Odesk, getting ripped off

Hey everyone,

I’m at loss for words at how Odesk system works, it’s designed to protect contractors and put Buyers at risk.

I started with a project with Fixed job, since no contractors is willing to work unless there is a down payment, I proceed to put in $20. After that the contractor says he can’t do the job, says he will refund but went MIA since then, Odesk does not provide dispute for Fixed job.

After learning the lesson, I moved on to using hourly contractor. We both agreed on a budget of $800 even though it’s on hourly, I was promised that I will be billed accordingly and will not exceed the budget.

This week I’m getting billed in full amount (total $800) even though the website is no where near complete, products weren’t even added yet and it’s definitely not ready to go live as there is still many details to work out.

The contractor refuse to refund, I filled a dispute only to realize Odesk does not evaluate the quality of work. As long the contractor logs their time properly, they will be paid. This open doors to shady contractor who will exploit it in the sense where as long they log their hours properly, they will be paid even though what they did is not usable nor complete.

I’m at loss of words since I’m on the losing end. Is there anything I can do such as prohibiting the payments since my odesk is linked to my paypal. Can I do something on paypal to stop the payment?

Hi Josh,

I have used ODesk from both sides of the fence, as both an employer and an employee. I’d never pay until I have seen some work done. I wouldn’t expect to get any money until I have done some work. I’d only use hourlies with someone I have come to trust.

Contact the guy and say you are going to do the following unless he refunds your money.

Leave him bad feedback for not doing what he said he would do.
File a dispute with paypal.

What is it you need doing anyway?

Yeah to make things worse, there’s no point leaving a bad feedback because the contractor can make the feedback comment private! Talk about covering contractor from all angles…

Would filing a dispute with paypal work? I’m pretty sure Odesk has their own terms and conditions in protecting themselves and not to mention, protecting the contractors

If you paid via credit card, you can always ask your credit card company for a chargeback.

It is the the duty of the employer to see if the employee is billing the time and if he/she is working accordingly.

You can get in touch with the employee on the outside via email,chat,skype to see if he is actually doing work or not.

PS: You can let me know what exactly are you looking for and I might help you out :slight_smile:

Well I have money in my paypal so it will be deducted from the balance, will I be able to file a charge back here?

I could empty out my paypal so it charges my credit card but it’ll be a hassle.

Basically what I am looking for is a safety net. The contractor and I are still in decent terms, he agreed to continue working on the website while keeping the dispute open, he do not want to refund me the billed hours.

Basically once he billed the amount, I have 3 days to review and see whether it’s okay - if it’s not okay I will file a dispute which I did, I am at the current phase. The amount has yet been deducted from my paypal yet as we’re in dispute however it will soon because an Odesk personnel will review the dispute and make the decision who wins it.

As Odesk does not review quality of work and doesn’t care if the website is completed nor usable, as long the contractor bills their hours accordingly, they will most likely be paid and this will be a problem and I will most likely be the losing end of this.

I want to know what are my options in the event that this whole deal turns sour

You can open a dispute with PayPal but since it is not a direct transaction (Odesk is in the middle) I’m not sure if it will do any good. It is hard enough when it is a transaction when it is you and your contractor.

The fixed job doesn’t only protect the employees but the employers as well. They can end the assignment anytime they please and not pay the contracted even if the project is completed. Odesk management just wants to be free from all obligations. I agree to not pay unless the work is done and leave a feedback anyway even if the contractor keeps the comment private because 1 star is still a terrible rating no matter what.

Agree with tangledman. After getting burned a few times, I now post all my jobs on Elance which offers better fixed price protection and (usually) better quality contractors.

Well I lost the dispute and the contractor got full payment even though he probably only did 40% of the work. After he got the money, he has stopped responding to me.

The payment is deducted from my paypal balance.

Anyone here can advise me on the current situation? I would want to get back as much money as possible, what are my options here?

There is nothing in your favor. You can just force him to start the work again.

Unfortunately, according to the oDesk User Agreement - to which you consented - there is nothing you can do.
Refer to Section 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 and 4.1 in this document.

There is a lesson here for all of us. Thanks for sharing your troubles. It may help others in the future.

If you really dont want to get in trouble again in odesk. Just stop using odesk and transfer to other site. You cant get back your money but atleast you already know what to do next. There still a lot of sites where you can hire good and fast worker.

why are online working website like ODESK horrible?? They side with people that rip people off and they stole my money. I just wanted to delete my account and never deal with them ever again. I recommend NEVER to use the website. They don’t care about people, they just use people to make money. If you have a good answer to my question please post. Why oDesk just take advantage of poeple

Dear shamanice

I am not agree with you.As far my knowledge Odesk is the best place for online work . May be one person is affected but 99% profitable. Both things are happening there buyer cheated to contractor and contractor cheated to buyer, it’s meager. except this horrible thing online platform are so helpful for the global people.

This has happened to me many times. You can get ripped off in not many places, but Odesk is an easy place to do it. If you do hourly rate, then make sure each time the staff logs on, they clearly write what they are doing. And closely monitor the screenshots although they are easily faked anyway.

I suggest with hourly projects, set a strict weekly limit, and review their progress. If they have nothing to show for their progress, tell them they need to have shown significant progress by a particular how a deadline or the contract will end.

Unfortunately it is so easy to get ripped off if you aren’t paying attention or taking steps to protect yourself.

The other option is a fixed project, and to pay in milestones. In other words start with the typical 10%, then break the project into different stages and agree to pay when each stage is clearly complete.

Yeah to make things worse, there’s no point leaving a bad feedback because the contractor can make the feedback comment private

Yes exactly! That is the biggest load of BS ever. What is the point of the feedback system then??? Tell you what though, whenever I see 1 star and no comment, you know things went bad and for me to overlook that when hiring someone, they need to have some pretty good feedback from others. Odesk can be great, but there are some major annoying things about it.

Dear mazz i just quoted your point “with hourly projects, set a strict weekly limit, and review their progress”, that’s great. so many buyer now doing this. they contract with hourly job but fixed the time limit to finish the work.

wow. I thought odesk’s system is a bit to organized and strict in a way that you can’t get paid unless you do the job. this is something I haven’t heard since I started on odesk. Actually, I don’t like odesk that much so I don’t usually do work in there. I hope you could settle your issue with them.

No it is just the middleman like PayPal, and they offer some BS measures that are supposed to protect you, but they really dont. They are more intended just to keep your business but there is no real care for anyone’s losses. Ive experienced it many times at their poor judgement.

When you hired them hourly you should have limit the number of hours per week to 5 hours or something to see the quality of work.

If you do not limit the number of hours for the week they are going to take the whole payment in the week

if after a week they are not able to give u good work than close the contract.

for fixed price job you are responsible but the contractors who are good in providing services will not ask you for deposits in fixed job

they will prove something before asking you for any deposits.

Even if you file a chargeback I think credit card company will check how many hours they work and all and will not be able to pay you money back.

But most of the time CC company gives back the payment before looking in so much details.

Before doing all this atleast take whatever is done so far so you dont lose whatever is done so far. if you do not get refunds atleast you have something against the payment for next designer to work on