The trouble with

24 02 2010

Please also see:

  • Is a scam? (Part 1)
  • The Trouble With Freelancer: Part II
  • How to Spot Spam, Scams and Shams
  • As a relative newcomer to the world of freelancing, bidding sites such as People Per Hour and are often very useful for me to find and bid on writing and editing projects. So far, I’ve actually found most of my freelance work through these sites. However, I have a major bugbear with, in particular.

    Unlike People Per Hour (PPH), which charges both freelancer and buyer a fee to post and bid on projects, it is free for the buyer to post a project on [edit: I’ve since found out this isn’t true; buyers pay a refundable $5 deposit – see the comments below!]. The successful freelance bidder is charged a minimum of $5 USD for being accepted for a project, and a further $1 for withdrawing funds to PayPal. Of course, because it is so cheap to post a project, there are a great deal more projects listed on Freelancer than on PPH. The quality of projects posted is also considerably lower.

    Although PPH is more expensive, I much prefer it because the buyers tend to be genuine individuals and companies who wish to outsource their work. At, there are various problems. Firstly, many buyers openly exploit cheap labour from the developing world. Many will only recruit freelancers from India or the Philippines and as such, it is difficult for experienced, native English-speaking writers to be accepted for projects where the rate of pay is much more than $2 USD per 500 words.

    Secondly, there is a growing trend for “buyers” on to ask for free samples of work from bidders. While I do understand that genuine buyers will want to assess the quality of the work that they will ultimately be paying for, a link to previously published work should be enough. What I suspect tends to happen is that the “buyer” will collect these free samples, cancel the project posting and disappear off into the sunset with a few tens or even hundreds of unique articles that he will then try to sell on or pass off as his own work when bidding on another project.

    Finally, although there are many other examples I could give, seems to increasingly be a place where scammers can post their ads, with little risk. These often tend to be the type where someone says “I have money in my account but cannot transfer it to Paypal because I’ve been blocked/I live in a country where there is no Paypal. I will pay you X amount into your account if you transfer X amount into my Western Union/Moneybookers/indian bank account” etc. The freelancer is promised a vast profit with “no risk” because the buyer will pay a deposit up front. ha! Please go right ahead and pull the other one! Worryingly though, people actually bid on these “projects”!

    There is a “Report violation” button that users can click to report project postings or other freelancers for breaching Freelancer‘s terms and conditions, but I don’t think it should really be up to the users of the site. need to be taking their own responsibility for the image and reputation of their business.

    I have written to about this before and all I got in reply was a simple and very unsatisfactory, “Thank you for your suggestion, we are looking into it”. So today, after reporting yet another scam posting, I decided to try again. Here’s my email and I’ll let you know of any reply!


    I have written to you about this before and received a very unsatisfactory “we’re looking into this” email. I have since seen no progress on this matter. The matter I am talking about is the problem of people posting scams on There have been many ads in recent months such as this one posted by user “getqualityconten”:

    I need an online sbi or icici account holder person who can earn regular cash for small help.
    My paypal is locked for some checking reason. I have money in gaf* account. I will send $50 in your gaf account and you need to send 1000 inr in my account. The process is very easy.

    I will send you first $25 and you have to send 1000/- instantly in my account then I will send remaining $25 in your account. So there is no risks for both of us…..and if this process goes fine then from the next transaction i will give you more than 1000/- profit. You can earn regular cash by this way. Thanks”

    My first point is that these postings are not genuine requests for freelancers. is supposed to be a place where buyers can outsource their work to freelancers – this type of advert is not “work”. This also applies to the increasing number of people who try to sell articles that they have written (or more likely stolen from freelancers who have written free samples). This is not the place for sales.

    Secondly, this type of money exchange ad is often posted by “buyers” with no feedback. In the case of “getqualityconten”, he claims to have money in his Freelancer account – but how can this be unless he has transferred it there himself? According to his profile, he has not completed or even bid on any projects so logically, he cannot have received money. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a scam and I wonder why do not do anything about it?

    In my mind, the answer is simple: each project posting must be checked and edited before it “goes live” to weed out the scammers. Not only the scammers, but people who post inadequately described projects – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to ask what the proposed word count is for a writing project (which, if I am to bid on a project is really quite a crucial piece of information!), so if there was some kind of editing before the advert was placed online, these kinds of careless errors would become extinct.

    Please could you do me a big favour and reply with a detailed account of how aware is of the problems I have described above, and your proposals for what you plan to do about them. As a regular user of your site, I feel entitled to know how scrupulous a company you are and whether I should even bother with you in the future. I don’t want to help line the pockets of a company that is itself a big scam.


    Lisa Martin

    * used to be known as, so many users still refer to it as GAF.



    639 responses

    27 03 2010

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for review.


    4 05 2012

    Boy, I just got burned on as a bidder. First, it was only a $30 project, but they took $5. Then after completing the work, and weeks gone by with no response from the employer even after en invoice was sent and past due, the guy just deleted the project. I contacted FL and they gave me this lame response:

    “We regret to learn about your unpleasant experience with your employer madmaxfun from project 1579771. We suggest that you continue contacting your employer through other means of communication available to both of you. Please understand that is merely an online site that provides a venue for Users to offer, sell, and buy professional services and we are not otherwise involved in the transactions and interactions between Employers and Freelancers. What will happen upon acceptance of the project is beyond our scope of support.”

    However, I can’t contact the employer after the project is deleted. So it’s as good as sweeping it under the rug. It’s a good thing it was only $30, but I am still out the $5 for accepting the project.

    This is the second time as a bidder I have been burned. I think it’s going to be the last.

    5 05 2012

    Hi Mark, I don’t understand why you can’t contact the employer now that the project has been deleted. When you were awarded and accepted the project, you should have been sent the employer’s email address – have you tried emailing him or her rather than trying to contact through the Freelancer message system?? Next time you work freelance, consider asking the employer to sign a contract that clearly sets out the work you will do, your payment terms and expectations etc. If the employer wont sign, don’t work for them. Also make sure you get their their postal address and phone number!

    15 08 2012
    Sweet Lancer

    I have also been burned 4 times now! 3 sites for $585 & 1 small project $50. so I started a new site “Sweet Lancer.”
    heck out – New 100% FREE site for US based Freelancers & Employers

    16 10 2012

    Hi Mark,

    We created, a Facebook App, just to overcome the fees issues.
    We know how annoying it can be to bid on a project, lose money and never get paid!
    Please check out our website maybe it can help you earn supplementary income.


    24 11 2012
    Miguel A.

    Hello, a similar issue happened to me.

    I bid on a project of $250, after the employer awarded my bid, took 10% of what I bid ($25) as a fee. Well, the problem is that the employer is not answering to my messages and I can see that he keeps opening projects.

    P.S.: This was an employer with a 4.9 star feedback.

    My advice: before accepting the employer’s award, make sure you have got sufficient information and details. Make sure the employer is sufficiently interested in running the project till the end.

    All the Best Regards.

    24 11 2012

    Dear Miguel,

    The simple fact that the “employer” didn’t pay you and cut communications with you, yet continues posting different projects is clear evidence that his job is just posting projects to fish people… if you check the projects he posts you will realize that they are very generic and not really very detailed… it is just a scam to collect money from people… and if by any reason you had ran into a real employer and he had paid you $2,000 then you would have found yourself with your account frozen as soon as you tried to withdraw your money…

    Ratings in mean nothing, they give these fakers very high rankings in order to fish workers/employers and steal their money… neither whatever amount of communications you can get with them will suffice: they are scammers, their job is just fishing people and they will talk you into giving up your money…

    Plus, if it hadn’t been a scam, then it wouldn’t be so difficult for you to get your money back since the employer has withdrawn the project, and it is your money, and hasn’t incurred in any loses cause of that… instead they ask you to produce things that are just not in your control to produce (like getting the employer to take some action or notify them, really? like if you knew the employer first hand, or he lived next door…)

    Some people make some noise and are able to get their money back, but most don’t…

    31 12 2012
    adrian higgs

    you are not allowed to post contact details on freelancer they will suspend your account and freeze your funds if you do so.

    4 02 2013
    Joanne Torres

    Hi I had similar experience with Freelancer. AVOID FREELANCER.COM – they do not take any responsibility for fraud work posted, will take your project fee, but will not follow up on any fake work posted. I have lost close to a £100.00 on this site which has NOT produced any genuine work. Please avoid this site and look for GENUINE freelance work in the UK via other sites.

    19 06 2013
    Linus C.

    Hi Mark,

    This is Linus from Can you please send an email to and ask the ticket to be forwarded to me so I can personally look into your issue?


    Linus C.

    17 07 2012
    RK Seid just acquired

    25 11 2012

    Hi Lisa, just wondering if you might somehow put this in a spot on your blog where people are likely to see it? Maybe with a picture?

    Freelancer is a scam! I have recently emailed INTERPOL made a statement at Rip Off Report and also to an online consumer fraud site

    I URGE ANYONE READING THIS WHO HAS BEEN SCAMMED THROUGH AND OR BY FREELANCER.COM TO CONTACT THE ABOVE SITES AND MAKE A COMPLAINT AGAINST FREELANCER.COM the sooner you do the sooner this site will cease to exist and cease to scam people. And, if you can suggest other venues to vocalise the scams that puts on then please add to the list of ways to report for their scam operation.

    here is contact information for anyone reporting

    Registrant Contact:
    Freelancer Technology Pty Limited
    Matt Barrie ()

    Suite 501
    35 Lime Street
    Sydney, NSW 2000

    Administrative Contact:
    Freelancer Australia Pty Limited
    Customer Service (
    Fax: +61.292793305
    Suite 501
    35 Lime Street
    Sydney, NSW 2000

    Technical Contact:
    Freelancer Technology Pty Limited
    Matt Barrie (
    Fax: +61.292793305
    Suite 501
    35 Lime Street
    Sydney, NSW 2000

    7 06 2013

    As an employer I have had very bad experiences with the customer support from Freelancer and as a result I will no longer post my jobs there. That is unfortunate because I am an employer with a 5.0 rating transferred from Vworker when Freelancer purchased them. There customer support SUCKS. First of all, they won’t respond unless you send your request from the email address you used when you signed on. Then when You do that they require further verification. Once that is done they will ask you to verify again, and again. Then they tell you that it has been over 24 hours and you requests have been closed. If you are fortunate enough to get to the next step, they tell you that your request is in the queue and then they will delete if because if has been over 24 hours. If you are lucky enough to get some kind of response it will be a generic answer that has no bearing on your problem. It is like they pick a form answer out of a hat and send it to you.

    8 06 2013

    What customer support? scams can’t have customer support: it would defeat the purpose.

    By now, the fact that is an international scam is universal knowledge… it is like knowing there is oxygen in the air…

    19 06 2013
    Linus C.

    Hi sedonatours,

    This is Linus of I understand that you are having a difficult time getting your account related inquiries resolved. Can you please send an email to and ask the ticket to be forwarded to me so I can personally look into your issue?


    Linus C.

    20 06 2013
    Linus C.

    Hi sedonatours,

    This is Linus from I understand the issues you are having with your account. Can you please send an email including your username to and ask the ticket to be forwarded to me so I can personally look into your issue?


    Linus C.

    31 03 2010

    Hi Lisa,

    We appreciate you voicing your opinion and bringing issues to our attention.

    In regards to posting projects on Freelancer, we have always had a $5 refundable fee which discourages scammers posting fraud projects. This fee is only refunded if the project is awarded to a service provider.

    Being the largest outsourcing site in the world, you can imagine the amount of attempted scamming that does go on. We have staff who are constantly trawling for scam projects and projects that violate our terms and conditions.

    In regards to the user “getqualityconten”, this account had been suspended as soon as we were aware of his fraud projects.

    We work hard to make a safe environment for both employers and service providers.

    Kind Regards,


    10 02 2011

    So make it right !!!!!!!!! Make the clients to escrow min project fee and all scam will go away.

    10 02 2011

    Hi Garik,
    You’ll be pleased to know that Freelancer have reassured me they will be implementing a compulsory milestone payment of 10% (to cover project commission fees). They said will be done “pretty soon”, so no date as yet, but it’s a step in the right direction!

    6 05 2011

    Hey! You are completely right! I have an account on and I have tried to outsource my writings. I have accepted 3 jobs and my balance goes to -$15! I have done some articles which worth $55 with two of my buyers but they have flown way with my money and balance is still -$15, so funny!!!

    I have found lots of fake buyer in freelancer and hence, I was shifted to elance and odesk and I have got 1 feedback from elance and 4 from odesk within 15 days! Now I am happy with these two freelancing sites.

    12 05 2011

    Completely agree with the article. There is no improvement since february.
    So just don’t use

    16 05 2011

    I was using for some projects of mine. The last project went it complete disaster. The freelancer didn’t understand the requirements and only delivered literally “unusable” content (Like you ask for a apple but you always get a lemon). Even after we already released 50% of the funds the freelancer started a dispute and FL agreed to the dispute releasing 100% of the funds without looking into the actual case – no files where delivered – nothing – lost $150 + all the fees on top of it. What’s worse is that I needed the content for a project and I nearly lost the client as well.

    It’s interesting that everything occurred right after the 45 days protection from PayPal . After contacting Freelancer they only stated that “their” decision is final.

    On top of it, the freelancer started to black mail me that he will only deliver the content if I remove the negative review that I placed.

    Freelancer really steals your money. Never going to use it again.

    19 02 2011

    Unfortunately, the same thing has happened to me 4 times in a row at! I have sent report violations but unfortunately I get no answer!!??

    Today I recorded your support chats with screencast. EVERY SINGLE TIME I got kicked out or I was just insulted. Thankfully I recorded everything for anyone to see that I did not write anything insulting or of bad manner.
    The one and only thing I want to do is review the last idiot that ripped me off using the same trick as described here on Lisa’s blog.
    Instead I am being treated as a criminal or some crazy person. So I asked myself why? Why would freelancer be doing this and the answer is simple!

    Your company is making more money with criminals than anything else!

    First of all you make $5 a go just for the job placement which I have never received back.
    Secondly if the bidder usually from India or the Pakistan hasn’t found a way of getting money for you through moneybookers then he simply wont do anything and your only option is to make a complaint and pay another $35 dollars all together!
    Meaning if any money was placed through a milestone not only do you have to wait a minimum of 6 more weeks from the time you complain but you are also asked to pay 2 charges adding up to $35!!!

    Now imagine how many Indians and Pakistanis among others are doing this day for day and now calculate how much money gets hold from freelancer for longer periods of time…

    Once all that is calculated it’s quite clear how really earns it’s money and it’s also the answer to why nobody is willing to help me!!!

    I got ripped off 4 times and 4 times they got away with money. Freelancer has also made quite a bit of me…

    So PLEASE dont lie to yourself and talk about a safe community!
    The only success rate I have experienced at freelancer is 100% fraud.

    In fact it wouldn’t even wonder me if some of these fraudulent persons are in fact themselves because you only need to calculate the figures, just a few to see how much money can be made.

    A serious company would have a support hotline and answer all mails sent from persons being ripped off. But of course if your in on the deal yourself how can you possibly help anyone? You cant!

    I for sure shall write as many blogs and tell as many persons as I can to what happened in all the languages I speak! I believe in honesty and I’m sure there really are lots of Indians and Pakistanis that work great but they’re not on because it’s simply not serious!

    12 05 2011

    Completely agree. I spent huge amount of money with no effect. I strongly recommend not to use All they do is freezing our money to finance their business.

    20 03 2011

    I believe this is the major issue with when accounts get suspended for absolutely no reason. They have suspended my account even without giving a prior notice of why they are doing so. They did give explanations when I requested, but got silent with no further actions. It’s indeed a frustrating experience for me since I have worked with other websites and had no even the slightest hint of such an inexplicable behavior. And I don’t think I would ever want to work through again. Btw, I’ve read many other similar reviews and it seems like this is a trick in order not to give the money people earned. It’s a scam!!!

    27 07 2012

    Please be careful, and (without the R) are two different websites.

    29 03 2011
    Ayaz Moeen


    Your staff is rude and unhelpful, I had my account opened and being my first transaction I deleted the project in order to change wrong information on the project, I was charged 5$ for just deleting the project. I humbly asked the support to waive the charges since it was first time, and I am not familiar with the procedures, they simply denied it and said no to that.

    The question is not the 5$, its nothing, but the impression that I have about in my mind now as a bad co.

    I will never return back to you. so on day one you:
    1. Charged me 10.59$ for deposit 10$.
    2. Charged me 5$ for deleting the project.
    3. Charged me 1$ for refunding the remaining 5$.

    I lost 6.59$ for nothing.

    30 03 2011

    Indeed, is a great money-making machine — not for the buyers and providers that are sucked into the site, but for those running it.

    Since I found Lisa’s site and considering my belief that competition is healthy for the industry; I have tried to give this company the benefit of the doubt that they are simply being confronted with something like “growing pains”.

    On March 8 this year, I received this impolite and arrogant email from
    “Negative balance! Please deposit funds urgently!
    Your account: mistergam has been temporarily suspended.

    Please login to your account immediately and deposit funds here:,, to reactivate your account.

    Your balance is:
    USD: -21.00
    Contact our support
    Regards, ”

    Although suspended, they continue to send me notices about new job postings. Why? Do they expect me to add to my losses?

    I have never placed another bid after my account was suspended and I will never be suckered into wasting more time with

    On my first job, I earned $30 and I lost all of it through advanced collection of commissions on jobs that never materialized. That explains why, instead of earning money, I now owe them $21! .. and that means that all in all, I have lost $51 to

    That is why I say that “ is a good money-making machine!” People who don’t want to loose money are well advised to keep away from it.

    Cheers to oDesk and PPH and the rest of the non-scammers!

    30 01 2012

    Freelancer is a joke be very careful using them I used them for a while but they have all these hidden charges which they are not upfront about and their live chat when you have a problem is a joke, the delete tickets from support so as not to pay you refunds. Avoid at all costs I am currently getting Paypal to deal with them who have told me it is a regular occurrence. Avoid at all costs

    30 01 2012

    Thanks Alan, and do let us know if you make any progress with Paypal’s investigations. I’m sure Paypal must be as sick as we are of Freelancer’s payment system!

    8 05 2012

    Oh My God. I should have checked about this site in the first place. My account got suspended with $147 in it!!! The help desk is telling all sorts of nonsense (I can copy paste their messages here.) What do I do? Does anyone knows anything? Will I get my money back?

    9 05 2012

    Hi Liz, it depends what the reason is for your suspension is as to what happens next. Did Freelancer give you a reason for suspending you? It’s likely because you have broken one of their rules (whether your realised it or not), or that you have been bidding on dodgy projects. Can you give me some more details?

    5 06 2012
    Penelope Poole

    As a writer/editor, currently between assignments and exploring online opps like, it amuses me that Alaister’s letter is riddled with grammatical errors and incorrect usage, to wit: “you voicing your opinion.” And the dangling participle: “Being the largest outsourcing site in the world, you can imagine…;” And “in regards to” instead of ‘as regards’ or ‘regarding.’ No disrespect to you Alaister (although I’m sure you’ve since moved on to bigger and better things that do not involve grammar), but you’d think your employer would have asked you to take the ‘Exams’ — which are ineffective when testing punctuation and capitalization as these are dependent on organizational styles and therefore have no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, but would weed out the above errors. I’ve just learned here that is ‘Aussie’ and that makes me proud of them. Although I am not Australian, I am impressed that a small country has gained ‘top dog’ in a highly competitive world. Bravo… it also explains the strange ‘English’ exams. I much appreciate the posting here, and am pretty sure I’ve spent enough money at for the education it gave me. Lisa, kudos and thanks. I am seeking a higher quality online opportunity than and will immediately take steps to close my account and remove my profile, whatever the cost and troll around the others you cite. Gracias.

    9 08 2012

    Everyone please be careful. I’m writing this message to inform all about harassing behavior.
    If you won a project/contest and your employer paid you. But his profile is not verified by Now will not allow you to withdraw that money until your employer verify his details. And if he don’t verify his details you will never able to withdraw money paid by your employer
    Its NOT employer’s fault, he already paid you, you can see the money in your account but won’t be able to withdraw. should verify any details before anyone post a project/contest. But they are not doing this. They are just harassing the providers. Please share if you are facing similar problem.

    28 04 2013

    I will never use Freelancer again. I posted a project…paid basically 57.00 for all the “security, rush job etc..” thinking I was doing the right thing. Selected a freelancer (USA local) with a 5.0 rating who happily took my 1/2 payment milestone to start…and then never contacted me again. Now I am in a dispute and may never see the money. This just seems like a really easy way to scam people. Post false profiles.. accept milestones and then run with the money. The dispute just gets deleted or remains unresolved. gets money either way.

    31 03 2010

    Hi Alaister, and thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I was unaware that charges buyers a $5 fee, so thanks for bringing that to my attention. Still, I wonder how effective it is at deterring scammers, as a month on from my blog post and it’s still more of a problem than ever. Perhaps these scammers are so confident that that their dodgy ads will go undetected by Freelancer that it is worth taking the risk of a $5 loss? I continue to receive exploitative, shady and downright illegal job alerts to my inbox every single day so clearly your team of trawlers is not man enough to handle the abuse that Freelancer gets.

    On a related note, I’m not sure how effective your customer support is either. I find it strange that you have replied to my blog post, located out there in cyber space, and yet my direct email to’s customer support remains unanswered after more than a month has elapsed since I wrote and sent it.

    Please be assured that I think is a great idea, and as I mentioned in my post, the majority of my freelance work, apart from my regular clients, comes from your site, albeit after some trawling of my own to sift through the bad apples. Tellingly, according to my blog stats, most people who find this post have arrived here after searching for “ scam” or similar search terms. It looks like you have some work to do.

    28 07 2011

    “find it strange that you have replied to my blog post, located out there in cyber space, and yet my direct email to’s customer support remains unanswered” WELL SPOTTED! That’s so true, you deserve a medal for that detective work. Thanks for this site! I was considering using, but mind told me to do my research first. bye bye.
    Thanks Lisa

    1 11 2012

    All freelancer users will have to also understand the fact that if screened each and every job posting manually then it would cost much more for the users to use this site. The question is “would the business model they are working upon would be feasible”
    My suggestion would be to do a software based screening; something like ‘spam assasin’ in cpanel. Then review the spam like job postings manually. This may reduce spam jobs considerably.

    10 07 2013

    Hi Samita,

    This is Linus of We sincerely appreciate your suggestions and feedback on how we can improve our site and services. Rest assured that it will be forwarded to the proper department for review.

    If you have issues with your account and need assistance, you can contact and ask to be forwarded to be so I can handle it personally.

    Kind regards,
    Linus C.

    28 02 2014
    Rachel Walton

    Hi Lisa,

    I just read what you were saying regarding Alaister making a comment on your blog, and the irony of how ineffective Freelancer customer support was, and it reminded me of my dealings with another large company (not a freelancing company). The same thing was going on.

    They seemed to have terrible customer service with generic response to queries with “We’re sorry you’re not satisfied with the service etc.” Interestingly, when I did an internet search on the company name I kept finding their representatives popping up on blogs all over the place. Where someone had made a negative comment there would be a response from a company representative underneath apologising profusely and asking to be contacted to personally deal with it etc. I got the impression that all the energy was going into trying to maintain some sort of public image which had absolutely nothing to do with the way the company was actually run. Sounds familiar huh?

    28 02 2014

    @ Walton: you are right about it, that’s the main characteristic of a scamming enterprise. They will never have proper customer support because their business rests precisely on the opposite, scamming people, finding excuses for taking their money… Nevertheless, you will always find that they dedicate a good deal of resources to comb internet sites for complaints against their company then reps will always leave posts loaded with apologies and assurances that the problems will be solved (and sometimes they actually give you your money back, after you have jumped a quite large amount of loops and hooks, but I wouldn’t rest on that) The point of their interventions is merely to give newcomers/prospect-users//victims the feeling that everything is not that bad and that bad things are not likely to happen to them… it is just to keep the flow of victims, and somehow it seems to work.

    31 03 2010
    The Trouble With Part II « Lisa A. Martin

    […] similar (try it! My blog comes up as the first link!). In addition, I received a comment on my post “The Trouble With” from a chap called Alaister who actually works for the […]

    1 04 2010
    Matt Barrie

    Hi Lisa

    I’m the Chief Executive of Freelancer.

    As Alaister said, posting projects does cost a refundable fee of $5. This is refunded to the users on selection of a freelancer. This fee does a couple of
    things; it reduces spam or fraudulent projects and it affirms the commitment of the employer that they are willing to pay. Additionally all free ‘trial’ projects are reviewed by our staff before posting live. We also scan the project listing and have a fairly sophisticated violations system which detects bad projects running and flags for support staff review.

    You also have it wrong in your email about Elance charging for posting. In fact they do the opposite,
    its free to post there; so you actually got us the wrong way around.

    We are the highest volume Freelancer site in the world with over 640,000 projects posted to date. While we try to do our best to ensure the integrity of the market, unfortunately things do occasionally slip through the cracks. However if we see anything like money exchange projects, we not just pull
    the project down, but we ban the accounts permanently. We also have sophisticated software
    running to detect these users if we ever see them again and shut them down.

    Running is like running a small country, we have our own economy, financial system, legal system (arbitration etc). Unfortunately like every economy there are a few bad seeds. We are actively working to shut any dubious activity down as soon as we see it.

    Despite what you may think, our incidence of fraud is actually very low. Our fraud
    rates are below average and we qualify for very good rates with our payment processors
    as a result.

    What you might not know is we acquired this business in May of 2009. We have since built the support staff up from 3 to 20 in the last few months. Hopefully you will be starting to see some of these improvements. For example we run support 24x7x365 now, whereas in the past support answered questions overnight. We also run live chat, and shortly that will be
    24x7x365 as well, being the first outsourcing site in the world to do so.

    You also mention in your article PeoplePerHour and make comments about outsourcing to the developing world. PPH is a very different site to Freelancer. They are a very very small site. 80% of the users on PPH are from the UK, and by using that site you will be hiring UK citizens to do your work, and pay UK rates. If that is what you are after, that’s great.

    We are a global site. We have workers from every country in the world. We have users in the Antarctic as well as the Vatican! Over 234 countries and regions are represented.

    Primarily our site is about outsourcing from the Western world to the developing world. We provide employment to many people in regions or areas where these opportunities might not otherwise be available to them.

    There are now 6.8 billion people in the world. Only 25% are currently
    connected to the Internet. The other 75% are connecting rapidly, however.
    The average wage in these countries is something like $2 a day or less.
    The first thing many people in these regions want to do with access to the
    Internet is raise their economic status and earnings. We provide that

    You might have a problem with that if you are trying to freelance in the UK or USA,
    particularly if you work in an area which is not niche. However the fact of the matter
    is that the world is flattening. This brings opportunities as well as issues to overcome.
    In the 80s people said manufacturing was leaving the US. It’s going, going, gone.
    If you find something that says ‘Made in the USA’ you might
    now indeed think there might be something wrong with it, or perhaps its
    over priced. The matter if fact is that many white collar jobs are next.
    While some might be threatened by this, it also brings opportunities that we’ve
    never had before. Small businesses can now hire any skill set they want, any time
    of day, for a fraction of the price of what they pay to hire locally.

    I thought I’d finish up with some quotes for you:

    “By 2015, US companies will move 3.3 million service jobs to offshore locations, accounting for some $136 billion in wages. Of this total, 473,000 jobs – or 8% of jobs in the information and communication technology sectors – will go offshore.”

    “Offshoring will grow at the rate of 30-40% a year over the next five years”
    (Forrester Research)

    “160 million jobs, or about 11 percent of the projected 1.46 billion service jobs worldwide, could in theory be carried out remotely, barring any constraints on supply”

    “Outsourcing is no longer just for Fortune 500 companies. Small and mid-sized firms, as well as busy professionals, can outsource their work to increase their productivity and free time for more important commitments. It’s time for the world to take advantage of this revolution.”
    (The Four Hour Work Week)

    “Contrary to the widespread belief that money spent on services abroad is lost to western economies, research shows offshoring creates wealth for both the western countries and the countries receiving the jobs.”

    Matt Barrie
    Chief Executive

    12 04 2010

    I do agree with you Lisa that you dont want this to turn into a slag off blog but at the same time some things do have to be brought up from the reply recieved from Matt Barrie.

    Basically what he is saying is that he is looking for companies from the US and UK to post for freelancers here so that they can get the work done very cheap by people from India for example which does not give people from the UK or US for example a chance to earn a decent wage (well we could’nt even afford to work for them prices) so he wants the more established and wealthy countries to post there jobs here but he would rather that is goes to third world countries because they can do the work for pennies, so basically I have brought a gold membership but in the past month since I registered here I have never won one freelance job yet so it is actually costing me money and I am getting nothing at all in return even though the quality of the articals written by non native English writers is no where near the quality that people want they are willing to accept them just because they are cheap.

    I do like the site and the amount of work that gets posted here but I cant actually see myself ever making a decent wage so will have to look around for other freelance sites to try and get work.

    I will however stay registered with but just not continue to pay for my gold membership and just be happy with the 20 bids I can make as a standard member and hope that I might even get just one job per month from this.

    It is not a case of me slagging off here but I think that my point is very valid and alot of people feel the same way as me about this as it could actually be a great site if there was a few things done to help the freelancers from countries like the UK and US, and also a little more should and can be done about these so called scammers who are here to make a quick few quid out of trusting members.



    14 07 2010

    Hi Good article. I advise people not to use They are well known for stealing freelancers money. If you continue to use them eventually it will happen to you. They will look for any stupid reason to suspend you and keep your money. They won’t suspend you right away they will wait until you have money in your account and after you have requested a withdrawal that’s when they will suspend you. It’s happen to me and I tried to contact them to find out why they suspend me and they wouldn’t answer their e-mails, so I lost over $1000 on a web design project. I think the reason I was suspend is because I posted contact information on the site. I know it’s against the rules but I made a mistake and it does not give them a reason to steal my money. I told the client what happen and he was very upset because he liked the work done. So be careful and remember they will only suspend you when you have money in your account and request for a withdrawal after you requested a withdrawal that’s when they feel the need to suspend you. Just Google “ steal my money “ and you will see there are many people that have had the same problem. is a team of people from Australia looking for an easy way to steal money so don’t use them.

    14 07 2010

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I totally agree with you – if posting contact information is the only reason your account was shut down, you should have the opportunity to be forgiven, provided that you stick to the rules next time. It’s not like you tried to scam anyone, and it sounds like you used the Freelancer payment system anyway – the reason Freelancer don’t like you posting contact information is because they want business to be done within Freelancer so that they can earn their project commission. I suppose that’s fair enough, they are a business after all, but I would have thought a warning should have come before a total account lockdown. are notoriously bad at answering their emails but they have got better in recent months – even so far as to answer their emails on the same day in some cases! – so I would suggest you keep trying to get this matter resolved. If you can’t get anything out of the customer support team (who aren’t always that helpful even if they are now quicker to reply) then maybe try putting “FAO James” in the subject header of your email – James is the customer service manager and has been very helpful to me in the past (see my blog post here. At the very least, you deserve an explanation, and Freelancer does not deserve to keep your money after just one small violation of the rules.

    I presume the $1000 that was lost in your account was paid to you by the buyer? In that case, I wonder if the buyer has received their money back? Freelancer should not be entitled to keep it because you violated the rules, and if they’re not going to give it to you, they should at least refund it to the buyer. Then, if you had a good relationship with the buyer, perhaps you can negotitate directly with them to get it back.

    Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but I hope your dispute is resolved soon.

    15 01 2011
    Daryl Foster

    With all the bad press that freelancer has been getting it turns out, it’s a good thing anyway I’m still looking for that tech savvy//business partner. If any legitimate programmers are looking for such an opportunity please email me at Support
    to me

    show details 4:19 PM (2 hours ago)


    Thank you for your email.

    We understand your concern. Unfortunately, the fee for a full-time project will be deducted upfront from your balance. Should you wish to push through with this project, we recommend that you deposit the needed fee of $99.95 to post your project.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have further questions.


    Debbie Support

    Ticket History
    Prolaunch11 (Client) Posted On: 15 Jan 2011 4:54 AM

    I tried posting the following project as a 1st time free trial and now it appears to have stalled.
    I was laid off at work mid November and with a family of 6, I have no extra cash, so any money owing can I pay for it when my project starts turning a profit?
    I’m open to the configuration of the business agreement, the way I see it, is I have the ideas but I lack in tech support for these sites to materialize and there will be more work then 1 person can handle, so we need each other on an ongoing basis. In their maturity I envision this to be a huge opportunity, as with the right approach the possibilities, are limitless. We will post freelancer ads as many as possible, Google adsense and content relevant advertising to generate revenue, so that the interactive sites will remain free for the visitors to use, which will obviously increase their popularity. I can’t begin to bankroll this project to its’ full potential and anything less in my opinion, is too much to lose, that’s the reasoning behind my approach of looking for a business partner, instead of hiring people to do the work. With respect to Freelancer I don’t know what the next step is, but I do look forward to talking with those interested in joining me in this very exciting business venture.
    Thank You in advance for your interest,

    24 03 2011

    Katie, I’m from Philippines I experience your problem before and yes I agree with you..they seem too slow in replying emails…but you can reach them though…through LIVE CHAT. I tried that one and it’s kinda quick in my part…it only took me 2 days… my account is active again..

    and to Lisa…I really love your BLOG it’s very helpful especially us located in THIRD WORLD country…and quite INFORMATIVE…


    25 03 2011

    Thanks, always nice to hear nice things 🙂 I’m moving some of my posts about freelancing to a new blog soon, so that I can keep this one as my freelance portfolio. It’s under construction at the moment but will be at

    15 10 2010
    ashim dharni

    Hi Matt,

    At the onset, please allow me to congratulate you on this fantastic website created by your team. Its indeed very useful.

    I was a new user at your site and posted a project under the free trial offer. I got some bids and decided to award it to the most enthusiastic bidder. Most unfortunately, that turned out to be a hoax. Now, i am getting reminders from Freelancer’s team to pay $15 as some fee. I have been requesting them since a number of days that i have felt ‘cheated’ in the whole affair and if by virtue of my over-sight of not going thru the FAQ’s , i should be allowed pardon of 1 mistake. But, they are just not interested.
    Now, i am leaving it to your discretion whether i am there or not, as my account is likely to be suspended.

    Warm regards,
    ashimdharni (user name)

    19 10 2010

    Hi Ashimdharni, can you please tell me more about this $15 fee you were asked to pay? What is this fee for? Also, what happened between you and your provider?

    4 01 2011
    LeeCope is a complete and total fraud. I should have checked the countless RipOff Review and Consumer Report complaints before agreeing to work ona project through freelancer.

    My provider refunded me half of the payment they received because they could not meet the obligations of the project. This happenedon 12/14/10. I received notification that would release the funds on 1/3/11. A week prior to when the payment was due, suspended my account citing “security concerns”. I submitted the request documentation. When my account still hadn’t been reinstated and the refund issued 21 days later, I pursued my open ticket.

    21 days later, the day my payment was due they continued to cite a “security concern”.I sent the documents five times, provided email documentation of the exchangewith the provider and my Articles of Incorporation. Not only have they ignored me, ignored my please for escalation, passed my request to multiple “service” representatives and closed my ticket every time they reply, but their reply fails to acknowledge what they have received or the resolution.

    This company is fraudulantly holding on to my money, practicing shockingly shady business practices by doing this all on the day the payment was due, and providing horrible customer service. I encourage each of you to stay away.

    4 01 2011

    Hi Lee, sorry to hear of the problems you’ve been having with Freelancer – I have to admit their customer service isn’t great! Are you on Twitter or Facebook? I know it sounds silly, but I recently had a problem that failed to receive a straight answer via the Support Centre, so I tweeted my support ticket number to @Freelancer and I had the problem resolved within minutes. I think the marketing team who run their social networking accounts must be a bit cleverer than those in the customer services department!!

    16 02 2011

    I , too, agree with Lisa. Something is shady about I was recently scammed by one of the users on your web site and I am not the only one.Freelancer takes no responsibility , nor other measures (suspeding his account or something like this)against people like deamon1767(the one who scammed me) and basically encourages crooks like him to post bids and find nesting grounds on See for yourself:


    I will follow every post possible about and state my opinion. Maybe this way, they will no loger be “The scammer paradise”.

