More immediately useful to you: you currently have a receivable against freelancer. That receivable has value and can be sold or borrowed against. The terms you get for it would typically not be that great, because they have to factor in both risk of non-collection and the costs of doing business in comparatively small dollar amounts. Still, that's likely the easiest option to make cash appear on Monday, unless you have consumer credit you didn't mention. (Get it if you don't, after passing the immediate issue. Cash flow issues happen frequently and consumer credit is often the cheapest remedy for solo freelancers.)
The magic word for selling receivables is "factoring."
Really, really common. I've started offering 10% discounts for payment upfront—even some of the larger, "corporate" clients can get pre-payments through their strictly-net-45-billing department. And I'd rather have, say, $3,600 today than the possibility of $4,000 two or three months from now.
(I also generally only extend these up-front payment discounts to ACH or wired payments, not checks. Avoids other common scenarios: "yep, your check is in the mail" or "Hello, this is your bank, we've placed a hold on your deposit for 5-10 days because we felt like it, sucks to be you”)
Given the current situation, I'd recommend a full-time job to save your sanity (I speak from personal experience as a freelancer/consultant for ~10 years). But if you're looking for immediate or additional income, your lowest risk bets are maintenance retainers. These clients generally have money (because their product has customers), and urgency (because their product has customers), and want stability (because their product has customers). $2K-$3K paid up front each month, and you just have to log your 20-40 hours, write up a report, and you're home free. No scope creep, no delayed payments, and you know the song will repeat again on the first of the month.
What I would recommend instead is: 1) charge more money. This will get you better clients. 2) save up some of that money, so that you're no longer in a situation where not getting paid this week is a big deal. 3) stop extending a huge discount for cash up-front.
Another reason not to insist on cash-upfront is that some customers are not going to be able to bend to this. Corporate clients might be able to pay with different terms, some of the time, but you shouldn't rely on this. Instead, get enough savings to give yourself flexibility.
On the other side of the coin, it's just numbers. If you can justify, say, a $4K/week rate, charge $4.5K standard or $4K for upfront. If the customer is in a position to bend payment terms to save $500/week, they can, and you're now in line with market rate but more favorable payment terms. If they're not in a position to do so, $500/week probably doesn't matter one way or the other to them, anyway. Either way, you win.
Most customers will ask for a discount, as a rule. Hinge that discount on something you want (faster payment) instead of just giving it to them. Then they can make the decision. Either way, they feel good about it. Either way, everybody wins.
That last piece of advice you gave is golden: "Most customers will ask for a discount, as a rule. Hinge that discount on something you want (faster payment) instead of just giving it to them."
Agreed 100%. And it doesn't just have to be faster payment, either. There's plenty of things you can do to change the rate.
Also, if you haven't read this, here's tptacek's briliant advice on why your "rate" isn't everything: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=848685
Your clients will pay you late. They'll pay you the wrong amount. Your freelancing agency will delay the payment. You'll get a check, but it'll bounce. It would not be unusual when freelancing to start receiving your money for a gig two months after you started it (30 days for your client to pay your agency, 30 days for your agency to pay you).
Freelancing and needing money fast are, in my experience, mutually exclusive. One of the (many) reasons a freelancer charges a comparatively higher day rate than his or her salaried counterpart is there's risk involved with freelancing. If a company fails to pay their full-time, salaried employees at the end of the month it's a big deal. If a company fails to pay their freelancers on time...that's not out of the ordinary.
Although I agree with most of what you've said it all depends on how you structure the milestones. On every job I work the first milestone gets paid immediately. In other words if I win a job, I immediately get some money. If they job is small I use two milestones:
1. Project started (50%)
2. Project completed (50%)
For larger projects I split the job up further and reduce the amount required in the first and last milestone. But the result is the same - money up front as soon as you win a job. It's also a good way of gaining some trust the client will pay. I didn't do this for the first 18 months I freelanced and got screwed several times. That happens rarely now.
