๐Ÿˆ
ยป Forums ยป New to Upwork ยป Job warning signs
Page options
expuser
Community Member

Job warning signs

When reading a job description, what causes you to go "Ut-oh!"? What red flags do you see in applications that at least puts you on your guard, if not actually skip to the next one? Here's some of mine (and others):

 

First and foremost The work is yours until you are paid in full. You own the copyright until you have been paid the agreed sum. If you choose to work for 15 cents per hour then that's your problem. If it takes longer than you thought..again, down to you. BUT. If you have done your bit according to the contract that you agreed, then the work is yours until it's paid for.

 

Asking for payment or to use your own accounts (Thanks Dave!) Money comes from the client to you; anything else and you're doing it wrong. Do not ever (unless you know the client really well, and give it second thoughts even then) pay for something for the client unless you have received the money from them first. Deposit for something; webhosting accounts; domain name; subscription for site X that is "essential for the job" etc etc. No money. Ever. Similarly, do not use your own eBay, Craigslist etc. accounts to list things for sale...chances are high that it will end badly and wreck any good karma you have built up there. And it'll be you in the frame if it turns out that it was illegal.

 

"Bait and Switch" (Thanks Selcalmel!) Clients advertise one job and then offer a different job at interview. Now there can be valid reasons for this; but a big difference between the job description and the work you're being offered should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Mostly on oDesk it's either jobs that you wouldn't have applied for if the job was described honestly or changing the rules to try and get the price down.

 

Too many people being interviewed This can be a sign that the buyer is dividing the job up and giving the various parts as a 'test' to applicants...with the intention of getting the job for free. It could just be that the buyer is looking for a very specific set of skills, or other innocent motive, but maybe not.

NOTE: (Thanks Brandon!) This also applies to the client's history...check the total number of jobs posted versus people hired. If there are a load of jobs posted but few contracts awarded, then proceed with caution.

 

Only low bidders being interviewed If you're not one of the low bidders on that job then it's probably not worth applying.

 

Long list of demands, silly budget We've all seen them; the jobs for an all-singing, all-dancing website for $100, followed by either a HUGE feature list and/or a long list of qualities required by the contractor. Luckily for you, the buyer is advertising the fact that they are a wanker (behaviour which is unlikely to change if you were unfortunate enough to land the contract). This buyer knows the market well enough to know exactly what they want; and must therefore know that the budget is exploitative...move on. And as a corollary to the above (Thanks Louis!):

 

People who bellow orders, often in capitals "SUCH SUCH WILL NOT BE READ I IF [insert term].... OTHERWISE I WILL DELETE YOUR APPLICATION IMMEDIATELY". Or "MUST ATTACH SUCH AND SUCH OTHERWISE YOU ARE WASTING MY TIME". Some people -presumably after watching Alan Sugar or that twat Trump- think that this is how bosses should behave. I see it mostly as a sign of either someone being new to being in a position to call the shots and is a bit insecure about it, or someone who is a natural git. In either case your job will be more difficult because of it. Also, these types of application are frequently paired with a ridiculous budget. Any buyers who are reading this should note that this isn't the way to go about things...also all capitals make it harder to read and you're increasing the chances of applicants missing an important detail. Annoying people before they've even applied for your job cannot possibly help. Am I the only one, by the way, who feels the impulse to reply in kind?: "Listen up bitch. I reckon I can do it in 10 hours which'll cost you $450 and if that isn't good enough then you can just **Edited for Community Guidelines** would be a fairly short application, probably.

