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Unfair and unethical competition

Active Member
nestor i Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
1 of 10

Hello, I'm an architect and I have been a member of upwork community for sometime.
I have noticed that as the community grows and time passes the competition is getting unfairer, I can see that this is very good for clients (professional work for cents) but it is diminishing my profession and all the physical and financial work we Architects have put in become independent and prepared (at least I have)
I wonder, Is upwork doing something to fight this unethical and unfair price abuse? is this going to become a Chinese market with no respect for intellectual property and creative honest work?

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 10

re: "I have noticed that as the community grows and time passes the competition is getting unfairer"


I sort of agree.


The more I work on Upwork, the better my work history gets and the more I feel like I have an "unfair" advantage over any other freelancer who applies to the same jobs that I do.


But fortunately I rarely apply to jobs. So for the most part, my competition doesn't need to worry.

Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
3 of 10

This is an open marketplace. You compete on the basis of your capabilities, experience, and ability to convince clients that you are worth hiring.


Yes, there's a lot of competition. Yes, that's better for clients than freelancers.


What would you like Upwork to do about it?


What's "unethical"? Who decides what "price abuse" is?


If you have a specific complaint, explain it. Preferably without the nationalistic implications.

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
4 of 10

I've written this before, but realistically a freelancer cannot offer high quality, low cost, and fast completion at the same time, and discerning clients understand this so they will not hire anyone promising the moon at a rock bottom price. If a bargain freelancer has a strong JS, chances are his clients had low standards & expectations. To be honest, I don't know what the marketplace for architects is like at Upwork, but if you do a search for high rated architects, I'm sure you'll find a substantial number who are making reasonable money; however, if that's not the case, then maybe you should look for another freelancer platform.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
5 of 10

"I've written this before, but realistically a freelancer cannot offer high quality, low cost, and fast completion at the same time,..."


Thus the old saying: "cheap, fast, good -- choose two".

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 10

The salty tears of my competitors taste so good.

Active Member
Hemal G Member Since: Oct 13, 2016
7 of 10

Hi All,


I also want to share my experience with unfair competition promoted by upwork and also other fellow freelancer.


I did several jobs on upwork and in many cases, I have been hired in many jobs where client has hired more than one freelancers. I have really bad experience of unfair competition from one freelancer from upwork whose success score on upwork is more than 95%, yet she possiblt practice some unethical practices.


Basically, there were two jobs where where client has hired me and her for certain work, seperately and using his own judgement and freelancer's skill, qualification etc..


For one job, client has hired me first and 7 months later, he asked me first that volume of work is going to get increased, we like the quality of work (daily extremely timebound work) and will you be able to handle increased work-flow or you know some other freelancer who can help us out in this. Since, it was timebound work, and I do not wanted to compormise on any quality, I have asked the client that he should hire one more person for additional quantity of work from upwork as it was in best interest and keep me hired for certain limited quantity of work (5 documents), and my average rate pre documents were $15, and client was very happy and he agreed on this.


Later on, a month later he hired that lady, from upwork and the client suddenly told me that that lady is ready for $10 a document, and there are 100 documents in a month, we are going to send both of you and amount of $1150 is guaranteed from us to both of you (removing upwork feee, it would be close to $1000 per month) should also lower your rate, I agreed on his demand and lowered my rate to that level. This was the end of February.


For about a month, the client paid both me and that lady equal amount and equal volume of work, He paid nearly $1,115 to that lady and $1,150 to me. However from April month onwards, he reduced the volume of work to me from daily 5 documents a day to daily 2 documents a day and increased the volume to that lady to 7-8 documents a day and there was seriously no reason for this, communication was good, quality of work was even better, I sent everything on timely manner etc...This went for the month of May and for the month of June, I received almost 1 document everyday for work and some day - two documents, whereas she was receiving nearly 8 to 9 documents a day. (all work is in public domain, so naybody can see it). And for April, May and June my pay has been also reduced from $1,150 guaranteed to $500.


Frankly speaking I shouldn't have any problem with thay lady, may be I should ask the client about it. But later on I noticed something very suspicious on her account. Till this date, her upwork account is only showing payment for the month of March ($1,115) but not the payment for April, May and June. (I got paid for April and May and partial payment of June through Upwork). Whereas she has reviewed nearly 180-200 documents a month for April, May and June and in this 8-9 working days of July she already reviewed 60-70 documents. So, accoring to client's agreement with both of us, her earning from that job should reflect approximately $7,000 on her upwork account and not $1,115.


I really suspect, that in order to get larger portion of this job, she has done a secret deal with the client to receive payment outside upwork and offering him lower rate, as she do not have to pay a fee to upwork. I also suspect that she alone is not working on this job, as otherwise it is not possible to finish this large volume of daily work in very short time window without compromising on quality and I suspect that she is employing somebody else unofficially (outsourcing or family members offupwork, but not running an agency on upwork) Which is very unethical competition and it also violates upwork rule. All work is in public domain and client really pays payment on a monthly basis.


Apparently, the same lady again got hired for one more job where client has hired both of us and two other freelancers. I had to get out of the job, due to my travel schedule and limited connectivity and resources like scanner, printer at that time, but cient continued with her and other two freelancers. Other two freelancers got paid nearly $1500 to $1,900 for their part of work, from April and May 2017, but the earnings of that lady's job is showing only $125 dollars, yet she is continue to work for the client. I am not sure about her unethical practice on this contract, as none of the work in public domain.


I dig deeper and found one more contract, where I did not opt for one similar job of reviwing documents and the client has hired her and other three frelancers on upwork, except her all freelancers got paid nearly $2,500 to $3,000 in last six months, but she only got paid $250 for her work on last six months. She is still working on this contract.


She has a website called **Edited for Community Guidelines** and I think she may be using upwork to get client and get work but at the same time offering very competitive rates (without upwork fees) to cut-off competition. This is all happening under upwork nose and yet she is top rated and has more than 95% success score.



Community Manager
Vladimir G Community Manager Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
8 of 10

Hi Hemal,


Thank you for a detailed description of the behaviour you observed and suspicions you have. Can you please submit a support request with the job and freelancer details, and any other information that would help our team review the freelancer's profile and take action if a violation is identified? 

Active Member
Hemal G Member Since: Oct 13, 2016
9 of 10

Hi Vladimir,


Yes, I tried to register formal request, however I am unable to do so due to some technical reason.


Can you please create request on my behalf and I will provide all details.



Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
10 of 10

Hi Hemal, 

We'll have our team reach out to you via email so that you can relay your experience in detail.

~ Avery