I was busy with a client last week when his contract was paused half way through. Client says there was a delay in getting funds through to Upwork, contacted me again today and said he is trying to sort it out.
I get an email today from Upwork saying above subject and then the following:
"Your client did not successfully complete payment to you for the week of 05/11/2015 - 05/17/2015. Anytime a client does not complete payment, Upwork will review the Work Diary and remove any time that is not covered under Upwork Hourly Protection. During our review we found that some or all of the hours logged did not qualify for Upwork Hourly Protection due to insufficient or vague memo. We would like to use this as an opportunity to notify you of the policy instead of processing a reversal of your payment"
So I was a bit peeved off as I always ensure I add memo's while I'm working, so I went to go review my memo's:
One memo set of about an hour said: checking server for php file. Screenshots clearly show me using putty to SSH into server and actively going through various search methods looking for a hacked php file sending spam.
Another memo set of about an hour as well said: Skyping with (CLIENT's NAME). Screenshots showed an active skype conversation taking place.
So I'm kind of confused at what would be vague or insufficient about that. I responded to the ticket which had been immediately closed, requesting more information regarding what they considering vague about these memo's.
I'm glad they didn't reverse any payment, or heaven forbid suspend my account, which seems to be happening a lot lately for any small thing.
It is a bit disconcerting that out of the blue emails like this arrive.
Shane, I'm glad to hear your account is still in good standing. Not that you seem to have done ANYTHING wrong. As for this email you have received, perhaps, just maybe, you had manual time in this clients work diary?
I'm super careful with manual time because I've heard reports of all sorts of scary things happening when freelancers use it a lot.
In addition, I've seen a fair amount of reports here in the forums from users who have had their accounts actually suspended after one of their client's payment methods went awry.
These freelancers, like you, have been around a good long time, are established in their field, and they uphold the Upwork TOS standards.
Like you said, because Support looks at our account when this sort of thing happens with our clients, we can indeed get in trouble for the lamest of reasons. Not at all approprite.
A couple of years ago I got an email saying my Profile Photo was not appropriate, even though I had been using it for 3 years or so. Needless to say, I didn't have a good CURRENT photo, so I had to upload something not very professional. It took almost a week for this to get approved, and meanwhile, I could not bid on jobs. Which really sucked because I was actively searching for new clients.
About a year ago, I managed to get some professional photos. This time, it took another week to be approved, though I don't recall not being able to bid this time around.
Needless to say, I am now super careful to do EVERYTHING by the book. Your experience with Support is not surprising. I've been SUPER lucky to not have had any major issues. But in the last year, all the tickets I did open were handled by a very lackluster group of reps who usually just provided "canned" responses and had no clue what I was really talking about.
You are indeed lucky that you just got a warning, even if it was for bogus reasons.
Thanks for your comments. Luckily none of the work had any manual time added to it, was all done via odesk timer, with memo's that I believed were comprehensive enough for client to cross check what I was up to.
Anyway, I just shrug it off and write detailed memo's now. My clients are going to wonder why my memo's have suddenly increased to about 20 words Haha. I will probably get an email in a few weeks telling me my memo's are too detailed.
Nice photo btw pandora Haha.
re: "I'm super careful with manual time because I've heard reports of all sorts of scary things happening when freelancers use it a lot."
Yeah... I think it is very unwise to use manual time very much unless you have a very good reason, such as if you have been hired to do a job that isn't on the computer (photography, cooking, talking on the phone, etc.)
A good client allows manual time and a good contractor uses it sparingly.
But if you do work that wasn't logged, it should be added via manual time.
Manual time is definitely meant for responsible contractors who have a good relationship with their client, though.
Sometimes unethical, irresponsible contractors have abused manual time just to get money, and those are the kind of people who should be purged from Upwork.
A client is wise to start with a limited number of hours for contractors they haven't worked with before. But once a contractor has proven himself, that he can really be trusted and that any time he logs is going to be of clear value to the client, then a wise client allows more hours and manual time, so as not to limit the contractor from moving the project along.
I agree with Preston.
I've used Manual time for 95% of my logged working hours without any dispute. However, I always make sure my client trust me explicitly first and they do after working with me in a day or two, perhaps after showing my first work in progress.
In return, I always make sure that I log accountable and reasonable hours, that even if they contest and ask people around, they would find out that I still have done it faster or exactly as the industry standard but with no error in the pipeline and has much higher quality.
Manual time is very useful and I want to dispel the notion that you should be scared of it. It is a tool for payment and anyone can maximize it's usefulness even if you work solely on your computer. I dont take fixed price contracts but I take on fixed price budgets on an hourly contract that they can control. This way I can have control of when I can schedule my withdrawals. Let's say they have 40X budget, I would consume half of that in the beginning and I would asked them to pause the project so they can be comfortably feel safe about it. However, after showing my first round of submission and talking to me, they wouldn't pause it anymore and actually adds more time as we go on because they see more potential in the projects as I work on it.
After 3 years of using Manual time, I just experienced what Shane B had. Though mine is a little different. My client got suspended and my last week's manual time was reversed. 50hrs of Manual time were refunded because my client failed to replace his credit card on time. Felt bad about it but I give my clients the benefit of the doubt and they also gave me and I know they will do right by me and will pay that exact amount that I lost in bonuses when they get their problems sorted out. Is it a hassle, it is. Like any business in real world, these stuff happens and it all boils down to having trust with you and your client.
Sorry to hear about the confusion caused by the message you received but I am glad your payment did not get reversed. We want to make sure that you get paid for the hours you worked and that's why the team reminded you about things that may cause reversals. I hope the issue with your client's payment method will get resolved soon.