    No more comments other than stay away from

    16 02 2011

    Actually, you misunderstood me Dan. I don’t think Freelancer is shady, I think many of the “freelancers” who use the site are shady (and clearly that extrapolates to other freelance sites as well). I don’t think is completely perfect, but I do hink that they have improved a helluva lot since I first started using them, and they have plans to improve a whole lot more too.
    I’m really sorry you were scammed by this user. It makes me wonder why you would choose a provider that has no feedback though? I know we all have to start somewhere so no feedback isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but looking at this guy’s Freelancer profile, he has won quite a few projects on Freelancer yet has no feedback for any of them. I disagree that Freelancer “encourages” people to scam others; it’s just yest another medium by which scammers can operate. You find scammers everywhere – ebaY, Facebook, Twitter, via your own email address and lots more. I don’t think it’s helpful to blame Freelancer for the stupidity of its users.
    As for this guy deamon1767, I’m pretty sure his philandering ways will stop once Freelancer implement the compulsory milestone payment that they tell me is “coming soon”.

    17 02 2011

    This freelancer has won so many projects, yet he has no rating ,because will allow to post a rating ONLY IF THE PROJECT IS COMPLETED AND PAID IN FULL OR MORE (?) !!
    Here is answer:


    Thank you for your email.

    Unfortunately, you cannot leave a feedback nor rate a provider, unless the project has been completed, and fully paid using the Milestone Payment. Please take note that you can only do this if the payment made was equal or greater than the bid amount,

    Let us know should you have further concerns.

    Sincerelly Support

    This is one of the reasons I blame : scammers like deamon1767 can live there with no fear and can do the same thing over and over , because the buyer cannot rate him and freelancer doesn’t care , even if I reported this problem several times !!
    So it’s impossible for me not to define as shady.
    And that is a polite way of saying it.

    19 05 2011

    I just spent an hour on the phone with this guy showing him my wireframes. Thankfully I did a simple google search and found all the dirt on him. So scary. Found him on Freelancer as well.

    29 03 2011
    Ayaz Moeen

    Hi Matt Barrie,

    Your staff is rude and unhelpful, I had my account opened and being my first transaction I deleted the project in order to change wrong information on the project, I was charged 5$ for just deleting the project. I humbly asked the support to waive the charges since it was first time, and I am not familiar with the procedures, they simply denied it and said no to that.

    The question is not the 5$, its nothing, but the impression that I have about in my mind now as a bad co.

    I will never return back to you. so on day one you:
    1. Charged me 10.59$ for deposit 10$.
    2. Charged me 5$ for deleting the project.
    3. Charged me 1$ for refunding the remaining 5$.

    I lost 6.59$ for nothing.

    3 04 2012

    we are not denying that but why did i get scammed via your site and this is after workin for two weeks and the con artists fled without paying me?you n did not assist me even when i raised the issue with you.yours is a hopeless company.not worth a name.

    3 06 2012

    Dear Mr Matt Barrie…. I’m sorry to say this, but it is far from the truth about your so called “support”…
    “Hopefully you will be starting to see some of these improvements. For example we run support 24x7x365 now, whereas in the past support answered questions overnight.”
    I have been waiting 3 days now for an answer from your “support” as to why they have failed 2 of my withdrawls in last 3 attempts. I was told it was a problem of PayPal, so I called PayPal ( I have NEVER had a problem in past 6 years)l…PayPal checked my log for last 48 hrs of the time frame when the money should have gone in and assured me there was never an attempt, in fact, there was no activity at all. They requested a copy of the response that Freelancer got when they supposedly attempted to transfer the money to my account, but no one will answer me now. I have been waiting 3 days for a copy of the response you received from PayPal, or even any kind of answer from support and guess what??…NOTHING!
    Before 2009 my support questions were taken care of with at least a “reply”…Now, I cant even get that! Who is lieing here? Know what my take is on it? You may not like it, but obviously, your staff of 20 has some bad seeds in it as well. I almost believe there is prejudice actions going on. Is it cause I am from US, and based on government issues, I take the fall?? It would be interesting to know what country most of the complaints are coming from. How much USD has been lost in your so called “fair” business. I am just being totally, and I mean TOTALLY honest here. Your SUPPORT does nothing for me. They do nothing to “help”…They lie to me, dont answer me….maybe it is because they were in the wrong and theyknow it

    8 06 2012
    Siddharth Rout

    Hello Matt. Sadly, I had to use this way to contact you. But trust me I didn’t have any other option. I simply don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I have been very disappointed with the way your customer services team at has handled my case.

    Ticket ID: YCS-577769

    It’s more than 7 days and nothing has been done regarding this. If you go through the case history, you will immediately feel the suffering that I am going through.

    I have 94 flawless reviews from my clients. This is the kind of commitment that I have towards my work which unfortunately your customer service team doesn’t believe in.

    I sincerely hope that you’ll look into this.

    I am sending a copy this message to Darren Williams as well.

    13 06 2012

    Hi Siddharth, just as an FYI, this site is not connected with Freelancer in any way so I doubt you will receive a response to your post here.

    9 08 2012

    My dear Matt Barrie, Read this carefully and let me know how serious you are to give hard earned money to providers.

    If I won a project/contest and my employer paid me. But his profile is not verified by Now will not allow me to withdraw that money until my employer verify his details. And if he don’t verify his details, I will never able to withdraw money paid by my employer

    Its NOT employer’s fault, he already paid me, I can see the money in my account but won’t be able to withdraw. should verify any details BEFORE anyone post a project/contest. But they are not doing this. They are just harassing the providers LIKE ME .
    do you have any answer to this. You are just making the providers fools and keeping their money.

    28 02 2014
    Rachel Walton

    I have one comment here, it’s now almost March 2014, Matt Barrie wrote his speech in 2010. From the reviews I’ve read over the last month regarding, absolutely nothing has changed. What a shame. As Lisa has said, it’s an excellent idea.

    1 04 2010

    Hi Matt, I’m honoured that the Chief Exec has taken the time to post on my humble little blog! I hope you also read the follow up to this post, which is here if you haven’t.

    As I said in that second post, I don’t have a vendetta against and I think the site is a great idea. Although I have to do some sifting through the emailed job alerts, most of the work I do, excepting my permanent clients, comes from It is a real shame that people attempt to abuse it, and while the use of cheap foreign labour, expecially when the work is of the scam/rewrite/plagiaristic genre, still doesn’t sit right with me, I understand your comments about a shift in the open global market and welcome your expert business advice.

    I was unaware that had recently changed hands, so I wish you well with the venture and, with everyone who arrives at this post after searching for answers to the question, “is a scam?”, I look forward to seeing some improvements in the near future.

    1 04 2010

    It seems a little suspect to me that the Chief Executive of would respond to you publicly on your blog instead of emailing you personally and allowing you to post the response to your blog yourself. Granted, if someone is pretending to be said Chief Exec, then they have way too much time on their hands. It is April 1st, however.

    15 08 2012

    It seems cleaver not suspect, if you read it carefully. Think of all the readers who will read Mr Barrie’s explanation: good publicity strategy- pretending or not.

    Lisa, wonderful and insightful article/blog. A million thanks!

    19 08 2012


    2 04 2010

    I am new to Right away, I noticed something odd-many developed organizations taking advantage of “cheap labor,” paying .25 cents for a 2,000 word article. I disagree that this is “advantageous” to people in third world countries, supports this by stating its beneficial because the bidders would be making more “profit” then the measly two dollar daily average allowance that they would recieve at best, in thier prospective developing country, however this only promotes corporations to take full advantage of not only cheap labor, but struggling writers. Why not pay a decent wage… regardless of the fact there are bidders from countries who do not have a culture of honoring a mimimum wage. I also saw a lot of “virtual assitant” adds, where they require the winning bidder to work 6 days a week, no holidays, 10 hour days for 250 dollars a month. Slavery at best. Not only is this taking advantage of developing nations, by exploiting thier weak system of currency-creating a need for desperate citzens who will work for pennies, but it exploits serious established WRITERS who refuse to work for nothing and undermines not only the quality of a written work, but the profession of authorship. I take it as a personal insult, that qualified native english-speaking writers, with a hefty resume may lose out to someone who is extremely underqualified and can barely form a coherent sentence when writing thier bid proposal, only because they are willing to write 500 articles for less then thirty dollars. Thank you for informing me about people per hour, I think I will quit freelancer and join the site you recommended.

    2 04 2010

    Hi everyone, thanks for your comments. I don’t want this to turn into a big Freelancer-slag-off so please do be careful with your comments. As I’ve repeatedly said I have no problem with itself, just with some of the people who abuse the system. Please feel free to rant, praise and express your opinions, but keep it unslanderous!

    8 04 2010
    Woah there! « Lisa A. Martin

    […] Express On The National Express…or Not and Reply from National Express) and (The Trouble With Part I and Part II) bring to my site, I felt I had to write a little something to placate the angry […]

    18 04 2010
    Geoff Jackson

    I’m glad I came across this thread, I am intending to write an article myself soon on why sites such as are a waste of time.

    I have been a member on for some time, but only recently started bidding for jobs to try and bring in more work.

    The site is a complete disgrace, the jobs posted cannot be moderated as there are hundreds posted asking for work which break the terms and conditions of the respective sites (for example: paying for facebook fans/twitter followers, buying adwords, facebook, twitter accounts etc).

    Every job to do with SEO/Marketing is bid on by the same morons all from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc all copying and pasting exactly the same text on each job, the process they use clearly displays that they haven’t even read the job in some instances and for those that have bothered to legitimately respond, what they write clearly demonstrates that they do not have a clue about the SEO industry.

    The general search marketing sector has such a bad name at the moment due to the mass mount of companies starting up in the far east claiming to be experts in their field, they even have the cheek to participate in UK networks/forums asking how to carry out basic SEO tasks, “Hang on a minute, shouldn’t you be able to answer that yourself since you are claiming to be an SEO company?”

    I have reported numerous of these instances to and as you have, have even emailed them specifying my concerns with the website and how it operates… And guess what…? Just like you, no reply!

    The website should be controlled much more professionally and efficiently, ensuring that clueless idiots all from the same locations are not just scamming businesses looking to outsource work. What’s worse, all these bidders from said countries, are all charging the lowest amount possible to win jobs, 99% of these jobs would not even be possible to complete within the bid figure indicating that it is highly likely they all adopt 90’s SEO and mass directory/search engine submit.

    It really infuriates me really that the site does not cater for the UK market at all really despite claiming to, they should be called

    I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, but something ‘fishy’ is going on with the website, I have bid on projects and have not even had a response but then been looking at the other applicants jobs/previous reviews/websites and it leaves me in amazement how they even get the work… :/

    2 05 2010

    Finally, I’ve found some sensible voice in this whole shebang.

    In all fairness to everyone concerned, I think everyone has a valid point.

    Lisa, I am happy that you wrote about this as I seem to be having the same problems with buyers who pay very little. My country of residence is the Philippines and yes sometimes I do accept work that pays me a dreadfully tiny amount.

    Not that I’m saying that I am complaining. It’s all about free market. Buyers want cheap labor. Guys like us work like slaves.

    I would have gone on a long tirade about world economics but that would have kept me from my point.

    Anyway, even then, I’ve managed to scrape up some dollars to use for some things.

    By the way, Hi Matt, if that’s really you or something. I am Danny and I am one of the thousands of people who are making you rich. I know that you guys have been working hard to make your site a quality site for both providers and buyers. But there is growing dissent on both parties and I suggest – for free – mind you, that you address this as soon as possible or lose a lot of people to oDesk or Elance or something.

    To Mr. Jackson, please be nice. Let’s try to be constructive here as I can see that all parties are given a fair chance to voice out their concerns. It’s not helpful to hurl insults at people you hardly know. You do have a valid point but the readers of this blog are people too and have feelings. We are not robotic automatons or programs who can take your verbal abuse. Thank you.

    Yes, I am a Filipino, I am an Asian, yes our country is a third world country just below Taiwan which is slightly to the East of China, and yes I know next to nothing about SEO. I don’t bid on jobs that require SEO skills. I try to write and some people are actually happy with my work.

    I think Mr. Barrie and Lisa are both sensible people who are just trying to eke out a living on this thing called the Internet. We all are.

    So, how’s about we try to come up with something actually useful here? I hate debates and rants, so maybe let’s start off with something productive.

    Kind of like a reset button.

    I found lisa’s blog using the keywords “ scam” since I took on two jobs – and did not get paid and want to find someone who feels the same.

    Personally I don’t think is a scam website. Man, if that’s true then I too am promoting a scam since I posted affiliate links on my blog for this website.

    First analysis:

    -I think the problem is the proliferation of bad buyers and bad sellers.
    -Both take advantage of an imperfect system.
    -Therefore on both sides there is discontent.

    Mr. Barrie is apt in pointing out that is like a mini country or something like Babylon 5 or the International Space Station or something.

    It’s hard to keep the balance on regulating because on one side, there’s such a thing as over regulation. On the other hand, there is under regulation.

    So…. somebody continue this for me please.

    2 05 2010

    “However the fact of the matter
    is that the world is flattening. This brings opportunities as well as issues to overcome.”

    Yup. You probably read the book “The World is Flat”

    My dad gave a copy to me. Good book.

    -In short, people in the US (First world) are given the opportunity to innovate and produce other things while we guys over here across the ocean, get to do the boring and repetitive work. 😀

    7 05 2010 on Wikipedia « Lisa A. Martin

    […] reading and commenting on my previous blog posts about (here, here and here), Alaister Low from the company’s marketing team hired me via the site to […]

    3 06 2010 How to Spot Spam, Scams and Shams « Lisa A. Martin

    […] The Trouble With […]

    9 06 2010
    Tamer Sameeh

    Dear sir,

    I am thankful for the valuable information you provided. I experienced something far more different. I was scammed by staff themselves. A user named hartiniisrafil posted a project denoting that she wanted someone to transfer money to her account in exchange with money on with a 15% bonus. I bid on the project and won it. The user transferred the money to my account, so I transferred the money to her account. Ironically enough, it was revealed thereafter that the user is actually one of the staff working on and as soon as she received the money through, she undid the money transferred to me. Yes, I know it is strange, the money has been taken back to hartiniisrafil. This can only be done by one of the staff working on the site. Just less than 24 hours later, my account on was closed with no further notice.

    I want to warn all of you out there, is now scamming its users.

    9 06 2010

    Tamer, I’m really sorry you lost money and have been upset by this, but it looks like you have learned the hard way that this type of money exchange “project” is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS a SCAM!! Think about it: why would someone pay somebody else a commission to move money from one place to another? There is usually some sob story behind the scam, but it’s all lies to get you to part with your cash so don’t be fooled.

    I don’t know how this type of scam works exactly – perhaps someone else can comment on that – but I very much doubt it was Freelancer staff who was involved. It could have been a hacker, or perhaps the money was returned to the “buyer” because the project was deleted – I don’t know. I’d like to repeat what I’ve said before: Freelancer does not, as far as I know, scam its users. Freelancer USERS scam other Freelancer users and you have to be very very careful about which projects you bid on and which users you do business with.

    Money exchange projects like this are banned on Freelancer and are usually deleted pretty quickly (although some do remain long enough for people to bid on them – something that Freelancer needs to sort out), but your account was probably closed down simply for taking part in the banned exchange. If you haven’t already done so, please see my post “ How to Spot Spam, Scams and Shams” for more information on how to spot bogus projects and keep your money safe.

    10 06 2010

    I just stumbled onto this article and it was very helpful as I am new to freelancing. Thanks for the info.

    18 06 2010
    Joshua David


    Lisa, I just wanted to say that I thought this was a constructive, well-written and helpful blog. I’ve just recently been stung doing 3 hour work translating Russian-English communications into Native English. The whole thing feels like a minefield.

    I know the quality of my work as a writer, re-writer, proofreader, editor etc but it doesn’t feel like the internet is likely to be a very specific or trustworthy way of being paid for these skills. Ethically, the whole context feels completely dubious.

    Best wishes with your work.


    1 07 2010

    Hi Lisa
    I am also new to freelancing and and I stumbled upon your website when I typed in ‘freelancer’ and my google toolbar automatically suggested ‘freelancer scam’ and your website came up (although I don’t think you are the only one to do this as I saw a number of others who seem less than 100% happy with the website)
    I have only been on the website once and I must admit I was struck by the amount of Indian people bidding $10/hour to design an entire ladieswear collection (a qualified western designer would normally charge around $70-80/hour) so I did wonder what the heck was going on.
    Reading your opinions on this blog (and the follow-ups most interestingly by ‘Mr Chief Exec’ and also Danny Buntu who gave a great alternative viewpoint from the non-western world) hasn’t deterred me from but I definitely have a more rounded, less naive viewpoint of the site and have a much better idea of what to expect. I will also check out PPH to see if they offer the kind of work I’m after.
    So thanks to everyone who commented so far, it’s been very informative!

    1 07 2010

    Hi Victoria, thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found the blog useful.

    The trick to Freelancer, or any other job board for that matter, is threefold. Firstly, pick your projects carefully so that you don’t end up getting scammed. Secondly, never work without a contract and always obtain your employers full, verified contact details so that you have some ammunition in case you do get screwed over. Also, make sure you let them know when you bid that you will be requiring a signed contract so that there are no surprises. Thirdly, sell yourself well. I find it laughable the number of bids I see on Freelancer where the provider seems to think that bidding the minimum possible amount and writing a proposal along the lines of “hello i am expert englis and i help you cheap please give me chance” will cut it. If it’s a less than credible buyer, maybe it will, but a good buyer who is genuinely seeking talented, professional outsourced staff will be prepared to appropriately remunerate quality freelancers who write a well crafted proposal that convinces the buyer they are right for the job.

    On the subject of contracts, I found an excellent blog today, by John McGarvey, who has made his “plain English” copywriting contract freely available to fellow freelancers to use and modify. Check it out.

    14 07 2010

    I have been one of the scammers you are talking about. and I am here to confess my guilt. I started my business with zero money in my pocket and a computer, printer and 128kbps internet speed in India and that too when the recession was at its peak in 2009. As business is hard to get and impossible especially when there in no money. So had to put fake project posts on freelancing/job/article sites asking for demo samples on it and people started pouring in the free articles that are worth some $500. And here in India I can hire an employee for 4 months for this much amount. But now I am successful and run a team of 5. I feel ashamed that I did this. I want to repay those people who made my business a success. I am writing this not to gain sympathy but to justify that I exploited some people for a day but now I provide a full-time job to 5 people. I hope those who are reading this will forgive me.

    And sorry could not give my correct website and name as my image might get tarnished.

    Seeking Apologies… especially from Matt Barrie.


    14 07 2010

    and now I post real projects for freelancers and do pay money, and pay even more than the bid if the work is good.

    14 07 2010

    I meant “seeking forgiveness” ……. my bad.

    23 07 2010

    lol ..a scammer

    10 08 2010
    Nonoy Avellanosa

    I just don’t get any point what every commenter is trying to convey here. I’m a Filipino and have been a provider in for quite some time now, and two employers had victimized me for not paying me the right amount that should be paid.

    I just want to know how can we prevent ourselves from employers who don’t pay? How do we know that one is legitimate or not? Should I quit accepting projects in

    11 08 2010

    Hi Nonoy,
    My number 1 tip would be to never work without a contract. For any job in the “real world”, there is always a contract and freelancing should be no different. Using a platform like Freelancer, where bidding and hiring is done within a framework, it can be easy to think that Freelancer has some responsibility to protect you. Unfortunately, they don’t, unless you use the escrow system in which case they may be able to help resolve a dispute. Without a contract (and verified contact details for your employer), there is very little you can do if they don’t pay. You’ll probably find that the employers who didn’t pay you wouldn’t have even hired you in the first place if they knew that you wanted to keep everything legal and above-board. Sadly, there are many people out there who take advantage of our trust.

    30 12 2010
    Better Out

    Yes, you’re better staying away. I did the same.

    10 08 2010
    Nonoy Avellanosa

    Oh Sorry. I didn’t read lisa martin’s comment here. I also read your other post called ‘how to spot scams.’ Thanks for the tips.

    12 08 2010

    Was my comment submitted?

    12 08 2010

    Yes, sorry Nonoy, I approve all comments before they get posted on the blog as (ironically) I get a lot of spam here. For some reason your comments were posted out of order.

    21 08 2010

    I wrote a long comment here. Where has it gone ?

    21 08 2010

    If you have the comment, pls publish it Lisa. I have no energy to type it again.

    21 08 2010

    Hi Tracy,
    I approve all comments before publishing them as I get a lot of spam, but I’ve only found the 2 comments above from you, sorry! I’ve even checked the comment spam filter and there are no more messages from you there 😦 If you could summarise your thoughts I’d love to hear them!

    2 09 2010

    Hello Lisa, please approve my earlier comment. Thank you 🙂

    2 09 2010

    Sorry Mohammed but I havent found any other comments from you, not even in my spam filter. 😦 Please repost it if you wish!

    6 09 2010

    i am newly registered in can anyone pls help me how to bid the project and how can i deposit the amount in freelancer account to bid , and wht is escrow? thanks in advance

    6 09 2010

    Hi Krishna,
    It’s really easy to bid on a project on Freelancer. When you registered your account, you probably selected some categories of project that you wanted to be able to bid on. So all you need to do is browse these project categories for a job you’d like to do and then click on “bid on this project”. You’ll then be taken to a form where you should enter your bid amount, a milestone payment request (see below) and your bid proposal. When bidding on a project, try to make your proposal as detailed as possible – you’ll simply be ignored if your English is poor or if you just write something like “I can do this job”. You need to show the employer why you’re the best provider for the job and give links to your previously published work if you have some. Don’t assume that the lowest bid will always win – it doesn’t! The most successful bids are those with a clear and detailed proposal and proven experience. Another piece of advice is to make sure you read the project description carefully and that you really can do what the employer is asking for! If the description is unclear, ask questions on the project’s messageboard before placing a bid.

    You don’t need to have any funds in your Freelancer account in order to place a bid on a project. If your bid is accepted for a project, you will be charged a small fee ($5 or 10% of your bid, whichever is greater), so your account will have a negative balance, but as soon as you have been paid for the project your account will be in credit again (as long as you use the freelancer payment system, not PayPal or other methods). Please note that in order to withdraw funds from your Freelancer account, you must have an account with one PayPal, Moneybookers or Payoneer – not all are available in every country so please check. You can also purchase a Freelancer Mastercard which will be loaded with your earned funds.

    Escrow is a system that safeguards both buyer and provider – I highly recommend it, especially as you are new and especially if you are working with someone for the first time. When you bid for a project , you should ask the buyer for a milestone payment. This can be any amount from 1-100% of the project total. If you are accepted for a project, the buyer pays this amount of money to Freelancer who then hold the funds “in escrow” until the project is completed. Then, the funds are released to your account for you to withdraw. The main advantage of escrow is that it gives you peace of mind that the buyer has the funds available to pay you and won’t take your work without paying you for it, and the advantage for the buyer is that they know that you won’t run away with their money without producing any work.

    I hope you enjoy using Freelancer – I think it’s a great site for finding work – AS LONG AS YOU ARE CAREFUL!!! Please read my other blog post, “ How to Avoid Spam, Scams and Shams” for more information and do ask if you have any more questions. 🙂

    7 09 2010

    Thanks lisa……..if i have any queries i will get back to u.Once again thanks for ur contribution of ur valuable time in answering my query.

    12 09 2010

    y i cant post large msg here

    12 09 2010


    12 09 2010


    12 09 2010


    12 09 2010


    13 09 2010

    Hi, firstly I’m afraid I’m not sure why you aren’t able to type large posts here – other people don’t seem to have any problem so I can only assume that the problem is at your end. Having said that, it seems that a couple of other people have posted comments that seem to have disappeared, so I’ll check this out with WordPress.

    Secondly, I’m afraid I have no experience with the problem you’re talking about – it sounds like an issue with the software you’re using, which is nothing to do with Freelancer, so I can’t really help. I suggest you ask the buyers if there is a way around this.

    13 09 2010


    25 09 2010

    Hi there,

    Congrats Lisa, you have caused quite a stir with your post, this is the magic of internet ! No less than the CEO of freelancer !
    I must say that there are quite a few security checks and controls being run by freelancer in order to keep their site and model safe. But do these work? I had my account suspended on some ridiculous charges, and then, in order to retrieve my money, I was asked to send a picture of myself holding my passport…in the meanwhile, the real fraudsters must have been having a walk in the park.
    Regarding the cheap labor, is it really unfair to western professionals to be in competition with those from lower wage countries? It this not what global economy is all about. All serious buyers know that depending on the job (article writing is just one example), you can either choose cheap and bad quality or go for a more serious, experienced and qualified freelancer who will give you good value for your money. If the job is not labor intensive but based on skill and experience, western freelancers will hopefully not be ignored. But is it fair to assert that the only qualified and skilled freelancers are in the western world and their less talented counterparts are elsewhere? I strongly disagree. Though being overflowed by dozens of cheap bids when posting a project does raise some concerns. It is the hundreds of unqualified “freelancers” willing to work for a dime that give all developing country freelancers a bad name…imagine what it must feel to be a qualified and skilled freelancer from India and to have to sell your work cheap because that is what everybody expects from you…seems unfair.

    29 09 2010

    Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment! Sorry for the delay in my reply, I’m still catching up after my holiday.

    I agree that Freelancer’s identity verification methods are somewhat bizarre! I’m going to investigate this and blog about it when I’ve gathered enough evidence, so stay tuned! That said, it’s vital that when you sign up for a Freelancer account, you read and understand the Terms and Code of Conduct – I think a lot of people instinctively “accept” the terms without even reading them.

    Of course it is not unfair for Westerners to be in competition with those from developing countries, and in fact it’s inevitable that with the increasing globalisation of the work marketplace, these groups will become even more competitive. And of course it would be completely unfair, and untrue, to say that all freelancers from lower wage countries are inferior to those from the Western world – I would hope that through the quality of their bids, the strength of their portfolio and the projects that they choose to bid on, highly skilled freelancers from developing countries will not be ignored.

    I completely agree with your point that “it is the hundreds of unqualified “freelancers” willing to work for a dime that give all developing country freelancers a bad name”. Freelancer is, unfortunately, overrun with have-a-go providers who think that anyone can be a freelancer – people who are, as you say, underqualified or even unqualified for the job they are bidding on. I can’t imagine the frustration a genuine buyer must feel when they post a project and receive 20, 30 or more bids from people not anywhere near fit for the job. This situation is not helped, in fact may even be encouraged, by the huge number of buyers who post low quality, even unethical and illegal projects, aimed at precisely this type of provider. I don’t know how this can be remedied, suffice to say that freelancers should be very careful about which projects they bid on, and not devalue themselves. A good buyer will respond to a well written bid and should see the value in hiring someone who’s a bit (or a lot!) more expensive, but a lot more qualified and able.

    26 09 2010

    lisa……ur pic is also is displaying along with your comment……..i also want like that.wht i have to do?

    26 09 2010

    When you’re logged into WordPress, go to My Account and then Edit My Profile – you should work out how to change your pic (“gravatar”) from there.

    26 09 2010

    Posting this on behalf of “Badman” who emailed me to say he had trouble adding his comment to the post….

    “Now I think this is a wonderful blog (Thanks to the owner) where people can express their opinions since does not have a forum for people to discuss issues that are pissing them off.
    My problem with freelancer began when I opened two accounts, one for buying work and the other for provision. This is purely because most clients want you to only work for them while they pay you peanuts and can’t accept outsourced work, and they would deny you work if they see in your profile that you’re outsourcing. Freelancer found out about it through the transfer email which was similar and suspended my accounts with my money in it (This pissed me off really bad).
    They requested for identification and proof which I couldn’t and still can’t obviously give them, so they refused to give me back my money.
    Here is why I believe that freelancer is SCAM, you see when you’re registering with them as a buyer or provider, they should first ask you for all identification and proof before they give you an account. Otherwise it sounds a bit hypocritical when they ask for these details when they suspect that you have two accounts so that they can rip off what you have in the account!
    Don’t tell me about the conniving terms coz I have read them 15 times, the deal is that they should refund money which does not belong to them while they suspend your account period!
    Otherwise holding people’s money under the pretenses of “identification and proof” is practically THEFT and EXTORTION! There is no other way of explaining it. If they were law abiding as they put it in their terms, then they would forward the money kept in the “suspected” accounts for the police to take up the matter.
    Additionally, I know people who have lost a lot of cash just because of having two accounts, and since they could not show their faces, their cash was forfeited and there is nothing that could be done about it. Pure shame, I just wonder what freelancer does with these people’s cash who refuse to to give identification. In my opinion, there should be a 50 / 50 situation, they suspend you and you get to retain your money. Until I’m otherwise convinced, my stand is that operates a back end scam under some legal clause embedded in their terms.
    I’d like to hear what Matt has to say.

    29 09 2010

    I have to say, Badman, that it does clearly state in the Code of Conduct that you are not allowed to create multiple accounts. I personally don’t see any reason why there should be any problems with being both a provider and a buyer – unless you are “sub letting” the projects you win (winning a project for X amount, and then hiring someone else to do the work)? If so, this is also against the Ts & Cs (see user agreement clause 3.2) Forgive me if I’m wrong. If you genuinely made a mistake, or if you have a legitimate reason for needing 2 accounts, then you should be able to sort it out amicably with Freelancer.

    I do agree that their identity verification methods are somewhat bizarre (and I too would like to hear what Freelancer have to say about this) but, yet again, in the Code of Conduct, by having a Freelancer account you agree to “not falsify my own or any other identity [and, I imagine, this covers withholding your identity too] and I will provide true and correct information”. If you are unable to do this, or unwilling, then I’m afraid that Freelancer are well within their rights to withhold the money (which will then be returned to the person who made the payment if no resolution is obtained within 1 year).

    27 09 2010


    29 09 2010

    From the page:
    “For security reasons, you may only cancel your account by submitting a ticket through our online support desk. To access the Support Desk, click on the Online Support button on your home page. Please note that if your account balance is negative, you will be required to deposit funds before your account can be canceled.”

    29 09 2010

    PS I would urge you to cancel multiple accounts as soon as possible, as it is in the terms and conditions that you only have 1 account. Freelancer would be within their rights to suspend all your accounts if you don’t take action.

    27 09 2010
    Chang-Min Pak


    I opened one account with since one of our customers wanted to use it as an escrow account. We normally use

    Everything was going well until the client transferred this payment to my account. However, when I made a withdrawal request, problems started happening. I made a request on Sep. 3rd, but they delayed the transfer to Sep. 20th due to a security reason. I asked to explain what the security reason is, but didn’t hear any specific reason. Anyway, the fund had been hold until Sep. 20th, and all of a sudden they suspended my account. I sent a copy of my driver license as requested to activate the account. However, they asked me take a photo of my self holding my driver license and a board where “MOOSE 123” is written. So I did as they requested, but the money was still being hold by them and the withdrawal was not happening. I contacted them again and they said that the withdrawal was canceled since my account was suspended. I was asked to cancel the withdrawal request and make a new one. So I did and now the scheduled transfer date is Oct 5th!!!! They will hold my money for more than 1 month without any particular reason!!!!!


    29 09 2010

    It does take rather a long time for payments to be processed – I’m not sure why this is the case, and I hope that this is something that Freelancer works on improving. PayPal transfers take a maximum of 3-5 days so I don’t know why it takes much longer with Freelancer to PayPal withdrawals, and I don’t know why funds are held for 14 days on the first transaction. I will look into this and blog about it when I have the answer.

    As for the suspension of your account, it is actually very rare for an account to be suspended for no reason so please read the terms and conditions of owning a Freelancer account carefully. What kind of project was your transaction related to? Did you share contact details with the client before accepting the project? These are common mistakes, but there are others. That said, I do find their security/approval methods somewhat bizarre!!

    28 02 2014
    Rachel Walton

    Ah yes, there is a reason, they want to get as much interest from your money as they can before they hand it over.

    29 09 2010

    First I commend Mr. Chang-Min Pak for telling us his rather amusing tale! In my case I read the terms indicated and I did open two accounts for the explained reasons, however since I’m not that damn to hold a “Moose” sign and be mocked about probably the admin can answer this one:
    What crime would I be accused of due to the fact that I opened two accounts, fraud, theft or violation of terms?
    If its fraud, then why still keep my money? coz I see it in the account but can’t access it. – should not try to do police work!
    If its theft, they can read out loud what was stolen giving evidence
    For violation of terms, don’t you think its hypocritical when they state that you may loose your cash?
    This brings me to my ideal point, that operates a back end scam.
    No one explained to me where they take the money they collect from people who refuse to be blackmailed against their own money.
    Don’t reply nonsense if you can’t answer my questions first.

    Does holding someone’s money even if he has explicitly vowed not to risk exposing his identity

    1 10 2010

    Hopefully you’ll not find my reply “nonsense”, but here goes…

    One of the main reasons, I think, why it’s not permitted to have more than one Freelancer account is to stop people from posting a project under one account, bidding for their own project under another account, and leaving positive feedback for themselves – it happens, and it’s unfair to people who receive genuine feedback. It’s also to stop people who have been banned from Freelancer to set up again under a different name to carry on their illegal/immoral activity – this also sadly happens. Personally, I think that both of these reasons offer perfectly acceptable justification for the “one account” rule, although as I said before, if you genuinely needed two accounts, for instance one for personal use and one for your company, I’m sure you could arrange this with Freelancer if you wrote to them nicely. Having two accounts, one for buying and one for selling, is not allowed and, in my view, is unneccessary since employer/provider activity should not be in conflict.

    I agree that Freelancer’s identity verification methods are strange, and unneccessary too. I’ve never heard of any other company asking anyone to verify that they are who they say they are by taking a photo of themselves holding their ID! I’m sure there’s a better way, and I agree that this should be done at the stage of initial account registration and with more transparency.

    If the money that you paid into your account came from your own bank account, then it should be refunded to you – although Freelancer can be slow so a little patience is required and persistence in sending them reminders that your funds have not been returned (but please remain polite – rudeness never solves anything).

    I’m not clear on the reasons why you are so against revealing your identity, unless of course you are physically unable because you have no camera or no ID! The methods Freelancer use may be odd, but I don’t see any reason why someone would not want to be open and transparent unless they were up to something, so I’m afraid I can’t really comment on this.

    23 05 2013

    Have a look what they actually demand- . The sample image is posted there. Why people would happily agree to take an image in such a derogatory pose like convicted having a number plate in hand? People are reluctant to accept freelancer as an authority that can demand such thing. Along with this many other issues can create combined dissatisfaction that much that they may decide to leave the site instead of getting verified. It’s bitter either way – to save earned money getting verified in such a way which is insulting OR losing money by denying such derogatory process of verification.

    29 09 2010

    I also forgot to put it across that the forfeited money came from my bank account!

    understand my questions:
    1. Why does refuse to inquire about the driving licence and full proof of identification through documents issued by the government of where someone comes from before they give them an account?
    2. Supposing someone refused to give their identification for more than an year, where would thy take the money held in the account if it was sourced from his bank account?
    3. Did ever considered the option of user privacy under the freelancer / employer activity profile? If it were inaccessible by the public, the issue of double accounts would seldom occur
    4.Why would they ask someone to hold a sign written “moose” and get him to take a photo of the same? Is that what the police would do?
    5. What security assurance and measure does offer to people like Mr. Chang-Min Pak when they submit their true identity to them? TIP: If personal information got out of hand, they could be sued for damages 🙂
    -I have not seen it embedded anywhere the terms

    I thank Mr. Chang-Min Pak for sharing a story that many would shy away to let out!

    1 10 2010

    I have taken note of your last post Lisa, where you have asked why I’m so against showing my identity. None has to do with what you’ve mentioned. Many people may not understand the significance of “Exclusive privacy” as far as cyberspace is concerned. My concern is that I tend to feel some of my rights violated. Every time you give your identity away to some company, whether under some “threats” of criminal identification you are supposed to be guaranteed protection of your personal info. Additionally, did you know that the information you give online will be stored for years and years to come?
    Right now we’re quite fortunate because issues of serious cyber crimes are a bit modest, we do not know what the future holds. companies do have dis honest stuff who can meddle with people’s data without anybody knowing. In my opinion I believe that only the authorities have some rights to access my personal information, on conditions that they produce a warrant or a court order. Anyone else outside that category is just trying to meddle on highly sensitive grounds that they have no capacity to handle if it got out of hand.
    Your blog is wonderful BTW!

    1 10 2010

    It is, of course, entirely up to you to reveal or not reveal personal information about yourself, and I understand your reasons to be cautious. I do hope that you manage to resolve your situation and get your money back. Perhaps Freelancer is not for you! Have you tried other freelance websites? To my knowledge, People Per Hour and Elance do not have such odd identity verification methods (I don’t think PPH has any, and Elance asks you to verify that you are a real person by an automated telephone system, so perhaps you will find these sites more to your liking?
    Anyway, keep us posted here as to how this resolves itself and what Freelancer’s response is to your plight. If anything good comes out of this then at least we can help other people who might get into a similar situation. Thanks for the compliments, by the way!

    5 10 2010

    It was quite informative Lisa right from the top to bottom. But I guess security is something which we grant to ourselves. I have been in freelancer for quite sometime, got victimized by some clients of their cheap nature. In the process I lost some dollars for sure but that would not make the fraud clients rich either. Bad experiences prevail almost everywhere in this world but I have no complaints against It is some of the buyers and providers allow things to follow nastier ways.