No, I sell my services. My main point was that if he took money immediately he might have got these issues sorted out sooner. No guarantee though. I've been stung by freelancer.com's 14 day wait for the first payment too + they used to only process withdrawals once per week.
This. Experienced freelancers have a couple of months of financial buffer. You need it. A client might refuse to pay over some totally fabricated dispute, you might have an accident and be unable to work for a while, you might not be able to find any suitable project for a while, etc.
Anything could happen, and as a freelancer, you carry your own risk. You need a buffer, and you need sufficient margin to keep replenishing that buffer.
Another thing that freelancers should learn is that the business is high risk, and if you're one late payment from doom, then you have to go get a job, go on welfare, sell plasma, sell hair, or whatever until you can afford the business risk again. It isn't a safe or easy thing and the people who tout the 'gig economy' as if it is should be fed to zoo animals because it leads people like this down ye olde primrose path to penury.
If your wife has some kind of weird medical issue and you're being evicted, you are loaded up with too much risk to freelance. Stupid things like this happen all-the-time and it's not unique to this website. It happens all the time when you sell directly to clients. You either sue to collect, demand contracts for larger numbers that you can sue for, or eat the loss.
There is this concept of balancing risk and reward that is painful to learn because risk isn't easily perceptible or measurable ahead of time.
Also we should beat people over the head with Poor Richard's Almanack repeatedly. Expecting people to read it is probably a little much, but some lessons may be transmitted through bludgeoning according to the experts.
A quick look through Freelancer.com's recent Twitter mentions reveals that the author's position isn't unique. Freelancer.com is basically the PayPal of freelancing.
I tried looking it up but it would seem a generic almanack. While I find those entertaining, I'm confused by how they relate to the topic.
You can read a rambling summary of his views in this essay 'The Way to Wealth': http://itech.fgcu.edu/faculty/wohlpart/alra/franklin.htm
>If you would be wealthy, says he, in another almanac, think of saving as well as of getting: the Indies have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes. Away then with your expensive follies, and you will not have so much cause to complain of hard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families...
>Great estates may venture more,
>But little boats should keep near shore.
Ben Franklin is known as one of the 'founding fathers' of the United States. He's remembered as an inventor, natural philosopher, publishing magnate, political propagandist, capable diplomat (to France), and orator.
I am the Chief Executive Officer of Freelancer.com and I have personally investigated this situation.
While I sympathise with Dustin's situation, he has failed to complete our Know Your Customer (KYC) process, which involves the provision of bona fide photo identification. We take the security of our marketplace and the protection of our users very seriously and have robust checks and balances in our anti-fraud procedures.
I have looked at all the details for this case, and our support team have done exactly the right thing in this instance.
We have decided to refund all funds associated with the project back to the employer's credit card (who is also located nearby in New York) as well as all fees associated with this. The employer has been called and informed that he will need to pay Dustin directly.
We will also be investigating the nature of this project further.
Thank you also to those of you that took the time to email me to bring this personally to my attention. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I am happy to receive emails about any issue, even if it is to just drop me a note saying hello.
EDIT: Let me add that we accept driver's licenses as identification: http://www.freelancer.com/news/articles-verification-309.htm...
1. Are you saying that Dustin lied about submitting a drivers license? His blog post clearly states that he submitted a drivers license. So are you saying he is lying?
2. Why do you allow clients to pay you before you've properly identified the freelancer? That process seems completely backwards and asking for trouble. I would expect that a freelancer would need to verify their identify before they are allowed to even be listed in the marketplace, way before you would accept funds on their behalf.
1) I cannot comment on the specifics as I hope you can understand.
2) We don't ID check all the accounts at signup. That would be logistically impossible. We have 11 million users.
As it stands, I'm not really seeing any other reasonable explanation than that Freelancer.com's customer service is clueless, their KYC department is confused, and they're more concerned about form-letter damage-control responses on social media, than about helping their customer.
As for privacy and legal liability, he's already confirmed that someone is a customer, revealed the location (New York) of an employer of said customer, and divulged details about their response to the employer, so ducking behind "privacy" when the crux of the issue is questioned, rings hollow to me.
