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Upwork misguided me into working for a client with approved method of payment

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
11 of 22

Amanda L wrote:

Well, it is protection to a degree, but it is not a guarantee, and that's the difference. Hourly projects have a guarantee. We do get some protection on fixed price, and that's through the escrow system, and the automatic payment after 14 days. However, that does not protect us against fraud. Even on an hourly contract, you are only protected up to $2500. I've had a single contract go well over that in a week on an hourly contract. There is no complete guarantee or full/100% protection. There is reduced risk, but not zero risk. While it's clear this is true when reading the TOS, Upwork could do a better job educating new freelancers about the levels of risk and protection, so that freelancers can take additional steps when they vet clients. 

It's misleading. There really isn't any protection. Protection implies that your payment is protected in some way, but it's only escrow and no more "protection" than if I took a payment on Paypal. There is a charge on a card and that is it. I can get that from an escrow service.


Hourly protects you in some way even if there is a limit, so there is indeed payment protection.

Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
12 of 22
Yes, Jen, (can't quote on my phone so just saying who I'm responding to), but it's still only partial protection. My point is anyone coming here looking for 100% protection isn't going to find it.

This is why I won't take a job without a video call.
Active Member
Daniela C Member Since: May 4, 2015
13 of 22

This is the very informative response upwork gave me:

**Edited for community guidelines**

Active Member
Daniela C Member Since: May 4, 2015
14 of 22
I accepted a Client with verifyed method of payment that also made a full deposit for me to work. I completed the job after several days of intense work and submitted the project. He released the payment. After that upwork return the payment and said that the client was fraudulent. 
This is not only unreasonable but extremely careless of the Upwork Trust and safety team. 
They failed to provide security and have misguided me into believing that it was safe to work with the client in question. They take no responsibility for approving his payment method and deposit and by that giving me the confidence to work and finalise a project after several intense days of work. 
I understand Upwork duties are to  provide a secure method of work and payment across the web. If it is true that this client is fraudulent at least they have to question their security system and take responsibility for misleading me into believing that I could work with this client safely.
I am a top rated provider that has been working with Upwork formerly o-Desk since 2009. I have respected their terms and conditions and have proved being loyal to my clients and your company. I expect Upwork you reconsider the situation and take full responsibility and consequently pay me for the agreed amount.
Bojan S Moderator Member Since: Mar 9, 2018
15 of 22

Hi Daniela,


I apologize for the inconveniance this cause and for the delay in receiving an update. I'll go ahead and follow up with the team handling your case and you can expect to receive an update on your ticket directly.


Thank you for your patience.

~ Bojan
Active Member
Daniela C Member Since: May 4, 2015
16 of 22

This is Upwork message, not responding to my message but repeating information I already have:

**Edited for community guidelines**

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
17 of 22


In the Forum, I always try to figure out what the original poster did wrong. Because if we can figure out what they did wrong, they can learn from their mistakes and simply not make the same mistake again.


Unfortunately, I don't think there is something you "did wrong."


You were unfortunate in this situation, which I really don't think was your fault. Your situation illustrates a clear imperfection in the system. Your fixed-price contract work was not protected from payment fraud.


So... what Jennifer already pointed out is one powerful take-home message: Your only true protection is to use hourly contracts and quality for Upwork Payment Protection while doing so.


That may provide no solace at this point. But it IS a real and very significant type of protection that Upwork offers. I have personally benefited a few times from Upwork Payment Protection.


The only possible suggestion I can think of for someone concerned about payment fraud who wants to continue using fixed-price contracts is that they could start only with small fixed-price contracts, only an hour or two worth of work at first. Make sure everything goes well with that, before moving on to larger contracts when dealing with a new/unknown client. MAYBE this could have helped if you had only worked a couple hours the first week and then saw them the very first payment failed to work out for you. But that is a clear "if." This approach wouldn't necessarily prevent all possible problems stemming from payment fraud.

Active Member
Daniela C Member Since: May 4, 2015
18 of 22

Preston, Thank you very much for your response. It always helps when someone takes the time to understand all the issues involved. Something Upwork did not.
I am a freelancer since 2009 and this is the first time something like this happens. I have made mistakes in the past but have never contacted upwork because I understood I did it at my own risk and therefor it was my fault.

This time I sincerely think is different and this is why I am trying to reach someone that takes me seriously. Upwork should take some kind of responsability for their lack of control and for misleading providers into beileving everything is safe.

I expect they compensate me, may be they could reduced their fees in some of my future projects utill I recover the amount lost in this project. I am a toprated freelancer and have been working with upwork since 2009 (formerly o-Desk) 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
19 of 22

Daniela C wrote:

Upwork should take some kind of responsability for their lack of control and for misleading providers into beileving everything is safe.

"Protection" does not mean you're 100% safe. If you ride motorbikes, a helmet and protective gear reduce your risk, but that does not mean you can't get hurt or die.


Upwork don't even pretend anything is 100% safe (Read the terms of service...)


The fixed rate payment protection is the same. It reduces your risk, but you can still get stung. That isn't Upwork's fault and your anger is directed at the wrong party. The person who hired you (presumably with a hacked or stolen credit card) is to blame.


Daniela C wrote:

I expect they compensate me

That isn't going to happen. The reason why you keep getting the same responses from Upwork repeatedly is because that is the only answer there is. 

Think of it this way: You've been on Upwork since 2009 and nothing like this ever happened to you before. You also remember the years before there was escrow, when there was no protection whatsoever at all... That means that in the overwhelming majority of cases, the (limited) amount of "protection" works just fine.

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

Daniela C.,


I very rarely use fixed price contracts and will use them even less frequently (and never with a new client) now that I see what your experience has been.


My limited experience with Upwork's payment protection on nearly 300 hourly projects over the past few years has been excellent, but claimed "protection" on fixed price projects that ultimately offers no protection at all when you follow the rules makes a mockery of the word.


Upwork should just clearly state that " payment protection is provide on fixed price projects, but following Upwork's rules will provide the freelancer some reduction of the risk to the freelancer that a client will not pay for work performed as agreed."