    And I am sure that a majority of people may it be buyers or providers are getting highly benefited by this freelancing service. Rendering faith and not getting the right price is return is no surprise when human beings are involved. Had if everyone assigned true value to the term FAITH, the world would have been a lovely place to live in.


    5 10 2010
    Is a scam? (Part 1) « Lisa A. Martin

    […] to this post: “The Trouble with“, written back in February (and to lesser extent its follow up: The Trouble with […]

    11 10 2010
    shaina Chiu

    Hi Lisa,

    Do they also suspend your account in freelancer if you “faked” your country of residence? Just worried because I somehow “faked” my country. Well, I am Asian but leaving for the U.S. in a few months too. I am married to an American and I am supposed to move to the U.S. end of this year or early next year. My concern is that I have been doing projects in freelancer and earned money on the site. And I am afraid they will suspend my account or close it knowing that i try to withdraw the money from where i am right now. I need money too and I cannot wait to withdraw it in a few months.

    11 10 2010

    By registering with Freelancer and signing up for an account, you agree to the Code of Conduct, and one of the things included in this Code is the following: “I will not falsify my own or any other identity and I will provide true and correct information”. Therefore, by saying that you are from a country that you are in fact *not* from, I would say that yes, this does constitute a breach of the the terms and could be a reason for account suspension. If the PayPal/Moneybookers (etc) account that you wish to withdraw to is American, then you might be OK, but otherwise I’d suspect that questions may be asked if you tried to withdraw your money to an Asian account. If I were I’d change your country!

    19 10 2010
    Allan AKA GAF, is nothing but a fraud site, they would close your account for nothing and would not release your cash, this has happened to me, despite of the numerous emails i sent them, and my ID that i uploaded, no reply, no emails, no live support.

    FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD, i wish someone would close them down, that’s why i love the US, something like this would never happen in the US, but they are nothing but thieving Australians.

    20 10 2010

    Allan, I disagree with pretty much everything you said, I’m afraid.

    Firstly, don’t close your account for no reason. In every single case that has been brought to my attention, the account was suspended because the user breached the terms and conditions of the site in some way – whether by mistake or deliberately it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that a lot of people don’t read and understand what they are signing up for when they register a Freelancer account. In most cases where the user commits a minor breach, Freelancer will reinstate the account after you have verified your identity. I’m sorry that you haven’t had a response, but perhaps you didn’t go about it in the right way. Slamming all Australians as fraudulent thieves probably won’t do you any favours.

    25 10 2010

    Hi Lisa, very interesting article which is still relevant today as it was in Feb! I wonder if your feelings towards have changed now that you have been commissioned by them to write a marketing article for them in Wikipedia! 😉
    My main beef with is similar to what Geoff Jackson wrote about SEO freelance projects. The majority of freelance projects are so ridiculously under valued that only people who have a standard of living that is so low that can sustain such a low pay. Aside from the completely unethical activities branded as SEO, such as paying for forum postings, buying links, writing fake reviews and directory spamming the majority of these projects have had no thought as to what is a realistic expectation or project objectives. Search marketing has thankfully evolved and matured and is all about conversions, yet it feels like going back to the 90s when I read some of the projects on offer. Of course, all these nefarious activities only apply to my industry so I can’t comment on whether is useful for other professions.
    I feel that there are probably quite a few disappointed people using either because of fraudelent activities or because of work from poorly qualified freelancers.

    26 10 2010

    Hi Eddy,
    Thanks for your comments and thanks for visiting my blog. My feelings about Freelancer are the same now as they always were; potentially, it could be a brilliant site for genuine freelancers to find work, but in practice, it is only “ok”. As you say, the site is heavily used by people in low wage countries, which drives the price – or at least the expectation of what is an acceptable price – down. Also, many of the users of the site are very inexperienced, both providers who see it as an easy way to make money, and buyers who have no idea of the value of a freelancer’s services. It’s frustrating for those of us who know that we are worth much more, and I have never heard of anyone, in the Western world at least, who is able to make a decent living by using this site. As for me, the majority of my work now comes from sources external to, but I do find it useful for finding the odd little project to fill in my time.
    There is also the problem you raised of scams and fraudulent activity, and it’s a real concern. Sadly, I don’t know how this can be stopped. People have been abusing the internet since the word go and with a small team and almost 2 million users, Freelancer is a huge site to police. If only we could try and stop people from bidding on these projects to try and discourage such behaviour! That’s the whole reason I write this blog really, to try and educate people about how to use it properly and what it’s real purpose is. Freelancer staff have commissioned me on a number of marketing projects now, and I’m pleased to provide services for them – as I’ve said all along, the problem is not with the site (although there are some things they could improve), it’s with the users.

    1 11 2010

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for the info on Freelancer. I have done two jobs on there and although the money was sent to them and I have requested withdrawals on both of them. I have yet to see a penny. They say its security. I find it strange however that security is all for them. I do the work. Yet a month later I have still yet to see the fruits of my labours. If the person that hired me wasnt happy they surely wouldnt have paid them. I just finished the second job. ( They say you get immediate payment on the second withdrawl) and once again I am given a postponed payment notice telling me it will only be paid on the 21st November. I personally think this is just a way of their earning extra interest on the money while it sits in their bank account. Once I finally do get paid by them ( I hope) I will then have a further 8 days for the money to reach my account. I have to wonder what the IRS has to say about this. Is it legal for a third party to withhold payment for work done without a court order??

    2 11 2010

    I am new to I won a project and was 340.00. Freelancer said my money would be released in 15 days. The 15th day would be today. I contacted them and told them their date of Nov. 8th is beyond 15 days. They replied with the following email:

    Thank you for your email.

    The 15 days delay is equivalent to 15 working days. That’s the reason why your withdrawal will be processed on November 8-9, 2010.

    Once I received this message, I replied asking them to send me documentation that says “15 working days” They replied with this message:


    I’m sorry for the misinformation and inconvenience this has caused you. You are correct that 15 days is not equivalent to 15 working days.

    In regards to your withdrawal issue, occasionally, your withdrawal requests are pushed back for an extra week. This is usually because our Anti-Fraud Department and Billing Department might be suspicious of a payment that you have received. You will have to wait for an extra week to make sure that the payment you received is legitimate. If there’s anything else we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact us again.

    Kind regards,


    I am confused and angry about this situation. They already took their portion of the money so why is it suspicious to pay me.

    2 11 2010

    Hi Brandy,
    Hmm, sounds to me like there are 2 possible explanations as to why they’ve pushed your payment date back by another week. 1) because they genuinely think there is a problem with your account, or 2) because they’ve forgotten to process your payment and are fobbing you off with an excuse! May I ask what type of project your payment was for? And who was the buyer? It could even be that there is a problem with the buyer rather than you. Also, what country are you in and which withdrawal method did you chose?
    I’m hoping to work with Freelancer quite soon in order to improve their FAQs section as currently, I agree, it’s not very clear what their policies are. If you still haven’t had your transaction approved by the 9th November, let me know!

    2 11 2010

    Hi Lisa,
    An Update with regard to my payment from Freelancer. I logged on today to find out why my payment was not yet in my account. It was promised for today 2. Nov after a 4 week wait. I find now that they have delayed it further without any word to me to 23 Nov. To be quite frank with you I wouldn’t work there again if you paid me a million dollars. These people do not follow up on their promises and are taking from hard working folk who are trying to earn a pittance just to survive. They are obviously not keeping their word at all.

    2 11 2010

    Hi Nicki,
    Sorry that you’re having problems. May I ask a few questions to understand the problem more clearly? Firstly, what type of projects was the money was paid to you for? If there’s any question that the projects, or the buyer of the projects, were dodgy in any way, then this may explain the security delay. Also which withdrawal method have you requested – was it PayPal? You should have to wait no more than 15 working days for a first withdrawal, and then no more than 7 working days for subsequent withdrawals (no matter what they say, it’s not instant :S). Where are you based? Feel free to email me if you like, my address is on the Contact page.

    3 11 2010

    Hi Lisa,
    It looks like I am finally getting somewhere, I contacted the provider because of what they said in the e-mail and he contacted them. I think it is more a case of those replying to e-mails just stone walling you . Its only when you show you won’t take no for an answer you get somewhere. They finally took it “higher up” and emailed me I can expect payment next week. I will wait to see what happens. They really need to look at what they say in e-mails

    3 11 2010

    Hi Nicki,
    Sorry I haven’t got round to replying to your email yet but I’m glad things are progressing with your case. As you’ll see from some of my other blog posts (here and here), contacting Freelancer’s customer service team can feel like hitting your head against a brick wall, so I really do sympathise! Let me know how you get on!


    4 11 2010

    TO Matt Barrie!!! 640,000 projects posted to date LOL projects such as eBay clone with max bid of $1000, google clone for $500… or logo designers bidding $30 for a logo? the fact that you have Google Ads on your site states that … I will let other decide what. There are tons of fake Projects, mate, on your website, someone asking for a custom VoIP callcenter without knowing what it is actually? You don’t even have a functioning portfolio section where decant freelancers should ideally upload their portfolios. eLance is the only freelance marketplace where you can expect to bid on real project.

    5 11 2010

    Hi Lisa,

    I have joined and have had many problems with it too. I have been a victim of people who post projects and ask for samples of previous work and then fall-off the face of the earth. I have also managed to get some good projects but the amount deducts as it’s fee is way too much for me.

    I agree with you that there are many scamsters there and I have found projects that were posted with demands like “submit 300 word articles” on some topic they specify and then saying it is to determine if the writers are good. Since I have been scammed by people asking for samples, I ignore these posted projects. is not the only site with this problem. Even Elance has the same. I have an account there too. There are many people there who post projects and say they have money on escrow, ask for your work sample and then disappear. There are also buyers who say they have opted for advanced payment option of whatever. This tells the freelancer that an amount has been scheduled for payment on a certain date and when that date comes, Elancer will tell you that the credit card of the buyer is rejected or some such.

    I try my best to work hard and get over such set backs. I am new and I am learning the hard way. But I also get frustrated at why these sites can’t control their buyer members so freelancers do not get cheated. I have been cheated more than once and I have learned to be very wary.

    Luckily, I have found a few reliable clients but the flow of work is not constant and I would like to be able to earn more. Plus, most bids are outrageously low and in order to compete, I have to bid low too.

    6 11 2010
    Do not want to reveal

    I should point out a thing or two regarding

    I have read stories about how are suspending accounts with a good amount of money in them. So if you have money in your account, don’t just make it sit there and treat it like your piggy bank. Keep withdrawing every week if you have to but don’t leave it in there.

    Apparently, the administration does not tell you why they have suspended the account. I find this news extremely disturbing!
    I personally think that back when was GETAFREELANCER, they were doing great. They were genuine and they were always looking to help. They have since grown and have become one of the biggest source of finding freelancers or finding freelance jobs on the internet. All hell has broken loose after they changed their name to

    Their management has gone rude. Real rude! If you are a freelancer there, you won’t feel respected but if you are a buyer then you are given some attention.
    They increased the freelancer Gold Membership fee to around $25 from $20 and did NOT inform us. They keep giving away THOUSANDS of dollars in different contests like promoting Freelancer logo, videos, api apps etc yet they keep crying about their expenditures. I mean, if you are that low on money, why would you pay $30,000 for an API app when you can make it in-house? That’s just plain stupid and a bit fat lie! Their greed doesn’t seem to end here and this is where things turn even more horrible.

    Recently, they have started a new policy of helping people find other people and that’s it. They are not taking any responsibility. I paid fees of over $700 on a project. The buyer paid me only $300 as milestone payment and then disappeared. I asked freelancer to refund me the remaining money and to cancel the project but they refused to do so. I asked them to contact the buyer and if he doesn’t respond they can easily do that yet they are denying that as well.

    Yesterday, I won a project. Freelancer takes their commission right when you are awarded the project (they don’t wait for us to get paid) and then the buyer didn’t get back to me and now I am out of that commission money that admin WILL NOT REFUND to me. I don’t know what you are willing to call this, but in my dictionary, this act my friends is pure fraud and scam.

    How easy is it to post a fake project only to get commission money? Answer: EXTREMELY EASY. Once you award a project to someone, freelancer get paid right away. How difficult would it be to simply delete it and take money from them? Yup, you got it right. It’s not difficult at all. In fact, it is real easy. The easiest of dirty money you can ever earn on the internet. Forget about robbing banks, forget about large corporate scandals when you can easily pick money from virtual pockets of millions of hard working freelancers around the world.

    I am looking for alternatives. If anyone could please post a couple of links so I can finally stop dealing with these low life bunch of scums? That would be highly appreciated.

    10 11 2010

    Hi and thanks for your comment.
    I completely agree with your comment about not leaving money sitting in your Freelancer account. It may cost you a dollar or so to withdraw each time, but it’s a small price to pay fo the security of knowing that the money will soon be in your bank account. Plus, unless you are also a buyer or if you have a gold membership (which personally I think is a waste of money, but that’s up to you), there’s no need to keep the money in your account – it make far better sense to have it earn you a little interest in your bank account. Personally, I never have more than about $250 in my account before withdrawing it.
    It’s interesting that you think GetAFreelancer was better than the current Freelancer outfit – I have heard many comments to the contrary! The key thing to remember here is that the current Australian owners of bought out the Swedish firm GetAFreelancer in 2009. They will admit themselves that the transition wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, and they’re still improving, but that’s the key – they are getting there. Hopefully, with more constructuve feedback from their users they will be better than ever!
    I guess the reason that Freelancer take their project commission right away instead of waiting for you to get paid is because many people don’t get paid through Freelancer, choosing PayPal or Payoneer instead.
    If you find that Freelancer is not for you, there are several other alternatives. try eLance, oDesk or PeoplePerHour instead! 🙂

    18 11 2010
    A Real US Freelancer


    Firstly, let me apologize for not leaving a less cryptic name; I think you’ll understand why I choose to remain anonymous from the content of my post. WordPress has stored my email address for you, should you choose to discuss anything with me directly. For the moment, let me just say that I’m a genuine US native making a living as a freelancer.

    I had a few genuine chuckles while reading this thread and I appreciate your attempts to keep the discussion under control. I realize how difficult that can be when you’re dealing with frustrated individuals, many of which, unfortunately, have created their own problems.

    I’ve been a freelance writer, web developer and programmer for over 13 years. I was thrilled to see the freelancing sites come into being and have used them to generate work for many years now. I know how difficult it is to compete in the global marketplace and I sympathize with many of the posts here. For those who are blatantly accusing of scamming its users, I have a few comments:

    I’m a member of many freelancing sites. I was one of the top-rated developers on for almost 5 years, and I have been a member of since it was known as I was also one of the founding members of a forum that was started to discuss the multitude of problems that existed with under the old management. Anyone under the impression that the site hasn’t improved since it changed hands and became is very, very wrong.

    By the same token, if you think is making a profit on your projects, please, please join and give them a try. I quit them because I could no longer afford to use them. Oh, and by the way, is owned and operated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, folks. You can line their pockets right here in the good, old US of A if that’s your choice. eLance? Don’t even get me started on what they charge!

    I’m now working almost exclusively though and not only do I hire myself out there, I have worked for and WITH their staff. How that came to be is something I don’t plan to go public with. Suffice it to say that it can be done, by anyone with the right skills and the right attitude.

    Matt is exactly who he says he is and I should point out that he has handled some pointed questions from me, professionally and graciously. (Here’s a tip: If you want a polite response, try being polite. It’s not rocket science.)

    Yes, is making a very healthy profit with their website. So is eBay. So is Amazon. So is anyone else who had the vision and the backing to start such an enterprise. I’m a little jealous, but I’m also realistic enough to know that they don’t need to scam anyone to do it. And why would any competent freelancer complain about having opportunities to get a slice of those profits by competing in one of their contests?

    Yes, Gold Membership rates have gone up somewhat and I don’t think there was a notice about the last increase. I’m unsure of the reason for that oversight, but whether you choose Gold membership should be based on the volume of work you do through the site and the rates you charge. Do the math. For me, Gold membership works. So does their Milestone Payment system. Want to get paid? Use it. If things go wrong, you have dispute resolution available. You can always opt to use another payment method later with employers you trust.

    Yes, the site is still imperfect. It is improving by leaps and bounds. It will continue to improve and I can say that because I’m involved with helping it do so. (No, I’m not the support desk and I don’t want to be.) I can tell you that if you have suggestions you should submit them – politely – in a ticket to the support desk.

    Lisa is right on track with most of her conclusions about how things happen on the site and why. I don’t have the time to address all of them, but there are a few things that prospective freelancers should know BEFORE they set out:

    1) If you use an online service to solicit work, expect to pay for it. They will make a profit. That’s why they’re in business, just like you.
    2) If you compete in a global marketplace, you will be grossly underbid by freelancers in certain areas of the world. You will either have to lower your rates or prove that your work is worth the additional cost.
    3) There are employers willing to pay more for quality. Look for their projects, or see item 2, above.
    4) Lisa mentioned the need to sell yourself. Don’t forget not to OVERsell yourself. Employers can spot incompetence a mile away.
    5) When you need to contact support keep your cool and you’ll get farther. How many screaming maniacs do YOU deal with as quickly as possible?
    6) Use the safeguards provided by the sites you join. The marketplace is full of scam artists and NO ONE has devised a perfect way to spot and eliminate them. Common sense is your best friend.

    I should go to work. Thanks, Lisa.

    18 11 2010

    Hi Anon, and thanks so much for your support! It’s so refreshing to hear another positive voice amongst all the yelling and screaming! 😀 If you haven’t already done so, I have a number of other posts about on this blog so please do check em out if you have time. Positive feedback is always great. Thanks again!

    23 05 2013

    “yelling and screaming! ” – This comment of yours in fact goes against the spirit of some of your earlier assertions regarding verification process.
    —-Golden Anon may be true. Even in the poorest African country some people can afford BMW. That does not prove the well being as a whole.

    18 11 2010

    I’m awrded a project but not given milestone payment, can I cancel it and get my 35usd back which is taken by as a fee. If it is possible then how? Please let me know.

    18 11 2010

    I’m awrded a project but not given milestone payment, can I cancel it and get my 35usd back which is taken by as a fee? If it is possible then how? Please let me know.

    18 11 2010

    Hi there, thanks for your comment on my post!
    Did you request a milestone payment? Milestones are not automatic; you have agree with your buyer how you will be paid. Unlike some other freelancing websites, doesn’t restrict you to being paid only via their payment system, although if you choose not to use it, you won’t be able to leave feedback for your buyer (and vice versa) and you will be unprotected by them if there is a dispute. My advice would be to simply ask your buyer to set up a milestone payment, or to mutually agree some other acceptable form of payment. Don’t automatically assume that you are being scammed, some people are just new to the site and aren’t too sure of how it all works yet! 🙂

    18 11 2010
    A Real US Freelancer


    Hopefully, you specified the amount you expected to be milestoned when you submitted your bid. There’s a box on the bid form that reads: “Initial milestone percentage required (0-100%)?” If you entered an amount here, the employer is notified of it when he or she receives your bid and should expect to create that payment before you begin the project.

    Even if you missed this step, I would recommend that you ask the employer to create a milestone payment before you cancel the project. A friendly reminder or request will probably get you farther than canceling, which creates complications for everyone.

    Good luck!

    18 11 2010
    A Real US Freelancer

    Hi again, Lisa.

    Thanks for your response. I’m more than happy to help clear up (or add to, as the case may be :)) some of the confusion. I have read many of the other posts and I will contribute as time allows. As I’m sure you’re aware, one thing successful freelancers don’t have is an overabundance of spare time.

    One common thread in these and other complaints about Freelancer and other sites is that users fail to read the site’s policies, FAQs and other information before joining. The biggest percentage of the users claiming they were scammed by the staff or their money was stolen aren’t really aware of how the site works, or that they’ve violated the terms of an agreement.

    This goes hand in hand with your comments about freelancing contracts. When you join one of these sites, you are agreeing to the terms of a contract with the site. That’s why they all have that little checkbox that reads, “I have read and understand…” If you fail to actually read those terms and conditions, you have only yourself to blame. If you don’t agree with any of the conditions, it’s probably best not to join.

    As for “stolen” funds, I’m sure that many of the reports I’ve seen here are actually cases where the funds were returned to an employer when a dispute was settled. Disputes are also something freelancers need to be prepared for. Your advice on contracts is very sound. It’s also important to hold on to email from clients, as well as copies of what you’ve delivered. Disputes arise. I’ve been involved in them as both a service provider and an employer and yes, I’ve won them, because I had the necessary evidence and handled the – long and frustrating – process calmly.

    So, before I digress to far, let me simply say thanks again for being responsive and for trying to inject some sanity into the chaos. I’ll put my 2 cents worth in when and where I can.

    20 11 2010

    hi , when i bid a new project then it shows ” balance is in sufficient”

    22 11 2010

    It may be that your balance has been negative for too long. Freelancer does allow you to have a negative balance but only for a maximum of (I think) 35 days. After that, you’ll need to deposit funds into your account or risk having it terminated. If you are a gold member, you will also need enough money in your account to pay for your membership.

    24 11 2010

    but i am a new member in that. my balance is 00. is there any fee given to to bid a project.

    26 11 2010

    Hi Jamal,
    There is no fee to bid on a project, but there will be a fee if you are awarded a project. This commission fee, which is $5 or 10% of the total project fee (for standard members), will be deducted from your Freelancer account and you are allowed to have a negative balance for up to 35 days. Any longer than that and you may find that your account is suspended.
    Having said that, if you choose to make your bid “highlighted” for $1 (this is an option on the bid form), you must have enough credit in your account to pay for that up front.
    Hope that helps!


    21 11 2010

    I am an avid supporter. I have been a member there for a few years and have never had any of the problems mentioned above. When I first started, I was naive and did not earn very much money freelancing. However, the longer I do it, the more I earn. As I gained experience, I did look around at other freelance sites but never found them to my liking. Because of my experience and dedication to improving my work, I now earn much more freelancing than I did when I first started. As far as the “scammers,” I have seen them on many sites, not just The longer you freelance, the more expert you will become at picking and choosing the jobs that pay well.’s rating system can’t be beat for judging the quality of both the buyers and the providers. I LOVE

    22 11 2010
    Jim Davis

    Any REAL and Genuine company would NEVER need to charge $5 to take a test. A company that was confident with the quality of their services would never need to make $20 for a “gold membership” (gold, platinum, silver memberships = bad company in almost every case). THey even have a $1 charge which will make your bid “stand out” from the rest. Sorry guys, I prefer to let my work do the talking, not my shelling out my hard earned money so can sit around on their asses and get paid. They encourage freelancers to play dirty, and allow the buyer to post a job WITHOUT DISCLOSING the full scope of work required. Not cool. I can’t stand how cheap companies have gotten these days. I worked for HIT WEB DESIGN for 3 years, then I made one complaint about not receiving a check on their internal mailing board, and was terminated! Come on people, be FAIR! Stop CHEATING! It’s not good to place the freelancer in the most vulnerable position.

    23 11 2010
    A Real US Freelancer


    I’m a member of several freelancing sites and they all have membership options you can “buy” into. Whether it’s worth paying the fee or not is a matter of how much work you receive from the site. If you receive enough business from the site,’s gold membership will pay for itself through the difference in commissions. Not only that, if you’re a US freelancer and keep the proper records, you can report those fees as business expenses at tax time. A little bit of math will tell you whether or not gold membership is a good investment. There are plenty of successful people that don’t use it.

    Gold membership isn’t intended to increase your chances of winning projects, it provides more opportunities to bid and lowers the commissions you pay when you’re awarded a project. Your work is still going to have to speak for itself.

    The $1 fee is for a highlighted bid. Employers can also pay extra fees to enhance their projects when they post them. eBay uses the same concept for enhancing autcions. If you don’t feel the extra fees are worth it, don’t pay them. They’re all optional.

    I’m curious in what way you think is encouraging people to cheat. If you’ve read the FAQs and the articles, you’ve certainly seen that employers are encouraged to check a freelancer’s feedback and samples and freelancers are encouraged to do the same, as well as to ensure that the scope of a project is clear before accepting an award. Common sense should play a big part in hiring or being hired, no matter how or where you do it.

    The other freelancing sites also charge for their certification exams. Like everything else, it’s up to the freelancer to determine whether it’s worth the investment.

    I’ve been making a living as a freelancer for almost 15 years and I can tell you that no perfect system has been devised by ANY of the sites where I bid for work. I can also tell you that, for my money, is doing a better job than most.

    If you have suggestions for improving the way things are done on their site, I’d recommend submitting a support ticket in the Suggestions category. It can’t hurt, it might help, and you never know, you might be the next $100.00 winner.

    23 02 2011
    Jim Davis

    Some might consider this a lame excuse, but the reason I despise the “gold”, “platinum”, and “silver” upgrade options is simply that I have no money. I have nothing. We’ve all heard the term “you have to have money to make money” but the harsh reality is I spent all of my money on rent and groceries. It makes it even harder to stand out from the crowd when you don’t have an extra $5 for every proficiency test that you really want to complete because you ARE qualified and your work is OUTSTANDING. It just makes me feel like a sucker when I have to pay (or any freelancing site) for the “privilege” of proving I am capable of doing contract work at or above the level of your average programmer.

    To answer your question of why I feel encourages programmers and buyers to play dirty– It’s like this: A buyer will post the description of the job and their budget range, for example $20-$500. Then when you read the description it says something a la “..Bidders I will not answer you if you bid higher than $25!” -WTF? So they just lured me in with a dishonest budget!
    Another classic example is the window shopper, and there are a lot of these Jerks. They wait till the very last second and then cancel their project, keeping the contact details of their favorite bidder so they can pursue a business relationship outside of — Any questions?

    24 02 2011

    but Jim, it’s the users of Freelancer that do this – not Freelancer itself.

    25 11 2012

    It isn’t fair! If you’re going to publish a website that basically acts as a catalyst between employer and freelancer then you need to be accountable for eveything! Freelancer doesn’t take responsibility. All this talk that I’m reading here sbout freelancer getting better is in my opinion bunk! How can launch a business like this and not be organized enough to have it running smoothly to start with. I personally don’t think it’s rocket science! Simply be honest and upfront with people, don’t steal and don’t exploit people. So far they’ve been doing the opposite for the most part. They take advantage of people and have crafted/created a platform where people are being scammed not only by participants yet also by the creators.

    26 11 2010

    You will know they are steeling from you when you get the email below after you request your payment for work you did.

    “We understand how concerning this is for you.
    Occasionally your withdrawal requests are pushed back for an extra week. This is usually because our Anti-Fraud Department and Billing Department might be suspicious of a payment that you have received. You will have to wait for an extra week to make sure that the payment you received is legitimate.

    We appreciate your understanding in this matter.”

    Sincerely, Support

    26 11 2010

    To me, that doesn’t say “we’re stealing from you”. That means one of two things; either, “our Anti-Fraud Department and Billing Department are suspicious of a payment that you have received” (which doesn’t necessarily point the blame at you; it might be the other party they are suspicious of), or it could mean “we’re really busy and haven’t had time to get round to processing your payment yet”! If you’ve stuck to the rulebook and can’t see any reason why Freelancer should withhold your money, I’m pretty sure you’ll get it eventually. Patience!

    25 11 2012

    Well I’m not so sure there is validity to this. I was paid within 15 days from Elance without any problems (by registered mail). Freelancer doesn’t even offer a payment plan by or through registered mail! I personally think these are ways in which freelancer makes their capital, they hold money’s as long as possible in order to collect the interest on other people’s money. I’ll admit I’m a skeptic at heart and well mostly paranoid and question things too much. But, why else would they hold funds for so long? And why is it that other freelancer sites are able to process pay pal payments within 5 days? I’ve seen other posts here regarding escro and if freelancer had a brain it would have initiated this process to begin with, alleviating many of the current problems it has now. On a side note, I won a project directly put on by freelancer and they still want to hold this payment for fifteen days! Like wtf! They themselves can’t pass a security check within a day or two? (They are so dodgey they can’t even trust themselves). I also understand that people are having to release some interesting personal info to freelancer, like photos, copies of I.D etc. pictures of themselves holding current documents that have the date on them (sounds like a scene from movie where somone is being held hostage). A lot of the processes devised and or invented by this company are obviously the works of inexperienced people who are simply making up the rules as they go along. Too bad people are getting suckered into this site. I think that general advocacy of freelancer is most likely stated by those in the countries that are able to win the projects by being able to bid so low, these parties most likely located in poorer countries where they can actually profit from this website (to some degree). I really can’t imagine North Americans even if they aren’t being scammed to find financial success on freelancer. This site was built for 3rd world countries where they have little power and or resource to battle any discrepancies… and tight wad companies that do not see or realise the value in supporting their own local economies.

    30 11 2010

    I am convinced that Freelancer is a scam website. I have several hundred dollars in my account and it was recently suspended for “suspicious reasons”. I did as they asked, submitted documentation of my driver’s license and information regarding my account. Its been several months. Now they’re asking me to take a picture of myself holding some sheet of paper with a code.

    Is this site a joke? Apparently I am not the only in this situation. There’s tons of consumer complaints against Freelancer allegedly scamming people this way. People been asked to take pictures of themselves doing things in the photos for Freelancer’s amusement. Even then they never get their accounts back.

    30 11 2010

    Adam, it’s true that Freelancer have some strange ID verification methods, but I’m convinced that they are not a scam website. “The trouble with Freelancer” in my view, is the people who use it to scam people. What kind of projects have you bid on/posted? Are you sure that they did not breach Freelancer’s terrms and conditions? Have you ever shared contact details with someone on Freelancer before a project was officially awarded via the site? Do you have more than one account? There are other reasons that may cause Freelancer to be suspicious of you, or it may not even be you they are suspcious of – perhaps they suspect a fraudulent transaction on the part of someone you have worked with. In every single case I have come across (and by now I have come across many!), there has never been an invalid reason for Freelancer suspending someone’s account, and in those cases where the situation is resolvable or the offence minor, it has been resolved amicably. My advice to all users of Freelancer who feel cheated by Freelancer itself (rather than by oher Freelancer users) would be to have 1) patience (Freelancer can be a little slow to handle disputes, but then again, perhaps you can forgive this of a site that has almost 2 million users!), 2) persistence (their customer services are sometimes rather unhelpful, so be precise with your questions and if you don’t get a sensible answer, try again!) and 3) to be polite – rudeness never solved anything. Good luck with your case and let me know how it goes.

    30 11 2010

    No. I have addressed their concerns through the information I provided. It seemed satisfactory as they did not inquire anymore except to ask me to submit documentation (driver’s license). I grew very frustrated as I already done so, as per instructed, and it appears to have eluded them. After pointing that out in a previous ticket they made (honestly I had an image of my driver’s license uploaded as one of the first things) they then instructed me to humiliate myself by taking a picture of myself holding it with some bizarre code. Its unfortunate I have a new customer service agent answering the same ticket, its even more unfortunate that they do not bother to communicate with themselves.

    Lisa, I am sure this is all fine and dandy for yourself to do but to be fair you are not in this situation. This is extremely odd and I consider it an intensive invasion of privacy. How far does all this have to extend before its concluded? Like I mentioned, there’s consumer complaint boards where people say they’ve taken pictures of themselves for Freelancer, and Freelancer has refused to comply. If they cannot handle 2 million users, perhaps their website/services should refrain from allowing new users to register.

    In regards to your 3 step program. For part 1, I have given them several months, any competent anti-fraud, Better Business Bureau organization would say thats more than ample time for my funds to return to me. They made it perfectly clear they will not do this for me. For part 2, I am constantly continueing to engage this but apparently it goes no where. And for your last point, I’ve tried to be polite but its amazingly frustrating resolving this. Unfortunately, in my experience with them before, politeness also never solves anything. I have to vent because its incredibly frustrating.

    11 12 2010
    No place for racism here! « Lisa A. Martin

    […] have just trashed a comment that was left on my blog (on this post) that contained some of the most disgusting, racist filth I have ever read. I’m not going to […]

    20 12 2010

    Hi Lisa,

    How are you ? I love your site very much. I like to know as much as successful story about users suspended account get their account activated again. I search lots of web browser, all of there are unsuccessful story. I hope this will help all of users. Thanks.

    26 12 2010

    I recently had a website removed from Google’s index due to being scammed on Freelancer ad lost a considerable amount of money in the process.
    Freelancer offered no help despite repeated emails and allow the scammer to continue to operate at will on their site.
    Disgusting business all together.

    4 01 2011
    2010 in review « Lisa A. Martin

    […] The busiest day of the year was November 18th with 153 views. The most popular post that day was The trouble with […]

    4 01 2011

    In answer to Lee, As Lisa is aware I had a similar problem with Freelancer. My answer came via the person who hired me through them. They said they were keeping the money as they suspected fraud. What happened was I got a email from the saying this. I think forward it to him and he got on to them and said where’s the fraud in a very aggressive manner. The result was I got my payment the following day. The support department is trained to put you off rather than to be helpful. They have standard letters and always blame the higher ups. By saying they suspect you of fraud they are actually committing Slander

    5 01 2011

    Hi Lisa

    I am about to join freelancer. I have progressively become an incorrigible cynic (not a critic). (five years and counting). This time i was wary and did the usual digging around before joining and your blog googled up. One thing always amazes me that whenever good things are invented, humans try to corrupt it. And equally amazing is that good people arise and put up a fight. A strong one. The eternal fight of good vs evil isn’t it. The point is your blog is very good and i am enlightened by very many facts and happenings. Great work. And yes, blogs like yours and accompanying comments gently reminds me to be polite and washes off a lot of cynicism out of my system . How do you guys find time for all these? Great work. Regards.

    6 01 2011

    Thanks for your kind words! Freelancer isn’t perfect but, like you, I do believe that it is, at heart, a Good Thing. Like many Good Things, there are dishonest and unkind people who try to hijack it for their evil purposes and it’s a shame that it’s these few who spoil the reputation for the rest of us.

    10 01 2011

    Thanks for your article – good review 🙂

    10 01 2011
    Olaf Schutze

    Hello Lisa,

    the site, never was hijacked in that sense, only the idea was, by a bunch a thieves and criminals, which still do own and control it. btw., a few hundred of support requests brought nothing more than the request to open another one- and for what? They still get deleted. My best wishes, to Matt Barry.
    We are happy in the mean time, to offer an award of 5000.00 USD, who ever takes this scammer out of this business.

    13 01 2011

    This is a very interesting thread and the first one I have ever posted in myself.I may be a simplistic numberskull who is clearly out classed with the wordage of other posters and almost didn’t even make a post because im just a poor writer and communicator but I feel strongly about this.

    First it seems that for many years now (I used freelancer many time sense 2004) people on blogs and message boards have blasted freelancers working for low rates, using every excuse in the book to say why you should not use them and this is always the people who’s best interest is having you not use these people and pay more premium wages to a quality native English speaker from the US or UK. To me almost all of this is self preservation and I’m sure writers and many other trades that can be done remotely are in serious danger of having their way of life change, and in many cases it already has. As the years go by slowly the quality of work delivered from these freelancers is going to get better further giving people reason to use them more and more, and we are not in a situation where the freelancers in India , Philippines or whatever giving far cheaper quotes but are also delivering a product that is almost equal to what a western world worker can do.

    I remember in 04 I use to get a 500 word article for around 10 bucks now I can have about the same done for $3 so things are changing and if you make a living on freelancer remotely your in trouble if you don’t adapt and create a niche for yourself to stand out. The run of the mill people cannot compete with these hungry people. The way I look at it there is only so much money in the world and if India is taking a lot of it we will lose some of ours, and its unrealistic to think everybody can be rich, because it isn’t going to happen.. Somebody has to clean my house  somebody has to do the crap jobs and as these poorer countries improve there economies there going to take money out of your pocket and food off your table. This is such a 100% danger to many working class people in the united states and other western country’s and I can see nothing we can do to stop it. The only choice for most people is to accept that most programmers will be making 25k a year in the future and not 75, a good graphics guy will have to take 18k not 35k.. This is absolutely going to happen across the US and every other country that currently has high wages. I always though it was a bad idea to bring technology to these 3rd world countries because I felt it would only hurt Americans long term. We need these people to remain poor, if they because we cant all be rich, and if I had my choice sorry india I would rather have you poor so I can have a little bit better life. Anyway I certainly don’t blame any of these people, they are willing to work for less and everybody that runs businesses need to learn how to use the skills of these people to enhance there own business, if you’re a writer, graphics guy or computer programmer sorry your SOL because doomsday is coming if its not hear already, You need to get a real skill like school teacher or garbage man because those will slowly edge up to and past your earning ability..