Their real mistakes are: 1) hanging onto his cash and dicking him around because they can't afford to give good support to all 11 million users who depend on their site for income and 2) having such an opaque process that it takes posts to HN to sort his issue out. By comparison, refusing to post his (supposed) application errors when doing so would absolve them doesn't exactly look like a smoking gun.
 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7657942 hints that there might be more to the story. If the support person screwed up, just accept the ID and send him his money. Instead they reversed the transaction, are 'investigating the project further' and are being cagey about details. Assuming they're not idiots, why would they not post the specifics?
It seems to boil down to OP possibly oversimplifying in his understandable frustration, and essentially his word against theirs (they say there's a "good reason" his documents were rejected, he says all communication was contradictory and unresponsive, with no reason given for his documents being rejected.) If the communications OP quoted are legitimate, Freelancer deserves the outrage, no matter the exact reason OP couldn't get verified.
What could possibly make this form of authentication special in that the process cannot be audited due to "trust," or legal issues?
I'm not defending what they did , just saying it's not clearcut that they should publish the specifics of what they were unhappy with about his ID process.
 See where I'm obviously against their behaviour here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7658177
I think it's apparent that the CEO is lying in their excuse here.
Based on the outpouring of responses to this case, I am certain there will finally be a number of very serious lawsuits.
I am quite glad you decided to come out in the open and expose your fraud to the Hacker News community directly. It will make the litigation much easier.
FREELANCER YOU ARE FULL OF CRAP, YOU HAVE BEEN IGNORING ME FOR A WEEK NOW, REFUSING TO LET ME WITHDRAW MY MONEY FROM MY ACCOUNT, CLAIMING THAT YOU ARE INVESTIGATING MY EMPLOYERn WICH HAS SENT YOU ALL THE REQUIRED DOCS SEVERAL TIME, JUST TO BE IGNORED, YOU ARE LYING TO ME? ABOUT HIS ACTIONS, AND ARE LYING TO HIM, ABOUT MY ACTIONS, YOU OWE ME 600$
AFTER MY PROJECT WAS FINISHED, AND PAYED INTO MY ACCOUNT, YOU REFUSE MY PAYMENT, ANDDO NOT EVEN INFORM MY EMPLOYER.
YOU ARE IGNORING ME ON EMAIL AND TWITTER, YOUR COMPANY IS A BIG HUGE SCAM !!!!
USERNAME ON FREELANCER WHITEWHIDOW !!!
CEO, Matt Barrie email: email@example.com
Alaister Low twitter.com/@AlaisterLow
Director of Customer Experience @freelancer.com:
This DP forum post says they received an email from the CEO after many unsuccessful tickets from customer service: https://forums.digitalpoint.com/threads/yet-another-freelanc....
This minor shitstorm will probably convince them to release the money, and maybe someone from Freelancer will even reach out to him.
Edit- got an email back from Matt in about 20 minutes, saying they are looking into it. Fingers crossed, OP - we are behind you.
They've lost my business, and I trust the rest of this community will respond in kind.
Penny wise, pound foolish, as they say.
Anyway, I think there is more than meets the eye here, and I should have given Freelancer.com a bit more benefit of the doubt. I do hope that eventually more information will become available, as this is a serious issue.
1. Any time you're in business for yourself and you don't have a buffer, you're basically out of business. (I keep re-learning this one.)
2. Using a site like this turns you into a commodity. It's structured to be a race to the bottom. There is no substitute for finding your own clients and building relationships with them. That's hard to do and takes time and energy. See #1.
There's a difference between "I can't negotiate a higher price" and "The middleman stole the money I negotiated"
All these companies just have atrocious customer support because they don't want to pay for customer support. This guy's problems are probably due to support being outsourced to some foreign country not familiar with the fact that most people in the US have no passport or national ID other than a driver's license.
- He has faced some hardships.
- Obviously the Freelancer.com customer support team is giving him the runaround.
- It's hard to see anybody in trouble and not feel bad for them.