 

Mention of half-finished job/previous contractor/s There are two factors here...sorting out what someone else has done often takes longer than just doing whatever it is from scratch. You will very probably be inheriting a hairy-arsed nightmare. The other factor -and a question you should be asking yourself (and the buyer, come to that)- is exactly why the previous contractor didn't finish. It does happen that buyers get a run of bad luck with contractors (often after playing in the lower budget ranges), so it isn't necessarily the buyer's fault. On the other hand, it could be. Rescuing a client from a wall-to-wall catastrophe at the 11th hour is one of the best smug feelings you can get as a freelancer; but these jobs are high-risk...you need to ascertain for yourself that the buyer is genuine before getting in too deep. A note to any buyers reading this: If you've already been through two or more contractors and you still don't have a result, you need to seriously consider throwing a match in and starting with fresh code. I've had jobs where it took significantly longer to find out what the hell the previous guys had done than it would have taken to just bin everything and do the job. And with other people's code, you can never be 100% sure that you haven't missed something important/broken/nasty.

 

One-line descriptions Buyers quite often don't know the information that a contractor needs in order to produce a final product the client will be happy with; that's not a problem and it's the contractor's job to ask the right questions. But when you see a job like "I need a website. Plz replie", just move on. If they can't be bothered, then neither can I.

 

Payment method not verified Sign either of a first-time user or a scammer. If the unverified user is overly familiar with the way oDesk works...warning! If it's a first time user, you may well have to do some unofficial oDesk support and talk them through it. And you might still get scammed at the end.

 

Anything where you have to create a user account on another site (that isn't the site you're working on) before you start. No. Just no.

 

Business plan with failure built in As a webdesigner, I hear 10 plans for world domination before breakfast. Some job descriptions have fail built into the very fabric of the scheme. The worst ones are the ones where you have to mess around with NDAs and soothe the buyer that you're not going to be over the horizon with his masterplan (which often as not turns out to be another bloody facebook or youtube clone). *sigh*

 

Jobs where 'clients' are mentioned I don't really like sub-sub contracting. Firstly there's there's the thought of the buyer sitting on his arse collecting cash for my work; which rankles a bit. Secondly -and more important- is the 'Chinese Whisper Effect'; where the original client's specs is filtered through the middleman's idea of what the end-client wants. These specs may well not be accurate. You *will* be doing extra work because of this. The same applies to large companies where an underling has been given the task and is now offloading it onto you; but in this case the specs are more often written down. The worse case in this latter scenario can be where it's a committee and everyone present has to get a design change in there -no matter how pointless- just to get their name in the minutes of the meeting.

 

"It will only take 5 minutes" No it won't. No job in the history of contracting has ever taken only 5 minutes. It takes longer than that to liase with the potential client, for a start.

 

Jobs that aren't worth it ((Your hourly rate) * (Number of hours you think it will take)) + (Say 10% safety margin for extra missions/unexplained bits) = (Your price for the job). If there's not enough money or not enough time, then it's usually best to move on.

 

Anything that mentions CAPTCHA or removing watermarks It's naughty. Don't.

 

Web scraping Nah. Probably illegal (copyright) and definitely immoral. You're stealing someone else's work. Worse...you're automating stealing someone else's work.

 

Jobs where it looks like a reasonable budget for the job until you read the description and it turns out that the budget is a monthly wage for full-time work of the same type This is annoying and wastes time.

 

Non-profit organisation (Thanks Mahesh!) A non-profit organisation is not the same thing as a charity. Some are, of course, but some are tax dodges, some are for groups of people, with the aim of the organisation being something you don't necessarily approve of..."Mothers in support of the ruthless oppression of Brits in Spain"; "White supremacy"; "Black supremacy"; whatever. Or -as Mahesh points out- it could just be weasel-wording for the fact that they haven't made any money.

 

Buyers asking for free work samples/tests (Thanks Anna!) It is the buyer's right to ask, just as it is your right to refuse. It's also discouraged by oDesk. All the veteran contractors (including me) will advise against free samples and in any case that's what your portfolio is for...to show previous examples of work and the standard that you're capable of. For contractors it just is not worth it...if there's 30 applicants to the job, you're spending time doing work for a 1 in 30 chance of getting a job. You can spend your entire life doing this and not make a penny. Now that I've said all that, a free sample is what landed me my first job on oDesk...someone wanted a graphic vector conversion and -having some free time- I just did it and sent an (unusable) sample graphic in. The buyer didn't demand a sample (I would not have applied if that were the case), but I proved I could do the job by doing it. Traditionally in design work, it used to be the case that the designer offered several alternate designs; but those were for *much* larger-budget jobs. It isn't worth even considering for the sort of jobs that are at oDesk. If you do choose to give free samples, always watermark them (Thanks Ernesto!). In the case of writing samples, send them as a graphic or locked PDF so that the text can't be used without paying you.