    Anyway It seems like a lot of people slam freelancers and websites like and they are simply offering an open market. If you use your common sense you will succeed.. If you’re an American and offer services on any of these sites you’re going to get sucked dry year after year competing with these people and its basically just a slow death and I personally feel very sorry for you. I also feel very sorry for all the Indian and other freelancers that are being used because buyers take advantage of them, but overall there are relatively few flaws in their business model.. The rating system helps keep customers safe and freelancer will never have the same concern for PRIVIDERS that they have for BUYERS because the buyers are what make them their money, and providers will never leave these services. Where the heck are they going to go to. Look at ebay, I have made roughly 200 purchases on that site and got truly stifft 1 time and that was because something didn’t appear to be what I wanted, and I still got something just not what I thought it was. And each year competition gets stiffer on that site a few can excel but most just plot along, but the model is the same, ebay cares about only the buyers, and sellers have no real alternative. Overall the freelancer business model will withstand the test of time and cant be improved on much and its never going away..

    Because we are generally selfish and lookout for ourselves we knock these services, the fact is this is a buyers market and freelancers are expendable so complain all you want there will be somebody to replace you on that site quickly so I will just use them instead of disgruntled people who cant stand they work for such low rates. If you think your rates low now, wait 10 years nad see what your rate is, wait till indans improve there English and school children learn English from earlier ages. As Matt said the world is flattening and all the money in this world will be spread around more equally to everybody and that means the quality of life Americans have now will be hurt… It sucks but I see nothing to stop it. Heck I have a friend that runs a business in the Philippines, (physical business) and he tells me the Indians are killing his business.. hmm living in a 3rd world coutry like the Philippines your still getting your throat slit by even poorer third world country immigrants.. Im certainly working hard to make sure I can compete with these changes, and maybe this is actually good for Americans because we have been complaisant for a long time..

    Now you see why I don’t write.. 🙂

    Anyway I feel bad for freelancers and for 1st world suppliers that try to enter that arena because they are never going to have large success on those sites (except for a few rare overachievers). Run a business where you can utilize the skills of these poorer countries is the only changes I feel I can succeed and that’s what im doing.

    I think the fraud on freelancer is very small, and usually coming from the buyers site. I am a buyer and have probably had 30K worth of jobs done on these sites and have never been cheated by anybody that I can tell. This year im going full force with and will be spending over 20k on projects so that I don’t have to live in a hut like somebody in Bangladesh.

    Freelancer services offer me the chance to do things I could never do in the past. Many things where just not in the budget for a small business 10 years ago but now I can have complete portal sites done for 1/10th or less the price. To share an example that I see for my business over and over, After taking a break from freelancer sites for a few years I went back because I wanted a flash application built.. Prior to joining I got a few quotes from programmers sites I visited. The one with the highest quality work for this project was from Germany and gave me a quote of 10,000 witch was totally impossible for me to justify paying (and im not saying he wasn’t worth every penny) im saying I couldn’t and wouldn’t have it done at that price. So I posted the project on and within 8 hours I had quotes for this to be done for 300 to 1000 , and after 5 days when the auction was going to close we found one, looked over his work and selected the most expensive bid because he had the best communication and showed us great sample work for his past projects.. Anyway the product he produced was excellent and would have never been realized if I didn’t a place like this to go to.. This happens over and over. If your willing to learn how to use your common sense on these freelancer sites you can divinity do well buying things, but I have no good news for anybody offering services except sell your house and retire in a 3rd word country. BTW, the provider we picked was from TURKEY witch In the middle of the 2 spectrums

    Great blog lisa,
    I think freelancer does care that fraud takes place and I do not like how buyers abuse service providers and I wish they would not give so much power to buyers (speaking from a fairness standpoint, but im not complaining that much ) but I think your wasting your time thinking they are going to ever consider placing sellers importance as high as the buyers, go see ebay and talk to the sellers and see how ebay gives preference to and its going to be the same story here.

    Its probably clear im a fan of freelancer, but I’ll bet if you polled most of there service providers they would also say they are fans, the ones that aren’t fans are the people that want to keep making the same money they use to and not have to fight it out in a free market. If that’s you then you have to look for a real job that you cant sit around in your underwear and do because everybody wants to work at home and the competition is stiff.

    20 08 2012

    Hey Mark,

    I think the reason why you don’t write any more is because you can’t spell,right? LOL I agree that the Americans and those in the West must know that they are now competing with Asia and the whole of the Third World. The Indian sub-continent and China will rob you of your good life. You have a very superior attitude but you’ll know soon enough that getting rid of such an attitude will help you survive in the new world order.

    I’m from the Third World but I don’t bid for rubbishy pay and i don’t write your kind of bad English either. Talk about white trash! haha

    22 01 2011
    The trouble with « Lisa A. Martin | Naseeb Spot

    […] the original post here: The trouble with « Lisa A. Martin This entry was posted in adsense and tagged adsense, buyer, freelancer, freelancer-ads, […]

    3 02 2011

    Here is how is really stealing money from users. You have to pay 10.00 to start. Then when you post a project, they take $5.00 for the project fee.

    So you post a project and pay the $5.00. It then gets accepted by a freelancer to do the work. Once that freelancer has accepted the work, you now owe a percentage of the job in payment to In my case it was $22.50 plus the $5.00 for the first project. Total of $27.50.

    I posted a second project and paid the $5.00 fee. Then the work was accepted by someone and I was charged again from a $7.50 fee. So now I have paid $12.50.

    But now something happens. I get to the 30 day completion mark for the first project and have had been unable to get the first worker to provide any updates except to say that things are progressing. I then get a notice out of the blue that he cannot complete the project. Mind you it has been 30 days and no work completed. He just skips out on the job. Cancels it and says he cannot do the work.

    I then get a message that I am getting my second project cancelled on exactly the 30 day mark by the person saying they cannot do the work either. All the time, constantly asking for updates and finding out that they were supposedly working and yet when time comes, they do not have a finished product to hand over. Once the person who accepted the work, cancels it, then you cannot give them feedback or any negative rating and you are done with them. basically has a back door to any person that accepts work that they do not have to suffer or pay any of the consequences if they do not want to finish it. It is totally rigged in favor of and the workers who bogusly accept jobs and do not intend to finish them.

    So I contact the support to find out what I can do and then things start to sound fishy. Here is what they say:

    “Our site merely acts as an online venue to allow users to offer and buy professional services. You acknowledge and agree that is not involved in the actual transaction between the freelancers and hirers. As a result, has no control over the quality or legality of the professional services provided by users on our site, or the ability of freelancers to provide the services or the hirers to pay for the services. We do not guarantee that a user will actually complete a transaction or act lawfully in using the site.”

    We always recommend buyers to review the user’s ratings first before awarding a project. (HA, I did review the ratings and only chose people that had some but that does not stop them from pulling this crap)

    If you have issues with the project and since we don’t refund fees, the best option right now is to get in touch and compromise with your provider on what is the most appropriate resolution to your issues.

    Are you kidding me……
    That solution of working with the contractors does not work when the job is cancelled by the contractor. They have no responsibility or reason to finish the job nor to answer your requests or emails. They can’t get a negative rating from me either after they have cancelled the job. It is just a joke of a service.

    So all the fees I paid or have left in my account are lost. I went to withdraw the remaining money I had in my account and they have a $30.00 limit on the amount of money they will allow you to withdraw, anything less and you are screwed. Now, some of you are thinking that anything less than $30 bucks is not much to lose but when you add up the problems and the way I feel I was taken for a ride, I wanted any money left to come back to me. But because I am not going to use their service and I can’t withdraw it, I have to let it sit there until takes it and keeps it for themselves. I get scammed a third time….

    So if you want my advice, find a service that puts the workers feet to the fire if they do not come through for the employer. Otherwise, is the only one that goes home happy and is getting everybody’s money. Basically, they told me they did not care what happened to me, because they already got paid for both projects even though the work was not even performed. It is absolutely a joke….. too bad it was on me to learn.

    10 02 2011

    Freelancer used to refund project fees in the event of a cancelled project, but they have changed that. As a result of their lack of responsibility, I have lost $20 so far because of buyers who have not fulfilled their own responsibility to provide proper information to the writer.

    Now I have my own story to tell…

    Monday, 2-7-11, I won and accepted a project. I messaged that buyer on freelancer thanking them for the opportunity and to please provide me with the information. I received no response. The next day I sent an email to the private email address that freelancer sent me, again asking for the information. Again, I received no answer.

    When I checked my emails this morning, I received an email from freelancer stating that the buyer marked the project as incomplete. When I looked at everything, I found a horrendous and false feedback left by this person, slandering me and my work. I contacted freelancer support right away, asking for their help in the matter:

    On 2-7-11, I accepted a project by sara22lxand sent her a message stating:


    Thank you for giving me this opportunity. When you have a chance, can you send me the keywords you want used and the type of article (sales, regular article, etc.). You can either contact me here or at the email freelancer should have supplied you with.

    Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    He/she never responded.

    On 2-8-11 I sent him/her a private message at the provided email address stating:

    Flag this message
    This is Laura from FreelancerTuesday, February 8, 2011 3:09 PM
    From: “Laura Green” Add sender to Contacts

    I sent an email to you on freelancer yesterday regarding the project. Since I hadn’t heard from you there, I thought I would try contacting you here.

    I was hoping that you could send me the keywords and any other information regarding the project that I may need. That way I can get the articles to you as soon as I can.

    Thank you!

    I received no return message.

    This morning I find that he/she marked the project as incomplete and left horrendous, unwarranted feedback. What was said in the feedback never occurred…not even close! Also, if you look at the time-frame of the so-called project and of the time-frame specified in the feedback, they do not even come close to matching. This all happened this week, not more than eight days ago as he/she is claiming.

    I am thoroughly upset and angry at how this was even possible.

    I am not the only one this was done to. Can I dispute his/her false accusations? Can I have the feedback taken off since it is a complete lie?

    Since messages were left via freelancer, I presume that you can look into the correspondence, or lack there of, to see that what I am saying is completely true…

    Any help in resolving this unbelievable issue would be greatly appreciated.

    Laura Green (jadedgemini2)”

    This is what they had to say:

    “Good day,

    Thank you for reaching support and we are delighted to assist you.

    We do understand your concern and we do apologize if you encountered this kind of problem with your service buyer.

    We cannot remove an incomplete report but you are given an option to leave a comment on the Buyer’s statements.

    Please understand that we cannot be biased when it comes to decisions like these, either you work out a solution with the Buyer or just leave a comment on the Buyer’s feedback on the incomplete report in detail. An incomplete report serves as an inventory of your project participation here in it does not affect your current ratings in any way.

    In the future, please use the Private Message Board (PMB) for clarification about the project before accepting it.

    We also recommend the use of our Milestone Payment. We also recommend providers to ask for the Milestone Payment first before doing any work. Feedbacks are also available only if the Provider is paid in full using the Milestone Payment system.

    Please note that should you decide to get paid using any other methods and in the event that your Buyer decides to stop communication, there’s nothing we can do if the money is not in the Milestone Payment system.

    Please read more about it at

    Let us know if there’s anything else that we can help you with.”

    Nothing of which is anywhere near helpful. So now, not only am I out the project fee, but my screen name, which I use absolutely everywhere to keep things consistent and help build up my name, is tarnished and they will not do anything about it.

    This was completely unacceptable, and I told them about it:

    “This is completely unacceptable! Did you even look into this matter thoroughly?

    First of all, at the time there was nothing to clarify, so why use the board? In any case, no one ever answers questions posted there.

    Second of all, how do you expect me to resolve anything with this person if he/she refuses to answer any of my emails? If you continue to say that activity outside of the site is dangerous, why bother providing personal emails?

    Third,I did not agree to have payment given anywhere other than freelancer. It clearly states that the payment would be made through you.

    Forth, if you were to actually look at what this buyer has done to several of the providers for this project it is clear that he/she is falsifying feedback. You cannot tell me that there is nothing you can do about that! At the very least, you can suspend that account and person from ever using the site again.

    This person, who obviously had no intention of fulfilling the role of a buyer, has now tarnished my name,a name that I have worked very hard at. And to top it all off, I am out the project fee. Now I am beginning to wonder if freelancer has an agenda all their own…

    You need to step up and get involved when it is clear that you have to. If you have no intention of helping, then why are you guys even there?

    Now that I am beyond angry, I fully expect you to answer each one of these questions indetail, preferably by phone. You can contact me at 773/xxx-xxxx I will be expecting a call from you shortly.

    Laura Green”

    What am I supposed to do now? Explain everything in detail as they said? Buyers will look at this and laugh, even though detailed information is visible, they will not actually look to see if any of this is true or not. And freelancer will not do a thing to help.

    What good is support if they don’t plan on doing a single thing to help?

    I have yet to get a response…

    15 02 2011

    Half of the bidders are scam artist – claiming others works as their own.

    15 02 2011

    Yes, this is unfortunately true! Which is why you’re so lucky to have found my website. I’m one of the rare, experienced, genuine providers on 🙂

    15 02 2011

    As another genuine provider working through Freelancer, I think It’s worth saying that this problem isn’t unique to Freelancer. Choose any freelancing site you like and you’ll find plenty of scam artists acting as both employer and provider.

    People need to learn to read feedback and user profiles and use some common sense when it comes to entering into a work for hire agreement. Freelancer can’t be held responsible for someone’s failure to know who they’re working with and/or protect themselves contractually. They provide the tools; it’s the members’ responsibility to use them.

    15 02 2011

    Welcome to my blog – my sentiments exactly!

    15 02 2011

    Thanks for the welcome, Lisa. I’ve posted here before, though it’s been a while. I’ll be back. 🙂

    15 02 2011

    Oh gosh, I’m sorry! I get so many visitors and commenters here these days that I just can’t keep up. Welcome back then! 🙂

    16 02 2011

    Their $5 isn’t even refundable. They got all sorts of tricky scams going on that you’ll have to pay close attention to know how to get your money back.

    16 02 2011

    John, Freelancer are very upfront about their fees. When you sign up for an account, you are asked to agree to the terms and conditions (which sadly most people don’t read) and the fees payable are very clearly found on the site. The $5 (or 10% if more than $30) is not refundable to freelancers (this is Freelancer’s commission fee for helping you to find work, and in my humble opinion, as a business themselves, Freelancer are perfectly within their rights to make money!), but if you are a buyer, the $5 is (as I understand) refunded to you when you select a provider.
    Freelancer have told me that they will be bringing in a compulsory milestone payment “pretty soon” which must be set up in advance of starting the project and will be a minimum of $5 or 10% of the project fee. This will help to provide another layer of insurance for freelancers if their buyer backs out.

    16 02 2011

    Hi, Lisa!
    Googled your blog after I received a disturbing notice from GAF, and I quote:
    Hi mistergam!
    Your account balance is negative. Please deposit funds urgently!
    Your account mistergam may be temporarily suspended if your balance remains negative.
    Please login to your account and deposit funds here:,,.

    Your balance is:
    USD: -21.00
    Contact our support

    I could not follow the recommendation to contact for support since I was in no mood to be polite with having replied to them earlier to a related concern…..

    In that case, please forward to me the email address of Mike Hxxxxx so I can try to persuade him to either proceed with the assignment or refund to me the GAF commission.

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Lee []
    Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2011 10:50 PM
    To: tet@xxxxxx
    Subject: [#OHY-290144]: Reverse charges


    Yes this is a change in our policy. That response you received from me was from last year.

    Please be aware that we do not refund commissions when the project has been awarded already.

    Our project commission is an introduction fee. Once someone’s bid is selected and accepted, at that point email addresses and contact details are traded.

    It’s our part to introduce the two parties but the project’s success lies only between the buyer and the service provider.

    I suggest you ask for an “Initial Milestone Payment” equivalent or higher to the commission fee when you place a bid.

    Lee Support
    Ticket History
    mistergam (Client) Posted On: 10 Feb 2011 3:02 PM
    Please reverse the charges to my account pertaining to the job at The employer never sent me the information needed to completely work out the assignment.

    Debbie (Staff) Posted On: 10 Feb 2011 4:15 PM

    Thank you for contacting support.

    Freelancers pay $5 or 10% of the bid amount, whichever is greater, once a project has been awarded and accepted. However, we do not refund commissions even if the project gets canceled or does not become successful. Our project commission is an introduction fee. Once someone’s bid is selected and accepted, at that point email addresses and contact details are traded.

    It is our part to introduce the two parties but the project’s success lies only between the buyer and the service provider. The status of project 826830 is still pending. We recommend that you contact the buyer to try to arrive to an agreement that will be favorable for both parties.

    For future projects, we strongly recommend that you ask for some milestone payment from the buyer before accepting a project for your security. If a deposit or payment is held in Milestone Payment, it will remain there until the buyer releases the payment or the provider cancels the incoming payment. To know more about the Milestone Payment, you may read “Service Provider – Milestone Payments” in our FAQ:

    Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have other concerns.
    Debbie Support
    Tet Gamxxxx (Client) Posted On: 11 Feb 2011 1:13 AM

    The first time this happened to me, I was refunded.

    When was this change in policy made, if indeed it is a policy?

    This thing could be abused if an employer awards the job to numerous workers and GAF gets the commissions ahead. That would be good for GAF but bad for the workers.

    I am supposed to earn money here doing work but I end up with a negative balance. Why? Looks like the first $30 I earned is not even enough to pay for the commissions that GAF has already earned from me. I do not think it is right.

    Please go over this response to my first request for a refund:


    You may request to cancel the project and get your fees refunded IF there is no pending Milestone Payment or a Partial Payment made.

    Please follow these steps to submit a request:
    1. Login to your account.
    2. Go to this url:
    3. Fill out the form and please explain why you want to cancel the project.

    We’ll review your request in 2-3 days.

    — Kind regards, Lee Support

    Ticket History
    mistergam (Client) Posted On: 19 Oct 2010 12:14 AM
    I wish to have Invoice # GAF-3821097 refunded as I was never able to agree to take on the job with the client. I have only earned $30 here and now I owe you $6. This new client now has awarded this $250 job to me and 17 other guys. Is this possible?

    Ticket Details
    Ticket ID: VTN-328019
    Department: Billing
    Priority: Medium
    Status: Closed
    Ticket Details
    Ticket ID: OHY-290144
    Department: Billing
    Priority: Low
    Status: Closed
    Yeah, this thing merits a low priority rating since it involves my funds being kept by! I joined thinking that I could be earning money for doing odd jobs. Now, I end up owing them money! Why so?

    Then, there is this threat of suspending my account. If they only checked my efforts at Freelancer they would have seen immediately that a buyer still owes me money after having delivered a completed job over a week ago. The payment is much more than the $21 that I owe them. Is it possible that freelancer would just suspend my account when the buyer pays and keep the rest of the money?

    Lisa, thanks for putting up this blog. I read everything posted below your first article and that is why I decided to share the communication between me and with you and the rest of your followers here.

    I also do online jobs elsewhere and I wouldn’t care if Freelancer suspends my account; but I would prefer that they treat their workers more decently. BTW, I get higher rates here than at oDesk.

    Mabuhay, from the Philippines!

    16 02 2011

    Hi Mabuhay,
    I have written about this very same issue in another of my blog posts, which you can read here.
    It’s little consolation for you now, but Freelancer assures me that “pretty soon”, they will be implementing a compulsory milestone of 10% of the project value. This milestone, I hope, will have to be set up when the project is awarded, so that it is already in place when the provider chooses to accept the project. I completely understand your frustration at Freelancer’s very unhelpful advice “to ask for an “Initial Milestone Payment” equivalent or higher to the commission fee when you place a bid”, because even if you ask for a milestone when you place a bid, the buyer doesn’t have to honour it, and even if they do want to honour it, they can’t physically create the milestone until you have accepted the project and already paid the fee! If the buyer backs out after you’ve accepted the project but before a milestone is created, you’re screwed out of your project fee and Freelancer refuse to give refunds. It’s a loophole that is very unfair and needs to be closed. Here’s hoping that “pretty soon” means exactly that!
    Like you, I’m now quite nervous about using Freelancer until this problem is resolved – it’s happened to me twice now, amounting to $30 lost in total.
    My only advice at this stage would be to write a clear, calm and explanatory email to customer support and ask for a response directly from the customer support manager. If they still don’t refund your money, then I’d be very careful about accepting new projects on Freelancer until the compulsory milestone is established!

    16 02 2011

    Unfortunately, the mandatory milestone won’t completely solve the issue, either, since the employer has to release a milestone payment after it’s been created. An employer can still back out of the project by simply refusing to release the funds to the provider. The advantage that it will provide is the opportunity for the freelancer to file a dispute if an employer refuses to pay. The dispute resolution process is slow and tedious, but it is the only way you can expect to receive help from Freelancer in resolving issues, and it is only available if you use the milestone payment system. This is yet another issue that isn’t unique to Freelancer; most of the freelancing sites have a similar system in place and require that you use their internal payment system to use it.
    The bottom line is that the creators of the freelancing sites created them to make money and if you use their services, you can expect to pay for them. If you have a problem with their fees, try hiring a lawyer to settle a wage dispute and see what it costs you. Freelancing involves risk. You need to weigh the risks before you start working for someone, accept that there will be times when your judgment will be wrong, and be prepared to compromise on some occasions.
    Freelancer’s solutions are far from perfect, but I can tell you from experience that the same can be said for the other freelancing sites. I choose to work through their site because of the volume of work available and the comparatively low fees.

    20 02 2011

    I’ve used first on free trial and later paid. My gripe is not with the providers as I think you will have to weed out the time-wasters with any online job site. This can be easily done by the way you post your project and the response you get.

    I do however, think takes every opportunity to skim off your money eg. charging for various functions. I deleted an old project as part of housekeeping and got $5 charged to me.

    I think is very sneaky in its charges and you only realize what happened too late. You have to be very careful at every step – awarding, canceling, deleting etc. Never assume that you only incur only 1 charge.

    21 02 2011

    Okay! I know about your problem and I will explain how it ties into mine. I have been with since they were I was happy there but soon, with the amount of foreign writers who would write articles for 50 cents to a dollar, I grew unhappy with the company, but that did not mean I did not promote them to others because hey they did not do anything to me and I got my money from them. However once I left the company they branded me on search engines, how they wrote my name with poor english behind it.

    Pastorkayte Poor English Freelance Programming & Design Jobs
    Sep 16, 2010 … Jobs tagged pastorkayte poor english … handle, modity, pastorkayte poor english, phrases poor english, poor english, poor english sample, … – Cached

    pastorkayte poor english –
    Hi PastorKayte I have created this special project just for you. Kindly bid the same amount ( $100 ) As soon as you bid, i will choose you as the winning ……/pastorkayte-poor-english.html – Cached

    I included the pages that started with and moved on to Now don’t get me wrong I know how SEO works and I know this can happen unintentionally, however the company tagged my name that way, just because I can’t work for 100 articles for 100 dollars. I mean it is really bad. So if you join and leave you to will be branded something bad.

    21 02 2011

    Hi Pastorkayte, I’m afraid I don’t understand your problem. The link you provided has been deleted and as far as I know, has nothing to do with I have looked up your profile on and you have very good feedback with no evidence of this “poor English” tag you mentioned. I very much doubt it was Freelancer who have “branded you something bad” :S

    26 02 2011


    Your message is essentially, “F*^% you if off shoring hurts you”. Nice PR. You’re doing a whole lot for your company here. I wonder if is doing all that great if you have time to actually post here. Perhaps you should use your own site to find some help.

    I work allot with companies that are trying to remediate the damage done by chasing the offshore promises. Lots of “fixing” damaged programs and PR. I’ve checked out your site as well and it’s heavily infiltrated by Nigerians and other scammers from around the globe. Though your site may have a handful of legit partnerships, it’s obvious that the vast majority are aspiring crooks fishing for suckers.

    27 02 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    you had posted some severe issues to before a year but didn’t fix the problems.why they are refusing to solve the bugs and glitches in their Applicaton?


    28 02 2011
    Rifat Ahmed is really bad. they took my 330$ money.
    i deposted to pay this. when i didn’t find right worker, i can’t withdraw money, also the support team can’t help me.

    Really be aware when using freelacner. they are cheat

    5 03 2011

    My Story
    Steal money? Set up? Or a bad company?
    I lost $500 from milestone deposit and get a junk copy of student level web store page, never work. When I complaint to freelancer from live chat, they never answer me and just take my money from my milestone deposit. Their live chat never can chat after your get trouble.
    After I contacted with Paypal and stop the last payment.

    11 03 2011
    Nitin Naresh

    We would like to take your kind support and help in exposing off one of the biggest scam and fraud company with the name Run by Matt Barrie who is the so called CEO of the company.
    The company has always been in the news and press for providing one of the best platform for outsourcing but after surveying and searching the internet for past 2 months and after having a personal bitter experience with the company and a long discussion with their CEO we would like to state that the company is nothing but merely a HUB of scams and fraud. This company is not only doing internet frauds and scams but also spoiling the name of the country in which it is registered.
    We registered as a service provider on the website 2 months back and won lot of projects online, our clients created milestone payments for us using their paypal accounts and all of a sudden company blocked our account without any reasons.
    They asked for verification documents in such a manner that we got furios for the issue. The company asked us not to cross mark anything on the documents and also asked the owner of the company to send their passport and a verification code in both the hands and send them the pictures. This kind of verification made us quite suspect along with their statement that we must not darken or blurt or put any cross mark for our safety on the documents.
    When searching on the internet we also found out that this company use to steal the identity of people and rip off them for their money. They use the id proof and documents of their site users for scams and frauds which involve money.
    They Also usually suspend the accounts of the users when they are about to withdraw the money for their hardwork which they have done online. Apart then this company also suspends the accounts of the users who have some money in their accounts in the form of milestone payments and then mentally harass them to send multiple documents and never reinstate their accounts.
    They also never refund the payments back to the project owners who had made the payments for the freelancer and neither they withdraw the money to freelancers. This way the company is running a huge huge scam online and both the project owners and freelancers are harassed.
    One such incident occured with us when our clients with their username itgenie, eloko, proshopexpert made the milestone payments of 200 USD each and asked us to start the project, all of a sudden our accounts were suspended and our money with them freezed.
    We sent them multiple emails, talked to their staff which really has very very poor customer support service. But no resolution was made, they also denied to refund the money to our clients and also didnt allowed us to withdraw the money, it was paypal who supported us at that moment and helped us to get our money back from which we paid to the company for getting the gold membership.
    Finally we agreed to send them our documents but only on condition that we also requested them to send the documents of their company, their legal status, registration certificates along with the documents of the owner of the company in order to ensure that the company is a registered legal company and our documents are going in safe hand, but company denied to send us stating that they have strict privacy policy and they never send their documents for cross verification- which again made us suspect of the company.
    You can check the authencity of our email by checking scam, fraud, scam, fraud and google will direct you to various websites like ,,
    All the above three portals will have hundreds and hundreds of complaints against this company.
    I strongly believe that the staff of this company must be put behind the bars for ripping off the users for their hard earned money.
    with warm regards
    Nitin Naresh

    11 03 2011

    Nitin, I think you are on very dangerous and libellous ground with your accusations, especially with your website that breaches all manner of copyright laws!
    Your comment went into my spam folder and I have allowed it because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I totally disagree with you that is a scam. I agree that many users of the site are scammers, but this is certainly not the same thing as the company itself or its staff being involved in or encouraging crime. I’m not sure what proof you have for your claims that Matt Barrie himself is the head honcho as far as masterminding a multi-million dollar scam site is concerned, but I’m pretty sure that it’ll be founded on lies, hearsay and unsubstantiated so-called evidence. In the many articles that you have posted on your website, there are so many inconsistencies and fallacies that I don’t even know where to begin. As a small example, I note that none of the posts on your site are more than a few days old, but the content still refers to as “GAF”. has not been known as Get A for several years, when it was run by a Swedish company and not Matt Barrie and his Australian team who later bought out that firm. Many of your complaints against “” are actually against this former identity and refer to events that happened years ago! Since the acquisition of GAF, has improved in leaps and bounds and, while it may not be perfect, it certainly bears little recognition to the small, poorly run site that it used to be. I don’t have time to point out all the other errors in your content, but rest assured that much of it is inaccurate, untrue and above all likely to get you into a law suit!

    14 03 2011

    I signed up with
    Three days layer I was posting this story in my profile after deleting all other information:

    I am no longer on

    The very first employer I had screwed me over. I was expected to check a set of empty folders for documents to check formatting. There were others checking the same folders, so I had to race against my anonymous colleagues like dogs. In three days there were only around 60 documents, of which I was fast enough to catch 16. At $1 for every 10 documents, that means I earned $1.60 in 3 days. There was no way to automatically check the folders (on I had to manually go and update each page and make sure I beat the next person to it.

    Strangely, I notice Ozio Media has a near perfect record of reviews. Since I didn’t even finish the project or pass a milestone I was not able to request a dispute or review the employer. I am not even able to close this Freelancer account since my credit is $5.00 in the red.

    I’m not sure what Freelancer is like from the side of the employers, but it is clearly not in the interests of the employee.

    Sooner or later people will realize that the Internet is a social place and that you can’t screw people and get away with it.

    I will not be recommending, I will be highly suspicious of any employer who uses it, and I will post this dismal story on the gloriously open Internet wherever I possibly can.

    15 03 2011

    *Sigh*. Yet another Freelancer disaster story that could have been so easily avoided!
    Marajit, I’m very sorry that you feel “screwed over”, but yet again I must stress that the blame in this case can be pinned on the buyer for exploiting you, and on YOU for allowing yourself to be exploited! Apologies for being so blunt, but it’s high time people stopped complaining that it’s everyone else’s fault but their own!
    After reading your story, I checked out Ozio Media’s profile (username “omd34322”). You know why he has such good feedback? He bids on higher paying article writing projects as a provider and then hires cheaper people to do the writing and proofreading for him, thus making a profit! So of course, the people he is “providing” services for are happy because they receive the articles they asked for (and omd34322 has had to do very little work!), and the people omd34322 hires to write/proofread for him are (mostly) happy because he has provided them with work, even though it’s very badly paid. It’s not scammer behaviour per se – I actually think it’s pretty enterprising! – but this person, like you and hundreds of other Freelancer users just don’t know how to conduct business properly or professionally, and then you wonder why things go wrong. Actually, I suspect omd34322 is a very astute business person; he’s probably exploiting the naivity of others!
    Did you discuss the project with the buyer before you placed a bid? No, guess not. Did you get him to sign a contract committing him to pay you for an agreed amount of work? Nope, thought not. Did you request a milestone payment in advance of starting the project? Evidently not.
    You say you couldn’t be paid because you didn’t “pass a milestone”, but it doesn’t sound like you actually had one in place. Milestone payments are created before the work begins and the money is then held in escrow. When you have completed an agreed amount of work, the buyer can release the payment to you but he cannot cancel it. If you had had a milestone in place, the buyer would have been committed to providing you with enough work to ensure that you could reach that milestone, and if not, you could have raised a dispute and he would have been found to be at fault.
    Another element to this story is the bizarre fact that you say there was a fixed amount of work and several freelancers racing to complete it. Unless I was guaranteed a fixed allocation of work, I wouldn’t touch a project like this with a barge pole. What is the point of placing a bid (minimum of $30) if you are not guaranteed to be able to complete $30 worth of work? It seems a little silly to me! Why aren’t other people as skeptical as me?!
    Take my criticisms on the chin and learn from your mistakes. Just because you had a bad experience on your first try doesn’t mean that you should give up on or similar sites. There are many genuine employers who use the site to find well qualified, experienced freelancers for some brilliant little projects – you just gotta know how to find them and how to bid on them.

    25 11 2012

    We shouldn’t all require degrees to use this website. It’s pretty simple people go there to find work, if they find it and do the work they expect to be paid. This platform should/needs to be regulated to protect the workers. Why build a site like this and not offer some degree of insurance for the workers. Freelancer in this case and many alike is basically kicking dirt in their employees faces when they fail to stand accountable. Without all the freelancers registered on this site and providing a service to’s employers it would cease to exist. So why isn’t it the other way around? Why does freelancer just close the door on the freelancers who are working so hard to make them rich? I’d like to note that freelancer posted a contest that I won and then wanted to bill me the usual commission charge for an internally posted project. This didn’t seem right to me, I voiced my adversity to the notion and they resolved the issue. But if I hadn’t they would have taken the commission charge (basically scamming me). So, yeah maybe the above poster could have and should have taken some steps to protect themselves. But the reality is: freelancer is the middle man between employer and freelancer and should do right and ensure people are being employed by honest paying employers. I’m sure every freelancer would agree that a service like this needs to be accountable and supportive to the freelancers and employers alike. If you are running an operation like this you owe it to yourself to be accountable in order to see success in the future and receive good reviews.

    17 03 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    I was just searching for a way to directly contact CEO of and stumbled upon your site. I would like to comment on your below post:

    “lisaamartin (14:31:10) :

    Hi Garik,
    You’ll be pleased to know that Freelancer have reassured me they will be implementing a compulsory milestone payment of 10% (to cover project commission fees). They said will be done “pretty soon”, so no date as yet, but it’s a step in the right direction!”
    —————- is a great site… but just recently things are getting strange on this site. Before I explain what happened…let me tell you that I am a member of since 2005. At that time it was known as Get A Freelancer.

    Lisa, i wish that REALLY implement a compulsory 10% fee from buyer because it is mostly the buyer who run away and the freelancer has to suffer from a lot of issues because of it.

    In fact, the support recently told me that if a freelancer wins a project and accepts it and the buyer doesn’t respond… THE PROJECT FEE WILL NOT BE REFUNDED. This is something very unusual. I work on all big sites like Elance, ScriptLance, etc but it is only the GREAT who has such a policy.

    Normally what happens on ALL other sites is that if a freelancer accepts a project and the buyer doesn’t get back to the freelancer – thefreelancer can contact the support team and cancel the project and get the project fee refunded to his account.

    And the same thing used to happen when was Get a… But now things are pretty much changed… and sadly not in favor of hard working freelancer!!

    My point is that if a buyer is not proceeding with the project… and if he choose a winner and then totally disappeared — then what is the fault of a freelancer?

    The penalty should be paid by the buyer – not the freelancer. The freelancer is available and ready to work. It is the buyer who is coming on Freelancer, posting and closing more and more projects (without completing them)- and never getting back to the freelancer. IT IS A CLEAR SCAM CASE.

    In short, is a great site. I wish look into this issue, ban such scam artists and implement the compulsory 10% milestone payment.


    P.S. By the way the buyer’s id is “collegestalk”

    17 03 2011

    I completely agree with everything you said! I think the issue of non-refundable commission fees is just something that Freelancer haven’t thought very hard about, but since I’ve raised the issue with them, they say that they will be implementing a compulsory milestone feature “very soon”. Your guess is as good as mine mine as to how long “very soon” actually is, but like you, I very much look forward to the day they announce that this change has been made!

    17 03 2011

    Yes I wish they implement it very soon.

    But I am really afraid what will happen till then…?

    Will the innocent freelancers will continue to get ripped off due to such buyers who select them for a project and then run away?

    It’s one month since collegestalk selected me as winner but never replied to my pmb messages or emails. support says they cannot do anything. They can cancel the project but CANNOT REFUND the fee taken.

    My question is WHY? What wrong did I do? I never earned anything for that project then why project fee?

    Forget about earning… my account is in -$25 because of this project and now they have temporary suspended my account. They want me to deposit $25 in my account… for the project that never got started!!

    Is this why we – the freelancers work on

    I would really appreciate any advice that could help me!!

    17 03 2011

    In many cases, the “scam” could be avoided if users of the site used their common sense and stayed away from projects that sound dodgy, or buyers with suspicious feedback, but having checked out collegestalk’s profile, I can see that he has pretty good feedback so you had no reason to suspect that he wouldn’t see the project through. He does have one feedback score of 5/10 in which a freelancer says that he changed his attitude mid way through the project, though if I’m honest that one report probably wouldn’t have deterred me either. Did you communicate with the buyer before the project was awarded? I often find that’s the key to a successful project. If they ignore your private messages and award you the project, I would always go back to the private messages and confirm the terms of your offer before accepting.
    That said, the non-refundable commission fee is very frustrating and, in my opinion, not fair at all. It’s not that they CAN’T refund your fee – they can and sometimes do if you make the right noise, but they have decided on a policy and are sticking to it. I discuss this problem in another of my posts, in case you haven’t read it, here.
    I guess one reason they won’t refund your fee is because Freelancer don’t know for sure that you haven’t been paid. At the cost of not being able to leave feedback, some people choose not to receive funds through the Freelancer payment system, and this is allowed within the terms of use. However, there will be no record of this on Freelancer. It’s possible that a freelancer could be paid externally of Freelancer, and then claim that the buyer hadn’t paid them. If you genuinely haven’t been paid, then it’s very frustrating and not very acceptable.
    The compulsory milestone will be a huge improvement. Until then, all I could suggest is that if you don’t trust the Freelancer way, you should avoid using it until they have made this change.