I do wonder though, why doesn't he plan better? Having found himself in a tough situation a couple of years ago:
- Why didn't he build some savings before becoming a freelancer? Doesn't he understand that is a really bad idea?
- Why didn't he test the waters of Freelancer.com with a much smaller project? Any time you have some middleman between you and your money it seems like you want to know that they are not going to jerk you around.
At this point, it seems like he should go to one of those "work for cash" places and do some quick manual labor to get at least some of his bills paid off. And then learn how to avoid this sort of situation in the future...
It's not clear that manual labor (probably at close to minimum wage) would get him the money he needs faster than finding another freelance job.
I'll bet if he's doing as well for them as he indicates, the client will hire him outside of freelancer. It may violate some TOS, but I'd call that bridge burned already anyway.
Just a tip, but maybe you should try to put public pressure on them. I had a case once when I got scammed for $1200 on Elance by a guy doing chargeback frauds, and Elance locked my account because I didnt had enough funds loaded to cover up the scam cost (they wanted to minus my balance by $1200 to cover chargeback, which I had no right to appeal to). I was locked out for a months, until I found a relatively popular blog post about Elance (over HN too, coincidentally), and an Elance representative who commented on it in comments. I replied to his comment and asked him why they did what they did to my account, and got account unlocked in less then a day. He probably figured out 1k$ bucks is less worth than negative publicity.
This country comes down hard on people who choose self employment. But there is an honesty to humble living that I’m not ready to give up. I remember back to the vacuous state I was in while working for other people, fighting every fiber of my being to simply get up in the morning and face people that I vehemently disagreed with. It’s like racing with the pedal to the metal but the transmission is stuck in first gear. To me, underemployment is a wedge between the life I have and the one I wish I could lead. Even though it’s hard at times, liberating myself from other people’s expectations was one of the best decisions I ever made.
So why backpack around Europe when you can experience everything life has to offer right here in the US? Become a freelancer today!
Day 1: transferred from source account into internal bank-owned account.
Day 2: transferred from internal bank account into internal bank-owned account dedicated to the destination bank (e.g. ING has an internal ING->FORTIS account).
Day 3: transferred from interbank account at ING to interbank account at FORTIS.
Day 4: transferred from interbank FORTIS account into internal account.
Day 5: deposited into "target" account.
Day 6: you can actually spend the amount. (confusingly, this is not day 5, it needs to wait for your card to be updated)
Needless to say, the amount is deducted from the source account at the exact moment you give the transfer order. So this is really done so the banks can avoid paying 0.15% interest on the amount transferred for 2-3 days.
This has happened to me also, the other reason I switched to Elance was that ridiculous (we'll pay you only once a week) payment deal.
Stay away from freelancer.com
If you can supply me your username I will be happy to personally look into your issue.
As an example, right now, this post has gained 199 points in 5 hours and is at #49, but the submission directly above it at #48 was also submitted 5 hours ago but has only gained 6 points. What am I missing?
1) you mentioned you were charged 1000USD because of service fee, because when you accepted the project they charged you. I assume your project was for a total of 10k and you are paying 1000, means you are in a basic plan where they charge you 10%. Suggestion: before to accept any big project, make sure you at least sign for the 25USD membership plan, on that way they only charge you 3%, so instead of pay 1000USD, you pay 300USD.
2) The customer service is horrible and schedule payments may fail any time. Make sure you have at least two methods to receive the money, my suggestions are: Moneybookers.com account and a Payoneer card. Both are fast and safe.
I know you are facing a very complicated situation, just keep moving forward and dont let you get down on this. Talk to your customer so may he be able to help you with a direct deposit from his side, i asked that once while ago and it worked. You can agreed with him to transfer back frunds from freelancer to freelancer account. Some fees apply but is better than nothing,
best of luck.
I know, because I had one made in Atlanta, the day before a trip to Europe.
We accept driver's licenses as identification: http://www.freelancer.com/news/articles-verification-309.htm...