 

Free work samples - Part II If the buyer is asking for free samples and if it's the sort of job that can be broken up into smaller tasks then pay extra attention; and also look closely at the number of people being interviewed.

 

"Great opportunity for newbies" (Thanks Judith!) This means that a buyer is offering a risably small budget for work in exchange for giving you feedback. This is either feedback blackmail or investing time in order to get in the game, depending upon your point of view. You are definitely being taken advantage of; but really it's your decision...as long as you go into it with your eyes open and as long as it's all agreed at the start. Buyers trying to use feedback to change the terms after the job has started, however, should be reported.

 

Vague specifications (Thanks Louis!) It's harder to work with vague specifications, mostly, but you see quite a lot of jobs with insufficient detail. If you're extremely lucky, it's a buyer who wants this Thing to perform this Function; is busy; has correctly assessed your level of competence; and trusts you to get 'er done. This is rare. It is, however, also difficult to write job descriptions with exactly the right amount of detail. Insufficient detail could be due to laziness; unfamiliarity with the oDesk system; lack of knowledge (which is after all why the buyer is getting a professional in)...lots of reasons. The best way of approaching this -I believe- is to use the application letter and interview to clear up any ambiguities and to focus in on the specs so that you and the client both agree on what the job actually is and where the boundaries are. If you start the job and only have a vague idea of what the client wants, you are going to have problems. Possibly big problems if the job description also states...

 

Unlimited redo A job description containing these words should be approached with caution. Particularly with website work, as you're essentially agreeing to maintain it forever as part of the deal. Add a bit of mission creep to a contract like this and you're in a world of hurt. I always specify 'reasonable amount of re-do' in the cover letter. It's a contract and you should never agree to something that can suck up an infinite amount of your time for free. I understand that buyers want their work the way they want it and the 'unlimited' is mostly just a way of ensuring that their needs will be met. You, the contractor, also needs to ensure that you're covered, so best to renegotiate this phrase.

 

"Send us ID" This is not needed to work at oDesk. Don't do it or you will be very sorry. Verify who you are through oDesk, if you must, but ***NEVER*** send ID; bank account details, PayPal, eBay or any other information that can be used by ID-theft types.

 

Write to me outside of odesk This isn't necessarily a problem...everyone has their preferred methods of communication. At the first hint of paying outside of oDesk you should run away quickly: It's against oDesk rules; will get your account terminated if you're caught; and you will probably get stiffed by the buyer anyway.

 

Phishing (Thanks Santos!) The way this works is that someone sends you a link (usually an obscured one like "http://bit.ly/whatever"). This takes you to a page that *looks like* a login page to a common internet service (Gmail, Paypal, Amazon, whatever), but isn't. What the page is, is a copy of that login screen and the idea is that you type your password in and it gets captured by naughty people. It's then standard practice to use that email/username/password on lots of other common services to see if they work. If you 1) fall for it and 2) use the same password everywhere, you're stuffed. Don't trust an obscured link; and ALWAYS check the URL on a login screen, just to make sure you're in the place you think you are. Personally, I go a little further than that and keep a link with my (encrypted) password file and I only use my local link to visit web services.

 

Good luck out there!

977 REPLIES 977
debbie-knight
Community Member

I'm new -- what is oDesk?

 

Thanks!

Hi Debbie, 

Welcome to Upwork! Elance-Odesk was the former name of Upwork. ๐Ÿ™‚


~ Avery
Upwork

thank you, Avery!!

daisypeasblossom
Community Member

Also beware of clients who want song lyrics, then ask you to provide the background music. If you are a musician who can come up with original music, and can either program or play well enough to do this -- go for it. But if the client asks you to use an existing popular song -- RUN!!!! 

