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skyjiao
Community Member

from Dispute to Arbitration: irresponsible and unresponsive Upwork mediator

For those who are curious about Dispute and Arbitration, here is what happened to me.

 

I had an open dispute with a client on a contract and finally went to arbitration. After I funded the 291 dollars arbitration fee the 20th Nov (with approvable record), the Upwork's mediator said, and i quoted the exact words,

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Then after 8 days, the Nov 28, the mediator said, and I quoted the exact word,

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

So it's been over 5 days, the client didn't pay the fee, this case should be closed based on the first message. However, the mediator gave the client 2 more days to proceed with no legal reason, which in total counts as 10 days since I funded the arbitration fee, way over the 5 days period as said by the mediator self. 

Moreover, today is the 4 Dec, another 5 days passed, I still have not received any response from the mediator.

 

So overall, I funded the arbitration fee the 20th Nov, and the client should have only 5 days to pay his part. Today is the 4th Dec, 14 days passed, the client have not paid, the mediator didn't respond to my dispute ticket, and the dispute is still hanging. Very horrible experience, especially from the Upwork's employee who's been keeping giving me false promise and wrong information.

 

I have to ask a moderator here in the forum to further investigate my case and resolve it asap. Replace the unresponsive and irresponsible mediator if possible. 

 

We all know Upwork is favoring clients over freelancers, but there should be a bottom line. 

20 REPLIES 20
iamchunchunchun
Community Member

I'm sorry to hear your experience, and thank you so much for sharing this with us! I always wondered how the arbitration process actually works.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Yang,

 

I reviewed our communication with both parties and can confirm that although our agent didn't take an ortodox approach, allowing any party (freelancers and clients alike) more time in order to confirm they understand the procedure before continuing with the process is in line with our team's procedure, since due to the nature and impact of the final step in the dispute process we do want to make the implications of the users' actions or lack of absolutely clear. Our agents do offer personalized support and are allowed to take an additional step if they find it necessary in order to ensure both parties are aware of the key terms and dates. Our team will follow up with an update on your ticket soon and share more details directly, apologies for the inconvenience the delay in releasing the Escrow funds has created on your end.

~ Vladimir
Upwork
kfarnell
Community Member

That appears to contradict the description of the process given at https://www.upwork.com/legal/fp/ which specifies five days. Can you indicate where the information regarding the agent's ability to override these terms appears?

petra_r
Community Member

“Helping parties understand the terms and key dates” by completely ignoring the key term and key dates and hence putting the other party at a significant disadvantage is ridiculous.

 

It is not “helping” - it is interfering.

 

It means the freelancer in this case made a decision based on the terms and dates and deadlines he was given, just to find that Upwork unilaterally overrode this, potentially costing the Freelancer a lot of money.

 

That’s disgraceful and sounds like hogwash to me. Giving someone more time is ONLY ever acceptable if it is not disadvantaging the other party in an already fraught situation.

 

Unacceptable.

Kim,

 

This was a unique case where the release of funds was delayed because the agent needed to re-confirm the client's response. It typically doesn't happen and the team replied to Yang with more information. The funds just have been released from Escrow to him.

 

We apologize for the delay.

~ Valeria
Upwork

@ Valeria - I understand that the agent chose to confirm the client's response a second time (whether it's typical is nothing to do with the price of fish) and ask again where  the ability to override the conditions (and under what criteria) as outlined in the link I gave is described.

Kim,

 

The agent has to follow the procedure described in ToS and the funds should be released on time. This case was reviewed by the agent's team lead and necessary clarifications will be provided.

~ Valeria
Upwork

'The agent has to follow the procedure described in ToS '

 

@ Valeria: At the risk of being boring, you still haven't pointed me to the part of the ToS  that covers the agent's ability to do as described. It's either at xxxx link, or it doesn't exist. 

petra_r
Community Member


@Kim F wrote:

'The agent has to follow the procedure described in ToS '

 

@ Valeria: At the risk of being boring, you still haven't pointed me to the part of the ToS  that covers the agent's ability to do as described. It's either at xxxx link, or it doesn't exist. 


Reading between the lines I think Valeria is saying that the agent has to follow the rules and did not do so on this occasion, which will be addressed internally (as it should be)

kfarnell
Community Member

'Reading between the lines' etc.