"Freelancer is a global outsourcing marketplace, founded in 2009. Its headquarters are located in Sydney, Australia, though also has offices spanning Vancouver, London, Buenos Aires, Manila and Jakarta."
Looking at their web site, I see no sign they have a US office, unless they kept some of the people in their two acquisitions of US marketplace firms. For stakes this small, it sounds like they're essentially judgement proof in the US. Which is no doubt why they can get away with such tactics.
I suppose passport holding might be more common though but everything about this still sounds ridiculous.
(OK, that was 3 decades ago and I live in the US, but it was significant, a somewhat akin nation's people zapping such a proposal.)
So right you are.
On the other hand, I suspect a lot of the tech support is in cheaper places than Australia.
Viewed rationally, it's mostly silly but "national ID" in some countries (including the US and, apparently, Australia) carries a lot of emotional baggage with it.
US courts will assert jurisdiction about any business transaction that took place in the US, whether or not the participants have an official address or not.
Keep in mind that the organization needs accounts with organizations that can transfer into and out of US bank accounts. So freelancer.com must have a US bank account, which will be subject to US court orders.
There is no such thing as "judgement-proof". Thankfully.
But to collect from one of those US bank accounts, you first have to find it. You'd either need to get info from another US freelancer ... and supplying that might get in the way of his continuing to get paid (I guess using social media you'd try to find someone who's not going to use them again), or you'd have to gotten your first payment.
A default judgement obtained in absentia also means the judge has no leverage to pry this sort of information out of the company's representatives.
True. Buy a $0.05 gimmick from them and check your bank statement.
They're not a products company and they don't seem to have any bling you can buy, but I noticed a small writing job they're highlighting on their web page for $50. You could have a friend or two do a minimal transaction through them, although you'd want to use ACH (warning!!! on an account with little money in it!) instead of a credit card so you don't have to try to squeeze the bank info out of a card company, but, yeah.
Still might be expensive to collect from an out of state bank, don't really know how that works.
This is what the small claims courts are for - although it is unclear whether Freelancer.com have any kind of presence in the US, which in this case is what seems to be the real blocker.
According to their about page  they are register in Australia. Couldn't he just file in the Australian small claims court though?
After numerous emails and support tickets and live chat conversations that didn't provide any answers, Matt Barrie finally gave me an explanation at 10:30 pm when he called me.
The explanation given for why my driver's license was rejected was because their manual states that potential counterfeit ID’s would have a brown background in the photo section of the driver's license instead of a white background. When I renewed my license a few months ago the DMV gave me the option of using my recent license photo or take a new one. I opted to use the old photo. It's a black and white photo as far as I can tell, but according to Matt Barrie the background of my driver's license photo appeared to be "brown." I think it's a rather ridiculous reason for why they rejected my ID, it clearly does not look like a brown background photo and is in fact my valid New York ID issued from the state. Regardless, they should have told me this immediately instead of giving me the runaround for days and holding up my payment. They also should have done this verification process before I began working on the project and before I waited for 2 weeks for the first wire. They also never requested that I do a keycode verification where I hold a sign using the unique keycode they give me and holding up my ID. I am displeased with their handling of this, but thankful that my client is dependable and professional and has opted to continue this project off of freelancer.com.
I regret that these are the actions I had to take in order to get freelancer.com to clarify why they were holding my payment and rejecting my ID. I am lucky enough to be working with an understanding and motivated client who has gone out of his way to help clear up this situation. He was gracious enough to advance me a payment this evening even though he is still awaiting his returned funds from freelancer.com
In the future, I hope that freelancer.com will be more direct with their customers when issues like this arise. I also hope that everyone who is having a similar issue gets it resolved ASAP without it having to come to this ugliness.
My wife and I cannot thank all of you enough for your support. When companies won't do the right thing, it's good to know that the power of social media can help keep them accountable.
While we can see from your case many problems of their waiting, I don't think it's economic for them to do a Know Your Customer (KYC) process until there's enough money on the table.