 

Here are some lyrics I wrote in response to a would-be song publicist who wouldn't take no for an answer:

 

Copyright

 

Copyright is where the author, the musician, the artist

Own the thing that they have made.

They own it โ€“ Intellectual property rights

Same as if it were a sock or a blade.

 

Parody

Puts you in jeopardy

Those might be your words โ€“

But you stole the melody.

 

Copyright means the words that I write

Are mine to do with as I please.

I can give away or sell to you that right

Then it is yours free as the breeze.

 

Common use is for students,

Educators, and for critiques;

Careful how you observe precedents

Not everything is legal.

 

So reach down inside your soul

For the Creativity that is your own

Or buy a creation fair and squareโ€”

With a contract that makes it not a loan.

 

Parody

Puts you in jeopardy

Those might be your words โ€“

But you stole the melody.

 

Copyright is where the author, the musician, the artist

Own the right to copy the thing that they have made.

They own it โ€“ Intellectual property rights

Just as if it were a sock or a blade.

 

 

haydenscott
Community Member

Thanks for writing this extensive list of warning signs. Without a doubt, when the client is

looking to interview between thirty and fifty people it's a turn-off. I avoid replying to those

ads. No previous Upwork history/verified payment method is another red flag.

 

"I can pay $1 for 500 words." That's an oldie but a goodie. These clients are everywhere.

 

 

dwik-nader
Community Member

great list (y) too sad though
the trending jobs now are the 5$ budget ( not talking about the jobs where they just put in 5$ because upwork requires to put a numbr) and the ' it's a simple job takes only 1 mintue' .. holy mother of nature

nursarahlam
Community Member

Wow, what a great list. Thanks!

helenmoy
Community Member

Hi guys,

 

I'm new here, so just wanted to confirm my instinct is correct!

 

I got an invitation to interview today, with just the message "please review job posting and apply if available". The job posting has only a "company name", zero information, new user, no verified payment method.

 

I'm guessing this is a scam of some sort and it's best to just decline the interview?

 

Thanks

Helen


@Helen M wrote:

Hi guys,

 

I'm new here, so just wanted to confirm my instinct is correct!

 

I got an invitation to interview today, with just the message "please review job posting and apply if available". The job posting has only a "company name", zero information, new user, no verified payment method.

 

I'm guessing this is a scam of some sort and it's best to just decline the interview?

 

Thanks

Helen


Approach with caution. If you get far in the interview, say you don't accept payment outside of Upwork. That usually weeds out the scammers. If they agree to pay you here, insist they get verified first. Not all of these jobs are bad, but you have to know how to weed out the ones that are truly bad and the ones that are just new to Upwork. One of my recent clients was new and hadn't verified his payment method yet, but I told him he needed to before we could get started and he did, and there was no issue. Smiley Very Happy

Thanks, Keri, for your reply.  I was just signing on here to ask the same question.  Perhaps I received an invitation from the same outfit.  

 

I'll proceed with caution, as you advise.

 

Ruth

aspire2016
Community Member

Hello I am new here and this list is very helpful. I too got an invite for an interview and they said no cover letter etc was necessary to apply. I did apply and now they tell me I am shortlisted and are asking me to send in a completed W-9 form and a SELFIE with any government issued identification. Is this the norm? Thanks in advance for any help.

Pallavi:
As I client, I almost always try to avoid asking for cover letters, because I'm not interested in them when hiring artists and writers. I'm interested in the contractor's portfolio.

 

So simply skipping the cover letter doesn't mean that you have encountered a bad job posting.

 

BUT the other details you describe:

Asking for a completed W-9 form and a selfie with government identification... these are very unusual things to ask for.

 

I will be straight up honest with you and tell you that I would personally NOT send these things to a prospective client. I believe these things are NOT necessary for any real Upwork client to ask for.

 

USUALLY, any client on Upwork telling you that you are "shortlisted" is just trying to run a scam on you. Usually any client asking you to fill out a W-9 form or asking to see government ID is running a scam, and has no intention of ever paying you any money.

