A Client Told Me They'll Never Use Upwork Again - Here's Why

chrisdeveloper7

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Nov 5, 2018
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#1
I received a message from Upwork after a trip to Greece in October, stating that my account was on hold because I logged in from someplace I don't normally login from. Having family out of state (mine, as well as my wife's), I travel multiple times per year but don't recall getting this message in the past. This year, however, I'd gone overseas twice in addition to my regular in-country travels. So I replied back to the message, explaining all of this (including that I'd just been in Greece). Someone from Upwork replied to my message, saying the hold had already been lifted and everything was fine.

I responded to that person by asking what measures I could take to ensure this didn't happen again. My wife is a blogger, and she's working on a series set overseas. I accompany her on her travels so that she's not traveling alone, and I work from wherever we go. So far this year, we've traveled to Romania, Greece, and we'll be going to France soon. If there was some sort of travel notice I needed to give Upwork (similar to how I inform my bank when I'll be using my card overseas), I was willing to do that and so made the inquiry. I never received a reply to that inquiry.

Here's where things start to get really questionable. Some of this stuff is so bad, there's an SJW team ready and waiting to start working on this if Upwork refuses to take corrective action and handle this rightly going forward.

Shortly after the trip to Greece, I showed up at a client's site for a major project. My POC at the client site then informed me that I'm no longer on Upwork. Let me repeat that: THE CLIENT (not Upwork) informed me that I was no longer on Upwork. The client received an email explaining this, while I did not receive any such communication or even a warning or inquiry. When I looked further, I learned Upwork had canceled all my contracts, suspended my account, and emailed all my clients stating that I'd violated some term and condition. When I called to ask what I'd done, they refused to tell me.

You may be wondering, as I did, if Upwork did this because I had worked while in Greece (since that's when they initially put a hold on my account). That's a REALLY good question, because they continue to evade my inquiries and refuse to explain the reason for the suspension. Not only that, they libeled me to one of the clients (I have it in writing).

Things couldn't possibly get any worse, right? Well, they did.

Not only did Upwork accuse me of breaking the terms and conditions of my contract without actually telling me what I did or giving me a chance to explain/defend myself (for example, in case that login from Greece is what triggered the system OR even if it was an instance where I may have made some sort of honest mistake)....

Not only did they libel me to the client (possibly to multiple clients, I'm checking into that further)....

Not only did they do all of the above, which is already quite appalling, Upwork then took the money due to me (money clients had paid for work I had already completed) and returned those funds back to the clients instead of rightly forwarding the funds to me..and here's the doozy: it was after Upwork issued these refunds that they then libeled me to the client AND conveniently offered to help the client "find a new developer."

I've heard that some of the people who oversee these suspensions are actually other contractors and/or developers freelancing for Upwork. If that's true, that seems like a pretty big conflict of interest, almost like fishing for contracts through relationships the suspended person worked hard to establish. And if that's what's going on, it might explain why there are so many cases where developers have been permanently suspended on Upwork without explanation and without recourse. Just google: Upwork suspended. Or search on Twitter: upwork suspend. You'll find a plethora of former Upwork contractors/developers, all with similar stories to mine - they had great reviews, great feedback from clients, excellent completion records, steady work, and then their accounts were suddenly and mysteriously suspended, sometimes by bots/an automated system (not fair if there's been a mistake and then there's no recourse for the suspended developer), sometimes by people who don't seem to be native English speakers (I say this because if explanations can get lost in translation, and that's not fair to the person who's been permanently suspended). These suspended developers have taken to the internet through blog posts, complaint boards, tweets, and they all have similar stories from their experiences with Upwork.

After I took to Twitter to talk about this experience, Upwork contacted me to say that they may have made a misstep and that they were reinstating my account AND giving me $250. By that point, because Upwork had gone about the whole ordeal in such an unprofessional, haphazard manner, the client said they didn't want anything to do with that freelancing site again. I can understand that. It was all handled very poorly, but it *looked like* Upwork was at least willing to set things right for me, as the developer, which was all I had wanted.

In order to have my account reinstated, I had to start all over in the process. I sent them a simple email, asking what they needed from me with regard to verifying my identity. Someone named Hallie Morris (who is supposedly "high up" with Upwork but who may actually be a freelancer for them on the West Coast) decided to overturn my reinstatement and not pay me the monies promised. I have emailed her multiple times, trying to figure out if logging in from Greece is what triggered the suspension. She did not seem interested in hearing what I had to say and has not responded in several days after I tried to explain my travels and how my account had been put on hold after my trip to Greece.

NOTE: If there's ever been any doubt about my claims, I've always had a tremendous amount of proof to show I was in these places: my stamped passport where I entered and exited Greece in October (as well as Romania this past summer), I have witnesses (professional tour guides, a tour group, two university professors/published authors in Romania, and lots of other people) who can verify I was in those countries, I have charges on my card, receipts, itineraries from the airlines..and all of this is in addition to the innumerable photos we took during our travels, some of which my wife is using for her blog.

Here's what's also interesting about this case. The correspondence I had with Upwork after Greece (where that person told me the hold had been lifted and that my account was now fine) appears to have been scrubbed from my Upwork account. I do have the communication, though, because the person I spoke with at that time apparently emailed me the conversation. I just think it's ironic that all of this has happened, and all of a sudden that communication seems to have gone "missing" through the Upwork platform I had been logging into. Also, there is yet another client who at some point paid me through Upwork during this mess, and Upwork has left the funds in limbo rather than refunding them to the client so that the client can actually pay me for that completed work.

IF YOU'RE GOINIG THROUGH THIS, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I have spoken to other developers who have gone through the same thing. One blogger's article went #1 on HackerNews, and it was then (and only then) that Upwork took another look at his account and admitted they may have made some missteps in assessing what really happened (just like they did with mine initially). The SJW team I'm working with is prepared to start reaching out to various California-based agencies (since Upwork is a California-based company) and anyone else necessary to blow the whistle on how Upwork treats developers and they way they are negatively affecting people's careers/livelihoods.
 

h3ct0r

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#2
NOTE: If there's ever been any doubt about my claims, I've always had a tremendous amount of proof to show I was in these places: my stamped passport where I entered and exited Greece in October (as well as Romania this past summer), I have witnesses (professional tour guides, a tour group, two university professors/published authors in Romania, and lots of other people) who can verify I was in those countries, I have charges on my card, receipts, itineraries from the airlines..and all of this is in addition to the innumerable photos we took during our travels, some of which my wife is using for her blog.
If you're still not getting a response, you could try inserting an image of your Airline Ticket here, then @ them on Twitter with the link to this thread. Just in case your other items of proof were lost/corrupted during transfer.
 
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chrisdeveloper7
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Nov 5, 2018
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#4
If you're still not getting a response, you could try inserting an image of your Airline Ticket here, then @ them on Twitter with the link to this thread. Just in case your other items of proof were lost/corrupted during transfer.
Thanks. I'll have to try that. I'm still waiting to hear back from the attorney to see what my options are before I take action. Appreciate the suggestion!