Surely many if not most if not the vast majority of freelancers signed up on the site will never receive enough money to require this. They'd have to not only get hired for a project, but also not get stiffed by the client.
The inexcusable thing is of course is that once they had thousands of dollars in their hands (albeit since it was from a credit card, subject to a charge back, which I'm sure is one of the reasons they resolved this in your and your client's favor), their KYC "process" (not sure their's deserves such a grand name) was so bogus, inconsistent and opaque.
There's a slight excuse for the opaqueness, implicitly telling you to Photoshop your "brown" photo section background into something more acceptable would negate that metric's usefulness, but ... well, they could have told you something that would have prompted you to go to the DMV and get a new license with a new photo (you could tell them you lost your old one).
E.g. "your photo on the license doesn't pass muster, why don't you get a replacement with a new photo" ... although that wouldn't necessarily work in my home state of Missouri, they have metrics for when they'll take a new photo and refused to the last time I renewed it (and for what it's worth, it has a deep blue background, one would hope that's OK by them...).
"They also never requested that I do a keycode verification where I hold a sign using the unique keycode they give me and holding up my ID."
There are two issues here: sending money to the right person, which I suspect was never in serious doubt, and sending money to a legit person, which is what the "Know Your Customer" words of art are all about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_your_customer
they now claim that the employer of that project is under investigation, but when i contact them, they know nothing about this ..
note that at this point in time, the employer has no reason whatsoever, to spend anymore time fixing this matter, as his work has been delivered, and he has already made payment to freelancer, released the milestone, and finished the project.
but now, I have to tell me employer, to ask freelancer whatsup ?
so freelancer told them they didint trust that the account was china based, yet logins where made from other locations.
so my employer explained why they needed a vpn in China, DUH
they then proceeded to request pictures of documents a copy of his id, AND a photo of him holding a printed out code wich they provided !! so he complied, but they them also needed a copy of hi's ENTRY STAMPS ON HIS PASSPORT? showing that he entered china ...
so my employer complied again .
(note that i knew all this from communicating with my employer at this point, as freelancer was ignoring me completely)
but now freelancer needed more documents, in english, wich my employer cant seem to get hold of in China (if i go to my Dutch bank and request chinese docs they wont comply either, duh)
anyway, so now we are stuck, beeing ignored, with +600 dollars in my account, wich they wont let me withdraw
notice the whole trivk here,
if you DO manage to get money from your employer into your account, they will simply refuse it when you try to wothdraw . at wich point you have to go haras your EX-employer, wich has not time for taking selfies, days on end, scanning docs, rescanning docs, over and over .
so their whole plan is simply for the employer to get sick of it, and stop trying, THEY HAVE NO REASON OTHERWISE, THEY PAYED AND GOT RESULT, DONE. and freelancer goes of with the money ..
Wish We could do something to help you, like may be bombard freelancer's facebook page to resolve your issue.
If you are good at what you do - contact guy you work for and ask him to send money directly. If you are really valuable to him - he will do this.
If you have time to write this piece - you could as well use your skill and do some content writing jobs that would pay you fair money while waiting for other payments/jobs.
I am not trying to defend Freelancer as they did a bad job here, but man - protect yourself, learn how to avoid sucky situations you are in constantly...
That will not work for an already paid money, because now it is stuck in Freelancer's account.
Hi, Kiwee. We're already on the user's case and we're absolutely keen on resolving it at the soonest time possible. We appreciate your concern on the matter.
hope all the attention is doing something for you.
They did have a lot of payment delays later in time, but that was not because of ill will, but because of issues with payment processors. Those processing companies were getting shadier and shadier as time went on, often getting their bank accounts seized, processors running away with tens of millions, et cetera. The lack of decent payment processors was what caused most of their delays by far, and incidentally also what caused them to resort to things like miscoding credit-card transactions and semi-bribing banks, which in turn resulted in them getting indicted in the US.
There's some other companies that did leave players waiting for months for their withdrawals because they were short in funds, but that wasn't the major issue at FTP or AP before their government-triggered collapse.
Source: I intimately know the business.
