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Upwork is presumably supposed to protect the buyer's interests. In actuality they couldn't care less what happens to the customers after the payment clears. I happened to order SEO service through the platform. The service was horrible and I left a review. The seller got upset and after the payment cleared deleted the work he had done and sent threatening emails. Upwork couldn't care less. Initially they pretended to "investigate", which turned out to be a lie. After 62 emails they said that don't really care what happens after the order clears, refused to assist and eventually ignored my further emails. Looking at the reviews the company is receiving, it seems that I'm not the only one who has been mistreated, and this type of deception and disdain is a practice they engage in quite often. Beware and stay clear!
Hired a company to complete a website. They did not complete the job. Paid $850 with $450 in escrow. Sent messages to Elance indicating the provider was not responsive and did not complete the job. Elance told me if the provider did not agree to the terms no funds will be released. Elance released funds automatically after telling me they would not unless the provider accepted the terms then told me that they would charge me $895 to arbitrate the matter. They ignored the dispute resolution phase which is supposed to be mandatory and said I did not agree to pay the $895 to arbitrate. Clearly Elance did not read the emails and allowed the provider to keep the money because they get paid a percentage of what the provider earns. I sent correspondence from support but nothing.
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Two years ago I was hired through Elance. I completed my assigned task and the company transferred the earnings as requested. I am still waiting for the earnings to be made available to me. They said first I needed to add a profile picture which I couldn't do due to an error on their site. Then they said I needed to make an appointment on Skype to verify my identity. The only times which were available were very early in the morning or during the night. So far I have made two appointments, one at 5 am and one at 7 am. I was not contacted at either time. Still waiting for the money which I earned.
I hired a company listed as NYC studios to do my website design for $439.00. The preliminary design looked good and they requested funding to complete and deliver. When funding was forwarded, they disappeared, did not respond to requests for arbitration -- as Elance set up -- and Elance basically washed their hands of the situation saying they were only a "service to get business people together". They also cancelled the offending party's account, so I can't track him down to pursue legal remedy; but of course he showed up with another, undaunted. DON'T USE ELANCE OR UPWORK... THEY WILL NOT PROTECT YOU!
Woohoo. I got back my money from this ** called Elance. I was also frustrated by my Elance account suspension and even after a 1 month of email exchanges they were still holding all my payment amount. And it was more than 6000 USD which is a good amount for me. Finally, I had taken some steps and got all my money from different channel. I just don't want to post the trick here as it may be visible to Elance ** people. If anybody is interested to know, I will be happy to share the trick in personal message.
Several months ago, I signed up with elance.com. Elance is a marketplace that brings businesses that need writing services together with freelance writers seeking jobs. Elance claims an annual business volume of 200 million dollar or so. They recently 'merged' with Upwork, a competitor. The company has plenty of job offerings both locally and from all over the world. Jobs offered are not only writing jobs. I signed up for writing and translation. Freelance writers can potentially make lots of money if they can find customers willing to hire them. That is where elance.com comes in. They find businesses in need of writing and post the jobs on their website. Freelance writer then bid on the jobs.
The trouble begins right there. Bidding is open to freelancers worldwide. That means that a writer in the United States has to compete directly with writers from many developing countries and countries with low cost of living. The result? Bids are extremely low. As low as hourly rates of two dollars. Even quite demanding proofreading jobs pay less than 10 dollars. Ghostwriting an eBook of about 100 pages gets you an hourly rate of maybe 15 dollars. More likely less than that. A writer in Africa can live on that.
Just as important as the extremely low payment rates are the fees charged a writer on his earned income and, worse yet, the transfer conditions for his hard earned dollars. Elance charges a writer 8.75% of his income for their services. They double dip by charging the vendor an even higher amount for their listing. I could live with that because elance provides the platform and opportunity for writers to make money. Enter Upwork! They are charging their writers a flat 10% fee. Of course, they also take the job providers to the toll booth.
Now listen to this: When a writer has finally earned a little and his earnings are released from 'escrow', he is free to transfer his earnings at any time to his bank. So you think Elance thinks differently and so does upwork.com. You have to tell them to which account to transfer your funds. You tell them. Then you get an friendly email happily announcing, that for security reasons, you cannot make a transfer now. Wait five days for Elance/Upwork to check security and then transfer the funds you earned. Never mind they are yours. Elance/Upwork is so concerned with the security and safety of your account that they have to check your Paypal or any other account. I bet they even are concerned about the security of the prepaid debit card they offer.
I am convinced that this pseudo concern with the security of your own account is just another way for Elance/Upwork to hang on a little longer to your money. Why? First of all, when it comes to their fees Elance/Upwork have no such scruples. They have authorized themselves to charge the fees immediately to your account. No waiting period for security reasons! Secondly, the CEO of Elance is a former Paypal manager. He was there at a time when Paypal was pulling similar shenanigans on their customers. I did not trust Paypal then and I do not trust the intentions of elance.com and upwork.com now. They are shady practices unworthy a company that claims to turn over 200 million dollars a year.
