• Report: #833365

Complaint Review: oDesk

  • Submitted: Fri, February 03, 2012
  • Updated: Mon, September 17, 2012

  • Reported By: oDeskvictim — Palm Springs California United States of America
901 Marshall Street Suite 200 Redwood city, California United States of America

oDesk, odesk.com oDesk Scams. Do not work with oDesk. These folks do not protect you from bad work and keep billing when a dispute is entered. Redwood city, California

*Consumer Comment: Simliar Experience

*Author of original report: You said it. Your a contractor on oDesk

*General Comment: oDesk is not a scam! - The ONE

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I found oDesk back in December 2011.  This site is basically a job site that connects techs with clients for website building, programming and other web site function services.  My first programmer managed to upload a bunch of outdated Tim Thumbs while working on the construction of my website and caused a major issue with my host that took days to clean up.  Of course, it wasn't his fault.  He took no responsibility for the corrupt Tim Thumbs he loaded...it was all the fault of the Tim Thumbs.  

My experience on oDesk has been very negative.  I put a dispute in and refused to pay him for the timthumb issues, the fact that he promised the work in a budget of $585, and the fact that he misrepresented his skills, and at a spending point of $813, he was only 1/4 way through the work. I don't see why I should have to pay for him to learn how to do what he claimed to know how to do and train him.

We came to an agreement and I released $343 in funds to the guy with an additional $300 at completion.  After the funds were released he has an "accident", and a week letter after emailing him repeatedly I got an email from "Chanmoy" stating that his brother was in a very bad accident.  I followed up until last week, no response.  

Therefore, I hired another guy who claimed to have the skills I needed. This time I was a bit smarter and only gave him $75 up front.  On day 5, nothing had been done and he google chatted me and wanted me to explain how to code the site.  Bye Bye.
So the third time is the charm? No way..it's the worst nightmare.  Again, I was quote a maximum of $685 for the work to be done.  At the $973 mark I realized that this guy, who didn't answer my questions about coding techniques on five occassions, had gone into the site and really messed it up.  So I fired him and filed a dispute.  I also complained about the first guy disappearing due to an accident.  He never responded to my emails, but guess what?  The oDesk suspended his account and he responded to them the same day.  Accident?  Sure!  

Instead of rambling on, here is the text of the most recent email from oDesk:  

oDesk has reviewed the work diary for this contract and determined that all time was logged in accordance with the oDesk Payment Guarantee. Time was online, with work memos and adequate activity levels. Therefore it is not eligible for refund. Disputes are based on whether or not the contractor was working on the appropriate contract. Decisions are not based on the quality of the work product. Per oDesk User Agreement Sections 2.2 and 4.1 the employer, not oDesk, is responsible for managing and maintaining the quality of work.

oDesk makes every effort to make this a fair and efficient process. Disputes submitted for poor quality, missed deadlines, or inaccurate time estimates must be handled between the employer and contractor (or agency's staffing manager) directly. oDesk does not provide these estimates, review work specifications, or guarantee a deliverable. As an employer hiring for hourly work, you are paying for time, not a product. Please review the oDesk payment guarantee for more information.

oDesk empathises with your substandard experience. We would be happy to talk to
you about the best ways of working on oDesk. Click here to contact us. Also, please feel free to make product suggestions by contacting us via our feedback forum. oDesk actively reviews feedback which has lead to many product initiatives and improvements. 

So basically, oDesk says if they log in time working, EVEN IF IT IS A MESS, which btw..it just took my new, and competent developer from freelancer.com four days to clean up, you got to pay.  They hook your credit card information into their system and you can't get it out.  They bill you even though there is a dispute. 

At freelancer, which I like, the funds are deposited into an escrow account and you don't pay until you have received a viable product.  

Any business that wants you to pay for time logged, even though the work is wrong, is way messed up.  Plus that, their customer service response time is days, not hours, and they continue billing your card after a dispute has been registered.

I found that the jobbers on oDesk are the bottom of the barrel.  The good folks that are reputable do not work on oDesk.  They go through freelancer.com or Elance.com.

