• Report: #398063

Complaint Review: Guru.com

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  • Submitted: Thu, December 04, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, December 05, 2008

  • Reported By:Cincinnati, OH 45231 Ohio
Guru.com
5001 Baum Blvd., Suite 760 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

Guru.com "Caveat Emptor -- Let the Buyer Beware" Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

*Author of original report: Guru.com, Pittsburgh, Pa -- What you're not told up front ...

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First of all I need to say that when and if a seller charges fees for services in which fair exchange is provided, I'm fine with it.

Also, if there are favorable reports to file on this company, let them be shown. I've found 3 here on Ripoff and I'm adding a 4th.

A friend advertised Guru to me and I've since cautioned him about the "gotchas" in the agreement, which freelancers only discover AFTER a bid has been accepted.

In setting up my profile I was never asked about membership fees or advised about fees. No law is broken as no law specifies anyone, including Guru. must be up front about such matters.

I got a project approved via Guru only to find that when I went to set up payment that THEN they wanted 10% of the reward. I considered this outrageous and emailed them to that effect. Note, I can't and won't put the text of that here as I don't know if minors may be reading :)

This, combined with what I'd owe the IRS and State of Ohio, along with Escrow fees and the like, would have taken far too much of the funds.

I let them know in a hurry this was a rip off.

Beware, Guru.com does NOT provide you with informed consent. You MUST use their pay system or this CONSTITUTES A VIOLATION OF THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE. Get that one! You MUST use their service. Or your account will be cancelled, should you be caught.

And here is another gotcha, if you don't believe it fully read the terms of using their pay serivce. They want fees even when and if you get further business from the client. They want this even if it was not bid via Guru!

When someone wants 10% of what I'm producing, I'm sorry. They either need to be the Government or be on my development team.

I'd be eager to hear, and welcome, any GOOD news as to Guru.com saving the day for someone, watching an employer's or freelancer's back. DO give a rebuttal to this report if such exist. I'll welcome it.

However, when charges and fees are not explained up front, I'm suspect as a result and NOT encouraged or comforted.

My advice is to write them and let them know you're not happy about such non-disclosure, about this total surprise as to terms of service.



Mike
Cincinnati,Ohio
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/04/2008 08:45 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Gurucom/Pittsburgh-Pennsylvania-15213/Gurucom-Caveat-Emptor-Let-the-Buyer-Beware-Pittsburgh-Pennsylvania-398063. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Guru.com, Pittsburgh, Pa -- What you're not told up front ...

AUTHOR: Mike - (U.S.A.)

My basic beef here is not being told up front that 10% of my reward is going to Guru.com. They're not even on my team!

Certainly, they should be paid something but 10%??? That's outrageous.

Where does one even find out about the Project Fee (the 10% gotcha) or for that matter, any up front costs? When one is dealing with a doctor, lawyer or any other professional, costs are disclosed fully up front.

The first clue is in every email they send but much further down:

Payment Protection Tip:

Get paid safely through our mandatory SafePay payment system.

You have two transaction options - SafePay Escrow or SafePay Invoicing. SafePay Escrow provides *more protection* than Invoicing.
Receiving payment through SafePay is the only way to build money-earned and feedback statistics, which attract future employers.
- More SafePay Information: http://www.guru.com/help/pro/invoice.cfm

Because getting paid outside of SafePay is a high-risk transaction, it is a violation of our Terms of Service.

When you bid on a project, here's what you'll see:

* Click Agreement Checkboxes
Please read all agreements and click the checkboxes.

I read the project description and believe I am qualified to complete the project with excellence.

My professional profile (skills, rate per hour, availability, contact info, etc.) is accurate.

I will be prompt in responding to the employer when he/she contacts me.

Per the Terms of Service, I will receive payment through either SafePay Escrow or SafePay Invoicing.

You'll find you're forced to accept their payment system. The reason is not, however, protection and you can see this in reports filed on them. Where they've been called on to act they've not protected consumers at all.

There should be a means of taking one's own risks at one's own cost. Small Claims Courts can win judgments against offenders for much less a cost than what is paid to Guru, according to the complaints here on Rip Off, for no help at all. Small Claims Court judgments carry the force of law. I've seen personally where warrants for arrest are issued if a victim isn't paid and the accused fails to show. I want the option to use such force of law and take my time at my choice to do so but it isn't allowed and really, is a fundamental right of any US Citizen.

Well, if they could not help the person here who lost $1975.00 and acted to ruin a writer, AND there is no rebuttal to the claims made, I think it is evident Guru.com is suspect. Now I make this clear: Suspect does not mean Guilty. Guilty means they've been to court to defend their name and found by an impartial judge to be culpable of the charges brought against them. Suspect means when one reads between the lines, things don't add up.

Note that no rebuttal by Guru.com has been posted to the claims against them. Why?

This link will get you to the FAQ page about SafePay: http://www.guru.com/help/pro/invoice.cfm#speb

And further down in this page:

Common SafePay Questions:
Yes, using SafePay is mandatory
$25 is the minimum Escrow Request and Invoice amount
Billing for expenses
Please print and review our: Smart Working Tips (PDF)

Yes, using SafePay is mandatory
Directly getting paid by an Employer is a high-risk transaction. We can neither guarantee that an Employer will pay you, nor provide you with transaction security.

Because of its high-risk nature, getting paid outside of SafePay is a violation of our Terms of Service. All payments from Employers on Guru.com must go through either SafePay Escrow or Invoicing, even if Employers hire you for additional projects not posted on Guru.com.

Whoa! Guru wants a cut on future business not even bid or protected by them? Be careful!

Here is where you'll find the Project Fee, much further down this same page:

Escrow Fee
Guru.com charges a 2% Escrow Fee to Freelancers who elect to use SafePay Escrow (and Dispute Resolution) services. The 2% Escrow Fee is added to the 5 or 10% Project Fee. This is a small price to pay for the protection our Escrow and Dispute Resolution services provide.

Now when you've gone THIS far you find out that 10% of your hard work goes to them.

A reasonable fee I'll pay but 10% is clearly out of line.

Out of a 500.00 project I was considering $50.00 plus escrow fee was outrageous. If a project is 10K, they get 1K. Well, what are they doing with it? If this is all honest, why aren't the fees mentioned up front but buried deep within the fine print?

This is the basis of my claim. If they don't fix their system they won't have to cancel my membership I will.
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