I signed up with a freelancer account on Upwork about three weeks ago. I made my profile all spiffy, did the “video conference” to verify my account (which was awkward as I was talking to an Indian woman who sounded like she was working in her home – I heard a baby crying in the background), and sent out proposals.
I received three job offers. The first two were apparently part of a large spam/identity theft organization. I was asked to share my personal information (birth date, address, etc) over email to these people to “begin work”. Thank god I Googled the companies because I found out they were spam/identity theft/information selling companies. Go figure.
The third, and possibly worst, client who corresponded with me was for a quick proofreading project. He wanted me to proofread and edit his 100-word piece. He initially came to me and asked me to lower my price by half, which meant I would walk away from the project with $8. (Upwork charges a ridiculous “fee”….$2 on this project in particular). I agreed because, hey, this was my first freelance “gig” and he also said the project wouldn't take more than about 15 minutes. So, hey, why not?
Well, little did I know that this guy would have me back and forth for two hours with this freakin' (sorry for the language) proofreading project. He was rude throughout the whole process, asking me if I knew what I was doing (despite the fact that he hired a “beginner” proofreader/editor…I am not a professional by any means). He was copy/pasting links to articles where he thought I had misused words. He even questioned whether I should capitalize a country's name if it was used as an “adjective”.
Two hours later, the darn thing was done and he didn't pay me for about a week after that. I rated him a 2-star, which I thought was pretty generous considering our work experience. This is kind of when things turned ugly. He blew up on me over the Upwork messaging system because I rated him poorly. He demanded I re-rate him and give him a higher rating. He started telling me, “you better hope karma isn't real.” and “with your attitude, it's no wonder you do work for $8 on a weekend!” and “I hated your work anyway”.
He then ended our conversation with, “Karma is real, I'll let you think about that”. All because I left a real, unedited review of our work experience together. Well, after that, he sent me a review response making fun of my abilities, saying that just because you speak English doesn't mean you're a writer, etc, etc. The guy was really going off on me. To say that I felt horrible, demoralized and cheated (I made $4 an hour working for this guy…) would be a total understatement.
I didn't know what else to do but block him and send a message to Upwork. Despite the fact that I literally titled my message to them, “I am being harassed by one of your clients”, it took them days before they got back to me. When they did get back to me, they simply said that my case would have to go to upper management to be handled.
This past weekend after days of not hearing a response from “upper management”, I kept rereading the guy's review and taking into account that the only other two job offers I received were from spam/identity theft companies, and I decided to close my account. Wouldn't you know that about three hours after closing my account, Upwork emails me and basically says, “We're sorry for this experience. Rest assured that we'll look into it and if he's found to be violating any of our terms, we will take appropriate action. As we part ways, good luck in your future endeavors.”
I find it ironic that they were ignoring the issue until I was the one who closed my account. It goes to show that Upwork values their clients, not their freelancers. They were willing to lose me as a freelancer but not the client, who is ultimately the one bringing in money. It's a sad and pathetic way to run a business. That was my one and only experience working on their site and I'll admit, it was so horrible that I would never recommend Upwork to anyone. The clients are able to run the site and do what they please, including harassing freelancers.
I'm sure there are clients using Upwork who are fine, but when you deal with one who's literally harassing you and prolonging a project to the point where you're working for slave wages, they don't provide the customer support that we, as freelancers, so desperately need!
I received an email just awhile ago that said my "support ticket" with Upwork was closed. Which I'm taking as meaning they are no longer handling the complaint. Probably because I closed my account and they didn't see a reason to lose a client. Figures.