    25 11 2012

    Yeah but how do we know they are dodgey? And why is it our responsibility to determine this? offers a service to connect employer and freelancer.. Charges all kinds of fees to both parties yet does nothing to ensure legitimacy and accountability are being met. On this note is essentially capitalizing or gaining while others do not and they are simply billing people for having what may be defined as an email exchange service or networking service? heck hotmail is free! And so is Facebook. isn’t supposed to be unique in some way or another? I can easily get swindled networking on Facebook, what’s difference between Facebook and freelancer? Neither party holds itself accountable for fraudulent goings on. So why are people paying for this service in the first place?

    25 11 2012

    People seek their services in the first place because they have very little options… and the real options they have are now being purchased and closed down by…

    People some times get entangled when analyzing reality, and acting in self denial end up rendering over complicated answers and solutions to problemic situations like this one… the truth is always in simplicity: they do so many wrongs simply because they are a scam, just that… if they hadn’t being a scam they had already changed their ways long time ago. Don’t you think they have more than enough feedback already? there are so many social sites like this one packed with negative input and complaints about their rules and activities, they had changed them long ago… they don’t do it simply because that was the original intention from day one: to scam people…

    Just do the math: they claim they have around 6,6 million users, even if not active, it means 6.6 million people have used their services at one point of time… it means at least once 6.6 million people have being charged $30 – $60 in conversions and other fees, that’s a whooping $264 millions, plus the $25 average they keep from the looping scheme: $165 million more, plus they say the average project is $200, so they hold for 15 days and average of 1.32 billion dollars (and that is if they pay you back) and everybody knows by now that if you get to have over $1,000 in their account they freeze it and keep it, they make you jump through all sort of loops and hooks and provide endless and senseless documentation, until you just give up… lets say they just scam like that a 10% of the customers, that’s around 600,000 customers for a total of $600 millions more… and we’ll never know how much they get from selling peoples’ identities (because it is more than evident that the documentation they force you to provide is clearly intended to sale it to third parties) It is a hell of a profitable business… money entering through all sort of holes and cracks…

    Now, have you tried to contact their “customer support”? man, with all that money and they don’t even have a real customer support program, really? they don’t even have a phone number, really? and all data related to their “company” has been provided by angered customers who searched for the company’s title and registration… most customers don’t even know what country is that “company” located at and the only communication means they have is a very unprofessional and ridiculous live chat, conducted by someone evidently chatting with various customers simultaneously, and who openly says he doesn’t know much about the rules and operations of the “company”, and basically the only thing he has to advise you is send an e-mail and wait 48 hours for an answer… and you think that’s normal? a really extremely convenient mistake made by “unaware” staff… really? don’t you think that if they had been that “unaware” they had crashed and burnt long ago…? extremely “unaware” and making billions per year, really? whatever…

    25 11 2012
    Penelope Poole

    Actually what “they” do with the all the information (and I am assuming this is staff, not the org itself) is create fake IDs to open a bank account in an international bank, like Wells-Fargo, in your name, but with their picture on it. Then they use that bank account to receive all kinds of money – for example down-payments on fictitious apartments in expensive American cities (they use Craig’s List or airb&b to bait people who are moving to a new city). They are never available for Skype calls, their phones are VOIPs without voice mail that appear to be in the US, they are always ‘traveling’ or have some excuse for being unavailable by phone, but they use email in your name and develop a rapport with the victims. By the time the victims arrive at the apartment (usually a whole batch of them), they have cleaned out the account and moved to the next identity. It is difficult to catch them and the FBI and Interpol will not act on scams even in progress. You are probably not at risk… but they use your ID to scam others. Bottom line: there is no need (ever!) to send high resolution copies of your identification to anyone. Paypal should be more than enough. A site that demands this, as apparently does when larger amounts are at stake, is highly suspect. I would agree that if you send your details to anti-fraud reporting orgs and police sites and tell you have reported them, you may be able to retrieve your money. Good luck.

    17 03 2011

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I did communicated with the buyer before winning the project but once I accepted the project I sent many messages on message board and sent him many emails too. But he never replied me.

    The support Karen said that the best they can do is to email the buyer to contact me. But if the buyer doesn’t get back to me they cannot help me. I have to pay the project fee or my account will be suspended!!

    I have a series of positive reviews on many freelancing sites including… and I have earned all of those with hard work. But this attitude is very discouraging.

    You said that they do refund the fee if right noise is made. Can you guide me how to do that? How should I present this case to the support team that they realize I am on right in this situation ?

    16 08 2012

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for your blog with all the excellent and detailed information on You are right: I also searched online to figure out if was a scam site! But the fact that I had this suspicion only after 6 months of joining the shows how trusting and serious I had been all this time! Lately I was having serious doubts on how a freelancer with 0 reviews is going to get a project awarded, ever!

    Surprisingly, on 01st Aug 2012, I was awarded a project (by an
    employer “cosmopolita” and it was signed by a “John Stokes” of
    “Agora”) for writing “UFO related articles/blog”. There was an awful lot
    of explanation on how the article was to be written within 36 hours of
    a UFO sighting report etc. This employer had good reviews, except,
    may be one, that was negative! And I am sure, he is a “profitable user”, depending on his usage of the site for getting so many projects done!

    Based on my bid (with a sample article), before awarding the project,
    as per the employer’s request, I sent in one more fresh (less than 36
    hours old) article, and after I accepted the project, I did not hear
    from this employer for 10 days. And when I contacted the Freelancer support (no complaints here on the promptness of their response; it is usually the same day) team, they obviously did communicate with the employer and the employer came back with an analysis of the article that I sent (before he awarded the project), suggesting some “fine tuning” tips on article writing practices and with some links for the same! It looked like, instead of “bidding”, I kind of “choked” this person to accept my bid! He even dared to ask another article on “UFO”, based on another report, so he could still “consider me” for the project! I replied that “I didn’t think so”!

    Being my first project, I did not know that I could legally ask for “other” contact details, and I didn’t. ALL THE TIME, I communicated with him through Freelancer site! Now I have a negative balance of $5.00 which freelancer is not willing to “write off” or charge from the employer! I told them that, had I earned $5.00 through their site, I
    would gladly have paid it, because I had been using their site all this time (free membership), but not on account of a deceitful buyer!

    To this date, I have had 5 e-mail exchanges
    (Ticket ID: EAV-98297299) with a “Tong”, a “Jeff M”, and the last e-mail informed me that the status was set to “closed” since I didn’t respond within 24 hours! It was a Sunday that I saw it and I was at the last leg of a Migraine attack that lasted all day!

    Today, I recd. an e-mail asking me to “deposit funds urgently as there
    is a negative balance of $5.00”, and again I requested them to suggest me how this could be resolved since it was not my mistake and all the correspondence done through Freelancer was still there as proof!

    Just an hour back, I recd an e-mail (created a Ticket ID: LZJ-518-71503) from “Ralph” again stating the same things over and over on “how to check the back ground of the employer” , “you are encouraged to contact the employer ” yati yati yata….
    I am starting to think that they probably understand “Greek” better! I
    am still not going to give up. As per your previous advise, I am going
    to write to “James, customer service manager at Freelancer”, who, in
    your opinion, understands “English” (hoping that he still exists in freelancer)!
    I am not sure if I am posting this at the right place since I am replying to something dated Mrch, 2011 !

    But thanks for all your support to people like me!

    What ever is listed on your site about how employers are having a ball
    paying so low for the article writing projects, and the freelancers
    desparately bidding on it like hot cake, is so true! I bid against a
    project that paid $2 for a 500 word article, and saw there were

    something like 48 freelancers or more bidding on it. And I was asked

    to write a free article on the subject of his/her choice! I in fact sent

    it, but then I saw this project was closed and the same employer

    opened another almost same project! I sent an e-mail to the

    freelancer customer service and told them, how this employer is

    getting his/her articles written free of cost, so there is no need to

    award a project at all! They just replied, asking me to “stay tuned”!

    That is about it! I used their feed back form and made several

    suggestions too! I do not know if it was a total waste of my time just

    like the past 6 months I wasted!
    Project : 2344803

    16 08 2012

    I am sorry, in my previous post, I missed out on some editing that was left, since I got a phone cal and signed off at the wrong place too! My apologies!

    25 03 2011

    I’m a little late with finding your article. The past month I thought I would give a try. I had an account at the now defunct Lime Exchange. I was not impressed. The problem is that a prospective client places a bid within a certain range, say 30-250 dollars. When placing a bid, the box does not allow you to bid lower than the lowest. In this example it is 30; however, I have seen many providers post lower bids in their message box to the client. Because this is a violation, I sent a ticket complaining about this practice. Of course, I never have received a reply.

    Another problem is with the percentage takes from providers. It is absolutely ridiculous. Perhaps, if they did charge a real non-refundable fee to the client, the caliber of the jobs would change, And….as for the money exchange posts, they are still out there. I came across several a couple of weeks ago.

    I quickly realized the site is actually a waste of my time. Project quality and the bid undercutting are not conducive to native speakers of the English language, who are looking for genuine writing jobs. No offense, but I do find the practice of spinning the articles of other’s to be objectionable and questionable. In fact, those clients soliciting native speakers, often go with the cheaper non-native English speaking writer. It all seems just a bit to tawdry to me.

    Lastly, I contacted them to close my account about 2 weeks ago, but my account is still open. Although my account is the basic, I do not wish to be contacted by prospective clients inviting me to work for .50 per article. In conclusion, the site is poorly managed and customer service does not exist.

    25 03 2011

    Thanks for your comment, and I agree with everything you say! Out of interest, what was Lime Exchange like? I must admit I’d not heard of it before Freelancer announced that they’d taken it over, but I wonder if it was a bad move in terms of service quality?
    You raise an excellent point about minimum bids, and in particular about violation reports. As a rule, it seems that Freelancer do not respond to violation reports, and this is very frustrating indeed since the dutiful user who has taken the time to do the reporting ought to be given the assurance that the report is being investigated and what the outcome was. I reported a user who had plastered his email address all over his project listing the other day. The next day, the project was still there. I tweeted the username to @Freelancer, and several days later got the copy-paste reply, “Please open a support ticket and we will investigate your problem”. I’m pleased to say that the user has now been deleted, but not before – I’m sure – several people contacted him via email and are well on their way to being ripped off.
    If you are willing to scour the site, there are some very good projects and excellent service buyers on the site. I’ve built up a significant client base from my use of, and I’ve (usually) always been savvy enough to avoid the scammers. That said, most of my clients now work with my directly, rather than going back through Freelancer!

    28 03 2011
    Hightly Irritated!

    Check this job on Freelancer –it is horrible and check the link to the actual project! No one can (or has of yet) been refunded their money for accepting the bid.

    28 03 2011

    The project was deleted before I could look at it. Do you have more details?

    1 04 2011

    They suspended my account without giving any reason and froze my funds over $300. really strange behaviour? Perhaps they are on their way out of business and trying to embezzle client funds by suspending accounts without reason??

    3 04 2011

    When accounts are suspended, there is always a reason, but perhaps Freelancer needs to communicate their reasoning to their users better.

    8 04 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    I think freelancer could become a partner of crime with scams. I regret accepting a bid of huge amount since 10% of this amount is absolutely charge by freelancer. Too bad for me that I need to stop other projects with genuine clients as their payment won’t be enough to cover the commissions charge on me out scam. Another thing, is that, they ask me to ask the buyer to re-award the project. We, the client and me, do what as they have instructed me and guess what? It is not only me who was charge again by freelancer of the same amount they charge me before but also the client. They turned out to be as a ghost scams.


    8 04 2011

    Sherwin, Freelancer are not secretive about their fees – they are all there for you to see when you register an account, and on the FAQs page. if you don’t like the fact that Freelancer charge 10% commission for a project, don’t use them! It’s really very simple! Actually, you’ll find that Freelancer charge quite low rates of commission compared to some other sites, and certainly much lower fees than an agent would charge you for finding you work. Freelancer, and sites like Freelancer, make it very easy for people to find work because they provide the platform for buyer and provider to meet – and that’s why you pay the commission. If you want to win projects without paying any money, you can do it the old fashioned way and cold-call people, send out your resumé, advertise your services etc. But for most people that is too much like hard work!
    I also don’t understand your comment about why you need to “stop working for genuine clients” because their payment won’t be enough to cover the commissions charge…If you are working through Freelancer, the minimum amount you can be paid is $30, with a commission charge of $5, so that leaves you with $25 profit. How does that not cover the commission charge?!

    8 04 2011

    I am aware of the 10% commission and I don’t argue about that. What only bothers me is that I can’t refund any commission they had already charged on me even the client does not even paid any. Says the budget is $2,000. By the time I won the bid and I accept it, a fee of $200 is already charged. I just want it to be fair that they should only deduct the minimum fee of $5 or 10% of the compensation if and only if the client had paid.

    Right now they are resolving the issue but I don’t know if my account will be adjusted. They are still waiting for confirmation of the buyer. What if the buyer does not respond. What will happen then to the fee they charge on me of which was not really paid. I would rather want to be charged 20% commission rate or even 50% than be charged out of nothing.

    I have also other clients but I think I’ll just end it since their payment would just cover the charge on me.

    8 04 2011

    Is it possible that someone that does not like is enticing providers with jobs having $2,000 budgets? The sucker that ends up being awarded will surely loose $200 if he thinks he can grab what looks like a very easy job with very scant information.

    And how many would try their luck at such a job posting. If the client awards the project to 10 suckers, is again richer by $2,000 and there would be another 10 angry freelancers that would start to chant…. SCAM, SCAM, SCAM, SCAM is a scam site.

    10 04 2011

    Once again I must defend Freelancer by pointing out that it is Freelancer users who post these types of scam projects (if indeed they are scams – perhaps it’s just a really big project, or even – gasp! – someone offering a fair wage for once!) Freelancer does not encourage the posting of scam projects, in fact they actively discourage it and as soon as scams are detected, the project is deleted and the user is removed.
    Someone who bids $2000 on a project that has minimal information almost deserves to lose that money if they’ve been stupid enough to bid on it in the first place!

    10 04 2011

    Well said, as usual, Lisa. I’m always amazed at the number of freelancers that will throw a bid out there on a project that has little or no details posted. It’s unfortunate that freelancing sites, including are a playground for scam artists. Considering the volume of projects posted every day on, it’s not at all surprising that a percentage of those projects will be posted by jerks trying to rip people off. Common sense is the first line of defense of anyone trying to make it in the freelancing environment.

    Any member of should know that, at least for now, will deduct project fees as soon as you accept a project. This alone should make a person do evverything possible to verify the validity of a project before bidding and certainly before accepting a project. If something doesn’t feel right, then it should be cleared up before accepting anything and if it can’t be cleared up, then don’t accept a project award!

    It’s not rocket science, people. Scammers are everywhere. Don’t blame the liaison when you get taken in because you didn’t do your homework.

    13 04 2011

    I tried to address my concern thourgh Freelancer Chat but was just kicked off when I mentioned I need to involve the media.

    You are so correct about them!

    I awarded my project to a scammer who kept contacting me offsite asking for money to be paid up front. In Freelancer, he could have required a milestone with his bid, but he did not. Even with a milestone, the money is held until the job is done. But this guy wanted full payment.

    I brought this to attention, providing the gmails from him, and the Freelancer rep said all I can do is repost my and will have to pay all new fees to them.

    They allow 3rd world scammers on their site, and it is bad enough this guy has been bugging me all day for two days now, and I am required to pay all new listing fees to go back and repost. And Freelancer will take no action with the bidder, who has no feedback or track record with them. He will wait for his next prey.

    I reposted my project on I had nothing but good experiences with them.

    I regret trying Freelancer. The fees were somewhat hidden which contributed to my mistake.

    14 04 2011

    For those that have had the benefit from learning with past experiences, it is so easy to say that dumb people deserve to be scammed. But where else would people learn about the rules on online work if not from the actual sites like the ever popular

    As reported here and based on my own experience with, I would rather keep away from them while these derogatory remarks continue to pour in. Anyway, they’ve already suspended me for owing them $21. I am contented with the treatment I get from oDesk.

    15 04 2011

    Well, talk about nerve. I just received a notice from (no, they still have not disactivated my account as I requested) asking me to vote for them. Apparently, they have been nominated for a Webby Award. So, I went to the Webby site and looked at all the comments from those who voted for Someone has to be paying for these comments. One comment proclaims that Freelancer is the site for the working poor, because they do not take any fees from service providers!!!!! What a crock! There is no way this can be a genuine freelance contractor making the comment. In the beginning, not understanding their system, I did a small 5.00 job for someone. I was paid, but Freelancer took the entire 5.00 for their fee. I worked for nothing! In addition, they sent out an invoice for payment of the 5.00 the minute the job was awarded. Thanks, but no thanks. I will stick with oDesk, where customers are valued and treated like human beings.

    16 04 2011

    I would argue that the person who wrote that comment is probably exactly like you – someone who by their own admission, doesn’t understand the system. Quite frankly, there is no excuse for not understanding the system. Freelancer’s terms and conditions, code of conduct, FAQs and How To’s are all on the website for you to read and inform yourself – and if there is still something you don’t understand, Freelancer have a support team available by email or live chat who you can ASK. It’s not rocket science.

    Sorry, I have no sympathy with you! If you had taken the time to learn about how Freelancer works before you went ahead and placed bids, you would have known that it is absolutely against Freelancer’s rules to bid or offer to bid less than $30 for any project, no matter how small. So the fact that you were paid $5 tells me that you already have no regard for the rules, and you were unaware of Freelancer’s commission fee, which is always $5 or 10% of the bid, whichever is greater. I suggest before you join the throng of people screaming “SCAM!” that you do your homework!!

    16 04 2011

    Actually, I guess I should have been more clear. I could really care less about the 5.00. I did read their fees, and I could have sworn it said 10%, but I guess I was wrong. So, I thought they would charge .50. My point is that they do charge and someone is claiming they do not. And yes, as others have pointed out their fees are somewhat hidden. It took me a while to find the fees on the site.

    My biggest beef is that they do not respond to any type of correspondence. I have asked them to deactivate my account more than once, using several methods. It is not fair to potential clients who see my listing and assume it is active. I have been contacted in regard to some jobs, but I no longer use the site. So, the request to close out my account is not frivolous. Clients waste their valuable time in searching out promising profiles and it is not fair to them. I have a zero balance and I do not owe them any money, so I do not understand the problem.

    I also contacted them about several blatant violations ocurring at the bidding stage and they did not acknowledge that either. Now, I understand that many who use the site work for much less. They live in countries where 2 or 3 dollars goes a long way; however, there is no point in establishing rules, if Freelancer does nothing to ensure the rules are followed. Nor, is it good business practice to ignore correspondence from those, who can potentially provide you with a profit.

    Finally, I did not seek this company out. As I mentioned before, I was using the former LimeExchange site, which was acquired by My account was transferred to them. LimeExchange did have its problems, but I have yet to find a perfect site. Truthfully, I had no reason to believe that the quality of service would so greatly diminish. As a matter of fact, the information they sent me via email did not disclose their fees. Even though I linked to the terms of service, I still had to dig deeper into their site to find the fees.

    So, in closing I wish only to reiterate that I am more dismayed by their apathy than anything else. I use two other sites and I am always amazed by their quick response. Whether it is just a general question or a concern, I am usually contacted the same day. I have even received responses from low-priority tickets within the hour. I do not expect a rapid repsonse; however, two months have passed and I have yet to receive a response or see my account closed.

    16 04 2011

    Hi Lisa.

    I love your article you really nailed it and a lot of people are interested in the context.

    I was scammed as well. I did a couple of jobs for freelancer and accrued some modest money. I decided to up the ante with a larger job and as a buyer I didn’t ask for a deposit. When the job was accepted Freelancer took their commission (which put me in the red and was immediately a disincentive). The job was more or less a hoax and ended prematurely, which left me owing Freelancer money. I felt like the commission should have been rolled back to be comparative with the money paid to date (zero). Freelancer saw it differently and asked me to contact the employer and have them agree to change the project’s rate. That wasn’t going to happen.

    So I posed to them “what happens to my bank balance if for a joke I quoted someone a million dollars and the project was canceled?” Answer. Freelancer still takes their commission and would leave me to owe $100,000. Innocent buyers have and will continue to have their hard-earned e-slavery dollars taken off of them through and they will reap their compensation no matter what.

    18 04 2011

    The problem for me is : THEY DONT HAVE Real Costumer Service !!!!!!!!!!!

    its now 6 days and I am chasing them !! they suspended my account while I was in the middle of project due to reverse payment from my card issuer bank ..

    they requested proof of ID .. I sent 3 kind of id proofs (passport-driving License and photo work card..

    but they ignore me until now !! for 6 days !!!!

    and when i contact the online support its most of the time (will come back soon)
    when I reach him he say I can not deal with the suspension … just submit a ticket !!!!!
    I did but no body is there !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    18 04 2011

    I agree. Clearly there are some issues with Freelancer’s customer support – you’re not the only one to have raised such concerns, and I have blogged about the rather unhelpful responses I have received in the past too. why not submit a “suggestion” to Freelancer (politely) suggesting ways in which the customer service can be improved. if enough people do this, they will have to take note eventually!

    18 04 2011

    Remember when you first gave the “benefit of the doubt”? How long would “eventually” be for people that feel abused by them? I was impressed when the CEO went out of his way to drop by your site; but where is he now? Seems to me like there are only a handful left here that are “hopefully” waiting for a positive action from Matt.

    22 04 2011
    Joseph Ricafort

    Hi Lisa, This is a very nice blog.

    I am just searching about and I see this blog.

    I also have some comments about their support desk.’s support desk is not friendly. They act as if it’s a privilege for you to talk or communicate with them. I really hate the way when you chat with them, they’re always in a hurry. They always say, “is there any problem? do you have more problems? Still there? I am in a hurry..” I feel that they feel annoyed. They’re not even very polite.

    In oDesk, it’s very different. They treat the me as if I’m their friend. I really love conversating with them as they will do their best to solve your problems in your work. In freelancer, the answer is always, “that’s our policy, we have nothing to do with it, it’s not our fault, we’re doing our best to solve your issue.”

    Hope’s support will improve.

    7 05 2011

    Hi Lisa

    I’m glad that I bumped into your blog. Just thought I’d share this. I have been a member of since February this year and till todate, I have not even been hired once. Reason is, I find that all the jobs are mostly related to scams.

    To proof it, this job was posted on yesterday:


    I want someone to convert a pack of PDF files to word document. I want serious bidder. First you have to buy the pack. It is very confidential so I cannot give it to any one who is not serious.

    The package cost is $10 (refundable).

    You will get exactly 100 PDF files. The word count for each file is around 400. You have to manually type the contents of the PDF files in to word document and save the file name with exactly the same name used for the PDF files.

    All the files are password protected. So you cannot use any software to complete the job (sorry for that). You have to manually do this.

    You know well the maximum amount that I can pay. The time limit is 25 days.

    After you buy the pack you have complete the job in 25 days. Don’t worry I will pay back $10 that you have used to buy the pack.

    Happy bidding.”

    I immediately reported it as violation but today, when I checked again, that job posting is still there and there are still many bidders bidding on the job.

    I am really disappointed with the way the Admin of are doing their job. Many bidders could lose their money because of this if the Admin of don’t act fast.

    I think is more focused on making money than providing for their users. Soon the reputation of will drop to nothing if they don’t do something about the scams that are happening everyday on their site.

    7 05 2011
    Seema Gupta

    Hi lisa, i face the same problem from last few months i am trying to solve the issue but they are not replying the same, now recently i got project through that is amazing i got so easily i was paid good, from last 15days i am working and i got 50% of amount i am so happy working for them…


    9 05 2011

    Hi Seema, thanks for recommending Boxlance – I hadn’t heard of that site but it’s always good to know that there are trustworthy alternatives to Freelancer out there!

    16 05 2011

    I’m a freelance web developer, and I’m on the verge of giving up on bidding sites. In order to make a living utilizing them, I’m beginning to suspect that I would have to bid on 20-30 jobs every single day. If I’m fortunate, that may result in 3-4 paying jobs a month. And since most people on seem to want Facebook remade in a week for $200, the jobs are usually hard projects with insanely low monetary returns. It’s highly counterproductive. And how can I compete with the person saying they’ll make such a website in 3 days for $75?

    19 05 2011

    It’s true that no-one (in the Western world, at least) is going to get rich quick using freelance bidding sites bt they are useful for finding small projects to tide you over during a quiet period. Many people stumble across a site like Freelancer and think, “hey this is easy!”, but the truth is that to make it as a successful, profitable freelance professional, you’ve got to work a lot harder than that. Networking, cold calling, self-marketing and promotion – running a business – since that’s what freelancing is after all, requires a lot more time and devotion than simply placing a few bids here and there!

    17 05 2011

    I have no time to read all the comments, but I can write my experience as a buyer ( I have been service provider for years at as well).

    Today I awarded a provider with a project. I got a “refundable project fee” of 5$ when I created the project, and then, when awarded, extra 3$ fee (not refundable).

    Lets say I am paying 50$ to the provider. So I need to deposit 53$ (3$ goes to freelancer). In this link you can read “This fee is refunded as soon as provider accepts to do a project OR when the project is cancelled properly. ”

    False. The refund of this 5$ fee is done when the project is completed. This means that when I am done at freelancer, I have 5$ in my account I can’t withdraw, because the minimum for withdrawing is 30$ (note that you can diposit 10$ min).
    So, will have in his pocket 5$ from buyers always. Unless you deposit 25$ (pay paypal a fee) and then withdraw 30$ (pay paypla again 1$).

    Last time I work with those guys.

    13 06 2011
    Jaime Silvano

    Hi Lisa and all visitors of this very needed site. I am a Cuban freelancer writer, both English and Spanish. My experience on Freelancer started two years ago. Everything went perfectly right till last month, when my account was suddenly suspended, security reasons alleged. Just at the moment I try to withdraw my 66 dollars left after Freelancer took it´s 10 % fee, they decided to steal my money… and did it. Rapidly I contacted them by more than one way, including their “tickets”, and the only answer was a total and complete silence. Then I call to my employer -such an excellent person, and he wrote to the site immediately, more than one time. Now they do answered. Cynically told my employer to tell me I should do what I had done before: to contact the site to solve the problem. It is amazing. By stealing 66 dollars to only a 5% of their clients once a trimester they would get almost 30 millions a year!!!!… So the ones who think 66 dollars is almost nothing got a better idea. In Cuba, where average monthly wage rounds 17 dollars, mentioned amount means a four month salary. So that is all. Definitively Freelancer IS A TOTAL SCAM, even when they only steal a very few part of their clients. Very cleaver, don’t you think?. Best regards, Jaime.

    15 06 2011

    They just locked my account because the contractor never produced and I asked how to cancel the job… I had $225 in my account. Paypal says since the product is virtual, they cannot help. +$225 to -$225 to me for asking how to get my website done by another bidder. Easy scam with no recourse.

    15 06 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    I just joined a contest in If by any chance my entry gets to win, how do i claim the prize money? Is there anyway I could claim the prize money without going through the shady monetary system of I searched their help page for their contests terms and conditions but it seems that they don’t have one for it. I’m afraid that by joining a contest at I just might get ripped off or waste a lot of time just by joining one.

    Mr. JF

    18 06 2011
    Neal F

    I have tried freelancer and its a terrible website when compared to teh competiton (Guru, Odesk and ELance).
    Firstly the customer service sucks, the people working there simply don’t care.
    Secondly, alot of the freelancers are scam artists and bid on projects they can’t do, then they try and get you to pay them via 3rd party means (paypal etc)
    Thridly, when you bring this to the attention of customer service they simply say “nothing we can do, just repost” … meanwhile your project has been delayed and time is money!
    Fourthly, its very poorly designed website, you cannot delete emails from your inbox, upload limits for files are too restrictive etc

    Take your business to elance or Guru, more professional bidders and a better experience.

    25 06 2011
    Myst - @abellenuances

    We joined 4 months ago and when we wanted to draw our first earnings they suddenly wanted proof of ID, etc., which we ended up sending them, but still our account remained blocked and we have no access to our funds!!


    26 06 2011
    prokopyo is a scam i just withdrawn my money 2 weeks ago and i am expecting my money today them boom !!! my account was suspended for no reason their support is just a bot copy and pasting… i say it again is a scam !!! with 2 million users world wide just imagine how many users where scammed..

    26 06 2011

    I no longer use Freelancer. Even though I have spent $1,000s on Freelancer, there are plenty of better alternatives out there that don’t steal fortunes of my money. Freelancer is just to expensive to post many projects.

    My reasons?

    1) Their support is useless and rude
    2) Their $5 refundable project fee is a joke and a scam. You only get it back if you choose a provider, which costs you $3. I will not use a company with such shady practices.
    3) Their $5 delete project fee is not written clear enough at all. I thought I would get $5 back for each project I deleted. Only to discover that I was charged $50 instead of receiving it! Their live chat support just called me stupid, and told me it was worded fine.

    28 06 2011

    Be carefull, they are SCAM. I opened account for our legally registered company, hire one person for one work and put $150 in milestone. Day after this they immediately suspend our account with $200 in full balance, after I provide ID from me and they still refuse to reinstate account with our money in. They need to reply/if 2-3 days, before I upload funds in account they reply in less than 1hr always. They can not require any ID from own customers as they dont have this in terms of service and they are not any type of bank.

    THEY JUST WANT THAT YOU UPLOAD FUNDS AND THEN YOU WILL NEVER SEE IT AGAIN, I already call my bank for Chargeback so I will not have loss, but il never again use it!!


    29 06 2011

    I noticed that the president or CEO said that posting a new job was free – and although his comment is a year old, when i signed up for a month ago, in big bold letters was ‘first job posting is free’ so of course i posted.. i found a great person to do the work and it was perfect.. however i am now getting that famous email saying if i dont pay up my 3 dollars i will have my account suspended.

    i have tried to contact customer support via email – it bounces back. I have tried to submit a ticket.. it wont go through -says a required field is missing (it isnt). Tried the online customer support -it always seems to be ‘offline’ so there is no way for me to contact anyone in this company.. guess what? I’m not paying the 3 dollars.. and i dont give two hoots if my account is suspended. Thankfully i never paid a cent – i was new, the person who i chose with the winning bid was new and we had no way to contact support to ask how we pay for it – i payed via paypal AFTER he sent me the graphic needed and i tested it. Worked like a hot damn and now i have someone who can do more work for me.

    my thoughts – based on the fact that its impossible to contact this company – and based on the stuff i saw on the site, and based on what i have read here? scam and very much like the various istock and shutterstock companies out there; just another way for them to make money off the backs of others.

    29 06 2011

    I agree that Freelancer’s biggest let down is their customer service, or rather lack thereof. They need to do two things: 1) train their staff properly so that they can actually be useful, rather than just copy/pasting stock answers that don’t necessarily answer the questions, and 2) they need to be more contactable. A helpline or always-on chat would be great! Freelancer – take note!

    1 07 2011

    Hello Lisa,
    do you know that changed their terms and conditions, now they do not refund fees to buyer for cancelled project. But who wins from this?
    Why do they try to squeeze more money out of nothing? If I post a project in which nobody is interested or nobody can complete it or bidders are not able, then why I should lose money for nothing, should return fees, but they deals with fool tricks, miserable! From bad to worse , increasingly worse changes. I just want to lose definitive their clients and not deceive people by his work trying to feed himself and the other pigs like, which pull money from nothing. Do not trust to!

    9 07 2011

    I actually think this is a very GOOD move for Freelancer! The reason they are doing this, probably, is to discourage scam ‘buyers’ from opening projects and hiring people without officially awarding the project. When people do this, it not only means that Freelancer don’t get their commission (which, when you register an account, you agree to pay) but it also means that both buyer and provider have no protection from Freelancer if something goes wrong (and people that bypass the proper processes are very often scammers who want to try and get away with breaking Freelancer’s rules). By not refunding project fees if a project is cancelled, it discourages this rule-breaking behaviour and encourages people to use Freelancer properly. I commend this!
    I understand your point about being penalised for cancelling a project for which no suitable freelancer could be found, or for which no-one was interested, but presumably, you can just let the project run until a suitable freelancer can be found? It isin your best interests, as a buyer, to describe your project accurately so as to attract relevant providers. You will always get a lot of unsuitable people bidding on your project because lots of people will just bid on anything and everything, but like any employer, it is your job to sort out the good proposals from the bad. If you still can’t find a suitable freelancer, then maybe Freelancer is not the right site for you to use – perhaps try a more industry-specific freelancing site or even hire the old fashioned way and put an advert in the newspaper!

    5 07 2011

    Dear Lisa,

    Thank you for all the discussion you have prompted on

    I do have a question about how to deal with employers who pay the milestone but don’t settle the total invoice. When I contacted customer care, they said there was no way they could help me.

    Is there a way for an employer to be stopped from posting new projects or taking part in any other projects until they settle past invoices?

    9 07 2011

    No unfortunately not!

    9 07 2011

    let me share my experience, my client on paid 5000 usd to my account, now i tried to withdraw it through moneybookers, when i withdraw it immediately suspended my account by saying security reasons, and send me your picture in passport with hand and number they given in hand, i sent, and they said pictures are not clear etc etc, i resent and this time they did not reply, many days gone and then i called their number at australia, this guy was good to talk, after i talk to him, i got email reply back and wanted some more proofs i sent, and then many days again no reply, i keep asking but nothing, then again i called same number and same guy and after i talked to him immediately my account was again activated and in next 12 days i got my money, but all this period i was thinking they are fraud but in end i c they are not.

    9 07 2011

    I’m glad your situation was resolved eventually. Freelancer are not known for their speed! But wait – they have a phone number now?!?! This is very interesting! Where did you find this number?

    12 07 2011
    Steven H

    Anyone who reads complaint pages knows that GAF is runs on the fringe of being a full blown scam entity. Many many many customers complain about how feedback has been faked. Seems that programmers are also targeted by having their accounts frozen at the moment payments are made. I had a bogus company steal $600 from me through GAF and GAF only wanted me to drop another $300 to pay off the project in order to leave bad feedback. The entire thing is a scam.

    Only Use oDESK for freelancing projects, you’ll be so much happier.

    12 07 2011

    I’m going to disagree with you, Steven, on your affirmation that Freelancer is a scam. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – though Freelancer is not a perfect system, it is the USERS of Freelancer who bring it into disrepute, not Freelancer the company. Fake feedback? It’s not Freelancer doing this to make itself look good – it’s people breaking the terms and conditions and creating more than 1 account for themselves in order to make themselves look good and lure people into scams (incidently, this is also rife on ebaY). Accounts frozen? This is more often than not because people break the terms and conditions. In fact, I’ve never yet come across a case where an account was wrongly suspended (a believe me I hear a LOT on this blog!). I’m sorry you were the victim of a scam yourself, and yes, sometimes scammers can be hard to spot, but play by the rules and you should be fine.
    I have never used oDesk, but it’s not immune to scams either. They also use this weird screen capture thing so that your buyer can spy on you working, which I think is kinda creepy.

    18 07 2011 victim

    I got f*cked by in the *ss. They suspended my account with money inside.
    They asked me to send Gov ID. Luckily I haven’t done that. These guys are crooks. They harvesting your data and you don’t know what are they going to do with it. They can simply call your bank pretend to be you or apply for credit. Then you are f*cked twice. This is time in your mouth! is scam. Stay away. They don’t provide number for you to call.
    The customer service is from 4th world country.

    I don’t mind send Gov ID if they tell me earlier in during registration. But after bad service, do you think you want to give it to them?!!!

    19 07 2011

    Someone needs anger management classes….

    18 07 2011

    If you are about to use, don’t, you will not have peace for the rest of your life. If you’ve done business with them, be careful, read on. is harvesting your REAL data with your Photo. They will do anything so that you will submit your Government issued ID or Passport. The most common way is to suspend your account with your money inside.
    In order for you to recover your account you need to submit full color high resolution Government ID / Passport. They will reject it if it’s a black and white even with high resolution. Or they will reject color ID but low resolution. Or they will reject your ID card not issued by government. Does not make sense at all.

    Once you have submitted it, they will ask you to take your photo holding a code given by them and with your passport or government ID. They want to verify that you are real. Don’t you find this is fishy? This is just a freelancer website. Even website with high sensitivity and money involved (eg. Paypal, google checkout), they never ask you submit full color high resolution Government ID.

    When you have this sensitive data and high resolution Gov ID, they can do anything. They can re-produce the card, apply for credit card. They literally can do anything with it. They have your email address, real name, passport id, address, date of birth etc. Using this data I can impersonate you and call your bank. This is just simple example. Spam companies or other not legit company will pay top dollar your real data.
    When they refunded your money after you submitted your Gov ID, don’t be happy. Don’t think they are legit. Ask yourself why they need this? This is the first time a website ask for my Gov ID!