 

HOWEVER, I believe it is possible for an honest company or client to ask for these things, even though it is inappropriate to do so, if they are unfamiliar with how Upwork functions.

 

If I was looking for work, and maybe didn't have much experience yet, I might be willing to send a selfie picture with me holding my government ID (driver's license/passport), but I would make sure that I examined the photo closely enough, at full resolution, to make sure that the photo makes it clear that this is real ID, but that no numbers or contact info can be gleaned from the photo. Even if it meant I had to decrease the resolution or intentionally blur the numbers, address, etc.

 

And I would tell them that the W-9 information is on file with Upwork, so they don't need to worry about it. I would tell them if they need that info or have questions about it, "just contact Upwork customer support and they'll get you whatever you need."

 

But I'm not going to fill out a W-9 and send it to a client. Because that is something employees to, and Upwork is not a means by which clients hire employees. It is a platform through which clients/customers hire freelance contrators.

One of the benefits of working through Upwork is NOT having to share personal information. Upwork provides a layer of protection between freelancers and clients so that the freelancer does not have to share information that would make him or her vulnerable to identity theft. DON'T -- DO NOT -- share that level of personal information. 

 

Furthermore, accepting pay other than through Upwork is a violation of the Upwork/Freelancer contract. If the job is truly interesting, you might try informing the client and directing him or her to the Help Desk. Newbies sometimes don't understand the hiring and payment process.

 

As always, the folks who man the help desk are excellent and are very good at fielding this kind of question.

davidd1008
Community Member

Something I've noticed particularly in the writing gigs but may be present in other areas:

 

Keep a look out for a post that is asking for you to be well-versed on a variety of topics or in a variety of areas that don't seem to go together.

 

Specifically for my fellow writers, when I see a job that says something like this:

 

"you must be familiar with a wide array of subjects such as marketing and business, travel, elephants, clouds, and cooking" .....

 

... I say to myself that this is a marketing agency that is looking to sub-sub contract out some blog or article work. While this doesn't make it bad in and of itself, just be careful and know what you're getting yourself into. 

Sometimes those are really interesting, however. I've been working for such a company for over a year now and they have become the solid bread and butter part of my writing income.

aspire2016
Community Member

Preston,

Thank you so much for your detailed reply. This was very helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚

I will keep all of these points in mind and proceed with caution henceforth.

Regards,
Pallavi.
joanncastillo
Community Member

Thanks for the heads up.  

 

I recently got interviewed on a job with good benefits listed like health (including dental) insurance, paid leaves, etc.  During the interview, I was informed that after 3 months, they will pay for the set-up of my office at home, then he told me I'll get $45/hr.  When he said those things, I already knew he was trying to scam me because it was obvious that he was just copying and pasting everything that he was saying without even reviewing my application.  It was clear on my application that I have a home office and his offer is more than twice my rate.  No one ever doubled my rate, what usually happens is they haggle. Then he told me I will need several software and that I should pay for it because they need to send it to me with the laptop.  He asked me for $550.00!!!!  ๐Ÿ˜„  

 

I still see some job posts like that and whenever I see one, I report it to Upwork.  

 

 

No freelancer gets benefits.  NONE.  EVER.

Absolutely! They pay us, we don't pay them. I'd give you two Kudos for this one if I could.

sunnyji
Community Member

Hello,

 

I am a new member at upwork hoping to freelance as a Korean to English translator. These tips are really helpful! If anyone has additional advice or guides on how to get started, it would be much appreciated. 

bespokejokebloke
Community Member

To be honest the biggest risk for me is when a job asks you to specify "lotion or hose."

 

But seriously this is an excellent list of warnings.

 

One I would add is

 

"I had a bad experience with a previous freelancer" or "I was let down in the past by a freelancer."

 

Yup we all get let down in life, but if you feel the need to moan about it to somebody you never met.  Then usually you're not going to be a reliable employer.

