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Best cause of action for a freelance scammer.

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by mr.sidney, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. #1
    Hi everyone, on February 19th 2014, I applied for a job post at odesk, and I was glad when the client replied to my application and invited me for an interview. She sent me an email, and told me it was her personal email address and I was to contact her for an interview. I reached via the email she gave me, and the terms of the job were $1 per 100 words which was quite fair, compared to ridiculous rates that the people from the south-east part of Asia have introduced in the freelancing industry. The payment schedule would be 2 weeks after the project had kicked off.

    The project commenced off course, and I diligently worked for her, despite the outrageous deadlines she put on all the assignments and in less than 10 days she owed me a total of $352. When payday came, I sent her my invoice, and the only reply I got was that her PayPal account had some issues, which would be resolved within 5 days. She wanted me to continue working during those 5 days, while waiting for her PayPal account to be rectified. It is then that I smelled that something was fishy, and I did a little digging. I hacked into her Google circles, and contacted some of the people who also seemed to be on her writing team. I was lucky to find someone from my country and the best thing is that he had left a phone number on his Google hangouts. I gave him a call, and that is when I realized that I might as well have been ripped off. The person I contacted told me that he had also done a lot of work for the client, but when payday came, she started giving all sorts of excuses and later on she sort of vanished.

    My decision was to immediately stop working for her, until she had made all the pending payments, within the 5-day grace period she had requested. The most surprising thing is that she would constantly beg me to take up some assignments, during that 5-day period, which I definitely refused. I contacted her on the agreed payment date, and I asked her whether the payment was ready, and her reply was that she was now able to make the payments. She asked for my invoice again, and that was the last I heard from her.

    It was really frustrating, because I did not know the best cause of action. I also saw another person had filed a warning online about the client in question, and that is when I realized that I was part of an ongoing series of online freelance scams. I have always been cautious in my entire tenure as a freelance writer, but it seems that my fate was finally sealed.

    I checked most of the articles with copyscape, and there was no duplicate content, but that was a week ago. What would you advise me to do? Is it advisable for me to publish all the articles, so that when she publishes they will be of no help to her?

    My advice to fellow freelancers is that trust will cost you a lot of valuable time and money in this freelance business. Always ask for a deposit before you start working on any project, and it is very important to do a background check before you start working with any client. I have learnt this the hard way, but this does not always have to be the case for everyone.
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  2. Mainak Halder

    Mainak Halder Member

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    #2
    Hi,

    It's sad to hear these kind of stories where freelancers have been scammed. Actually, I am a blogger now but for the past 5 years and still now, I also work as a freelancer.

    $1 per 100 words is the normal rate that most freelancers charge and of course there are higher rates than this. The first mistake you had done was to work with her without milestone or any sort of advance.

    Even if you had worked without advance, you could have asked for for daily payments, at least 1 days work going without pay is better than 2 weeks of work going without pay.

    Anyway, I were in your shoes, I would publish all the articles in my won blogspot or any other Free blog because since she hasn't paid, I still own the copyrights to the articles. Had she paid, then you could not have used them anymore.

    So, publish them at the earliest and hope this advice helps.
     
    Mainak Halder, Mar 25, 2014 IP
  3. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #3
    Yes I am publishing most of them them, and I will also start a blog to publish the rest.Thanks a lot for your input
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 25, 2014 IP
  4. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #4
    With ODesk, there are systems in place to protect you. For one, why would you send her an invoice when ODesk handles that for you. But who knows.

    As suggested, always get an up-front and do short-term milestones for low-paying work like this.

    Not everyone is a scammer, most aren't, in fact. But my experience has shown that low-paying clients are more likely to be the scammers.
     
    SCookAAM, Mar 26, 2014 IP
  5. coreygeer

    coreygeer Well-Known Member

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    #5
    That rarely happens to be honest. I was going to say, the only way they can dispute payment on oDesk is to contact their support team and dispute your time worked. They would have to prove that you were in fact not working on the project assigned to you via oDesk.

    oDesk/Elance are the sewers of the Freelancing world. They're not much better than content mills to be honest. Clients are paying a higher price to the escrow site than you're making, so you're expected to perform at Grade A+ while you're being paid D-.

    The crappy part though, is that there's really nothing you can do legally. Sure, you can go on a personal vendetta against them, find their real contact info and hunt them down, but for what?

    Those people will never make money from their content. They will keep hopping from writer to writer, hoping that they get free work done and build some kind of AdSense empire off of it. It will never happen.

    NEVER.. EVER do bulk work for someone without collecting any kind of upfront payment or sending their work to them in batches. Even long term clients you've known for a while. The second they mention "paying for it all at once", that's reason enough to be suspicious.
     
    coreygeer, Mar 26, 2014 IP
  6. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #6
    Sad I had to learn that the hard way, but its a blessing in disguise because I am now able to spot a scam client from a `distant.`
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 26, 2014 IP
  7. moneykrap

    moneykrap Well-Known Member

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    #7
    The system starts to be competitive and many cut costs perhaps that's why there are so many scams out there. Don't be discouraged though, I am sure that you will find your contractors soon and all things will turn to the positive course. I have had several problems in the past but now never work without upfront.
     
    moneykrap, Jul 16, 2014 IP
  8. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #8
    That`s great advice moneykrap.It`s been a few months since the incidence, and I have been able to shield myself from such people simply because I now know how they operate.
     
    mr.sidney, Jul 17, 2014 IP
  9. Melisa455

    Melisa455 Active Member

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    Good to stay positive.We always learn something new. Keep it up.
     
    Melisa455, Jul 19, 2014 IP
    mr.sidney likes this.