    For my case, I have $450 in my account and my account suspended. Paypal will not help you to recover your money since this is a service. Which I’m very disappointed although it’s clearly to do with scam. The money is deposit, not purchasing any service from them. I have a choice to fight back through my bank. But definitely I will not send them my Gov ID. This company is from Australia. It’s NOT common for a company to ask for your full color high resolution Gov ID unless you deal with government agencies.

    If you need freelancer website, search from google. and odesk have good reputation. They have real people answering your phone. doesn’t have phone number. Their online chat customer supports are from 3rd world country. They don’t speak English, they just know how to type.

    Someone must investigate on this. This is alarming.

    19 07 2011

    This people from are thieves.

    First I couldnt take my money from them to my paypal account because they said that 3 weeks is needed for the first withdraw and that there is a minimum that needs be taken, so I thought OKOKOK, so wired some money from my paypal to to then take all out.

    After 3 weeks nothing…. I contacted support and they said that because I accepted another job I will have to wait 3 or 4 more weeks to take my money out?!…. (Is it not better for them that I take jobs so they take their share? I thought)
    I said ok I will not take any other job until they let me have my money.

    Few days later I opened my email and figured that they have blocked my account with my money inside of it, when I asked what happened they said that a copy of my passport was needed, when I sent this to them they never answered back. I went to the online chat and the people there told me to send an email, I have sent the email and they answered back saying that my passport wasn’t clear (This was a document that I have used many many times before even to reserve flights..) and that needs to be sent now with me holding the passport and holding a piece of paper with a code they sent me, I did this and they say now again that is not clear and blah blah blah. I have the same gmail, passport and paypal account name and last name, so how hard could be for them to verify Iam me…? So they think my money is better in their pocket than in mine.. money that is 100% mine, that I have earned and all of my customers were happy to pay to me… is just a scam they use workers money to fund themselves… I am really disappointed and do not trust them at all. The entire Internet community should now about this people.

    I will copy and past this article everywhere now to prevent workers and all people.

    19 07 2011

    I agree that Freelancer’s identity verification methods are strange. I’ll look into this matter when I get some time.

    19 07 2011

    Not even paypal asks for that..

    22 07 2011
    Saurabh Barjatiya

    Matt, very impressive.But have one problem about your business that is hurting alot of people. Its okay that you dont allow multiple accounts of any person but then why you are taking so long to resolve these kinds of issue. My name is Saurabh Barjatiya and would like you to bring this to your notice being a part of this site is the worst thing I have done in my life. This is what is my feeling. I am thinking sometime, what is your problem with people having multiple accounts. And who you are to verify people with their IDs and passports when they have multiple accounts.
    I seriously dont understand you.From your english and talk you seems to be very unfit to have such a large business.
    When your company can only hurt people, you can’t run your business for long time. If you think that your the boss,,,foooof, I have seen many people down into digs with in no time. Who the hell you are….
    Its already been more than two weeks, your customer service can’t resolve my issues. My id is akshat06. Would you be able to help speedup the process. They have even stopped the payment from my account and dont even respond for long long time. Very rude and unethical.

    23 07 2011


    Last September I awarded a project to a man in Europe and he told me that he could do the project for my price. He said after two months it would be done and now almost one year later he has never completed the software.

    I had paid him a milestone payment of USD 750 and he never made the software. He told me three months ago that he never made the software and he would refund my money. To this day he never returned the money and won’t reply to my emails, Skypes, or telephone calls.

    Also, said they are not liable for illegal activities.

    I agree that is a scam and should be shut down!

    24 07 2011

    Hello Lisa

    I am relatively new to, but I have an interesting situation with them where a worker has cancelled my project #1104434. However, the project funds were not reapplied to my account. I have contacted Customer Support to be told that commission fees are nonrefundable by two different persons [or machines] named Jep and Arlyne although I stated that we were speaking about project funds. I don’t believe that they have read and understood the issue before replying.

    I was also told by Myla that I can contact the freelancer and have him cancel the milestone payments. If the freelancer cancelled the project, did he not cancel the associated payments? Why should a freelancer who has cancelled a project still have control over the employer’s funds? This is clearly a programming over sight which needs to be addressed based on site policy. If a user is allowed to cancel a parent object [the project] it should result in the cancellation of the children objects [payments] as well.

    Myla who offered the best feedback so far also suggested the “Dispute Resolution Service” as an option of last resort. However, I see nothing to dispute when a freelancer cancels a project and no one to dispute with.

    I wish to continue with the site, but it becomes frustrating when support persons are not able to understand the issues and delineate a clear solution to the problem. The current project is small [$200], but its resolution will determine if we place larger projects on this site.

    I don’t believe that I am the first employer to have a project cancelled. Does anyone have any experience with resolving this type of issue on the freelancer site? Also, if we selected another bid, will the payments be available to the new worker? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks…

    I am aware that you are not Support, but thanks for posting my query to help inform the public and maybe help bring clarity and resolution to my issue.

    Thanks & best regards

    26 07 2011

    This place has become a refuge for Sad Sacks from Freelancer.
    Last year, I considered money taken by Freelancer as my donation to them and retained only oDesk and Elancer. Trying to hope that Freelancer can straighten up can be stressful and a waste of time. They do attract a lot of scammers and one gets a feeling that this is being officially encouraged.

    Get out of there; money can also be earned outside of Freelancer.

    26 08 2011

    I have also heard of that 10% mandatory milestone from Freelancer. I’ve heard of it as early as last year. I brought the topic to support because there are really tons of, pardon the word, idiot employers that pick you as the winner of a project and then don’t communicate with you whatsoever. Freelancers lose $5 in their account and don’t get a job. All Freelancer has been doing is protecting their employers without a care about the providers. I have already won around 5 jobs in which the employer never contacted me. Employers are usually gold members so they do not lose much. I think the reason why Freelancer is taking a long time with this new system is because the current situation is a win-win for them. Providers get charged project fees even if they don’t get a job. I even think that some of those employers who are unresponsive are Freelancer staff. Pathetic.

    1 09 2011

    Hi Lisa,
    I am here for a slightly different reason. I am a regular user of and have been providing web development services over it to clients across the world. This aspect of the site is great and I congratulate team for making this possible.

    I however feel let down many times when I see such projects posted:
    “cam girls wanted immediately ”

    Through your forum I would like to ask team and its CEO Matt, Is it acceptable? Should world class companies allow such projects posted on their site??

    I have written to their customer support many times, but no positive response yet. Probably the revenue earned from such projects is that makes all the difference between being a loss making or a profit making business.

    If possible could you please say something about this.

    Rakesh user:h114

    3 09 2011

    Hi Rakesh, I understand your frustration with this type of project being posted on Freelancer, but I guess the porn industry needs freelancers too! Though it might not be in line with everyone’s own morals, it’s not illegal to advertise this kind of work, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to ignore them.

    4 09 2011

    I just signed up at, but I already think it was a waste of time. Most writing and translation projects offer something between 1-3$ per 500 words, which simply beyond ridiculous, ludicrous and insulting to anyone who does serious work.

    9 09 2011
    Mohammed Mahmood

    Thanks to all who enlightened us about the working of the Freelancer.Com.

    Hoe the they will plug the loopholes soon.

    Their compassion for the hapless freelancers from Asia should be appreciated.

    20 09 2011

    I posted a project as a buyer, I awarded the project to someone, my account was then suspended. Its been weeks, sending a gazillion emails, but no response. The funny thing is, I paid the project in full (450) – yes, as a milestone payment, but in full. Lost every cent. Filed a dispute with paypal, but that say its not an unauthorised payment – I preferred to pay the company. I am definitely not prepared to just pay people some ransom money.

    20 09 2011

    I don’t understand why you lost your money, Frederick. Was the payment made after the project had been completed? If so, I don’t see the problem. Or perhaps you released the milestone before receiving the work from your provider? If that’s the case, then that was a bit silly really! Easy for me to say now, but you should have kept the milestone in escrow until your provider had delivered the project to your satisfaction, and THEN released the milestone. If the provider didn’t deliver, you could have raised a dispute, but because the payment was released, Freelancer assumes the project was completed satisfactorily.
    What was the reason your account was suspended?

    27 09 2011
    Susan Abir

    As a first time freelancer I’m so sad that I didn’t look up the reputation of this company before I started. Thank you, Lisa Martin for giving me a place to begin understanding how their system works. I had no idea that support would just leave you hanging. I was awarded a job, and I sent half the work, while waiting for the milestone and nothing came from the poster. I’m still new to bidding on projects and asked for help with the logistics,BEcause I’m not sure I’m using the system correctly, but the job poster became personally offensive about the work cussing at me in private emails.
    I’m a college graduate of English, looking to put skills to good use. What a loss.
    And I agree, most of the work is being done for pennies at $3.00 for 500 words. That is less than DICKEN’s made a century ago.

    It looks like American businesses are sending work to India to have it recycled back at us for pennies on the dollar as writing jobs on this site. The posters put up the work, and if we win the bid, it’s work that could have come through our own economy at the correct rates.’s “economy of scale” is another way of saying “get American’s ingenuity and hard work cheap”. It’s offensive.

    5 10 2011

    Thanks for your comment Susan and I entirely sympathise!

    28 09 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    You’re cute.

    5 10 2011

    Ha. Why thank you.

    28 09 2011

    K heres my question.
    Am new to i use it as a freelancer and am a little confused because i bid for around 5 odd projects and when i check back for an update the project status says “FROZEN”.
    Most of my bids have been used up in a similar manner. I cant find a winning bid on those projects.

    Also, I felt a little discouraged from using freelancer after reading about their verification process (posing for mugshots with a photo ID in 1 hand and a number code in the other would make me look retarded). But i realize some of the comments were old and someone even mentioned about them providing phone support. But I wonder if I would have to go through expensive International calling rates for projects that potentially would pay me $30 minus their fees. Or is there anything I can do to avoid this delay/incompetence?

    5 10 2011

    To answer your question, when a project is frozen, it is no reflection on you or your bid, don’t worry! When a buyer sets up a project on Freelancer, it is open for bidding for a certain length of time and after that time period has elapsed, or when the buyer doesn’t want to receive any more bids, the project is frozen. When the buyer has made up their mind about whom they want to work for them, they will award the project and if you’re the luckly winner, then you will be notified.

    To avoid having to suffer the slow, frustrating and rather unhelpful Freelancer customer services and their strange idenity verification methods, the short and simple answer is: don’t get your account suspended. You can avoid this by familiarising yourself with Freelancer’s rules and regulations and making sure you stick to them.

    5 10 2011

    Thanks Lisa, for the answer.
    I actually tried using their help section. However, i posted my question here because they never replied to my query about the frozen status along with a few other questions that i couldn’t find in their help/FAQs. Am still awaiting their reply. lol

    Anyways, in the meantime, thanks to some of the comments in this blog, I registered myself on ODesk and Elance. Found them to be quite good.

    Thanks again n take care.

    6 10 2011

    Lisa, that’s not entirley true about employers potentially poaching your work. Who would hire anyone unitl their ability is verified? Would you? I don’t, and I never will. The best way to provide a sample, is make sure it is NOT matched to an employers market… so they can’t use it or steal it.

    Employers can sense talent in any writing sample, damn fast. That’s what I do. Don’t care if you were selling yellow ice to an eskimo, I only look for compelling, persuasive, original, related high quality content.

    Simple as that.

    6 10 2011

    Hi thanks for your comment. You’re absolutely right about the need for employers to assess a provider’s workmanship in advance, and your suggestion to submit an unrelated sample is a good one. However it is a sad fact that many providers on Freelancer (usually inexperienced ones I hasten to add) fall into the trap of posting bespoke samples on the public message board, never to hear from that employer again while their work is then used without permission and reposted or rewritten and published online. Some so-called employers actually set out to do exactly that by asking bidders to each write a different sample with no intention of ever selecting a winner. 30 bidders, 30 free articles. It’s sad but true.

    6 10 2011

    Regarding freelancers new ‘compulsory milestone payment of 10%’. If they do that, employers will back off and will stop using them. No one will pay upfront until they have selected the best candidate first. Less jobs will appear, talent will stop checking site. ooops!

    Secondly, that could easily reflect negatively on Freelancers ability to continue providing the best talent and prospects to potential employers. Why? Because it’s a well known fact… there are far too many idiots who can’t speak english but keep bidding on jobs they can’t even do.

    Introducing a compulsory milestone system would only end up undervaluing their system from an employers perspective, with too many clowns still being allowed to bid. What if no one was suitable, or you cancelled job post on other genuine grounds?

    Let me sum it up. WHY should I pay up front, yet still have to filter out all those dorks and time wasters first? What if you wanted a co-writer to help your enterprise Lisa? You’d be Pi^s’d off if you had to put up with all that first.

    They should simply make employers pay the $5.00 bond first, or a small annual membership fee, and be done with it. No more scammers.

    Food for thought.

    Great Post, you got the joint rocking. Good work Lisa.

    6 10 2011

    It’s my understanding that the idea of the the compulsory milestone is that it will only be payable once a buyer has selected a provider from the bids that they have received, not before, so this won’t (or shouldn’t) discourage people from looking for freelancers online. If there is any dispute after the milestone has been placed into escrow, for example if the provider turns out to be incapable or not appropriate to produce the required work to the required standard, then the milestone will be refundable to the employer.

    3 11 2011

    what about a buyer who purchased a PSD web template from me on freemarket then decided to get his money back ? It happened to me 2 days ago, they just took the money from my account without notice and So basically this guy got a copy of my design for free !! And freelancer support team say they are sorry about it and when I asked if I can contact this guy ( he’s a member) they said it is not allowed ! What’s funny is that he’s got a 5 star rate with 9 positive comments from employers, I spent long hours working on the template and he just stole it from me !! and freelancer won’t help….. I’m running away from this stupid website !

    7 11 2011

    Sorry I dont have any experience with Freemarket so I can’t be of much help to you I’m afraid!

    25 10 2011

    Good job Lisa! I joined 1 week ago, desperately looking for a job which I got from the first day there…some “Data Entry” and I have been working for 4 nights now (few hours, not full time as the buyer wanted) as I am in so called probation period. He simply sent me the following message “thanks for bid here.
    now i am give u chance to work with me and if u are complete 3000 in 5 days then u will be selected in this job.
    this work is state at only night time.
    now i am give u step by step detail.
    now u go to the www.*********.org
    use id: *******
    password: ******
    and start your work.
    thank you.”
    Since then I was able to fill in about 1113 and started some research…after reading your article, and many others, I am now scared I just waist my time. The so called buyer is of course an Indian and the message I received through email announcing me of this job was a Scam. I was lucky to discover on time (at least I think so). Do you have any suggestion for me please? I am new in this area. P.S. I will try my luck on oDesck, maybe I will get a real job.
    Thank you for the article posted!

    31 10 2011

    hey lisa martin can i withdraw project fees on freelancer?

    7 11 2011

    I’m not sure what you mean, can you rephrase the question or explain further?

    4 11 2011

    I have just had a LONG chat about a bug with payment on the site, and not happy, but that to one site, ONLY USE the .com as the others sites are OVER 20% extra in cost to you, I asked why and I was told ‘Meynard: We have different fee on regional sites.’ and exchange rate is VERY poor.. is 1 GBP = 1.60131 USD to 1 GBP = 1.523610 USD not even airports give rates this bad.

    7 11 2011

    Thanks for the tip, I always use anyway, but it’s useful to know that the exchange rates are crappy on other regional versions of the site!

    6 11 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    You are very much correct when you say is not helpful in case a freelancer hasn’t been paid by the employer. I submitted 25 articles recently and wasn’t paid a single penny for all my high-quality effort. However, didn’t waste any time in charging me $25. Now, they have sent me a mail that if i don’t pay the amount immediately, my account will be suspended. My contention is that if they are charging me fees (which i’m ready to pay), their customer support services should be efficient as well. They should resolve disputes immediately.

    I’ve reported on the employer already. (I found both the “request milestone” and the “report project” buttons later, while searching in frustration for the options available to me on the site after the issue.) However, so far there is no progress except the automatic “Thank you, we’ll look into the matter” reply.

    This was my first project and I didn’t know how to request milestones. I asked the employer for three milestones in the mail, thinking that’s the way it’s requested. So, when i tried raising the issue through the dispute tab, i was told that there were no milestones created.

    In spite of an error on my part, I’m really put off by this experience. I wouldn’t suggest anyone to work at any more. I had a bad experience with a bad site and a bad employer.


    7 11 2011

    Hello Friends,
    I am using freelancer for both as an employer and freelancer.
    I have few projects open as an employer and created milestone also and have few projects as a freelancer.
    An employer posted a project that he needs some emails that i already had, i bid and got the project and employer created milestone. i provided him emails in less than 2 hour and he released the amount and also he sent me money on pay pal for next task.
    so now suspended my account and reason mentioned that i did that project to get review only, so i provided all chat conversation that i had with employer after awarding the project( in messages he asked me skype address and i provided).
    so they asked me to send a picture id with verification id, i sent that 4 times and every time recd the reply to send the documents, any how after 4 attempts when i contacted them through live chat they confirmed it is received.
    So now another issue arises, they informed me that payment the employer sent me came through a questionable source ( i asked detail about questionable source but never get a reply about it) and they just informed me that this money can be refunded.
    And they are just prolonging the issue and i talked to employer and he has no issue at all and completed another project with him through pay pal and there was nothing wrong. i am arranging all conversation that i had with them and will post here in next post.



    7 11 2011

    Well I have never heard of someone having their account suspended for completing a project too quickly, thanks for the heads up!

    13 11 2011
    Vladimir Orona

    Thanks Lisa. I was consider join freelancer but now I see it’s a mistake. Thanks for you effort in help others to avoid this kind of waste of time and money.

    28 11 2011
    Robert Christian Obias

    Hello Lisa,

    I feel that I was ripped off by freelancer,com. Here’s the situation, I was accepted for 2 projects, $1500 and $170 in amount. Eventually, the first project ($1500) was cancelled by the provider and I cancelled the escrow payment as well, But CHARGE my account of $150 as THEIR commission for the project I have never DONE and payment I have never RECEIVED.

    When I was payed by the second provider ($170), deduct this commission and I only got $3.00 on the second project that I did.

    I contact their support and said that they cant refund the commissions for awarded project, I said to the that the project was cancelled and the escrow was cancelled as well. Then the operator doesn’t respond for 5min. After that, they just close the chat box and I was left behind in thin air.

    I wont use ever again. I found Peopleperhour more realibale. is just plain scam for me. Too many fees to deal with

    2 12 2011
    Ahmed Ayaz is a very greedy company, they deduct their commission when you accept any project, if buyer does not respond or even fail to deposit required milestone money that was mentioned in bid, provider lost his hard-earned money, an incomplete project and time wasted in communication.
    They should charge money on transaction but they are acting like, the famous internet fraud company.

    9 12 2011
    Joseph Jones

    Well has apparently placed a hold on all freelancer withdrawals until after Christmas. Would like to publicly thank them for the advance notice (not a word) for the public explaination (ho-ho now that’s a good one) and for the amount of consideration they had for those working through the site to just change the schedule for releasing funds two weeks before Christmas. Awesome of them. Isn’t it great to work with such a reliable and trustworthy organization?
    You would almost think the money was theirs to do with as they please. But in reality it belongs to the freelancers who worked for it, and it was meant to go to them- not whenever the hell they feel like sending it, but twice a week, as stated in the freelancer agreement.
    As of Dec 8th, it appears we won’t be able to withdraw any more funds from our accounts until December 30th. Thanks for the Christmas bonus. I hope the freelancers who’s Christmas’s you ruined with your carelessness come back to haunt you worst then the ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge.
    PS I cannot believe the CEO of this company was given an award for integrity. Too bad they don’t have an award biggest breach of contract ever- I’d sure nominate him.

    9 12 2011

    This is the first I’ve heard of this. Where did you come across this information? Here’s the Holiday withdrawal schedule they posted in the last email newsletter:
    Please ensure you lodge your withdrawal requests by 5pm EDT on Wednesday 21st December, otherwise you’ll get your funds after they’re processed on Friday December 30th.

    Here’s the schedule for withdrawal cut offs over the holidays:

    5pm EDT Sunday 18th December – normal
    5pm EDT Wednesday 21st December – normal No withdrawals on Tuesday 27th December 5pm EDT Wednesday 28th December – normal 5pm EDT Sunday 1st January – normal

    Note: There will be no withdrawals on Tuesday 27th December.

    9 12 2011

    That newsletter was dated 12/2/2011, btw.

    1 01 2012

    I have terrible experience with recently. I gave my project to a company claimed a USA based which has a USA IP address and US flag Logo on the profile. The company name is Creativedesign1 which is in India. I live in Canada and I felt very weird that the team started to work from 9:00PM every night which is almost my bedtime. I questioned myself is it a USA team that work on my project? I asked and they reponsed that they never stated that they are USA team but India people.OK whatever, only my concern is my project which I already put $400 for the milestone and $800 in total. Creativedesign1 promised 12 days to finish,but only 20% finished if consider quality then 5% finished including a free extension installed through Magento connect. Even though, they never save a single copy of my store to my server in 12 days after they messed up template and extensions. The only choice I have is install a clean Magento again to re do everything over again instead uninstall malfunctioned everything. Their manager said they can fix everything and finish the project in next 5 days. I know I must quit them to avoid more damages, then it is your fault. It looks they are willing to make things beautiful but you quit. You don’t quit them then another few days pain to have a nasty web store you dream your competitors have it, anyway you will be told job perfectly done as confirmed, you need to release the balance of milestone or start to argue again for more money to fix it. Anyway I quit the India based team with a USA flag and a creative designed profile.

    4 01 2012

    Well i didn’t read all your article. I’m already upset enough by the model. I just wanted to see a review to get a taste of the feedbacks for this site.
    And you’re right, on freelancer all the economic forces are off balanced. In my words: this is worst than the worst expoitation. You noticed unfair fees system, but i’d like to add: unfair market pressure, unfair international competition and deception.
    – In a real market, you can find buyers and sellers negociating to find a fair price, on FL you can find 80 bidders for 1 task, wich is in my opinion an unfair pressure
    – of course for a given project, people living in countries with a low cost of living are privileged, because they can afford to charge ridiculusly low costs. This is called dumping.
    – Finally the deception. If you think about market in general. What is a bid? This is the position in which you must pay more to get something. In a market you have bids and offers. So what is an offer? It’s the position in which you have to ask less if you want to get rid of something. The question is : why on FL you must bid less to win? Answer is because as a freelancer you don’t bid, you ask!! so the less you ask the more you have odds to win.

    At FL peolple are proud to confuse bid and ask. This is how this system is built : on deception.

    4 01 2012

    Hi Lisa,

    I have to say, I spent two hours reading your entire blog + comments section and am amazed at your patience with some of the people venting their frustration here. I do hope you get some form of appreciation from the team at as you seem to be one of a handful of people that is giving them an objective evaluation.

    I was looking for some freelance work for my wife and came across I have to say that their verification method is indeed very strange, but it also makes a little sense.

    Personally I am from Australia, and I am aware of ID theft as I have been the victim of two credit card frauds + utilities fraud over stolen IDs. Optimistically, I believe that is using a combination of several identity check systems. They request a high resolution scan of a government ID to simply cross check any person(s) who may be repeat offenders of scams and frauds. The picture of yourselves holding up a ‘captcha-like’ sign is probably to safeguard themselves from people who have the ability to fake high resolution government IDs as well.

    I have to say, I was initially skeptical of, but having read Lisa’s blog and tips, I am willing to give them a try.

    5 01 2012

    Thanks for your positive comments! Freelancer is a useful tool but you have to know what you’re doing and have some commen sense. Sadly a lot of people don’t!

    7 01 2012

    I decided to check first prior to signing up with Freelancer and I am so glad I checked. My son and daughter who are university students were also going to sign on to earn a little towards their study costs. As an Australian I am disgusted that an Australian business could be so bad, there is no excuse for shoddy customer service. It is hard enough for young people trying to get their ‘foot in the door’ without companies like this ‘ripping them off’. For those who have legitimate complaints about this site I would suggest sending a formal letter of complaint to the ACCC, there are online forms that can be completed – Even those of you from overseas can do it, then perhaps it will force Freelancer to either get their act together or be closed down by the ACCC. I certainly don’t want a company like this calling themselves Australians.

    9 01 2012

    How old is this review? Almost 2 years…and people are still coming to you with horror stories. It’s too bad there is no consumer protection agency that will destroy this type of scamliciousness.

    Just looking at those posts I could see something was amiss. My first thought was, ‘Sorry, but if you can’t form a complete sentence in your job description or talk about the number of hours it requires, it is not worth looking into further.’ Thank you for the review, Lisa! It was the icing on the cake.

    9 01 2012

    Zainsih7 a freelancer is a fraud and cheat
    Almost two months ago, I applied for a job naming “Content Writer” posted by him. he selected me and asked to send some sample. I submitted samples and they selected me as a final candidate. he promised to pay twice in a month based on the working and then assigned me some project on daily basis. Initially they only gave me a task to write academic report of 3000 words daily. After 10 days he asked me the detail of previous work and promised me to send a cross cheque at my home but did not fulfill their promise.
    I made several calls to him but every time he made different excuses. Some time he is busy in any function or in office. Some times, he was ill or out of city. After my refusal for further work, they sent me a cheque of $65 after 25 days of my joining and I submitted this cheque in the bank. After 7 days, bank responded that this cheque was bogus and bounced and my employer did not have sufficient balance in his account. I talked to my employer and he said, he will make payment through on-line method. This was the time of my second payment that was almost $700 and my employer said he will first make previous payment and then next one. I had used some payment of my first cheque by taking loan from my friend and he was asking me to return his money.
    I again requested my employer to please make my payment and told my all problems but he was making excuses again and again. When the date for second payment came, he left attending my phone call. Now I can do nothing . In this period, I write more than 100000 words for him and he did not pay me a single rupee. I still have all his mails and cheque as a proof if any one require.
    He worked with the name of Zainish7 on and acclaimed to be the owner/CEO of “Softic Outsourcing Solutions” company

    12 01 2012

    I read this post and some comments and thought to give the benefit of the doubt. Big mistake! After depositing $30, I am now unable to deposit the rest of the money. IE I’m stuck, and I my Freelancer’s reputation is on the line for not finishing a project.

    When I tried to finish the deposit, I got the message: ‘Sorry, deposit failed. The transaction could not be completed due to a PayPal error. Please verify your payment source in your PayPal account and try again.’

    I have spent all day on chat with Freelancer people and on phone with PayPal (another nightmarish organisation). Freelancer, whom I contacted first, said the problem was with PayPal. PayPal (1) could not understand the concept of the escrow account and (2) told me to make the payment on my PayPal page using the Freelancer email address as the recipient. I got in touch with Freelancer via chat to confirm that I could do this but they started trying to tell me how to deposit money. A minor annoyance, but still a telling response. Those guys have no intention of helping the customer. They don’t even listen.

    Anyway, Freelancer told me to sort out the mess with PayPal, so I called PayPal again, who told me to get an invoice to use on my PayPal page to pay. Which, of course, was out of the question. The Freelancer person I chatted with last didn’t even try to understand what PayPal was saying. He/she simply regurgitated the error message I got when trying to deposit funds (Please verify your payment source in your PayPal account and try again).

    I therefore asked if I can cancel the project which is on a tight deadline, and I was told no! My money will not be refunded, my account will not be closed, and it’s still up to me to sort things out with PayPal. The developer I had awarded this project is now in a bad way because, should I not allow him to complete, it will reflect on his ratings. Yet I’m unable to complete payment. It’s Freelancer’s business to educate PayPal and sort out a problem such as mine. What they’re doing is akin to telling me to take a defunct laptop back to it’s manufacturer when I’ve bought it from you.

    18 01 2012


    Not only are they going to pretend as if they are not seeing you type the messages by saying “if you do not respond within 2 minutes I am terminating this chat, whatever” they are also going to stand by and not do anything while you type your freaking **s out til your fingertips starts bleeding and receive no reply…. I was there talking to somebody who seemed to not have an idea about the what I’m saying and then she/he/it whatever, hung up on me saying that I have been not replying for a couple of minutes when I was sending her messages that may have reached five to ten lines in front of here freaking screen!!!

    And then I cancelled the chat and looked for another agent who might assist me… and the same thing happen… I might suspect that there might be something wrong with my new computer and my 3MB internet connection if I didnt receive a stupid reply at first when she still knows what she’s talking about but I think she stopped talking to me because she doesn;t know what to say…. she said the currency converter is a new feature of freelancers which is why it billed me $5USD for converting $30CAD to USD and then another $7USD for converting the rest $40CAD to USD… I just asked her about these fees and do not mind paying them if thar’s what it takes to get a job… I would simply talk to my employer about these fees so He could just pay for it…. but then the agent started pretending she doesnt see my messages… she couldve just told me that im stupid im sorry i dont know how to address your concerns… I might’ve pitied her instead… Oh well…

    I will talk to my boss about how stupid freelancer is and encourage that we transact directly with each other….


    If you are to convert currency well dont! they take fee from converting currency, they take a lot of money that you worked hard for…

    18 01 2012

    You’ve taken a harsh line there, but in essence I do agree that chat support is not great. It’s far too eay for the agents to simply copy and paste text from the existing Freelancer help pages without really offering any personal support. I agree it would be far better for Freelancer to have a telephone helpline with international access numbers. Having said that, I think they would hear a lot of screaming down the line from all the angry users!!

    21 01 2012

    so i have beem using freelancer a couple years now and honestly i dont understand what the fuss is about. i did not get rich from the site but i get a respectfull amount of money every month which is added to my evryday job income. Seriously, one thing that i saw from most of the post here is that “oh i did this which is against the rules and they banned my account, or they did not give me my money back, but it was the first time……” what a load of ……..Read the bloody terms and conditions, read the FAQ, contact support for any queries, and after you feel safe you know how it works u can take part in it. Rules are rules and they cannot be bent for anyone. it is their platform, it is their game, if u dont like it just dont participate. Almost of everything i read is posted on the terms and conditions and the FAQ section. Yes they keep money for days, yes they will not refund the fiver if your account is banned or frozen BUT u already know that. Yes i agree that their support needs improvement especially time wise, also the rules on the site are nor clear at some points so a verification is needed before going further, but other than that follow the bloody rules and you will not have any problem.

    21 01 2012

    Absolutely agree, George, thanks for your comment!

    21 01 2012

    George, I would agree with you if it was my fault that my money gets lost. However, to have to take the fall because I cannot pay is a show of major incompetence on their part. It’s simply not my job to make PayPal work. On Amazon, if I have a problem with something that I have bought I take it up with AMAZON, not the actual seller. This cannot be too much to ask of Freelancer.

    7 02 2012
    Jeremy Wyatt charged payal THREE times for the fee I was paying to my programmer. I HIGHLY recommend you try another service. From Saturday to Tuesday they have not responded to my request for help. They have not responded to the ticket from paypal and overcharged me nearly $900. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a spare $900 for unexpected fees. There is ONLY chat to resolve and they are first level support desk who duplicated my efforts: we will put in a ticket for you. The support desk closed my ticket and that is when they took the THIRD payment. I NEVER authorized. The chat person also indicates: “it happens to a lot of people”. So is making a fortune sitting on other people’s money in addition to freelance fees.

    9 02 2012
    Bozenka Vondruska

    Wow! I was thinking of using but am going to avoid it like the plague and spread the word. A whole lot of smoke here and I’m not dumb enough to ignore it.

    Thanks heaps to everyone who has posted the truth about what’s going on with that website. If their excuse is that they are so huge that they are having problems controlling things then they need to reduce their scope!

    14 02 2012
    Ron Pitts

    Yeah freelancer is such a rip off, any issue and they fall back to say the company is just a venue……wash they hands when they have received there cut.

    14 02 2012

    I find to also be a scam. I posted a project, selected a provider and have had no response back from the provider after he accepted the project. I contacted to see about getting a refund. They said they do not refund projects, so now im out money for Posting fees. For anyone needing a freelancer for programming..writing..etc, I would highly recommend looking elsewhere.

    23 02 2012


    24 02 2012
    Dave Griffiths

    The biggest problem I’ve had on Freelancer and Odesk is when I post the job they are really keen and reply to PM’s instantly.

    As soon as you award them the job however it is a different story.

    One guy promptly sent me a PM saying “thanks for giving me the job, I should be able to start it in about a week.”


    26 02 2012

    Hmm, actually I don’t think a week is too long to wait for a freelancer to start a job; they may be busy with other projects and have other deadlines to meet before they can give your project their full attention, especially if it is a large or complex job. I’m not saying it’s unreasonable for you to expect someone to start straight away, but if that is the case, you need to be very clear about it and state your expected start date in the project listing. It is also a good idea to discuss a project in PMs with the people you are thinking of hiring before you actually award the project, to make sure that they are up to the task and can meet your expectations.

    1 03 2012

    freelancer is gay !
    normally i get people off the freelancer and i let them do he work first and send the 50% of the money when 50% is done.
    Thats the safest way and i got paypal if something goes wrong.
    and not all indian and pakistani people are fake..
    i know lots of them which do great job!

    2 03 2012

    Hmm, I don’t think is out of the closet as a homosexual website, but I agree with the sentiment of the rest of your comment! As I have said all along, yes, there is a lot wrong with Freelancer and many of its users, but if you use it carefully and responsibly, it can be a good way for talented people (regardless of nationaility) to make some extra cash.

    14 03 2012

    I’ve had a few friends recommend freelancer but none of them have ever got work from it and everything I read on it I don’t trust.

    Personally I don’t trust about 90% on it, well, for my trade. £2 for full computer games. I also don’t like the fact that businesses bid on peoples jobs. These should be flagged and removed (hire a freelancer not a company)

    I’ve been thinking for a while now to build a free version of freelancer and oDesk. It’s something I do from time to time to update my skills when I need to get up to speed with new web technology after I’ve been working in an older 1 for a good few months (web programmer 13 years).

    Very interesting reading peoples concerns about the con artists. Could pose an interesting challenge to come up with something that would assist with combating these issues. However it would be quite easy to flag job posters and bidders with icons clearly showing risk level. Also adding the ability for report an employer, freelancer, job post or bid, and after x amount of reports, the job, bid etc gets automatically removed or account frozen for review (content created by the people, managed by the people, for the people).

    I also don’t like the login system which can’t remember you depending on where you log in from, and it has various auto login systems in place of which some work and some don’t (lots of dodgyness going on there).

    But I agree with you Lisa, a bit of thinking when reading the adverts can go a long way. However I just don’t trust either website after reading the nonsense people have put on there for my trade, I wouldn’t give either site a penny of my money. I did post a job to around xmas time, I wanted to remove it but, they asked for money to do this! wtf lol. After some laughter I thought just log in and blank the job post but I just couldn’t be bothered. I just added to my email spam list and carried on with life.

    lol, I am very tempted now to build a version of the website (totally free to use), to see what I come up with to prevent what I and many here don’t like about the site.

    14 03 2012

    Well let us know if you do build such a site – if you can manage to keep the spammers, scammers and shammers away, I’m sure there will be a lot of very interested people!

    15 03 2012

    I joined a couple of weeks ago to do some basic work and found it a complete ripoff.

    Being a buyer nearly all the bidders to the projects did not read the terms properly. I awarded them based on the terms and then they couldn’t perform the task and then I withdraw the project on mutual agreement but by that time Freelancer had already withdrawn the cash!

    I disputed and inadvertently awarded the dispute with most the cash, which the bidder accepted!!! I now can’t get in touch with him! It’s only $30 USD but I’ve had about $150 USD taken out of my Paypal account which I didn’t request.

    So far for the $30 dispute Freelancer are saying i have to get in contact with the bidder but I cannot as there is no direct contact available unless they are working on a project or awarded one.

    The freelancer website is extremely confusing and probably more so badly designed.

    If I can get this sorted out I won’t be using it again. As an Australian and this being an Australian website I am quite ashamed to be associated in this ripoff.

    I’ve used and it’s far better than Freelancer.

    16 03 2012

    Well I sorted out with the dispute and got in touch with the Awarded winner of the project and he is doing the work now, though not at the level expect but at least he is doing the work and I am getting some of the results suggested.

    The system seems to pull funds automatically from your paypal account. I have terminated the agreement with Paypal (or should I say I terminated something with a paypal terms) so hopefully that stops the direct payments for no reason.

    Hopefully I can get out of this with under $100 lost. Better than most by reading some of the comments here.

    Thanks Lisa for having this blog and keeping updated and commenting yourself. It’s been very helpful and I should have read it before going blindly into Freelancer.