 

@Petra: I realise (am less dense than I might look) but not everyone reading here is as good at between-line reading as they might be... Explicit responses are always worth asking for.

petra_r
Community Member


@Kim F wrote:

'Reading between the lines' etc.

 

@Petra: I realise (am less dense than I might look) but not everyone reading here is as good at between-line reading as they might be... Explicit responses are always worth asking for.


 You don’t look dense at all, and sometimes the policy sensitive company line, with the info between the lines, will have to do 😉


@Valeria K wrote:

 

This was a unique case where the release of funds was delayed because the agent needed to re-confirm the client's response.


For 9 ((NINE)) days over and above the 5 both parties have? Almost twice as long as the deadline on top of the deadline? First giving the client 2 extra days, and then 7 more?

 

And that is fair.... how?

skyjiao
Community Member

Thank you guys for your help. The case is finally closed with fund released to my account. 

 

I'm very disappointed by Upwork in this case because it has taken way too long than it should have and it wasted a lot of my time. Do we need to raise our concern each time at the forum to draw Upwork's attention? What's the point of custom service's existence? 

 

The mediator of my case is clearly very irresponsible and even became silent at very critical moment but after two chats with two other CS agents, there is no way for me to complain about the mediator's behavior nor ask for another one. And the mediator still remained silient even after I asked both agents to let her get back to me asap. Not mentioned those illegal delays proposed by the mediator to the client without even asking me. It's very irratating. 

 

I hope upwork could conduct some indepth investigation on what happened in this case, especially on that mediator, and establish a standard prototype for each mediator to follow strictly in the future. 5 days means 5, not 9, nor 14. 

petra_r
Community Member

Yang, it's sorted out. You were paid, period.


Stop throwing the "illegal" word about. Maybe a procedural error was made. Nobody robbed a bank or killed a neighbour.

tlbp
Community Member

Oh of course, the word illegal is the wrong choice. In a civil case, the issues would be breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference, or fraud. We must make sure we use the right words, mustn't we? 

Valerie, 

It was the agent who deduced the 291 USD from my account when I confirm my intention to go through arbitration. If that agent needed more time to re-confirm the procedure to the client again, then she should have waited for client's confirmation to deduce my money. 

 

She deduced my money the 20th Nov, there is absolutely no excuse for her to extend 5 days to 9 days, then to 14 days up to today. If I didn't post on the forum, who knows how long would I still wait.

 

The mediator is clearly violating Upwork's ToS, there is no excuse. Further investigation has to be conduced. I even suspect whether the client offered that mediator extra money outside Upwork. 


@Valeria K wrote:

Kim,

 

This was a unique case where the release of funds was delayed because the agent needed to re-confirm the client's response. It typically doesn't happen and the team replied to Yang with more information. The funds just have been released from Escrow to him.

 

We apologize for the delay.


 

Yang,

 

I can confirm that there was no money offered by the client to the Upwork agent. This is not something we would allow.

As I noted earlier, we will clarify the process internally and make sure this doesn't happen in the future.

 

Thank you.

~ Valeria
Upwork
petra_r
Community Member


@Yang J wrote:

I even suspect whether the client offered that mediator extra money outside Upwork. 



 You are going several steps too far here now... Especially considering it's already solved. That is a serious accusation and you better have some proof before throwing stuff like that out there. Do you?

tlsanders
Community Member


@Vladimir G wrote:

Hi Yang,

 

I reviewed our communication with both parties and can confirm that although our agent didn't take an ortodox approach, allowing any party (freelancers and clients alike) more time in order to confirm they understand the procedure before continuing with the process is in line with our team's procedure, since due to the nature and impact of the final step in the dispute process we do want to make the implications of the users' actions or lack of absolutely clear. Our agents do offer personalized support and are allowed to take an additional step if they find it necessary in order to ensure both parties are aware of the key terms and dates. Our team will follow up with an update on your ticket soon and share more details directly, apologies for the inconvenience the delay in releasing the Escrow funds has created on your end.


 Vlad, this sounds like something you'd better check out with the legal team. Escrow is heavily rule-bound, and a freelancer who posted his $291 in reliance on the stated policy and ended up losing it because the client received extended time based on an internal policy not a part of the escrow contract (or vice versa) would likely have a valid claim for damages against the escrow agent.

gilbert-phyllis
Community Member

Petra hit the nail on the head.

 

 

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