012
4 of 18


Hi Dianne,


A client honestly reported you because you chose to walk away? That's crazy. It's entirely your prerogative to decline an offer. Also, oDesk shouldn't encourage the client's behaviour.


I hear your argument about bait and switch, I've experienced something similar. This client accepted my offer as is, and then at the interview stage tried to get me to knock off a few dollars from my hourly rate. I don't mind a little negotiation, but I had already reduced the rate slightly in the first place.

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
5 of 18

Hi Gillian,


Yes! I was so surprised! That happened earlier this year and the client's reason for reporting me is that I was showing some attitude by declining the job.


Actually, it was a recruiter working for a client and I think he have some issue about my rate because his is much lower (I saw his oDesk profile). Anyway, he tried getting me to decrease my rate to lower than his so I said it might be better to find someone else. I thanked him for his time and declined the job.


Next thing I knew, support sent me a warning email with a brief description of why the client reported me. It also came with a copy-pasted lecture on how to be nice to clients so I sent them screenshots of the whole thread. In the end, the agent simply said to be nicer next time. It's soooo weird. 


I wonder if oDesk marked me for that when it was clearly a bogus report.

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Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
6 of 18

I imagine you will now see clients trying to get around the hourly rate minimum with fixed price jobs.

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
7 of 18

Hi Marcia,


That is true, however my rate is waaaayyy above that $3 minimum so I don't think those clients I encounter are trying to skirt the minimum wage thing.


I've had another invite for an hourly job and looking for the highest paid freelancers but on interview the client said the job is fixed rate. They don't want to pay milestones either. There really should be a way to report time wasters like this. They are on the same plane as spam applications from copy-pasting freelancers. It's about time for oDesk to be fair and for clients and freelancers to be subjected to almost the same rules.

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Active Member
Russell B Member Since: Dec 10, 2014
8 of 18

Oh wow, that happened to me, too!


In my case, however, the client put up a fixed price job which I agreed to. He chose me, then asked me to accept half the price, instead.


I terminated the contract and explained that his offer was too low. I didn't say anything, mind you. Merely ticked that option and left it at that. 


Then lo and behold, I get a complaint!


I actually felt sorry for the rep I ended up chatting with regarding the matter. True, I could have been nicer, and true, it's not as if they had anything to do with the client's overly bloated sense of entitlement; but really!


I'm finding oDesk more and more disappointing, of late. 

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
9 of 18

Hello Russel,


I hear you!


Perhaps it has something to do with a form of racism? I don't know what country your profile displays but mine says Philippines (because I live here now). I've had some clients interview and ask me to to a skype call so they can assess my level of English. This is not really a problem for me, as there are plenty of fake people on the web who claim all sorts of things. What irritates me is after pasing these TESTS, some of them would have the gall to ask me to decrease my rate with some lame excuse. They often state reasons such as "oh, you don't need much since things are cheaper there", or "the minimum wage blah blah blah"


I often counter them with, "are you paying for my location or for my skills?"


Then I decline their offer and block them from further contact. Yes, I'm not very nice haha Smiley Happy


Freelancers, clients pay for your skills, NOT your location. Don't let someone haggle you down just because of some excuse. Most clients who do that have never seen the world and has no real idea how to live in it.


By the way, chat support seems to have improved as of late...but that could also be mere coincidence.

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Community Guru
Gillian Michele N Member Since: Mar 15, 2012
10 of 18


Some clients just want something for nothing. I just hate it when a client tries to jusify a lower rate by stating that ' the job is really simple'. Annoying.