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Was hired for a commercial book review, but decided I'm not comfortable with it; can I cancel?

apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
11 of 18

 

 

I am wondering what the contract says. If it says, you get paid for reading a book and to leave you honest opinion on some pages it might be a bit bias. You will not leave a paid review but get paid for reading a book and share you opinion. Paid opinions usually have to be positive by default.


Since Upwork is investigating the issure, I probably shouldn't share the specifics, but the contract did mention leaving an opinion, with supporting information for that opinion, that the good and bad points of the book could/should be included, but also that the post/review shouldn't be entirely negative, and so on.

 

Honestly, it all seemed fairly straightforward to me at first, typical book review stuff, but then they asked if I had accounts on certain book review websites that I could use to post and I started to feel uncomfortable. It didn't help my unease that the original job posting said it was just going to be a simple blog post, not something I'd be submitting to a review site under my own personal username. And after doing some additional research into the whole commercial book review thing as a whole, I've decided that it's not to my taste. 

 


I think the best way is for the two of you to find a solution together.

I did try contacting the client again, more than once, to mention that posting paid reviews on the sites they wanted to use wasn't allowed and that I wasn't comfortable doing it (and also that something else came up that would have required me to cancel regardless, all other issues aside). 

 

I never heard back from them, although that could admittedly just be a time zone thing and they simply weren't online at the time. But either way, it's in Upwork's hands now; they're investigating the issue and assured me that I could cancel the contract at any time without any serious repercussions, so I did cancel it. I still feel a little guilty and embarassed about the whole thing, but overall I feel okay about my decision. And I suppose it's a good learning experience if nothing else.

charles_kozierok
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
12 of 18

I too appreciate that this is a tough spot and give you credit for trying to do what you feel is the right thing.

 

However, you made a commitment to the client by taking on the project.

 

If what you are being asked to do is flatly fraudulent -- such as being told to leave a good review regardless of how you feel about the book -- then the project probably violates TOS here and you can get it cancelled. Also, if what you are being asked to do is against the TOS of another site (e.g., Amazon) then you can also probably get it canned.


Otherwise, I'm not so sure. This is still somewhat of a gray area. If the client is paying you to "honestly" review the book but the payment creates bias, you're in a tough spot. But I'm not sure you can just refuse to do it.

 

Reading further, they may have "bait-and-switched" you, which again, I'd hope Upwork would help with, but I don't really know for sure.

 

"I also need to cancel because something came up with another work commitment and I no longer have the time to read the book anyway..."

 

You need to ensure that this never happens again. Time management is your responsibility, and short of a true emergency, commitments should always be honored. IMO, it is completely unacceptable for a freelancer to agree to do a job and then cancel because they are too busy. 

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
13 of 18

If details of a job after hire reveal it is not what you expected, the best thing to do is to exit quickly and without much explanation. A client who is knowingly doing something illegal or unethical doesn't want to be told that. 

 

So, "Oh, I thought you had planned to post my review as a blog article.  I don't think I can provide you with what you need. I'm going to go ahead and close the contract now." Then close the contract and hope the client can't be bothered to leave a bad review. (No review is better than a bad one in this instance.)

 

If you ever need to cancel a contract where the only problem where the time constraint, don't.  Try every solution other than bailing on a client to whom you've made a promise. If you must, ask for an extension and DON'T miss the new deadline.  Give the client the option to cancel and look for a replacement. But never just bail and tell them it is because you are busy with someone else. "Busy with someone else" = "You are less important to me than my other client." 

apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
14 of 18

If details of a job after hire reveal it is not what you expected, the best thing to do is to exit quickly and without much explanation. A client who is knowingly doing something illegal or unethical doesn't want to be told that. 

 


 I suppose that's true; I sort of wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt because it is possible that they just didn't understand what it was they were really asking; I'm sure most people don't really read the Terms of Service relating specifically to reviews or FTC regulations. But yes, if anything like this happens again (I certainly hope it doesn't, though!) I intend to quickly but politely extract myself from the situation and move on. 

 


 If you ever need to cancel a contract where the only problem where the time constraint, don't.  Try every solution other than bailing on a client to whom you've made a promise. If you must, ask for an extension and DON'T miss the new deadline.  Give the client the option to cancel and look for a replacement. But never just bail and tell them it is because you are busy with someone else. "Busy with someone else" = "You are less important to me than my other client." 


 Yes, that's very true. And honestly if I hadn't been having these other issues with the job, I would have been more than willing to push through and rearrange my workload so that I could make everything work; I've done that before for clients and never minded in the long-run. But since the job was making me uncomfortable anyway (and was apparently suspicious enough to prompt Upwork to contact me without me even submitting a report to them) I feel within my rights to have canceled the contract, even though it might be seen as rude. 

 

Thank you for the advice, though! It's very enlightening. Smiley Happy

apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
15 of 18

If what you are being asked to do is flatly fraudulent -- such as being told to leave a good review regardless of how you feel about the book -- then the project probably violates TOS here and you can get it cancelled. Also, if what you are being asked to do is against the TOS of another site (e.g., Amazon) then you can also probably get it canned.


Otherwise, I'm not so sure. This is still somewhat of a gray area. If the client is paying you to "honestly" review the book but the payment creates bias, you're in a tough spot. But I'm not sure you can just refuse to do it.

 

Reading further, they may have "bait-and-switched" you, which again, I'd hope Upwork would help with, but I don't really know for sure.

 

 


 As mentioned in earlier posts, this client asked me whether I'd be able to post the review on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble using my own personal accounts, which does in fact violate not just the Terms of Service for those sites but for Upwork as well. And Upwork has in fact, as can be seen in a previous posting in this thread, contacted me about the matter without prompting and begun an investigation of their own into the situation; they also assured me that I was well within my rights to cancel the contract if I wanted to and that there would be no repercussions considering the circumstances. 

 

I do appreciate your advice and perspective, though; thank you for your input!

g_vasilevski
Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
BEST ANSWER
16 of 18

Hi Alison,

Just to confirm the job post you are referring to was already removed and client's account addressed for violating Upwork ToS. 


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apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
17 of 18
Just to confirm the job post you are referring to was already removed and client's account addressed for violating Upwork ToS. 

 Okay, thank you very much for letting me know! I really appreciate all the help and advice that you (and the others here) have provided for me in this situation. I'm grateful that I can move forward from this issue now. Smiley Very Happy

charles_kozierok
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
18 of 18

Yay, happy ending. Smiley Happy

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