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Why isn't there any accountability for "Clients" who refuse to pay up??

Active Member
Kelly V Member Since: May 6, 2014
1 of 3
I don't understand why there doesn't seem to be any recourse available for a freelancer who gets stiffed on a non-hourly job. I understand that your policy states that payment is only guaranteed on hourly jobs, but why don't you at least have some sort of punishment/mediation system in place for the client who straight up stiffs a freelancer? I completed a job two weeks ago. We negotiated a fixed price, he agreed to pay me 50% upfront, the rest on completion. I fulfilled my portion of the contract; I completed the work well before the allotted time, and I have a message from the client stating he was very happy with my work, and that he wants to work with me in the future. He claimed to wants to give me lots of work, in fact. Great. I asked him to close out the completed job, and forward me the remaining $20 he owes me. And that's where it ends. I haven't gotten a single response, despite having sent several of my own inquiring about where the rest of my money is. This guy just basically STOLE my work, and the only thing I can do is close the job and leave him negative feedback. Just doesn't seem fair to me. Odesk caters to the client if they are unhappy, but does nearly nothing for the ripped off freelancer. As you can probably already see, I am not some hack who can barely put two sentences together. I'm good at what I do and I feel like Odesk should have an outlet for people in my situation. Some kind of reprimand, or warning, given to the random un-paying client to discourage them from doing it, and encouraging them to pay what they owe. Everything I have said I can prove with his written messages to me. What, if anything, can I do at this point?
Active Member
Exp U Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
2 of 3
Take out a support ticket and report the client. I believe -from what I've read in the forums- that oDesk will attempt to contact the client on your behalf. I also believe that oDesk do sanction client's accounts if they see repetitive fraudulent behaviour, so flagging the client may save somebody else; even if you never see the money. In truth, there isn't a lot oDesk can actually do if the 'client' is determined to scam. There are various hoops to jump through as a contractor; but the sole qualification for clients seems to be "does your credit card work?"; which means that even if they shut down the account, the guy can be back with a different name and a prepaid CC within the hour. When contacting support, make your case as simply as possible; attach any relevant evidence supporting your case and only use 1 ticket. I notice that you're in the US, so -if the client is also from there- you could take them to court. Doesn't cost that much for a civil case (in the UK, there's the Small Claims'd have to research what the equivalent is for you).
Heather W Employee Member Since: Aug 7, 2012
3 of 3
Hi Kelly, If it was article writing or something along those lines then you own the proprietary rights to that work. Try looking for your article or other work online and see if he is using it. If he is you should provide screenshots to support showing that he is using your work but did not complete payment on the contract. You can also notify him that he can be sued for using your work without making full payment on the contract. oDesk can also take action on his account if he uses your work and fails to pay the balance due. I hope this helps.