    16 03 2012

    The new type of scam by the….

    they Introduced the currency conversion, I added 500 GBP to my account for a project need, but I had to convert them into USD while i converted 500GBP it only gave me only 700+ USD but when i tried to go to GBP I only got 467GBP, This the new way they have learn’t to cheat us 😦

    21 08 2012

    LOL …I won a graphics (photoshopping)competition hosted by’s CEO Matt. He was very prompt in paying me may I say! However, even though he’s in Sydney, Australia, and I’m located in Melbourne, Australia, feelancer paid me in USD. Then I had to pay currency conversion fees. Out of a ‘win’ of $490 I managed after a month’s wait to get about $435 transferred to my paypal account. There are charges for this, charges for that, charges that even Scrooge would be proud of! I still visit there for the competitions they are always fun.
    The place IS a scammer’s paradise, there is no denying that, it’s a pity that freelancer themselves seem so dodgy in their reluctance to pay out what people have earned.

    16 03 2012
    Bob Allen-Turl

    I have earned from both Freelancer and other sites and want to continue making a living at this. To do that I NEED – not just want – a site that convinces me it offers REAL work from genuine clients. A site I will make my priority because it offers the best chance of more quality work tomorrow.

    What I see, unfortunately, is a site that thinks sheer ‘volume’ is a yardstick of ‘success’ without a foundation of effective, even-handed and transparent admin and disciplines.

    Problem 1: The Hype.
    Boasting about two thousand assignments per day is absolutely meaningless while it includes numerous ‘clones’ of an original assignment – even AFTER the original had been awarded by the ‘real’ client! (How do I know all this? Answer – I have been reduced to maintaining my own Excel spreadsheet detailing every assignment in my categories to ensure I spot the duplicates and don’t waste bids!!)

    Problem 2: Communication.
    Some bid descriptions are so vague the bid price becomes just a wild guess. Why not ask for clarification? Answer – the system was ‘improved’ last year and now you CAN’T talk to the ‘client’ unless you bid first! Good to know Catch 22 is alive and well. . .

    Problem 3: Confidentiality.
    Can ANYONE explain how showing who bid for a project, and at what price, adds anything to the process? Apart from politicians standing for election I don’t know any organisation that publishes details of everyone that applied for a job and what salary they wanted.

    Problem 4: The spam
    Almost every assignment has ‘comments’ from ‘bidders’ that are simply links to the numerous ‘scam’ sites out there. Yes, some freelancer accounts do get closed if you complain – but the original comments remain on the project page, which rather defeats the object?

    These problems are NOT a recipe for credibility. Or longevity. I may be a freelancer of little brain but it seems blindingly obvious that you will generate more profit with a ‘virtuous circle’ business model. Genuine clients will be more likely to choose your site and offer bigger assignments that will earn you bigger fees if they feel your site is the ‘best’ portal to reach the global pool of high quality freelancers.

    Warts and all I want Freelancer to continue but they MUST get a grip. It isn’t rocket science:
    1. Have a web program that blocks ‘clones’ and any input containing an external link.
    2. Give clients a simple checklist to ensure enough information is given to generate realistic bids.
    3. Put any samples demanded on the freelancer’s portfolio, prevent them from being copied, and remove them as soon as the assignment is awarded or closed.
    4. Use the site stats to create an ‘average’ price for a proposed project. Don’t post the assignment until the client places that sum into a ‘ring-fenced’ account controlled by the site. (If they can’t afford it when they offer the work it’s unlikely they will have it when the time comes to pay the freelancer!)
    5. Show the payment terms in the posting. Make the freelancer tick it when bidding. Pay the Freelancer as soon as the client signs off the milestone. If there is a dispute an independent arbitrator must examine the case and assign the funds accordingly.

    And if the team hasn’t got the resources or skillset to make these changes, there is this pool of amazingly talented freelancers I know out there. .

    17 03 2012

    I think this is the greediest webscript I have ever seen.

    Run with 1700$ of my money in their pocket.

    18 03 2012

    To all peoples who use
    I assure you really, this was/is my works experience with
    It happened 3 times with me. I by mistake created two accounts and they never took objection but when I got good amount collect in my account they blocked my account and said “You were created two account against our terms and condition” 😦 I have been wait much but they never respond me and I really have proof about this.
    I paid them 765 USD in two month and they blocked my 1165 USD 😦
    Can’t trust ? 😦

    20 03 2012

    Hi there, thanks a lot for the review 🙂

    I started using about a week ago, and completed my first job last night. I realised that I had been charged a $20 fee on a $40 job!! I wanted to contact them but couldn’t find any way of doing so other than writing them a letter, but thankfully google directed me to a scam site that listed some contact email addresses. They replied, and reduced the amount to the correct amount (about $5), and had the hide to say “I hope this hasn’t affected you first impressions of” (there were spelling mistakes in their response).

    Anyway, I am pretty peeved about having to chase them up about money which is not only awkward but a waste of my time. I got over this and tried to bid on projects this morning. They now want my “photo” (are they kidding? I don’t put a photo on my resume and I’m sure not going to put it up on a website), as well as my phone number, full name and address!! What a joke! Note: I CANNOT bid until I have provided these details.

    I have not been paid by the guy I did work for yet, but when I do I think I have to use paypal to get the money out. I cancelled my paypal account shortly after the Wikileaks saga, so how am I supposed to get my pay? I’ve heard they charge more for non-paypal users, and possibly take longer to pay them too. Great.

    Overall, I think the concept is really great, but I want to be able to bid on 1st world projects and not have to scan through “article writing” for $1.50 per 400 words (that’s about $0.60/hour). I want the website to work properly (currently comes up with different error messages even using Firefox 10.0.2).

    I agree with your idea that making it free to post jobs is causing a lot of dodgy ones to appear. The quality factor is non-existant for this website, which I think is a misrepresentation because their logo and branding looks really good, as though it’s going to be a premium product, but then their service is poor, their website doesn’t really work, and their pricing just makes it look like there is heaps of work on offer, when really most of it is just crap.

    21 03 2012

    Am I the only one having complains about this site? No: I personally know many who now Hate this Scam Site.

    Few years back, Getafreelancer was one of my favorite freelance site. I used to work there every day for years, but then something happened to their Management: I think site was sold to some other company or the Management was given in hands of another company. Whatever, happened, I do know that the CEO was changed and the new guy is a Thief [his name: Matt Barrie aka Matt the Thief].

    As this is a big company, therefore they are using complicated techniques to Rip-Off its users.

    I will mentioned at least two Lies of this site:

    Freelancer had an Affiliate Program from the very beginning. Years back, All the rules were clearly mentioned and there were no lies.

    Then Mr. Matt took over, the first thing he did was that: he changed the rules about affiliate earnings without telling the users:

    Instead of giving commissions [commission = a percentage of fee that freelancer .com earned from the users we refer] to affiliate partners for unlimited time period, they decided to limit it to the first 3 months only.

    So Am I here just because of this change? No: This is just one issue of many…

    I also know that they have the right to change their Affiliate Program rules. That is not the problem…
    The problem starts when the Mr. CEO tries to hide this change from its users. He wants users to think that they will be getting the commissions for Ever but in reality, it has been limited to only 3 months.

    The main Affiliate Program Page does not mention this change: it says that we will get the commission and it does not mention the real part.

    There is a Terms of Service Page: Deep down in this page, they have added one line which mentions this change.

    Why have they not mentioned this important part of their affiliate policy in the Main Affiliate Program Page?

    Because They are thieves: that is why…

    I personally had been sending users to their site for so many years. Everyday, I was sending 120 or so Verified/Registered users to their site via mine. If we talk about the total traffic going to their site, that is much higher.

    Everything was ok till 2009, when I first noticed a drop in my affiliate earnings. I tried to find the reason but as Freelancer was hiding this info deep inside their TOS page, I failed to find the cause of my earnings drop.

    But then later in 2011, my earnings dropped to almost Zero.

    This is when I contacted the thieves and also tried to find the reason myself too.

    Now Here is the most important part:

    These thieves replied to me telling me that commissions are now given only for 3 months and this change was implemented in 2009.

    But wait: after 2009, my earnings did decrease but I was still earning from the old users who I had referred. The thieves said that due to a Bug, I was still getting commissions???

    The truth is that: they were giving little bit of the commissions to me so that I do not suspect anything and I fail to find their Big Stupid Change. Why did they worry about me? Because at that time, the total number of verified users in their site in 24 hours was around 1200. In this figure, my site was contributing 120 or so users.

    But then in 2011, they had developed other Scam techniques. Now their site gets much more traffic: verified users everyday are around 2500 or so. SO now they do not need me or other affiliate partners.

    But Wait: Freelancer is still lying. Their Affiliate Page still does not contain the 3 months limit info. They still want users to advertise their sites all over the internet so that they can get their pockets full of money and in return, they want to give nothing.

    Why will they not include the 3 months limit info on the main affiliate page?

    Because they want to rip-off users more and more.

    Also note that: sometime in 2010 or 2011, for few days, they did add the 3 months limit rule in the affiliate page: but this info was removed after few days. When I contacted their support, their cleverly sugar coated the situation via saying that they have not made any changes in their program since 2009 and then they removed that 3 months limit part from the affiliate page.

    Now if someone from Freelance reads this rip-off report and decides to prove me wrong, by adding the 3 months limit info in the affiliate program page, this can happen. But for years, they had been hiding it from users:

    This is just one scam going on at freelancer: they are using sophisticated techniques to scam users:

    Like their CONTEST Sh*t

    Thousands of users are working hard to advertise Freelancer all over the world: majority of these users will get NOTHING in the end: by the time they realize what Freelancer is doing, it would be too late. New victims replace the old ones.

    They are using different kinds of Contests to scam in different ways.

    But what, if we look at the Traffic Stats of all the freelance sites, then Freelancer stands at the Top? How is this possible?

    Using their scam techniques, they are using victims to get more the more traffic and earn more for themselves.

    But note one thing: the most number of Scam Projects are posted at Freelancer… I had been working there for years, I know what I am talking about.

    There are all types of SCAM buyers at Freelancer.

    Freelancer Management’s obsession about getting more traffic and seeing more projects opened in their site is making this site a garbage freelance site.

    For example: if there are 1500 projects opened in one day, then may be 1000 of these projects will never end successfully: some of them will be totally useless projects that are opened by scam buyers. They call them Trial Projects.

    Anyway, anyone who wants to join a freelance site: My suggestion is to stay away from Freelancer . com

    There are many other Professional sites out there, like Guru . com

    25 03 2012
    colette1980 is horrible. I joined it back in December and have had numerous issues. First of all, I was offered a gig and took it. I sent in over 15 articles at the agreed upon rate to the provider. The provider cancelled the job the next day and said that they would pay me. Well, when it was cancelled it did not show up on my jobs listing and I was being charged a 35.00 fee on my account. I waited, and contacted freelancer. I have contacted them over 5 times. They said the same thing over and over again. They have no control over the provider who hired me, I have to be more careful when selecting clients to work with and that they sent an email to that client. They suspended my account and said I have to upload 35.00 in it. The client took my work and hit the road.
    First of all-I work with many sites and have NEVER experienced such a hassle. I cannot believe that they would not even look into this guy AND he keeps posting jobs.
    I will never go on freelancer again.

    26 03 2012

    Their customer service is a scandal! They just use some generic answers, copy-pasted stuff… I advise you to stay away from – they are NOT worth the money they earn. Now I understand better that people describe them as a SCAM.

    28 03 2012

    Hi Lisa,
    I am in trouble with freelancer. We were hesitant to pay this bidder for a logo design because he took way longer than the specified time frame and his designs did not seem to match what he showcased in his online folio. Then,after finalising the design he refused to email the master files prior to milestone. So we checked with freelancers customer support who ‘strongly advised” that we should milestone payment immediately to bidder which we did. Now we feel cheated as the bidder has refused to answer any of our emails and does not seem interested in dispatching the master files without which this project is as good as scrap.
    I have no idea what to do as I have another 200 dollars stuck in my freelancer account which I dont know if I can recover. Any advice would be helpful.

    Customer support is amazingly useless.

    29 03 2012

    Hi Lisa,
    Just wanted to let you know that the contractor was genuine and we managed to sort it out amongst us. Bidder had some technical issues at his end and was unable to email the project which he has done now.
    Thanks for all the info you have posted here.

    28 03 2012
    Uygar Turantekin

    Hi all

    I am am one of the victim of First time user from UK i wish i could find this blog before paying money to them.

    I did deposit 480 USD (They charged me 492 USD) to my account.

    I was trying to create milestones for project,

    4 pieces of 120 USD

    I did not realised that it is on GBP then i did cancel it. All money came back to my GBP account. I converted them to my USD account.

    When i deposited i had

    £ 5 and $ 480 in my account.

    When i converted i see that i have

    $441.52 and £5.00 i have so i lost 38.48 USD in seconds???

    USD and GBP exchange rates doesnt change like that in a second? I know the market. I know that guys would like to get profit but that is cheating. There is no that much high profit in Money Exchange Market? And it is impossible.

    Then i emailed them and Costumer Service was terrible. They just said they can not fix it and to give my money back they offered more than 2 weeks???

    This is scam. I cannot accept it. They can not charge users that much exchange rate this is insane. This is a big scam.

    I don’t know what to do to be honest. I claimed to get it back on Paypal but it is going to take ages. And they will keep my money god knows for how long.

    Shame to do business like that.

    Thanks for listening 😦

    28 03 2012

    Here is my letter to


    With regard to the email below, the balance wouldn’t be negative if I’d been working on jobs on your site and making money. Here are the reasons that didn’t happen:

    i) terrible website where nothing loads without errors in the browser

    ii) originally charged the wrong amount 5 times higher than expected

    iii) cannot bid for more projects until a photo is uploaded (who are you kidding? I don’t use a photo on my resume and I sure won’t be uploading one to your shitty, insecure, dishonest website!), and I have submitted my personal information, including full name, address and contact number (are you serious? who is going to call me? your pathetic excuse for customer service – or the debt collectors – over $5? – why wouldn’t this surprise me?).

    Until such time that you get your pathetic little service operable, I will not be paying you a cent.

    You are a pathetic bunch of stingy, rip-off artists. Get a life, let people get on with theirs, and stop scamming people.

    Also, I read about you lot in The Age – I’m writing strong letters to the editor in the hope that some are published in order to expose the pure scam that is I’m surprised the ACCC still allows you to operate – they are slow, but as you piss more and more people off, you’ll start to get on their radar.

    I sincerely hope that in the years to come your business practices change remarkably, or that you go out of business entirely.

    You still want my $5.50?

    Kind Regards,
    (name withheld)

    29 03 2012

    Ok, I’m going to give it a go and build a version of which works. I will be referencing this blog for what we all really want out of the site. I’m in the research and development stage at the moment but if you have any suggestions on what you would like to see and what you wouldn’t like (eg timesheet invoice system etc) let me know.

    Here is what I have so far.

    1. User login – check
    2. User profiles – check
    3. User profiles with employer confidence level calculators – check
    4. Employer profiles with employee confidence level calculators – check
    5. Time Sheet system – check
    6. Weekly Invoice system linked into time sheet system – check
    7. Employee validated employer contact email – check
    8. Employee validated employer contact telephone – check
    9. Employer validated employee contact email – check
    10. Employer validated employee contact telephone – check
    11. Standard online NDA available – check
    12. Standard contract available – check
    13. Invoice system linked to employee & employer profile confidence ratings – check

    Question for you all, would you like the site to be able to post jobs you create to your facebook and twitter accounts?

    15 11 2013

    I just have to say that the first thing I noticed was that you’d written “Here is what I have so far” but then you put “check” next to each line. You’re better off keeping it simple and not adding superfluous words. You’d already written that the list was what you had so far so there was no need to write “check” at the end of every line.

    3 04 2012
    Constructive criticism for « Lisa A. Martin – Freelance science copywriter/editor

    […] received many a comment on my blog posts, The Trouble with Freelancer Part 1 and Part 2, and it seems that a lot of people have a lot of say about the way that […]

    12 04 2012

    SCAM!!! – theft!!!

    I would be ashamed to run business like this!!! They had STEAL MY MONEY!!!

    Who ever will turns them to court, I have proofs of theft, please let me know!

    13 04 2012

    I have recently had my taste of, and it was not a good one!

    I posted several projects which ended in a disaster! having to repost the project 1 or even 2 more times, in the end my conclusion was that the freelancers are mostly unexperienced, and low quality!

    Did you know that a freelancer can CANCEL a project at anytime without any consequence?
    which happened to me!

    They guy I awarded the project, sounded very convincing. Days into the project he would tell me he had everything almost ready and complete.

    One day nearly 4 days into the project, he sent an email saying he had an emergency and CANCELED the project!!!!!

    YES! and guess what, no explaining or consultation, just canceled the project, and disapeared, never returned the emails ever again !!!!!!

    To top it off, once they do that, there is no easy way to give them bad feedback!! so I opened a ticket with the help desk to report the guy. They gave me a link where I could make a report to be appear on his feedback!

    Well, I made my nice 2 to 3 PARAGRAPHS worth of report and guess what,
    for some reason, only shows 2 lines of the full report!!!!!
    ONLY 2 LINES!!!!….make that 1.7 lines because at the end they truncate and put the three dots as in …
    So 99% of the report cannot be seen! I was shocked to see that
    which I immediately opened another ticked to let them know but like Lisa says, they are dismisive… as if they protect these low quality / no-skill freelancers…WHY?
    That’s why they don’t do anything about it!!!

    I’m quiting for good!!!!

    13 04 2012

    Coming soon for all those people like me whom have had a really bad experience with Freelancer

    The profiling system will not allow people to show up on searches if they do not meet a certain confidence rating. It also features full CV creation and portfolio creation so you can really check out the person before hiring them.

    I will be opening up registrations, cv & portfolio creation in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

    21 08 2012

    Hurry up then

    Please 🙂

    16 04 2012

    Thank you Lisa and all who have commented on Freelancer.

    I am considering becoming a Virtual Assistant/Freelancer and was just about to sign up to this site!!!! Thank God I googled a review of the site and found your blog. I think I will register with other sites until I can see more positive reviews regarding Freelancer or alternatively, comes online.

    Thank you again, I feel as thought I have avoided a minefield of pick pockets.

    David F…

    18 04 2012


    thanks for this review. I created a Freelancer account and wanted to start writing but had so many questions and doubts. Your blog is really helpful.

    21 04 2012

    Reblogged this on flacklist.

    24 04 2012
    S.Ali has most advanced and technical way of doing fraud , be aware of them , specially don’t deposit any advance funds there , they will steal money and if you catch them they will say that we are deducting commission for your projects.And worst part is that these projects are already disputed , not finished etc.How can they deduct commission for uncompleted projects?Also how they advertise that posting project is free while they charge commission for it?
    Where to report such cases?

    24 04 2012

    I just joined 1 week ago as a freelancer (not employer) and I’ve made just over $400 in my first week. I think that’s great, especially considering I had no reputation and no feedback when I was just starting out on the site.

    I think this article by Lisa is a correct assessment but it’s not fair – you see many people, Lisa probably included, have no special skills and would probably only be able to perform data entry jobs. Well, if you bid on these type of projects OF COURSE some of them are likely to be a scam. Guaranteed if you had any programming, mobile, statistics, excel VBA or other technical skills you could make money and not get scammed. Point is that not everyone can be a freelancer – you need a skill set that’s it demand and relevant, otherwise keep your day job.

    Also, complaining about people from India or wherever taking your jobs is ridiculous. If they have the skills and they are willing to do it for a lower price than you, they deserve to win the project – that’s how the free market works. This goes back to what I said before – it’s only a problem if you’re bidding on a low skill level project. Personally, I’m a programmer and I bid on projects right alongside Indians and I win some and I lose some – that’s fair.

    I agree though that freelancer does charge you wherever and whenever they get the chance almost to the point of being comical. But, that’s pretty much industry standard…unfortunately.

    Anyways, best of luck all.

    26 04 2012

    I HAVE NO SPECIAL SKILLS?!??! How very dare you!! I’ll have you know I’m a very experienced writer and editor who wrote this particular post over 2 years ago when I was just starting out as self-employed. Note that I am/was not just another chancer trying to make some easy money, but as someone with a lot of experience but no clientele, I explored Freelancer and similar sites as a means to develop a portfolio and win custom. Which worked. Very well. So well, in fact, that one of my clients (found through People Per Hour) has now employed me full time in a very well-paying position!

    Anyway, enough bragging on my part, let’s turn it back to you, Ochristo, and the fact that you have entirely missed the points of my post!

    Bearing in mind that this was written more than 2 years ago when I was new to, I WASN’T moaning about being scammed – I’m intelligent and sensible enough to spot a scam when I see one and to not bid on it (see here!). However, this doesn’t mean that it’s OK for scammers to continue getting away with posting their shady projects. Yes there are PLENTY of people on Freelancer with no ‘special skills’, as you put it, but skilled or unskilled, it is not fair to persist in having these open traps for people with less wherewithall than I to fall into. They don’t deserve to be scammed just because they were too naive to realise, and in my opinion, Freelancer needs to try a bit harder to stamp out scam project posts.

    My point about employers exploiting cheap foreign labour was not, as you seem to be insinuating, a racist slight on workers in the developing world. If you want someone to, say, write some web copy for you, and you are presented with two equally qualified and experienced freelancers, one in India offering to do the work for $100 and the other in the US offering the same quality and standard of work for $1000, then of course you’re going to go with the cheaper writer. The problem is that on Freelancer, people will often choose unskilled workers over skilled ones – perhaps not realising the ‘special skill’ that is involved in crafting a well written, convincing piece of copy, perhaps being duped by someone who has made their profile to sound more experienced than they really are, perhaps by simply being too penny-pinching to realise that, more often that not, you get what you pay for. This makes it very difficult for us skilled folks to win projects on and to be paid a fair price for the work we do.

    End of rant. For now.

    27 04 2012

    Lisa, chillax!

    I didn’t mean to offend you, I apologize. Maybe I should have worded myself better.

    Of course writing and editing are a high-level skills, no argument there (I can barely do it!). What I meant by special skill is “special skill RELATIVE to market demand”

    12th century English poetry writing is a high level skill as well, but is there a significant market demand for it?

    That’s my point.

    On sites like freelancer with the bidding system in place, if you are being consistently out-bidded it means that your skill set at your price is not competitive. That’s not me being an asshole, that’s just free market economics.

    As for the scams, I agree, freelancer has to work on that and many (MANY) other things. But again, not to belittle your point, but how do you actually get scammed?? If you’re suspicious, check out the guy’s profile, does he have feedback? Is he a new user? I mean, come one, this is the internet, you can’t trust everyone offering you money.

    In summary, I’m not defending freelancer because they are far far from perfect. What I’m doing is managing expectations of would be freelancers – match your skill set and price level against international market demand and find your niche. Avoid jobs that are “easy” or “anyone can do it” because there’s no such thing as easy money. And finally, use common sense.

    End of rebuttal. For now.

    2 05 2012

    Haha, touché! OK I have calmed down now, I must have had too much coffee, sorry for the rant!

    You are right to want to manage the expectations of freelancers using Freelancer (et al) – I think that is very important and I have myself tried to manage some of those expectations through some of the articles in this blog. I also think it is important to manage employers’ expectations though (and I’m talking about the genuine employers who aren’t just looking to pull a fast one). There are plenty of people out there, small business owners etc, who are looking for quality copywriting and editorial services like mine, but they don’t know what they are looking for or how to get it and are swayed by ridiculously cheap prices and false promises offered by unskilled workers. They want premium brand quality but are only prepared to pay bargain basement prices, and then get huffy when they only get bargain basement quality. I’ve been called in many times to sort out the mess that cheaper, unskilled writers have produced (or even plagiarised) – great for me as it gives me work, but an expensive headache for employers who end up having to shell out twice for the same job. If I was constantly being outbid by writers with the same quality skill set as me, then great, good luck to them, viva the free market and perhaps I would need to rethink my price. But actually what usually happens is that skilled workers are outbid by unskilled workers who cannot do a good job, but promise that they can, and employers are left bitterly disappointed and afraid to use freelancers ever again.

    There is, as you allude, a lot of naivity on the internet – freelancers complain of being scammed by employers when actually the open trap is plain for all with a bit of common sense to see, but employers also need to be careful about who they are hiring. There are many complaints about Freelancer’s ‘we’ve done our job’ attitude, in that once they have connected freelancer to employer and made off with your money, you’re on your own. They could try harder in this respect to provide an infrastructure that protects both parties better – this would undoubtedly improve their waning reputation – but of course, as you say, users of the site do also have a responsibility to look after themselves. This is why I never work without a contract in place, why when using Freelancer I will never work ‘off-site’, and why I always insist on a milestone payment upfront. It’s also why I rarely use Freelancer these days. Sadly, many people are not so savvy.

    15 11 2013

    Arrogant twat. Phhht.

    27 04 2012
    Vicente Gambito

    Lisa, this is your blog and all of us are your visitors. There’s no need for you to have a conniption fit (a new word I just learned) without some further clarifications on a perceived personal slight. As it turns out, Ochristo who was quick in offering an apology, has a point there. I agree with his explanation and observations.

    Thank you for getting this thread alive; although, I would prefer if we disengaged from concentrating only on Freelancer horror stories. Let’s leave them behind and pursue what you intend to promote here. There are a lot of worlds out there aside from Freelancer. In my book, that portal is already beyond redemption.

    Cheers to all!!!

    2 05 2012
    Anna is a complete Sham!!!! I posted a job almost 3 months ago. I Have paid $450 to the webdesigner i selected and he has not handed over my project. I contacted and they basically said they can’t do anything! They just put you in contact with webdesigners. They are basically saying it is ok to be ripped off and that they will do nothing to help you! All they said they can do is to delete his account, but he can just sign up with a different name!
    So i am left -$450 and no website!
    Where are my rights? I’m sure i’m not the only person this has happened to on

    5 05 2012

    I don’t understand why you paid such a lot of money for something that you had not yet received??

    26 05 2012
    Jim S.

    In most cases they don’t even delete the account and let the would-be scammer continue to take jobs and continue “jobbing” other customers. Their stock response is that they cannot and will not do anything about it based on your acceptance of their terms and conditions where it is stated that they (my words) don’t care, won’t care and won’t do anything about it.

    3 05 2012

    Is soliciting banned here? I might be able to help Anna.

    5 05 2012

    Feel free to offer your services!!

    19 05 2012

    Hi, I started reading this and that was enough. I didn’t realize for a while that there was so much here, but thanks. Some way to run a site. Signed up 2hours ago, the only reason not deleting it because I put a project up. Which cost me nothing, so I don’t know what the $5 you guys were talking about. Now everyone can post without fee which is why there a new posting every hour titled “PDF to MS WORD TYPING” .?! some kind of spam. 😦

    19 05 2012

    I have got 7000 USD in my account and they suspended my account the day they gave me for withdraw, I was working on freelancer since good couple months, I have got 5.8 with 5 stars 100% completion rate.

    They are Scam and I have legitimate reason to prove it. I have complete detail how they act how they do and what the shit is their policy.

    Moreover during suspension they not forgetting to charging me for monthly subscriptions,

    They asking me shit questions since 2 months for now, First they asked me to upload or send ID , I sent them my Driving licence, then after some time they asked me for passport, I sent them again and also uploaded to ticket system.

    I sent them reply with attachments as they require (Format, size of picture everything I followed. ) Also uploaded at their stupid ticket system.

    And i always got email from them that I didnt provided my passport yet. Then i opened new ticket. And I came tot know very funny thing that I guess they put my email in junk. Because they acknowledge and sorry for delay this and that bla bla bla.. shit reasons, and again next day i received email that still i didnt provided passport. isnt it lovely ?

    How I felt after sending my most official document 22 times , you cant imagine.

    I then sent them very harsh email with the reference of email I received earlier with acknowledgement of my documents (passport). Next day I received email with again shit reason that one of my passport edge is not clear. As far as i know that Driving licence is a complete ID. moreover edge never takes matters if passport number and other information is visible and clear. Well I again sent them very clear copy.

    So They dont know what they doing , They dont have any address any phone number to contact, Am In London, UK and I never seen a website without address. They dont even have certificate to take personal detail.

    I have got 8 on going projects worth 500 – 4000 USD , with more than 6000 USD milestones, my client asked them and warned them about what they doing , and next day they suspended his account as well. isnt it funny .. a very nice customer service.

    So I know one thing that its a big scam, and if its not I will screw them now, and I will snatch 10000 numbers of their clients to other website now. I have got marketing skills, great development experience. And I know how to do it. They wanna play I will play now.

    Warning : to those who wish to join them, better goto odesk (they verify identity in 2 hours max), elance, these are legitimate websites. And don’t try, Chief Ex of is belong to criminal activities in his past life. his face is not even like a true businessman.

    If you want to contact me for complete detail most welcome, my email is

    Thanks & Bye.

    20 05 2012

    @Lisa Martin

    I must comment that it gives a very very strong imprssion are kind of a PART-OF-SCAM because you are defending it in a way,you seem to be biased towards in a way that it looks that it is almost decided that you will go only to a certain level of critisicm against them come-what-may , a part of agreement ..? who knows?.
    It like you are trying to show like you are against them by very weak comments like I agree the system needs to improve,the customer service is bad etc etc..

    When a person loses 1000,2000 ;dollars like so many in the above posts,and just by-chance you(or rather your blog) are in a position to help cleanse the SCAM ,all you have to say is …some ..dummy light-weight negative comments ….?I” agree the system needs to improve,the customer service is bad etc etc..”

    I think you should be more careful about defending a company which may very well be proven as a scam very soon and try to disassociate with it and prove it before the news breaks out :-)…remote possibility but possible yes..

    You may think about the need to make you stand clear soon,I am surprised that you reply very quickly to people who have something good to say about but stay silent ,when so many people are ready to give proof of their cheating.
    Arent you helping them in this SCAM ,by keeping your cards close to your chest ?

    What would you call a Bank Cash Teller who normally does very good work but on a Friday steals 100 or 200 dollars from the bank ,just because he is honest 99% of the time does not absolve him of his crime..RIght ?
    This is the same case with the Great Site Freelancer…but in their case the teller steals on monday tuesday wednesday and Friday …:-) he is although very honest on a Thursday …

    I believe that you do get some financial benefits by offering some of your writing services to them,but that is an independent matter.

    In any case it is not your fault if your blog became famous…right?
    But remember “WIth Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

    22 05 2012

    Oh wow…seems like I have a few haters out there at the moment! But thanks for expressing your opinion politely instead of telling me to f— off like someone else did today (their comment got deleted by the way, I don’t have to put up with that on my own website!)!

    First off let me express that I think it’s very unfair and untrue to say that I am in some way helping Freelancer to scam people. Have you read the other posts on my blog? You will find that actually, I’m a big advocate of trying to inform people about how NOT to get scammed when using Freelancer and I would NEVER condone scam behaviour. However, it has always been – and remains – my opinion that the majority of so-called ‘scams’ are allowed to happen because Freelancer USERS either don’t realise that the person they are working with intends to scam them, or they don’t realise or understand Freelancer’s rules, thus they break them, get suspended and cry scam.

    As for whether Freelancer create scams themselves (as opposed to allowing the users to wantonly scam), i’m afraid I can’t comment at this time. That’s not because I’m in cahoots with them, or I’m scared of them, but simply because it’s actually been a very long time since I used Freelancer and it has clearly changed somewhat.

    Finally, I will repeat, yet again, that I do not work for Freelancer, I am not on their side, i get no incentives from them other than a few cents every couple of months when someone uses my affiliate link.

    21 05 2012
    Lisa J

    Its funny because they are now running a “contest” where if you get an article ranked high on Google for them they will pay the winner a share of $15,000. I’m guessing this because your blog is ranked so high. I found it when I typed in their web address! LOL.

    My dilemma with is that they charge you $5.24 when you DELETE a project without telling you that its going to be charged. I tried to talk with somebody named “Mark” in live chat about it and he ignored me. Wow. When you are about to delete a project you get a message about Google search engines, etc, etc. It appears that they want to keep as many projects on the site as they can to raise their Google rankings. When you delete the project they charge you $5.24 because you too away from their Google rankings I guess.

    That’s all this contest is about now. Google rankings. There are so slimy.

    23 05 2012


    Looks right even Lisa refused but still your words got worth.
    Am planning for something big either they activate my account or remove it from database.


    25 05 2012
    Hans Robinson

    Hi Lisa,

    I just started a company this year and i was planning to give my projects to the freelancers in just then i saw ur blog found some useful information. Can u pls help me out with some ideas and im looking out for projects like can u help me out in that.

    26 05 2012

    This site is bad for American freelancers and America in general.

    28 05 2012

    Why just American freelancers and why America in general?

    26 05 2012
    Jim S.

    This company is absolutely a SCAM company. I got ripped off by one of their freelancers and all they kept saying is that it’s not their problem or responsibility referring you to a section of their terms and conditions page where it is outlined that they do nothing to scammers who do not provide services. Even though I fully documented the freelancer who actually COPIED AND PASTED (ie; broke copyright laws) content from another sample site into mine and requested the remainder of his money on the basis that he “provided what I asked for”, said they would do nothing about it because “caveat emptor” ie; buyer beware, policy of theirs.

    Not even returning their “finder fee” to me (the % they take of the money exchanged).

    In addition, they don’t even punish the scammer freelancer and allow them to continue duping customers and continue collecting their “finder fee” in the process.

    Supporting a scam without any corrective measures makes them part of the problem.

    They suck!

    28 05 2012
    Lee took $83.10 from my paypal account in 2 transactions. I do not know why they took it, all I did was sign-up. I haven’t used any freelancers (one did contact me to try to solicit work outside of the site). I cannot get a refund from them (despite opening a ticket 6 weeks ago) and a live chat (which I have the transcript of) assuring me they would refund.

    Please don’t get scammed like I did, stay well away.


    28 05 2012

    Paypal is a whole other problem as I just went through an issue with them. Only use it for a few $ transaction you don’t mind to lose.

    30 05 2012

    I got screwed by them too. Their fee for a project can be paid one of two ways… They took the 5 dollars straight from my paypal which is connected to my bank account. I had no money what so ever in there at that moment so I had to stop the unauthorized payment. Paypal stopped it without hesitation but with in seconds, freelancer suspended my account. I was in the middle of 3 projects and might have lost 2 of them. GRRRR…. I was confused, thinking that there is no way that I was suspended for the paypal thing, since afterall you can pay the fee when you get your earnings. I emailed them, sure enough they suspended me for the reversal of the fee. I told them that they give freelancers 2 ways to pay, now or when they get paid. That there was no reason for my to be suspended. They in turn (days later) said that they will restore it in good faith that I will pay… WHAT???????? What the BLANK do they mean “in good faith”… I have done nothing wrong!!!! … BUT WAIT… THATS NOT ALL!!!!

    I finally get back on to work, one of my employer’s account was suspended and they took $100 away from her! It was due to my reversal.. In the contract it says that if you reversal, they have the right to suspend and take money from people that you have worked with, including yourself. This fee, keep in mind, had nothing to do with her account. Now she is in a dispute with Paypal and Freelancer…. DO NOT USE THIS SITE!!!!!!!!! Go to vworker or elance… they are better and you will not get screwed like you do with freelancer… I can NOT believe this bs!!!!!

    31 05 2012
    Michael B.

    Buyer Beware of

    They’re scammers

    1 06 2012
    michelle lee

    Thanks for this blog. After reading your blog and the general impression I get from the way post their work. It seems to me the MAJOR beneficiaries are FREELANCER.COM and their CLIENTS. While I understand that it does take some $$ to host a site, but then this is NOT an opportunity to earn $$$ for real workers, but are EVERY opportunities for and their clients.
    I am looking into away to petition this site to go OUT OF BUSINESS.
    Thanks again Lisa!

    2 06 2012

    I am getting shivers…I have my account suspended with over US$1000 in account. Every thing was well till sometime back…i was getting projects and had a review also…i was just picking up…had 4 projects running..while two more in pipeline. I was very excited…because work had started coming. I was just collecting money in my freelancer account thinking them to be a big security for me.
    Then I requested to transfer part of money through Paypal..they conveyed dates during which the payment was to be processed for transferring. On the day i was expecting my money to come to me, my freelancer account was suspended. My account is still under temporary suspension…and they are looking into it….no response as yet…they have asked for verification code number times and I have given same as many times. Then they wanted to know as to how a particular project was executed and what was that project about. I have also provided all the detail through word by word email communication between me and the client running into tens of pages. Its almost two weeks and do not know where to go. I requested them to process fast and let me have direct questions, if they had any doubts. There is no point in suspecting just any one and trying to act as great judicial system …at least to me it looks to be fake. First of all, they are looking into a project that was completed much earlier than the day of my request to transfer of money. Secondly, the money in my account is not from just that deal but many other completed projects done prior to and after that deal. If they had any suspicion, they could ask any kind of questions because it relates to just one of the projects. Then, you are keeping the account suspended and i am unable to interact with existing clients…this resulting in more disputes between clients and service providers. Are they short of work that they are creating more disputes…by suspending working accounts…and that too with sufficient money. I don’t know…just hoping for good…any guidance here will be just great…I am looking here and there….but not finding enough support.