Gun.io (http://www.gun.io) has been the only freelancing site that take that extra step to ensure that both sides are satisfied.
Sorry, to hear about your awful experience with Freeelancer. :(
When Paypall's fraud detection flags an account, their repeated demands for more and more "documentation" are clearly not in good faith, they have no intention whatsoever in immediately unfreezing your account, they want you to do one of two things that will address their risk of chargebacks:
Refund all the money in question; this can work for charity efforts, which look suspicious, a whole bunch of money flooding into an account all of a sudden. In that case, the donations can quickly go back and be funneled to another charity.
Or wait 180 days to get your money.
Of course you have the third option of appealing to social media et. al., which can work particularly well in the charity situation.
For Freelancer.com, they obviously don't turn the crank on their Know Your Customer (KYC) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_your_customer) process until there's money on the table. Many, probably most freelancers who sign up will probably never reach this point, either because they don't get a job, or the client stiffs all concerned.
However, once that necessary action was triggered, if we are to believe Dustin, Freelancer.com's KYC unit was grossly incompetent. Heck, they might be lying to the CEO about what happened ... but he's ultimately responsible for all this.
> They pretend to resolve the issue in private, hoping to shut you up in public, only to continue the run around in private, offering absolutely no solution
I think you meant public instead of private.
This is Matt Barrie, Chief Executive of Freelancer.com.
I see this has been reposted again in /r/programming. I think that we are being treated a little harshly here when the facts behind this case are not fully known, and nor are we able to provide them to you due to privacy issues.
Dustin did successfully withdraw funds the first time only a few days before. This has been omitted from his article.
On Thursday 24/4 he queued a substantially larger withdrawal for processing which was queued according to our normal timetable for Monday 28/4. This larger withdrawal triggered our KYC process (Know Your Customer) which required provision of identification. Documents were provided on this day but did not pass our process. I personally looked into this and it was for good reason that the anti-fraud team rejected them.
On Sunday 27/4, further documents were provided (still not completing the KYC process), but at the same time Dustin posted his article on Medium.com which blew up both here on Reddit, and HN.
By this stage it was early Monday morning here in Australia, and this issue was brought to our attention (thank you to those of you that emailed me). I personally looked at the accounts and was present when the team called (at about 7pm NY time) both Dustin (who didn't answer) and the employer to resolve the matter. The employer told our team "he does not wish to cooperate or assist us in any request" along with several expletives. We informed the employer on that call that in that case we were likely to refund the payments back to his credit card and that he would have to pay direct.
Our team then investigated the project itself- and became concerned enough with the nature of the project (which was against our Terms of Service) to cancel it, refund all the fees- for both Dustin and the employer- and refund all payments back to the employer's credit card.
I hope that you all understand that we have robust anti-fraud procedures in place designed to protect you in the event that your credit card is stolen. We don't subvert those processes because a post makes its way to Reddit or HN.
Over 5.8 million projects have been posted on Freelancer.com. We are a public company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. We are not in the business of "actively delaying payments to contractors". This is a ridiculous assertion from OP.
NO payment was delayed in the above process with Dustin. We process withdrawals for Monday EDT. We were attempting to resolve this issue Sunday evening EDT.
Both Dustin and his employer were, to say the least, unhelpful in getting this resolved.
Those funds still have not been transferred to my bank account. I didn't omit anything. The article has two paragraphs detailing that the wire was sent and that I was informed that it would take 3-5 days to reflect in my bank account.
> Documents were provided on this day but did not pass our process. I personally looked into this and it was for good reason that the anti-fraud team rejected them.
Do you ever plan on emailing me the reason? I've only asked a dozen times for an explanation.
> I personally looked at the accounts and was present when the team called (at about 7pm NY time) both Dustin (who didn't answer) and the employer to resolve the matter.
It has been four days of that runaround. I emailed you personally the day before and didn't receive a response. I called the phone number you had listed on your whois for your personal blog, got your voicemail, left a message, and received no response. You still have not responded to my email.