 

Perhaps a good principle is to look at a job advert like a Tindr or Grindr profile.  And if it starts ringing those alarm bells then just walk away.

 

 

sboiss68
Community Member

Injust accepted 2 jobs for cutting checks, both a monthly fee which I'm ok with its a decent amount, but now my concern is that one is sending a PDFs of checks that need to be edited along with a list of names and pre-paid postage and the other (who started out with a contract) wants me to actually create checks for him.  I'm getting very Leary of both and to top it off when I look in my current jobs page there is nothing there.  Does this sound familiar to anyone. I get the feeling it's a scam.

Samantha:

You have managed to get scammed in multiple ways, all in the same scam "job."

 

This is good news, though, because this condenses your learning curve rather than stretching it out across multiple jobs.

 

You have been wasting your time with these people. Stop communicating with them. Learn more about how Upwork works. Read the rules. Read threads about scams here in the Community Forum.

 

You CAN succeed and earn money here on Upwork, but not with your current level of knowledge.

re: "when I look in my current jobs page there is nothing there."

 

When you check your "My Jobs" tab and see that nothing is there, it means that you are working for free. You will not be paid.

 

I don't think you'll get arrested. But I'm certain you won't be paid.

 

re: "a monthly fee"

 

A "monthly fee" is not really an Upwork thing. That's a scammer thing.

lysis10
Community Member


@Samantha B wrote:

Injust accepted 2 jobs for cutting checks, both a monthly fee which I'm ok with its a decent amount, but now my concern is that one is sending a PDFs of checks that need to be edited along with a list of names and pre-paid postage and the other (who started out with a contract) wants me to actually create checks for him.  I'm getting very Leary of both and to top it off when I look in my current jobs page there is nothing there.  Does this sound familiar to anyone. I get the feeling it's a scam.


lol did ya tell them you'll use white out and just kinda replace the names really really gud and then mail them back? Cuz that seems super legit! 

Hi Samantha,

 

I have forwarded the job you are referring to to the team for a review and so they can take appropriate actions. Please, always make sure you have an active contracts on Upwork and all the payments are made via Upwork before you start working with a client.

 

Also, many new freelancers choose to only accept interviews with clients with established reputation on Upwork, verified payment method and higher hire rate. Many freelancers notice that once they fully complete their profile they manage to attract more professional freelancers so you can try doing that as well.

~ Valeria
Upwork
giehdecker
Community Member

Thank you so much for posting this. 

krantzediting
Community Member

I'm curious how folks feel about providing an email for easier communication. I'm new to Upwork, and very cautious. Do you all prefer to work through Upwork only?

Thanks!

I don't mind providing an email. I have one set up for this kind of communication. 

 

However, I don't provide additional information such as social security number, bank account number or personal ID. That's what Upwork is for -- a layer of protection against identity theft or fraud.

 

If you feel nervous about a communication, tell them to stick to Upwork. You might lose a few accounts, but most will understand.

Hi Briana,

 

I do all jobs over upwork. However most chats , calls are done on Skype. It is not Ideal as you have nothing in writing in upwork. Its just a habbit that creeps in once you had the interview on skype. So far so good. I had only one client where the whole converstion was on upwork. I felt better doing it on upwork as well as he wanted me to do facebook ads and others, but didnt provide me with the access to do so. 

berl_diane
Community Member

Thanks for the warning signs. I'm new to Upwork and all I keep getting is invitations to scam jobs. Almost all the replies I've had are from people who tell me to do the invitation via Hangouts.

One time I did it and was supiscious immediately when the "interviewer" gave me the name of the company and while I was chatting with him, I googled the company and it was in India but the job description said US company.

I'm trying to find legitamate work from home job/jobs and I'm beginning to feel like I should take my profile down as all I'm getting is scams.

 

Diane Berl

 

Diane, do NOT reply or respond to invitations. You are too new to receive legitimate invitations.

 

I receive invitations every week - real ones. You will not. You need experience first.

 

Focus only on jobs that you apply to.

