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Unfair, unethical fees over 'expense reimbursements'

dantas
Active Member
Abel D Member Since: Jun 26, 2017
1 of 18

I'm working on a game for a client.
We decided to stick to using the upwork messaging system because it streamlines my workflow - even though it is buggy and under surveilance.

It's a hourly contract.

I needed a tool (third party software license) so I bought it.

 

The only way to get reimbursed is to ask the client to make a kind of 'bonus payment'.
That bonus payment is taxed by upwork.
So I'm paying a fee not over work that I'm doing for the client, but for a tool that is openly available for anyone to buy.

 

Don't bother suggesting that I should ask the client to pay the fee.

This fee makes no sense.
Upwork needs to think about how to develop a trust based relationship with freelancers and clients.

 

We are in the same boat, I don't see why you would want to make my life harder and the client's life harder and not just let me get reimbursed via paypal.

You already tax my income, isn't that enough?

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
BEST ANSWER
2 of 18

Abel:

This is how the system works.

 

I'm sorry that you have experienced some inconvenience because of this, but there is nothing you will be able to say here that will change this.

 

The way this works is NOT because of honest people such as yourself. The system works this way because there are dishonest people who would try to "game" the system by taking all their payment as an expense reimbursement as a way to avoid Upwork fees.

 

Upwork charges fees because that is how it makes money. If there were no fees, there would be no Upwork.

 

If you have your client reimburse your expenses via PayPal, or even if you discuss doing so, you are likely to have your account suspended or terminated. So my suggestion is to not even think about it.

 

What you CAN do is:

a) absorb the cost yourself.

b) have your client directly purchase needed resources and send you the files or license codes

 

You may not purchase something and ask the client to reimburse you through any means outside of Upwork.

 

Sorry.

View solution in original post

dantas
Active Member
Abel D Member Since: Jun 26, 2017
3 of 18

> ... there is nothing you will be able to say here that will change this.

 

Well, I only came here because I was directed by upwork support.
I was hoping that some project manager would at least skim through my post.

hodgesh
Community Guru
Kholleras I Member Since: Nov 24, 2015
4 of 18

This isn't exactly Upwork's fault. It's a precaution they must take to prevent people from getting paid off-platform. The dishonest freelancers are ultimately the responsible party. It would be foolish for Upwork to "trust" clients and freelancers because the latter continually do untrustworthy things.

dantas
Active Member
Abel D Member Since: Jun 26, 2017
5 of 18

That is not true, many freelancers are not untrustworthy, that is my point. Fostering that belief is proof that that something is wrong. The majority of freelancers that I know personally are very trustworthy.

Furthermore I'm not saying it is anyone's fault, just that this model is not sustainable.

If Upwork wants to be enforce rather than to set up a proper trust system, that is upwork's business, there are other alternatives out there, specially for freelancers that tend to have contracts spanning several months - the kind of freelancers that are very profitable for upwork.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 18

re: "Well, I only came here because I was directed by upwork support. I was hoping that some project manager would at least skim through my post."

 

I can assure you that this Forum IS the CORRECT place to discuss this issue.

 

We have discussed this matter before in worthwhile threads.

 

And, yes, there ARE Upwork employees whose job it is to read these threads and report back to management.

 

You're in the right place. Customer Support can not help you with this.

 

But, as I said, the matter has been discussed quite a bit in the past and there are not currently any plans to alter the expense reimbursement system.

 

dantas
Active Member
Abel D Member Since: Jun 26, 2017
7 of 18

Thanks for your help.

About:

"b) have your client directly purchase needed resources and send you the files or license codes"

 

That might actually be a solution in some cases, because in that way the fee would be avoided.
Personally I like to avoid having the client go through needless hoops.

Besides, sometimes that isn't possible at all, either due to the client's lack of tech proficiency or otherwise incapable of making the purchase and/or transfering files/licenses.

- - -

Like I said, I will absorb the cost, more than complaining I'm saying, to anyone that wants to listen, that this is a problem.

 

Upwork should use some resources to develop a proper trust based system for long term full-time freelancers (and perhaps for clients too) to allow some leeway and perhaps even provide services to freelancers and clients that deserve it.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
8 of 18

@Abel D wrote:

That is not true, many freelancers are not untrustworthy, that is my point. Fostering that belief is proof that that something is wrong. The majority of freelancers that I know personally are very trustworthy.

Furthermore I'm not saying it is anyone's fault, just that this model is not sustainable.

If Upwork wants to be enforce rather than to set up a proper trust system, that is upwork's business, there are other alternatives out there, specially for freelancers that tend to have contracts spanning several months - the kind of freelancers that are very profitable for upwork.


 Abel, do you have any idea how many freelancers try to cheat Upwork out of fees every single day? How many do it successfully? I don't, but just the small sampling we learn about here in the forums is pretty significant. You set forth a lovely belief in human nature, but it's not one that's viable for someone running an international business. What you suggest is akin to saying that an electronics store should just leave the doors open around the clock and leave out a bucket for people to deposit the correct amount of money in if they choose to take something. 

browersr
Community Guru
Scott B Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
9 of 18

Good people don't tend to ally themselves with bad people. So looking at your circle of friends as a statistically significant sampling of all freelancers on this platform, is misguided. 

 

You can use the bonus system and have the client add the additional percentage necessary to make you whole. If they are not technically capable of buying what is required themselves, then this should be thought of as a "convenience fee".

 

Explain to them how UW works. It's not your fault. It's the system you both agreed to work within.

dantas
Active Member
Abel D Member Since: Jun 26, 2017
10 of 18

I'm not only talking about my circle of friends, but of freelancers that I've hired here, through upwork.

There are still some good people in here (I think).

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