> The employer told our team "he does not wish to cooperate or assist us in any request" along with several expletives. We informed the employer on that call that in that case we were likely to refund the payments back to his credit card and that he would have to pay direct.
My employer accomplished in one phone call something that took me a week. Clearly, I was being too nice about it.
> Both Dustin and his employer were, to say the least, unhelpful in getting this resolved.
I complied with every request you asked. The only requests I did not comply with were unreasonable ones such as "get a national id".. The U.S. has no such thing, and "get a passport", which would have taken weeks to obtain.
i'm now in my 30s and many of my family and friends own their own property or own rental property. having been personally involved in and witness to many, many real estate deals including ones that have gone completely south and/or had extremely tenuous goings, i am wondering how exactly this is possible.
the entire system is regulated to prevent this sort of thing from happening unless you just fork over a bunch of cash directly to a seller, in which case - that's your problem.
the older i get, the more skeptical i am of these cases in which the protagonist finds himself in financial trouble over and over again. being a victim is incredibly addicting because nothing is ever your fault.
sorry if i come off as an asshole but those are my thoughts on this matter. he posted it publicly on a blog and it ended up on HN and i'm offering feedback.
Looking at his larger picture, it's kind of hard to believe that the $1500 wire or even the $5000 from the project will make this night and day difference in his whole life... but that's not a reason to withhold it from him.
There are still 2 real take-aways. If you're going to freelance, be prepared for cash flow issues. Have a buffer, charge more, structure deals to get money sooner in the process, and walk away if there are any problems with the money. Also, don't use freelancer.com. Not that I had ever heard of them before today anyways.
Actually, I see "but I liked the project and the client" in there too. Does this guy have a history of accepting business deals that any reasonable observer can easily see are bad ideas, and making up reasons why he's doing them anyways? Is there maybe something in there about having a tendency to being taken in by con men? It seems pretty clear that, if you're having cash flow issues, you should look for a full-time W2 job first, or if you have to freelance, find a client who will pay you directly, up front.
It's totally believable, although for the life of me I would not sign a contract that makes me loose the down-payment if I'm unable to contract the loan - who knows what can happen and what the morons employed by the bank will do ?
All in all, a cautionary tale about the effects marriage can have one one's life, rather than being about freelancer.com
"Our dreamhouse" part sounds exactly like a wifey's wet dream.
absolutely NO money (zero, zip, nada) should be exchanged directly between the buyer and seller in a legitimate sale. there should be at least two outside parties (generally a bank and a licensed escrow company) involved in proxying the transaction. some people even buy additional protection on top of that.
if you decide to throw all these protections out the window, that's nobody's problem but your own.
I would regard anything outside of that as very suspicious, though.
The amount was small relative to a house purchase, in the range of $200 I think.
My real estate agent told me if the deal went sour, we'd have a hell of our time getting the money back from the escrow folk. I assumed such an approach was common everywhere.
i don't mean to sound short, but what is the point of escrow in your state then?
I honestly I have no idea if this was just the real estate agents 'approach' or if it relates to CT laws or something entirely different.
There are tens of blog posts about Freelancer.com's customer support and their shady payment tactics.
If you really want to work on a site like that, go ahead. I'd warn you though. You're going to lose money if you take them up on anything.
With 11 million users you are bound to get a few complaints about something, however we are very proactive about finding these issues and resolving them. I personally am dealing with this issue and I have looked at the circumstances and I stand 100% behind my anti-fraud team.
They live above their means.
> We managed to get one and a half truck loads
They have too much stuff.
Freelancer.com is barely relevant to their problems.
I had savings at the time, but it was a combination of the real estate mess and my wife's health issues that my income stalled, and it still took a while before our savings ran out.
As soon as I receive payment for this project I am caught up on everything I was behind on, and it would take one more project equal to this one to get a couple months ahead.
I started working full time two months ago. It's not taking me long to catch up on something that took years to happen.
If freelancer did the right thing, I would be caught up already.
> size of their trucks
"we were up for two days packing" indicates that the truck was not small.