Finally, when I got myself a computer, I was happy to take work again. After my evaluation of freelance jobs service sites, I decided for eLance as most professional site with reasonable fees.
However, my luck working with them lasted less than a year. Suddenly, I was notified and they will close down their services and I will be upgraded to UpWork. As first surprise, eLance reasonable service fees where increased and I even have to pay for withdrawal of funds. Then I was notified, that they must add EU VAT tax for my invoices. OK, I could live with that. And their user interface is sometimes silly and unprofessional.
My service has been to deliver working solution within fixed price and on agreed deadline to get paid from customer. Somehow, I immediately noticed that they prefer freelancers charging hourly. That’s why I was frequently restricted to make my fix term offer, because I haven’t worked yet 100 hours using UpWork?
And projects, I got from their site where not a customer seeking someone to implement their product idea. They where projects, that has been continued in their system long time and asking constantly new money and frustrated customer was seeking someone, who could provide enough professionalism to finish his project finally.
Once there wasn’t much code done practically (guy had paid several months), besides integrating some cocoapod’s open source libraries to project and playing with fonts and circles.
Once, there was again too much code written, so after trying weeks to figure out what that code should do, I just deleted most of it and wrote all functionality using few code lines.
Recently, UpWork changed their service fees again to benefit those freelancers, who could invoice over $10,000 from customer? That must be an idiot who are willing to pay more than $10K for programming and design work nowadays.
Anyway, my relationship with their service ended unexpectedly.
One prospective customer asked me, that could he pay using PayPal. I explained, that at the moment money in my PayPal account isn’t much useful because Spanish Authorities revoke PayPal bank cards and transfers from PayPal account to Estonian bank account has been discontinued starting this year. To my surprise, I got my account immediately suspended with the reason, that I have accepted PayPal payments outside their escrow service?
That was exactly, what I did not!
Their escrow service is something, that when customers accepts me to do the work, they have to deposit project money to UpWork account and after project is done and tested and accepted, I still have to wait six days before I can ask it to be transferred to my back account and that transfer takes another five days. So, practically UpWork is using project money months for themselves. To provide that kind of service in Europe, they should have financial service license and that what I asked from them.
Instead, being friendly to my request and offered compromises, I got constantly insulted and threatened, like this company owns the world and does not need to apply any laws or regulations! Is this the StartUp attitude they are so proud nowadays in US?
And monitoring private conversations is illegal activity in the countries, I reside. I have usually signed the NDA before we start to talk about project specifications. Now, they are monitoring those discussions and everything suddenly isn’t subject to NDA anymore. So, obviously everyone should be aware not to use UpWork messaging service to comply with NDA agreement signed.
Unable to get my services opened with that company again, I just demanded my profile and all project related data to be removed from their database. I assume, they did it.
I assume, there is lot of class action lawsuits for this company:
- Any customer, who have been asked to deposit and has been constantly charged for the work, which haven’t been completed fully, should get the full refund.
- Anyone, who have used their escrow service in the countries, where it should have been subject to financial regulations have been scammed and should get their money refunded;
- Anyone, who have used their messenger service on discussions that are mentioned to be private and subject of NDA, should be compensated.
So, if you have been victim of UpWork scams, please let me know and together we could go to court with them.
As I told them, I have done lot of businesses and always respect laws in the country, where I do business and I compromise with customers. I never demand arrogantly to use any service, which does not benefit both sides. They haven’t only violated common business practises and laws , they have made a system to benefit only scammers where professionalism has been thrown out.