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 My first programmer managed to upload a bunch of outdated Tim Thumbs while working on the construction of my website and caused a major issue with my host that took days to clean up.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.