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Freelancer: A genuine example of being ripped off by an Employer

27 Jul

I have decided that from now on, rather than just post words about rip-off employers, I will give some hardcore examples with picture audits so that others can see that the world is not all warm, fluffy and filled with nice people.
And yes I do understand that there are two sides to any story.
(The Employer is more than welcome to post his ‘side’ in the comment section)

The issue was finally resolved by the Freelancer team, but let me say….. You really really want to ensure you get the bidding process right from the start, because sorting out the mess later is a massive time waster.

The Job

A freelancer job

Let’s walk through the requirements.
Simple enough: Configure “MacPort” on a remote machine.
Requirements:
1. Remote access (upto Employer to supply)
2. Experience using the “MacPort” package and “Xcode” (I’m an apple developer/Linux developer so yes….)
3. Time (1hr-1 day, depending on if we need to download 4.3GB Xcode from apple to Employers machine)
4. Stable Internet connection to ensure the job can be completed.

Analysis
Since we will need to contact employer to ensure remote access is available and arrange a suitable time.
We will bid 1 day to ensure we have enough time.
Yep the other bidder says it can be done in 1 hour, but this is a bullshit analysis.
Do not be tempted to match such bidding, because it is YOU that will be in breach of the contract if you are awarded the job but do not meet the time scale.

The other four criteria are all met.

ENSURING YOU HAVE A MILESTONE BEFORE even accepting a job
1. NEVER–NEVER–NEVER accept a job on freelancer UNLESS a milestone is in place BEFORE hand, no matter how good the reputation/past record of the employer appears to be.
2. Ensure the milestone is AT LEAST 20% of the job cost, Why?
Simple:
A. Freelancer take a maximum of 10% of the project cost as their commission AT THE START.
B. If anything goes wrong and you need to get access to the milestone payment, YOU have to PAY Freelancer to run an audit on the case (yep that right!!)
C. you need to take into account the costs of getting your money out of Freelancer. (PayPal takes upto 4% of any monies)

If you do break these rules, and the job goes tits up YOU WILL LOOSE MONEY because the freelancer commission is deducted from YOUR account WHEN you accept the job, NOT when the job is completed.
Also do not get involved in any stupid bidding, sometimes you may see a job for $10,000USD, remember that there is an UPFRONT commission of up-to 10%, just to accept the job is going to cost you $1,000USD (AGAIN, freelancer take the money from your account as soon as you accept the job.).

So you broke the Freelancer ‘advice’
Yep, I admit it when I find an employer that appears to have a ‘good’ reputation I may break the Freelancer ‘good advice guide’.
Why?
Well, because I have done business for many years as both an employer and employee and understand that sometimes you cannot follow the rules.
Sometimes for business you break the rules to help someone out.
I thought this employer was as suitable risk because of the following:

The employers account is shown with funds (the tick, next to the $ sign)

After the acceptance of the job: Dirty Number ONE is Done

The first “dirty” deed was the fact that Just after I had accepted the job, another freelancer was ALSO awarded the job. (the 4 days Vrs: 3 days is the time of the BID not the acceptance)

Basically this allows an Employer to ‘screw over’ employees.
Remember that the job is to Access a SINGLE computer and install a SINGLE set of software under a SINGLE account, it is physically impossible for two system admins to do this and not “trip” over each other.
In effect at least one employee is going to be screwed over on this job.
**I have contacted freelancer and made the recommendation that BEFORE a job is placed the employer HAS to identify if he wants SINGLE or Multiple employees. (if the first employee fails to fulfill the job, the option to select another would be made available later)
This will warn the employees of the state of a potential job, (currently this meta-data is hidden).
If the employer has a job that can ONLY be completed by a SINGLE employee, but the employer attempts to use the multi-option, then the employees would be warned BEFORE bidding on a job.

Currently you have to rely on the honesty of the employer NOT to select other people to complete the same job.

Dirty Number Two:
Now keeping in mind that the Employer stated “could not do” as the reason I was kicked off the job.

And the “remote session”

Now normally I would not divulge this detail, but since the employer has not made a payment , I do NOT have a formal contract with him, as a result and as far as I am concerned there is no confidentiality agreement.

We can clearly see the whole conversation between my self and the “employer”
Third post from the bottom, you can see that I contacted the employer the SAME day of his request. (actually it was within TWO hours, unfortunately Freelancer scales posting time stamps!!, it does not store the exact times.)
Even so I had bid 1 day from the time HE was supposed to place the milestone.
Contractually; he had already agreed to my milestone when he accepted me to complete the work.

We can also see that despite me waiting for over 18 hours on line to try and finish this task, the Employer never once attempted to make contact after the initial “here is the password”.
Even worse nearly 10 days later (31-JUL-2012) this job STILL has not been completed.
It would appear the employer had no intention of awarding the job to either Employee. (unless he sees this blog posting and awards it to the Other employee just so he can appear “clean”)

In my opinion this “employer” is “job stacking”(awarding but not completing) to improve his rating on Freelancer.

Resolution
Just to make it clear that Freelancer did finally relent in my case, contacting the employer, but the time wasted by myself and Freelancer far exceeds the value of the job.

At the very least when a situation like this occurs, freelancer should evaluate the FACTS and then either delete the employers review or add a clarifying note.
Unfortunately the current system allows an Employer to abuse the system and damage the reputation of an employee under false pretenses (That my friends is called ‘Libel)’.

The system as it stands is inherently unfair and open to potential legal action, specifically because the Employer can damage the reputation of the Employee and the Employee has no viable path for an amicable solution. (even though Freelancer continually extoll the virtue of communication with the employer, such solutions are pie in the sky if the employer REFUSES to communicate)

So to recap…….
1. Never accept a job UNTIL there is a milestone
2. Ensure your milestone covers the cost of the Freelancer commission and resolution service.
3. Do not think that just because an employer appears to have a good record, that they are honest (take a look at the guys work in ‘progress list’ and see how many others he has screwed over).
4. Do not make impracticable bids in an attempt to get business.
5. Also be aware that there are MANY bots on Freelancer that automatically make bids at the lowest range of a job price.

Until the next time.

 

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