Third, if you search the Internet for reviews of and complaints about elance.com, you will find a myriad of complaints. Most are associated with waiting periods, delayed release of customer funds, and often seemingly arbitrary account freezes for security concerns. Sometimes they call it security reasons. Nevertheless, they have the same effect. Elance.com and upwork.com sit on the money of freelancers while investigating security concerns. Some complaints claim for months, holding thousands of dollars. At a 200 million dollar volume we are talking substantial interest amounts flowing in the coffers of elance and upwork.com. I cannot vouch for the merits of these complaints but their frequency and similar pattern speaks volumes.
The companies respond to the complaints with the proven and tested "gotcha" approach. They ignore contact emails. If they answer, they do so with some canned text that does not address the complaint. Worse yet, they point to some obscure provisions in their terms of service. Elance.com and upwork.com run on complex software. It usually works rather well but mastery has a learning curve. The concept of bringing together businesses in need writers for their websites, social media sites, sales and marketing material, and freelance writers who can perform these services is a good one but a word of caution is appropriate. First, it is extremely difficult to get hired as a freelancer if you do not have a track record. It can take weeks and months before a freelancer lands a job. And then it is most likely massively underpaid.
Most importantly, as a writer, you have to worry whether you will get your hard earned money or how many obstacles elance.com and upwork.com put before money transfer into your account. Remember, they have security concerns about your account. Do they want to prevent you from squandering it on wine, women, and song? Not with income from elance.com! I cannot trust any business that engages in questionable and shady practices like fake security concerns.
Elance.com and their security concerns for my Paypal account remind me of an eerily similar experience. I had a Paypal account running for a while. Then out of nowhere Paypal developed security concerns. They requested information they already had on file for a year or so. I told them where to put their account 'security concerns', withdrew all funds and left them sitting with a worthless, empty, unused account. It is still sitting there but the executive in charge at that time has now moved to elance.com and with him the security concerns.
If elance.com and upwork.com did not have functioning websites, vendors, and freelancers actively involved in business, I would call this a sham business. Since they do, a say that their CEO, chairman of the board, and the entire management should be ashamed of their objectionable "security concerns". That is definitely an excuse for keeping other people's hard-earned money in their pockets a little longer. Shame on elance.com/upwork.com and shame on the CEO of elance.com/upwork.com.
I have been on Elance as a service provider for years. On Friday October 16 at 12:05 pm I received an email without any notice that my account was being put on hold because of what they deemed to be in "violation of their terms". I talked to a customer service rep who said I would need to speak with someone in Risk Management, but they only communicate via email. I finally got an explanation via email that they were suspicious of activity on my account in relation of a current client of mine. They seemed to think that the transactions were not real. After providing them exactly the information they asked for, they then proceeded to require me do an identity verification check, which I did. They then proceeded to ask for a verification of my credit card. A card that has already been verified and has had activity.
As of right now I am still waiting to be able to access my account to withdraw MY funds (they do not belong to Elance). The amount is over $2,000 and I cannot access it, and I am having to go through all of these steps because they made a determination that my account activity "may" violate their terms. I was given no notice that my account was under review... Was given no chance to address the issue. I have had great experience with Elance for years... But this is ridiculous. DO NOT do business with this company if you are not prepared to have your money held without cause!
I had a 5-star rating on Elance, which means that my clients were perfectly happy with me. Out of the blue Elance sends me an email saying I have bad client feedback and I am on "probation" of sorts. I tried and tried again to find out who was unhappy with my work. The help person would send me back canned responses. I got mad and cancelled my account. To make matters even more frustrating, I just got an email saying that I haven't improved and so they are closing my account. So someone is unhappy with me but I am not allowed to defend myself and they can't even tell me what this was about. I don't even believe them. They lost a freelancer that was making them money--it makes no sense. If you are a freelancer STAY AWAY from Elance. They will treat you like crap.
Beware of Elance - Use at your own risk. I have contracted developers from Elance which have pulled out midway through, leaving me with an unfinished build and partial source codes. After filing a dispute with Elance the developer agreed to return a portion of the funds paid to him. That developer never returned the funds and removed his company and himself from Elance. When I asked Elance for assistance I was told that they could only provide me with his contact info and I could pursue this matter outside of Elance.
So lets review - a developer promoted on their webpage, quits the job and agrees to refund me. Instead he closes shop, runs and the organization promoting him, collecting their job fees along with developers payment tells me to pursue him outside of them. Elance is designed to bring foreign developers (mine from India) to American entrepreneurs. They wash their hands of the matter providing zero assistance. So now I must hire a lawyer from India (on my own) to retrieve my funds. I never the job completed, lost money and must chase this developer. Save yourself the aggravation, headache and lost fund. STAY FAR AWAY, FAR FAR AWAY FROM ELANCE.
A friend of mine recommended me Elance.com and I tried to use it. I was trying to authenticate my credit card. I was charged to authenticate my credit card and now I can't even log in at Elance.com. I always receive the same message saying: "Your Elance account is expired". I made 3 requests at Elance Customer Support and didn't receive any contact from them. I tried to call them and they said that they don't know what happened and they will return my contact in 48 hours. That's really a problem because I am about to lose a job opportunity because my boss was willing to pay me by Elance and now my account is expired!!!? That's seems to be scam. All my requests are ignored and you CHARGED my credit card. That's a shame.
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