I've been a user of this site since 2006, back when it was called getafreelancer.com, I've been working on and off the site along the years without much issue.
The problem started with my last project, I was selected as a provider for a project and I started working on it, as it was a big and long project, we agreed with the employer to use freelancer.com's milestone system and to divide the project in a set of goals, we started the project and payed all the site's fees.
As I finished each goal the employer payed diligently, and after about two months a certain amount of money started to accumulate in the account, in the number of a few thousand dollars.
I didn't have the need to withdraw at the time but the day came when I wanted to make a withdrawal of about a thousand dollars I got an e-mail from freelancer.com that said that my account had been suspended, with no explanation as to what could be the reason or any previous warning other than saying it was for "security reasons", which were not detailed. [continued below]....
I checked and I found out that I couldn't access my account, nor my money. I just got a sign that said in big red letters "Account suspended". I only had access to the ticket support system. I opened a ticket to ask about this situation and as a reply they asked me to send a scanned copy of a government issued ID.
I did that and they again asked me for a picture of me holding my ID in one hand a secret code written in a piece of paper in the other. I did it too.
Then they began to ask questions, they asked me if I had a previous business relationship with the employer, which I didn't, if we lived in the same area, which we don't, and what was the project about and a detailed description. I diligently answered all of their questions but they kept asking insidiously how did I manage to contact the employer directly. It's in their TOS that once you're awarded a project you get the direct contact details of the employer. So the questioning was ridiculous.
In the meantime my employer account had also been suspended. I told them that I was in contact with the employer and that he was very upset and was going to issue a chargeback.
Then they apparently got nervous and my account was re-activated "magically". BUT, when I try to withdraw money, by means of creating a withdrawal request on the site, which, by the way, takes quite some time to process, after a few days each and everyone of my requests gets cancelled.
When I ask what this is about, they tell me that it's because my employer hasn't veryfied his identity. It looks like they just want to withhold my money and prevent me from getting it with all kinds of excuses, requisites and questioning.
Why didn't they ask for all this BEFORE the employer started the project and why in all the 6 years I've been using the site they'd never had an issue or asked for any of this? I asked the employer and he says he's already sent documentation to them and that he doesn't feel like sending any more ID's, and that he doesn't trust the site.
Do they have the right to hold on to funds like that? Their TOS keeps saying that they're just a "venue" and that they're not liable for anything, but when it comes to money they do feel like they own it and they won't release it because they're supposedly concerned about "security".
I hope something can be done to make this company pay, I'm a hard worker and I need the money which I earned through my own efforts. I wish I could get contacted with people who's also been affected by this company and do something together against it.