Thank you, Preston. I will take your advice.

That was good advice from Preston. I'd like to add three tips:

 

1. Keep putting in applications. It takes a while to build reputation, and you might have to take some jobs that really don't give much return monetarily.

 

2. Don't expect to be able to live on your income the first year, or maybe even the second. Legitimate business takes a while to build up -- even free lancing through an agency like Upwork. My average weekly writing income was $35.00 the first year; these days, I can expect to earn about $200 a week. It varies, depending on whether or not I'm working on a long job that consumes time but takes longer to see a return.

 

3. If it makes you uncomfortable, don't take it. Especially if the client is asking for explicit material, gruesomely graphic material, or a hard sell that involves pharmaceuticals of any kind.

 

Don't give up. It does get better.

richard_toland
Community Member

I just wanted to correct one thing on this list that most freelancers may not be aware of...

 

not only is doing free samples or tests as part of the process discouraged by Upwork, it is against the ToS altogether. Clients are not allowed to ask for such things unless they are willing to pay for the time to do them. Upwork advises that any such post or client request be reported when it happens to help protect against scams.

 

And if your wondering how that is a scam... here's how it works. The client posts that they need a 30 page catalog redesigned. They ask you and others bidding to design just one page to see if they like it or whatever other reason. Well then they get 20 to 30 designs from people. They pick the one they like and simply clone it over 30 times and change the information. End result... they got a 30 page catalog redesigned for free, no one gets hired to do the job, and Upwork makes no money. And on top of that, the odds of you ever finding out that they used your design are pretty slim.

carpenter-will
Community Member

Okay, Gurus, here's one I can't seem to figure out.

 

I took a contract, the description seemed simple and when I talked to them on the phone, the description changed: basically, they wanted me to hack a data provider. I billed them for a few hours (five, I think) and told them that what they wanted was someone willing to do 10-15 in the Federal slammer. I figured they'd end the contract, then and there.

 

They didn't. They wanted a training guide, maybe with some interactive portions. I sent them a PPTx. (36 slides, based on a Word document they provided). It took 22 hours to put together, including time fixing their errors, and they were billed for over $800.

 

They called again, said they wanted a refund. They proposed terms, I proposed terms and they sent me an email with even worse terms (from $800 to $115), saying the only way they could make the adjustment on their end is to dispute the transaction "which will tarnish your record on upwork so its better from your end." which strikes me as an implicit threat.

 

My work isn't just on Upwork -- I have a brick and mortar presence, too. Normally, if a client IRL did this, I'd throw him out and take him to small claims court for the work done, but this is Upwork, not the "real world."

 

What happens if (a) I end the contract, cold, before being paid for the work done? and (b) If they try to follow through on their threat to damage my feedback/reputation?

 

 

Jus' askin'.

 

PS, if any of you staffers respond, I'll happily forward the email he sent to wherever it needs to go. This guy's a menace to freelancers.

 

You need to flag the original job post and open a ticket with Customer Service for sure.  I'm sure the moderators will have something to say about all of this.


@Mary W wrote:

You need to flag the original job post and open a ticket with Customer Service for sure.  I'm sure the moderators will have something to say about all of this.


 Well, I flagged it, dunno if I got the right category. I suspect I didn't. Also, can I initiate a collection action against them if they don't pay up? Or is that against the ToS? I suspect the IRS would look more kindly on my taking it off taxes as a loss, if I did.

 

While I'm thinking about it, can I borrow some of those 'gators? I'll ship them to the [Company That Will Remain Nameless Because of Community Guidelines and Because They Aren't Worth Mentioning].

 

 

Hi Will,

 

Could you please submit a ticket with screenshots of your conversation with the client where they threatened to give you bad score unless you refund? The team will review the evidence and assist you further with this situation. 

 

You can end a contract any time and provide an honest feedback. Note however, that the client will have 14 days to provide their feedback on the contract as well and it will show publicly as long as there is at least $1 paid on the contract.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Done.

 

 

Latest Articles
Featured Topics
Learning Paths