In the meantime, I cancelled the credit card they had on file and disputed the last charge on it, and am planning on suing oDesk in small claims court.  These people suck.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/03/2012 11:46 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/oDesk/Redwood-city-California-94063/oDesk-odeskcom-oDesk-Scams-Do-not-work-with-oDesk-These-folks-do-not-protect-you-fro-833365. 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 Consumer Comment

Simliar Experience

AUTHOR: j70141 - (United States of America)

I had a VERY similar experience to this person.  The only big difference is that I tend to not put funds into my credit card account until I am ready to use it.

Long story very short, my account was suddenly suspended on oDesk for non-payment.  No warning, no inquiry, just a sudden suspension.

When I look into it, it appears they were trying to charge me BEFORE any work had been done, reviewed, or approved.  I look into the diary, and it appears the person was logging hours while doing some other job, possibly for someone else.  I email the contractee and am told that no work has been accomplished.  A few days pass, and no submission of work, just more emails explaining away.

Was told my oDesk that their policy is to pay the contractee while work is being done, whatever they report has been done, no reviewal and no acceptance process whatsoever.  They said if I had a problem with it, to fire the person, pay them for the time they claim, and find someone else.  uhhh...  NO!

I check my account and find that they do NOT have any way to either remove or change my 'method of payment'.  Namely, they try to lock you in and keep trying to charge.  The 'dispute' forms were in no way in an easy to find form or location, and their website was confusing and not user friendly (I am an IT Professional).

I sent them a nastly email, cancelled my credit card at the bank, and closed my account.  I know a scam when I see one.

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#2 Author of original report

You said it. Your a contractor on oDesk

AUTHOR: oDeskvictim - (United States of America)

First, I lay odds that you are one of the oDesk staff in the Phillipines.  They have a large Phillipino staff. Second, you just admitted in your post that you are a tech worker that takes contracts off oDesk. oDesk has a large network of people like you all over the web putting out all the good at oDesk. There is nothing good about oDesk.  Period.  If someone like, me, who knows nothing about the tech side of website development, and only has an outline with psd files they are screwed on oDesk, because there is no protection from bad contractors.  Freelancer is a much better place to work, money goes into escrow and if I am not satisfied with the end project I don't pay.  Then the matter is reviewed for quality of work by the Freelancer staff.
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#3 General Comment

oDesk is not a scam! - The ONE

AUTHOR: Archie M. - (Philippines)


Upon reading your report I know how where you coming from.  I am also an employer and at the same time  a contractor in the network and based on my experience I am extremely satisfied of the service I'm getting from the contractor I hired because in the first place I know what I'm looking for and I choose very wisely who to engage and work with my small projects.  If I want to get work done for less I usually hire people who had been in the platform for many years based on the number of hours they logged in the sytem let say a thousand hours or more, a feedback score of 4 and a half or greater and the skills that you are looking for. You have to make sure you invite them for an interview just to make sure that they do understand what you are trying to accomplish and set up your own ground rules - Talking about your expectations from the contractor in relation to communication, his availability, logging time (for hourly jobs) submitting deliverables for the project, reviewing work progress and anything else you can think of since they're in  the other part of the world and timezones. If I were you, you should hire a contractor for a flat rate , a small  paid test run just to make sure he's the right 'one'. You can shortlist 3 candidates of your choice and select the 'best one' . If he's not ,then you can end the contract right there and then and use oDesk database to search for great candidates. After the testing phase you can always hire them for longer hourly work. With flat rate you have the total discretion and control of when and how much you will be paying for your contractor. You make only a final payment to your satisfaction once you get the final and working product. You might had hire a technical project manager who will do everything from interviewing, hiring, managing and paying your contractor for easy management per say.

I quoted 'I don't see why I should have to pay for him to learn how to do what he claimed to know how to do and train him.' Right there and then you should fire him and ended the contract and left a feedback. In the real world, if you don't like your employee's work you fire him and pay for the hours he worked for you, its the same thing here in oDesk.

Frankly speaking I was able to understand the entire work arounds from policies, its user agreement and technicalities inside oDesk for 2 weeks only. What I did was I engaged in researching  the company's reputation, users' review and other pertinent information that can be very useful for me before I made my first hire. ( I hope you've taken your time to read understand the oDesk user agreement)

To cut the story short if you had only manage your team correctly I'm pretty sure that this failure wont happen. This is a learning situation that would greatly help you improve your team management for future projects , may or may not be in oDesk or any other similar sites and I wish you goodluck heaps
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