Bad Experience With Freelancer.com: How I was Almost Scammed
How I was almost scammed: Read about my bad experience with Freelancer.com
We often hear writers complaining about the various platforms and freelancing sites that they find work through. Mainly these complaints relate to low pay, unrealistic demands or being scammed by the client. This happens a lot and I am constantly surprised by the low rates that some writers are offered. But the one thing we don’t hear about too often is clients being scammed.
In my case, I am the client, not the writer, and I was almost scammed by someone who I chose to write for me. The outcome actually ended well however what I found was that I couldn’t count on Freelancer.com support AT ALL. I have never seen such a SLOW response from a website. It took 10 days to receive a generic response and they offered no real help! This is why I will never use Freelancer.com again.
Here is the story of my bad experience with Freelancer.com:
I am always on the lookout for good writers.
I have a small list of regular ones and most of the time I am wise enough to only deal with those on my list. I have learned that dealing with new writers can be frustrating and a waste of time and quite depressing quality-wise as it varies so much. BUT from time to time I do try new writers so I can have a larger base to choose from. Plus, not every writer can produce quality work on certain topics so it is good to have a wide selection.
I received a lot of bids on my project and ended up hiring a new writer. Maybe you think that I’m crazy for hiring someone with no feedback but my logic is that they have to start somewhere and I have found a lot of good writers that way on iWriter.
So, I picked this new writer because her profile pic was actually real (not a stolen one from Google, you know the Cosmopolitan model headshots you see everywhere) and her bio was well written.
Then upon hiring her I received a message thanking me and that she would start writing ASAP. English is not my first language but even I could tell that the message was badly written. I could see that it was poor and definitely not the same quality as her bio but I ignored the warning signs and proceeded with the job.
The article I received was actually very good. So I paid and moved on to other things.
2 weeks later I received a message from a lady through one of my sites basically telling me that the article I paid for was copyrighted and she was the original writer. She was hired to write it and was never paid.
I am not a naïve person and quite experienced with working online so I’m not easily fooled. I did a lot of digging on Google and found out that this lady was indeed a writer and she was who she claimed she was. I contacted her and asked her for more details and some proof that she wrote the article in question. She provided me with lots of email copies and screenshots.
The gig she was hired for had the exact same title and description as the one I posted. Enough proof for me to know that she was telling the truth. She wasn’t the person I hired but she was indeed the person who wrote the article.
Basically this is what happened.
I hired the girl through Freelancer. She herself is part of a larger group who works for a boss. The person who I hired is not even a writer; she is just one of the many people hired by the boss to bid on projects on various freelancing sites. She is just there, as many like her, to try and win as many gigs they can.
The boss then hires real writers to actually produce the work but for half or a third of what the original gig pays. Then the article gets delivered to the client through the fake writer.
In this case, the boss didn’t pay the original writer.
The lady told me she was hired to write a lot of articles for him, usually with very short deadlines, and then he didn’t want to pay her unless she wrote even more articles. So she set up a blog where she posted all the articles that she wrote. She also named and shamed the dishonest client. Pretty good thinking on her part.
So I knew the story was true and my only recourse was to contact Freelancer with the story (I had all the screen shots and email discussion with the original writer) and seek a refund. I was stuck with an article that I had paid for but with no rights to publish it.
This had actually happened to me about a year ago on iWriter. In that case, it was dealt with by iWriter support within a few hours. I received a refund, the writer was booted and his account closed and all was fine. I have continued to use iWriter since then and haven’t had any major problems since. Their feedback was great, resulted in a satisfied client (me) and they have made more money from me since.
On Freelancer, the outcome was NOT positive. They took 10 days to reply with a generic response that didn’t address any of the points that I raised. Sorry, but this is just not good enough from a site of this stature and they only replied once I threatened them with a credit card chargeback.
They had no real desire to deal with this issue and no doubt many other clients have, and will, fall victim to this type of scam. My advice is to be very wary of doing business on Freelancer as they are reluctant to acknowledge any problems or issues and do even less to resolve them.
So, I said it all ended well. How so?
A week after the first contact by the real writer, she emailed me back telling me that after a lot of threats she was paid for her work. She promised that she would keep writing for the guy that refused to pay her and he promptly released payment (he needs good writers so that he can continue the scam and win as many gigs as possible).
It all ended well however Freelancer were no help at all. In fact, the situation was resolved outside of the site before they even responded to my support ticket!
The moral of the story: be wary of who you deal with online and don’t expect Freelancer to be of much help if a problem arises.
How about you? Have you had a good or bad experience with Freelancer.com?
Photo credit: Marekuliasz on istockphoto.com