    2 06 2012

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having problems with Freelancer and I hope your situation is resolved. It sounds like you, or a person you have worked with, has probably broken one of the Freelancer rules (either knowingly or unknowingly) – if your nose is clean then you should receive your money, just be patient. Agree that Freelancer customer support are maddening though!
    Unless you were not properly awarded a project (in which case this might be the reason for your suspension), you should still be able to contact your existing clients as you should have received their email address when you accepted the project.

    2 06 2012

    Thanks Lisa for responding, I am absolutely clean…this project was genuine…that client too was genuine, for reasons best known to him, he closed his account after completion of the project. But that is not my business…my job is to provide solutions while dealing through freelancers. All the money for the project was transacted through freelancers and they got their due commission. The project cost even got enhanced during the execution and that too was recd. only through freelancer account. i don’t even have his phone No….he only used to call during the execution of the project…i used to be only on chat to discuss any issues. Still, I am hopeful…but disappointed….because i know am clean…..I am suffering more because i don’t even have the mail IDs of some of the clients and one of the has filed dispute …..they say there system is automated so irrespective of my status the dispute shall be settled…as per freelancer rules it will go in favor of the client after 4 days if there is no response from me. The project was completed and is at one of my testing sites….I can not tell the client to go and check…this is too frustrating….ooooh.

    2 06 2012

    @Brewing If that client has another job posted create another account and bid on it and explain who you are and the situation in a private message. You can send them the link from there to your test site. Good luck.

    2 06 2012


    After following your blog for sometime, I am wary of using the site. Yet, in the back of my mind I do have some lingering questions in regard to the allegations made against them. IF they are freezing accounts without reason and making ridiculous demands for personal identification, why are they still in business? If the allegations are true, why haven’t they been reported to the appropriate Internet fraud divisions? I can say that if I had lost a great sum of money in the manner described, I would not hesitate to report them to the FBI Internet Fraud Division in the U.S. and to the similar authority in Australia. I would suspect that most countries now have agencies that look into instances of Internet fraud. It just seems strange to me that wronged persons would simply give in to that behavior and not report to the proper authorities.

    2 06 2012

    I agree Lou. People should start reporting them if they are asking for sensitive documentation, (which I don’t know why they would need my USA information if they are in Australia anyway for any purpose), and still are freezing accounts. Paypal used to do this until they were reported. Now they don’t freeze unless it is a clear case of fraud instead of just a speculation of fraud. Plus, they hold your money for 15 days before you can withdraw it? What is it doing just sitting in your “account”? Freelancer is not a bank or authorized holding or banking facility that can just “hold funds”. That’s a clear case of theft if they DON’T release the money. No company can keep funds if they suspend fraud. The money should be returned to the party that deposited it. That’s like if a clerk that accepts stolen money for a purchase and then keeps it after they find out its stolen and the customer gets nothing. Theft is theft and if Freelancer is freezing accounts for “fraud” and stealing money then they should be reported.

    13 06 2012

    Completely agree Lou. I must say that I haven’t actually used Freelancer for a long time, but even when I did, I always followed the rules, was careful who I worked with, and rarely had any problems. That’s not to say I haven’t had any problems, and Freelancer’s customer service is diabolical, but I have certainly never had my account suspended or had any money stolen from me. There are increasing reports of ‘theft’, but I’m unable to say whether they are true or not or whether there was any other reason for the money being taken. The fact that Freelancer are so successful and continue to grow does make one wonder whether the complainants are a small minority or if there is indeed a bigger problem.

    2 06 2012

    Wow. This is scary stuff about Someone from the company should come on here and address all of these issues. They are trying to take over the web right now for freelancing with an SEO building contest, but this blog comes up whenever you type in freelancer reviews and people are going to take these comments into consideration before using the service. The way they are holding money sounds like how Paypal use to do when they froze accounts and that’s a big turnoff for me.

    2 06 2012

    I suppose I should take some compliment from the fact that they are running this competition – they’re probably trying to push my blog down in the rankings!! 🙂

    30 01 2013
    Valerie Scott

    Hi, I’m Valerie Scott from I came across this post regarding your account’s suspension and would be glad to assist you. If you want, you may give me your username so I can help you in fixing the issue right away. I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind regards, Valerie

    4 06 2012
    Sari Crossman

    I just came across your wonderful site after doing a Google search on the keywords, “Is a scam?” It seems that it definitely is. I have been working as a freelance writer for about five years and after having yet ANOTHER experience with an employer I hooked up with through their site and not being paid, I’ve had it. So, here’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m going to post the articles that I wrote for this guy on an article directory that I regularly publish my work on. When he goes to upload it to his site, his site will be penalized by Google because they will consider that he has published copyrighted material (which he has– because he never paid me for th work, technically I did not relinquish my copyright to him). His site will drop to the lowest rankings in any google search that anyone does on his stipulated keywords which were, by the way, weight loss blog and diet. I may not get my money, but I will have a bit of easily achieved revenge. I urge everyone else who’s ever been screwed over by to do the same.
    I’m also going to do some research to see if there is anyway to lodge a formal complaint about this company with the Australian government. I believe they are headquartered in Australia. Anyone who is interested in joining me, contact me at: eijimedia(at)

    4 06 2012
    Sari Crossman

    Hi Lisa,
    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve contacted two different agencies in Australia to see about making any kind of formal complaint against this company. I am going to make it my business to try to SHUT THEM DOWN!! They exploit people all over the world and steal money from hard working freelancers. It’s time that comes to an end.

    7 06 2012

    I agree with Lou. Lisa, they are not allowed to freeze accounts with money in them like Paypal. They are not licensed by the Dept of Banking and Finance in the US and cannot legally keep funds for verification purposes. If they suspect fraud then as any other merchant they should return the funds to the purchaser but they cannot legally just hold on to them.

    10 06 2012
    Yippy Yo

    Freelancer are recruiting an SEO manager… I wonder if that has anything to do with the bad word-of-mouth they are getting from this blog and scam-report sites. You’d think they’d just try to address the problems rather than block it all out!

    SEO Manager, is the largest Australian run website in terms of global traffic! We’re now in the top 250 websites worldwide.

    You will be responsible for the SEO which drives the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace including keyword, link, trend, traffic, and search analysis!

    You will have experience driving SEO strategy for large scale websites, a strong understanding of core computer science and software development, be intelligent, highly motivated, welcome responsibility, and love to tackle difficult problems.

    Over 3.4 million users have joined to work and get work done, with over 1.5 million projects completed to date at a value of over 120 million dollars. is the world’s largest online outsourcing & crowdsourcing site.


    – Establish a rigorous, statistically driven process for tracking and evolving our SEO strategy
    – Analyze organic search metrics & perform trend analysis
    – Sitemap and search indexer analysis
    – Keyword & content analysis
    – Internal page, content, and link optimization


    – Tertiary Degree in Computer Science/Engineering or related
    – Commercial Experience with both on-page and off-page SEO techniques for large sites
    – Experience with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools
    – Strong understanding of HTML, CSS, Javascript and their relationship to SEO
    – Excellent written and spoken communication skills

    You will be exposed to the fast pace of a startup at the grass roots by a team who have built global technology companies before. If you are a talented high achiever looking for something more than a boring job in a corporate, doesn’t need to be hand held, and wants to be in at ground zero with a company that has a shot at being one of the biggest sites on the Internet, then contact us.

    About Us:

    We have a very attractive office in Jones Bay Wharf overlooking the harbour, a vibrant and fun team atmosphere, and a challenging and engaging workplace. Large LCD monitors, your choice of operating system, a well stocked kitchen (snacks, drinks, fresh fruit), company bbqs, and a view of the harbour to inspire you.

    11 06 2012

    Hi every and particular Lisa,

    Man am I glad I just stumbled across your blog post! So much useful information here, so thanks guys!

    I have looked at freelancer, odesk and a few others before but to be honest, never really trusted any of them.

    But it looks like some people here claim a few actually is legit and “works” without anyone getting the bitter end of a deal.

    I have been considering doing some freelance work myself but for now I def will keep this site bookmarked to follow the progress! thanks everyone! 😀

    / Thomas

    12 06 2012

    Ochristo here again.

    I commented before saying that has many issues, but isn’t that bad as long as you’re smart about it.

    I was wrong, is scam.

    Actually it’s not that it’s a scam, it’s just a platform for dishonesty. The main danger is not being scammed by someone the site, rather, you’re more likely to be scammed by the owners of the site or someone working for them. That’s the scary part, that’s what happened to me.

    I was and still am an exemplary 5 star freelancer and the site does have its uses (I got an awesome android app made with dollars purely earned on freelancer, this is the only tangible benefit I got from the site). But the site is dirty, they follow a different corporate culture than you’d expect from a tech company operating in 2012.

    Whatever you do, if you earn money on the site, withdraw it or spend it ASAP. DO NOT KEEP A HIGH BALANCE IN YOUR ACCOUNT. If admin sees a high balance, they will either shut down your account and freeze your funds or find a way to reduce that amount by offering you a fake project. It sounds outlandish, but this is really how they operate.

    I also have mixed feelings about Lisa, the writer of this blog. She could be who she says she is, but know how works, she could also be working for them, I’m not sure. Point is, guys, don’t trust anyone, be careful.

    PS: google image Matt Barrie, the CEO – do you see that face? Would you trust him with your money? Probably not.

    12 06 2012

    Oca, I believe you about them freezing an account with a high balance in it. Totally illegal practice. But I don’t agree with you about Lisa Martin, the blog writer. I don’t see any reason that a company would hire someone that has a negative blog about them. I understand the principle of bad publicity, but Lisa’s blogs has comments in it that push people far away from If anything I wondered if she works for PPH, whom she recommends, but definitely not Freelancer.

    12 06 2012

    Philip, you might be right about Lisa. But based on my experience with, I’ve come to distrust anything even remotely related to them even including a blog writer who writes only negative things about them (yet she’s also an freelancer affiliate). I don’t have any proof one way or the other, my main point was to be EXTREMELY careful, this is as this is not a normal company

    13 06 2012

    Anyone can be a Freelancer affiliate, there is no crime in that! I only included some affiliate links on my blog because I thought I might as well make a few cents if people do decide they want to sign up for Freelancer after reading my blog. I have made approximately $8 from these links in the past two years, so it’s certainly not a significant source of income!!

    13 06 2012

    Sigh….Please see my new post! I *promise* I don’t work for Freelancer, PPH, or any other website. I recommend PPH because it’s a much better site than Freelancer (at least in my experience), but it’s also not perfect!

    12 06 2012
    I DO NOT WORK FOR FREELANCER.COM! « Lisa A. Martin – Freelance science copywriter/editor

    […] my allegiance. Please be aware that some of the posts I have written on this blog, particularly ‘The Trouble With Freelancer’, which remains my most popular and most-commented-on post, are more than two years old, and clearly […]

    23 06 2012

    Wish I’d read about this sooner!!!

    26 06 2012

    Hello everyone! Lisa congratulations on the excellent blog created!
    Unfortunately I conclude that my problem is just a drop, after reading some of the posts on this blog. I worked as a freelance graphic designer for about four months in where I won several competitions. However the last one I won, after the employer’s decision, and sending the job to him, the money was deposited in my account, but was withheld without explanation. I asked for clarification via support desk and they told me, was that they doubted the origin of money in relation to the employer. They told me to contact him personally, that i did several times without any success. They also said that claiming this is one of the rules of and can do so, without prior notice, the result is that the employer got the final work, maintains the money blocked that is rightfully mine, and I ended up being the main damaged in the process. Right now I’m willing to complain to the authorities, but do not know whom to ask for help. Can anyone help me?

    Thanks you all!

    27 06 2012
    Vicente Gambito

    There really are people on this earth that relish in putting one over others. I’ve had my share of them and the latest was a client (not from who decided to give me a lot of small tasks scraping websites. After completing a few items, he enticed me to work with him using the Pivotal Tracker platform, saying that it was easier for him to coordinate work with a lot of freelancers.

    Under this arrangement, I would work and submit finished assignments and send him a bill. The first billing that I sent him was paid immediately; so I thought that this was a good client since we were communicating well at the work platform.

    However, after a while and after I sent him my second bill, there was silence. After more than six months of waiting, he finally comes back to me for some back job since he misplaced the finished work that I submitted. When asked about the outstanding balance of his account; he promised to pay. Up to this writing, I have not heard from the guy; but I see him at work on Skype and have even asked him politely if there was any problem with the account.

    I believe that there are some people with disorders (genetic or otherwise) who derive pleasure doing these nasty things. It is very possible that in the case of Nelson he has a similar client and has somehow found an accomplish with an employee of to con him out of the money that Nelson had earned. So, we have two people here conniving in order that they can satisfy their aberrant tendencies. may be one of those organizations that give PWDs and opportunity to be functional.

    The kindest thing we can do is to consider that they are PWDs that are unable to act like normal people.

    Spread the word around — it’s Autism Awareness Month being celebrated somewhere on this planet!

    17 07 2012
    RK Seid

    Publish a low res version of your output, everywhere. That way, you make them hesitant to use your design because it’s now on the Web. Include it in your portfolio too.

    27 06 2012
    Vicente Gambito

    I got careless. Please edit and change ‘accomplish’ to ‘accomplice’. … and please delete this message.

    27 06 2012
    Hans Gutbrod

    I would love for to work, and I like the general idea. Unfortunately, our experience was pretty negative as well:

    29 06 2012

    Well, Freelancer has a team which continuously posts fake projects and loot project acceptance fees from freelancer and after the bidder has accepted the project, they delete the project and vanish. This is biggest scam website currently in cyberspace.

    3 07 2012

    I’ve heard people accuse Freelancer of doing this before – but is there any proof??

    3 07 2012

    Lisa, are you just trying to be non biased when you answer these questions? Sometimes it looks like you are taking up for the scumbags at is all. But, I know you are just being professional. 🙂

    17 07 2012
    RK Seid

    I believe you are right. I bid and got accepted on two similar jobs. One was reported a fraud so I complained that the other one is also a fraud, well, guessed what, they never took down the other one. I thank God my account was suspended or else I will be having negative income just for bidding, I mean, hey I was looking for work and now I have to pay? I might as well give that money to the blind.

    29 06 2012

    I thought I was the only one who had problems with Freelancer. Freelancer is a complete joke. I lost over $200 with them, because of 1.) “we need for you to write a test article for the job”; the buyer wouldn’t select a person to do the project. Essentially, you lost your time and money. 2.) Foreigners (from Middle Eastern countries) who don’t know how to add steal your money. For example, I bid $500 for a project, and Freelancer takes 10% of the project, which is $50. The employer agreed to pay for 200, 1000 word articles $400 instead of $500. It was stupid on my part that he was going to pay $1.00 per 500 word article. So, I cancelled the project, but Freelancer would not refund my money. 3.) DO NOT. Absolutely, DO NOT go offsite (Gmail, Skype, etc.), because they will scam you there as well. One time, someone talked me into writing offsite, because they did not want to pay for Freelancer fees. I got scammed because the person took the articles and ran. He was going to pay me $3 per 200 words, and I wrote 10,000 words. He was from Pakistan. I had another person who was from Pakistan who scammed me. She paid me $39 for 50 articles. Less than $1 per article. Told her that she needed to pay more on GChat, but she was rude and told me to leave her alone. I also had a person from Canada who went offsite. I typed 10 articles for $45. And, his employers did not accept his articles, because they were “plagiarized.” I HAVE NEVER IN MY YEARS OF FREELANCING PLAGIARIZED ARTICLES. So, for that, I lost $45. And, he will not pay me for the amount that he still owes me, $5. Instead, he is rude and makes empty promises. It has been a week since he owes me $5. 4.) Do not trust escrow. I had a person who “escrowed” money. Did not have the money at all. I later had to cancel the project, because I was not happy with the overall outcome and the lack of communication.

    Listen to me, and listen to me good. DO NOT TRUST FREELANCER.COM. GO TO ANOTHER SITE.

    3 07 2012

    I have to say Alicia that the problems you describe are perfect examples of problems that are NOT caused by Freelancer but by the USERS of that site. Freelancer is by no means a perfect organization and should be doing more to prevent scammers from operating on the site, but the fact that people who want to scam you exist in the world is not Freelancer’s fault. You need to be VERY careful about who you are working with, whichever website or means you use to find work (this applies in the ‘real world’ too!). NEVER give out free samples of work, ALWAYS communicate clearly with the project owner before accepting it and make sure they agree to your bid amount, ALWAYS request and make sure you receive a milestone payment BEFORE doing any work, and DON’T break the terms and conditions of the website you are using (e.g. accepting a Freelancer project outside of Freelancer is not allowed). I would highly recommend getting your buyer to agree to a contract before you accept the project – you will usually find that scammers won’t want to sign it, which is a clear signal for you to stay away. If they do sign it and still scam you, then you can prove that they have broken the terms of your employment and can recoup your costs through a lawyer, if you want to go down that route (though Freelancer will not help you).

    28 09 2012

    Unfortunately it is the truth.
    Freelancer is the worst freelance job site.

    9 10 2012

    You are wrong at various levels:

    1- is not a freelance job site…

    2- Therefore, they don’t suck at it… since freelancing is not their purpose in the first place…

    3- They are just a scam site…

    4- And they are very good at it… we could even venture to say they are provably the greatest scamming business at international level today…

    2 07 2012
    Max Dowden

    Just getting started in the online work world and have been trying to figure out which sites are best. Thanks everyone for helping me recognize I need to stay clear of Freelancer. Scammer or no, they are clearly more hassle that I’ll ever recoup in fees.

    Sounds like elance, olance, and perhaps fiver are the way to go.

    3 07 2012

    Task Army pre-screens its freelancers by requiring them to submit oDesk and Elance profiles. There is no bidding process. Click on:

    13 07 2012

    Thanks, this actually looks quite good!

    13 07 2012
    Vicente Gambito

    Lisa, I am glad that there is some agreement on how this platform operates. Perhaps, if we leveraged on the popularity of your blog due to the disappointments with one platform your blog could hasten the rise of more organized effort to improve the lot of serious freelancers.

    When I started doing online jobs two years ago; I never imagined that I would get an invitation to bid on a project. Somehow, after seeing to it that I always tried to satisfy my clients I am now being invited to bid at oDesk and Elance as well. I have proven to myself that good honest work can result in more job opportunities.

    As a result of my profiles at oDesk and Elance; it was not difficult for Task Army to include me in their ranks of freelancers. I would like to think that Task Army can be a legitimate screen for serious clients wanting to outsource more jobs against time wasters.

    The reason for my observation is that over at oDesk, I have found too many clients offering jobs for $5-$10 and they get over fifty applications on the first day. Even if they say that it is urgent and that they would want to have it in on the following day; I still cannot believe that they continue to waste the time of hundreds of applicants by keeping the posting for weeks. These people are not serious outsourcing clients. I tend to believe that they are there to take advantage of a lot of newbie freelancers. Why would a manager waste his time trying to select from hundreds of applicants when the amount of time that he spends trying to award the job might actually be more expensive than the $5 or $10 he promises to pay?

    I look at Task Army as a place where one can go after he or she has gained some good feedback and even honest referrals from satisfied clients. The only problem now is that Task Army doesn’t have as great an exposure as the other platforms and that is understandable. Perhaps if the more serious outsourcers and freelancers that has made your blog popular could be convince to find out about TA, then we would all have a new alternative to the scummy places.

    See it today…..——–>

    17 07 2012
    RK Seid

    And now TaskArmy too:

    3 07 2012

    Freelancer just scammed hundreds of people into created web pages for them and selected an obviously pre selected winner. These guys are so slimy. Why don’t someone create a better freelancing site, Lisa? is a scam.

    13 07 2012

    I disagree this was a scam – entrants to Freelancer’s recent SEO competition were fully aware of the rules and outcomes of the contest and didn’t have to enter it if they didn’t want to. That’s not to say that I think it was a good competition – I think it’s quite slimy actually, but scam? No.

    There are plenty of other freelancing sites to choose from Harriett – my favourite ones are Elance and People Per Hour, but if you browse my posts, some of my readers have mentioned lots of others. One reader has in fact tried to set up his own freelancing site – read the comments here:

    13 07 2012

    Freelancer has taken over unfortunately. There’s goes my refuge as I can no longer use that site either. I guess I will jump to Elance to get away from them again

    Also @Harriett I agree that seo contest was a scam as Lisa probably doesn’t have the full details and is speaking generally. The winner was obviously pre chosen and Freelancer didn’t follow their own contest rules when selecting them as a winner. The rules stated that the winner should have good grammar in their entry and Freelancer’s winner had the poorest use of the English language among other things.

    Freelancer has even “hidden” the contest page from its dashboard unlike the previous ones they’ve had because of the outrage from the contestants who knew they were treated unfairly. Having a contest with rules that you do not follow and having people spend weeks working on websites when you know you aren’t going to follow those rules when choosing a winner IS a scam. Even though it was voluntary it was still a scam. Loss of time is just as important as loss of money and still makes a scam.

    10 07 2012

    Hi, today took money unauthorized by me from my paypal account, then when I complained to them about it they suspended my account.

    13 07 2012

    I think Freelancer is an organization that feels it is untouchable… I posted a project for bidding and shortlisted several freelancer who showed me what they had done in the past before i awarded the project to the successful Freelancer. After i made payment for the first milestone to the freelancer, i got my account suspended and have since been humiliated with all sorts of requests for identification from Freelancer. 3 weeks have gone by and over 6 requests for identification has been sent, and still my account remains blocked and my project stalled..

    In the interim, they had charged me $400 for awarding the project and now end up harassing my life… I think they may just be racists or insensitive in their approach…

    14 07 2012
    jessicabyw (@jyub79)

    Hi Lisa,

    This is a very informative post about; articles such as this will give freelancers ideas how various outsourcing marketplaces operates at the same time give them ideas how to protect themselves from being scammed.

    I came to know about this article thanks to Vicente Gambito, who is a freelancer at TaskArmy.

    I used to do freelancing work on Elance, I’m also not fond of the bidding system and I dislike getting numerous invitations to bid on projects not suitable to my skill set. Over a year ago I learned about TaskArmy through its founder, Aymeric. I started working for him for small projects which later turned into managing the whole TaskArmy website. Aside from managing TaskArmy, I personally have posted several services here so I’m no longer using Elance and oDesk.

    Aymeric understands the hassle involves with outsourcing and one of the things he does not want to encourage is the bidding madness found on many of the outsourcing platforms. That’s why on TaskArmy, freelancers can create a service and post a fixed price for what he or she is offering. For freelancers it’s putting value to your service; you don’t have to price $2 for a 500-word article just because everyone else is doing so. It encourages fair-play.

    TaskArmy is also making outsourcing easy especially for buyers/clients who are new to it. We make it like a one-stop shop. TaskArmy is also protecting freelancers by asking buyers to pay first for the project, hold on to the money and pay the freelancer once the project is completed. Sounds simple?
    I’m not here to sell TaskArmy just because I’m managing it. But I have experienced and benefited from TaskArmy’s platform and its simplicity.

    Though there are still a lot of things to improve but for now, I’m happy with how it works. Any platform is open to abuse (both by freelancers and the clients) and that is what we are trying to avoid on TaskArmy.
    You many also want to read this article by Aymeric on his thoughts about oDesk,

    Thank you all for taking the time to read this 🙂

    17 07 2012
    RK Seid

    You mean “escrow” by this “TaskArmy is also protecting freelancers by asking buyers to pay first for the project, hold on to the money and pay the freelancer once the project is completed.”
    Also since oDesk does not escrow funds, many fixed price jobs may not get paid, as the agreement on oDesk fixed price job terms specifies. SO what do I do when I don’t get paid? I silently pull out the rug… like if I had written them tons of articles, I publish them as a blog. Unpaid forum postings? delete your posts.

    15 07 2012

    TaskArmy looks like a good site. 🙂

    @Domitri I agree that Freelancer thinks they are untouchable, but they truly aren’t. A new player is coming in pretty soon to the market with a “new twist” that even Freelancer can’t compete with. They owe its forming to their own actions and I promise you people will leave Freelancer to use it.

    16 07 2012

    Hi Lisa, you seem to know so much about Freelancer, how come the dudes don’t give a darn about whose ox is gored? I have been humiliated by so many requests for identification as if I am in a criminal lineup and it just does not end…at this time, I am so frustrated with Freelancer that I will rather walkaway than be humiliated further… My account is still blocked, and they seem not to care… Any ideas on how they can be reached besides the number on their Whois records? Because I am about to go wild with Freelancer with phone callss…

    17 07 2012

    @Dotimi Not sure if this is still right but its from business records not their website. Freelancer International Pty Ltd, Se 501 35 Lime St
    Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia Phone:(02) 9279 3305

    Hopefully you can get Barrie at home and give him a piece of your mind personally.

    Heres the thing. Someone along the line when companies like GetAFreelancer get bigger they start not caring about what happens to the little guy.

    Lisa and all that read this, did you know that when Freelancer was GetAFreelancer a long time ago they use to actually help investigate a users complaint about a scammer on the site? They really did. But now since they are so large all they care about is making money off you, the scammers and whomever else. They don’t care about their users, just their user’s money.

    They have thousand of dollars deposited in their site daily for projects. THOUSANDS! It’s like a mini-Paypal. Like the other poster stated they will charge any type of fee they can to hold on to that money.

    Not only that! When you are paid for a freelancing job, don’t plan on using that money any time soon as there is a 15-day hold on withdrawal from any funds — even those funds that are given to you by Freelancer themselves! I know the winner of a Freelancer contest and they even withheld their own prize money from them for 15 days! How can you verify yourself from fraud???

    It’s just an excuse to keep the money in your account as long as possible so they can get some of it back with membership fees and hope that you will place a project yourself. It’s all a scam from a big corporation that needs to be taken down a peg.

    18 07 2012

    GetAFreelancer was owned by a different organization based in Sweden. It was taken over by the current Australian team, who renamed it Freelancer, and has become a victim of its own success!

    16 07 2012
    Lisa L

    The trouble I have with is the many fees it charges. They charge both employer and freelancer project fees after they select the project. Then if you create a milestone and pay a freelancer they take a percentage of that payment plus another project fee on top of that! So you pay them commission three times or more and that is really overdoing it. I welcome a place that will not take so many fees.

    16 07 2012

    @Lisa L. Don’t forget that on top of those fees there is a monthly membership fee of $4+ depending on the membership.

    Here is typical of You pay a basic membership fee. $4+ minimum. Then you post a project. You can’t change your mind and delete the project or there is a $4 fee. So when you place a project you have to either select someone ($3 fee) or just leave the project in limbo because they will charge you to delete it. After you select the person then they charge that fee to both you and the person you select. That’s almost $10 right there they make. You make a milestone payment and they are going to take a percentage of each milestone you pay the person. Then after that when you give the final milestone and leave feedback there is ANOTHER project percentage fee.

    For just a $100 project the freelancer and me got charged over $20+ in fees from Freelancer. That’s really excessive and I can’t wait until the new site is started.

    17 07 2012
    RK Seid

    You can try (me shamelessly piggybacking a referral) or just, also (no escrow) and

    16 07 2012

    There is a bad business site to report Australian business that had done you wrong. I’d start by reporting Freelancer to that site and then contact Australian business authorities if you have your money frozen in an account with them.

    17 07 2012
    Devils Advocate

    But are the excessive fees of really a scam? Lots of companies charge many fees for their services but does that make the company a scam, per se?

    18 07 2012

    I agree with you. The fees may be high but they are not hidden.

    18 07 2012

    I didn’t know about the project deletion fee until after I had deleted a project. Some of them are listed in the q&a section and not quoted until later. The excessive fees are not a scam, but we are listing the “trouble” we have with Freelancer on Lisa’s blog and sometimes the word scam will come up. I think she actually has a separate blog for that. 🙂

    18 07 2012

    @Lisaamartin I get it now. Thank you. GAF was owned by a team in Sweden and this site is owned by different people. That explains why the customer service got so bad after they took over. That usually happens in a buyout or takeover as the new ‘owners’ are generally just concerned about the revenue that the site was making other than customer service.

    I wouldn’t call Freelancer successful, though. Not yet. It’s true that money and power is indicative of success in this world, but if you lack good morals, customer service and from what I’m hearing about those contestants, fairness as they lack, eventually someone will come along and take you down or bite into your profits.

    For example look at auction giant eBay. Even though they are obviously still the most popular, successful auction site, WebStore is still gaining up on them and has been for several years. It’s not impossible to take down a giant and they should be aware of that.

    19 07 2012

    Not to disprove your theory, but I’d never heard of WebStore until now! I will check it out though!

    There are lots of new freelancing websites opening all the time – hopefully one of them will come up with a better model. I came across a new one today called – it’s very new and is just a basic directory for UK freelancers only, rather than a global bidding site. Could be useful though! They are offering free listings at the moment too!

    19 07 2012

    LOL @lisaamartin and @terri. I heard of Webstore last year. True that they are eating into ebay’s pockets but it will take several more years before they can really make household name status. They are catching on though.

    Actually I still think the freelancing website business doesn’t have a clear household name. When I say “Elance” then a lot of people have heard of it even though our common enemy Freelancer is the largest freelancing site. Odesk is somewhat new to me and I hadn’t heard of Guru or People Per Hour or TaskArmy until I found Lisa’s blog. (which I am subscribed to as you can see.)

    I’m happy to see the smaller sites start with the free listings as many ants can take down a huge grasshopper! 🙂

    20 07 2012

    Hello bloggers. I have too left I had to wait over 15 days for a payment by my employer to be approved for withdrawal to Paypal only to have my account blocked on the day that it was supposed to be approved. This is nothing but a scam and appalling. I am now in the verification process trying to get my account restored and money so I can leave them totally for good.

    I am also one of the people who had entered that scam of a writing contest last month that others are talking about. I put in 4 entries that were very well written in English and they ranked on the second page of Google. The winners that Freelancer selected were all entries from non-US and UK countries and the winner was a poorly written article by a team of rude writers from Bangladesh. Freelancer is planning to visit the country in a few months and the contest was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

    US and UK writers had the best written articles and had ranking as far as the rules stated and the 2nd and 3rd place winners didn’t even rank high on Google at all. They were also from other countries including Freelancer’s home country Australia. Freelancer lost a lot of US and UK freelancers that put time and effort into that fixed contest and I just want to be rid of them for good. I’m hoping to get my money soon. Freelancer are a bunch scam artists and cheaters. Thank you for this blog Lisa and good day to all.

    21 07 2012

    Vishal you hit it on the head about the rude Bangladesh winning team!

    Lisa, did you know that Freelancer had two or three contestants that were stalked and humiliated on Freelancer’s facebook from that “winning team”? Freelancer asked on their facebook page who do people think should win the contest and the people from Bangladesh stalked and taunted anyone that posted that it wouldn’t be them.

    They were reported to Freelancer by several people that their rude behavior and stalking actions and should have them disqualified and what did Freelancer do? They award them $10,000 for a horrendous entry and reckless behavior! Can you believe that?

    One of my colleagues was a contestant that was stalked and harassed by the Bangladesh team and is still taking it pretty bad to this day. If Freelancer was in the US they would be sued for the depression that my colleague is still going through after that ordeal. They did nothing but condone the rude behavior of that team with the Freelancer name.

    I guess that is why I subscribed to your blog, Lisa. It helps to know that Freelancer is wronging others and people are talking about it.

    20 07 2012

    This site has taken over Scriptlance in which I have been using since 2004. I have no idea why Rene sold out to them and took away our freelance web community. They are now charging fees that Scriptlance didn’t charge and having us wait for our money that was already in our account. We didn’t receive fair warning before the takeover as I didn’t have time to withdraw my funds before the merger. This is so sad indeed. I just came back from vacation and Scriptlance and my money was gone. Scriptlance had a simple verification process to receive our funding and now Freelancer has made it difficult for us. I am searching for another place. I am really disappointed as I didn’t think that Rene and Scriptlance were doing so bad that they felt they had to merge the businesses.

    23 07 2012
    Eric Hill

    Hello Lisa Martin,

    It took me and my company only 3 projects to find out that wasn’t the site for us to hire freelancers. We are also upset about the writing contest as well as other issues with site, (ie, poor customer support, lack of meditation, verification and withholding of funding to our freelancers.)

    Just reading all these comments lets me know that my group and I are doing the right thing by starting our own freelancing site. (launches Jan 2013). We are making up the plans for the site now and it has a freelancing business model that we are sure will knock the current competitor off of that pedestal.

    We will focus on getting small businesses in the US and the UK to outsource as Freelancer seems to be more focused on other countries. Becoming the global leader in “junk freelancing projects” doesn’t make sense to me but to each their own.

    I hope most of the people on your blog that have money tied up in this company’s website get their funds out. I was an employer on the site so didn’t have to go through that dilemma, but rest assured, yet another company is listening to your readers complaints about and doing something about it.

    Eric Hill
    Co-Founder (launching January 2013)

    24 07 2012

    Congratulations for making that step, Eric! You can count on me to register as a freelancer in your site that promises to be what is not.

    I knew that if I continued to lurk here in Lisa’s blog, I would be in the front seat watching the evolution of freelancing platforms fueled by disgruntled employers and freelancers.

    When you are successful, don’t forget to thank Lisa, her followers and for showing you the way. :=)

    27 07 2012

    I agree with mistergram. I can’t wait to see what you guys do with your new site, Eric. Also, a definite thanks to Lisa and her blog! I don’t know if she meant to do it, but she definitely started a revolution with this 2+ year blog!

    Yes, and also thank for showing them what NOT to do.

    27 07 2012
    Romita Dey

    Hi Lisa

    I have been a member of Freelancer for a few months now and have won projects and received my payments as well, but recently there has been a rise in the number of fraud projects. I have been cheated twice by people who posted fraud projects and one of them even cancelled the project after awarding the project to me. Anyways I am the only earning member of my family and I am always in need of money….so I bid on this project which promised to pay $4 per 500 words but clearly stated that there will be no upfront payments. All this really might seem foolish to you but I just cannot explain just how much money I need right now . I won the project and accepted it. So this user is “payment verified” but my dashboard is showing that the “the user does not have enough money to pay for the project in full” . I have started the work and I am really confused about whether she would pay or not. I am working at nights which is really stressful for me bcause I have to work throughout the day. Another thing is that she hired about 13 freelancers including me and so she must have paid $3 per freelancer. So I really don’t understand why she refused to put a milestone system in place if she can afford to hire so many writers at once!! It has been just one day and I am already feeling somewhat disheartened…..If we cannot even trust a project which has been awarded on then what are the options for us poor freelancers?

    27 07 2012

    Lisa martin thank you for your blog. Didn’t know all this was going on in name of freelancer jobs. I usually don’t accept any job offer from countries outside India. I personally meet the client and then satisfy myself about genuine projects then sign a MoU with them. The rates i charge are defined by international norms. Yes that would make me extremely unfavorable for most hirer… I agree with Mr. Eric Hill, starting a new website is a way to go for those with means. The rest of the folks will have to be extra careful. Internet is worse if we walk through it with eyes closed and hand on heart. Sorry ican’t give you my real name and email.

    28 07 2012
    Sanea has a shitty staff, if they don’t know how to help you or don’t want to help you they will just ignore your “support tickets” and don’t answer you. Very unprofessional staff!!! And they have VERY big membership prices!!! I DON’T recommend, there are other great and FREE freelancer sites in internet! Don’t use

    30 07 2012

    Freelancer is more and more trying to disguise themselves as a payment processor site. They have now introduced an invoice system for people to bill and pay non freelancer clients. They will charge fees for deposits and withdrawals. This site is acting so illegally as it is nothing more as trying to become a “Paypal for freelancers”. They have no banking license in any country to do this and it is actually money laundering and racketeering. Paypal should really now about their practices as Freelancer is turning itself into a payment processing site without a license.

    30 07 2012

    Freelancer is about to scam by end of 2012 or early 2013, through reliable internal resources it has been revealed that due to many acquisitions and merger, management is in sever financial crisis and also is on a check by US government due to money laundering issues. so, is finding it hard to match with the requirements, have taken back support totally to their old address i.e., and also not providing online 24/7 support, Please beware that its about to scam anytime, withdraw ur earning if u ve any there and also find the new freelancing website.

    14 08 2012

    Thanks for that update @Arshad I knew that USA would start investigation for money laundering soon. That is totally what they are doing — washing money and stealing money from their users to do so.

    30 07 2012

    Actually @Paul I’m glad they have the invoicing now. It’s another dumb move on their part because they are allowing the freelancer to send their contact information directly to the employer, thus giving them a way to contact each other to pay without the freelancer fees. In their haste to try to control the money like Paypal they are making it easier for more freelancers to use their site just to make contacts and actually deal offline. Just create an invoice and send your contact information to the employer, and then the employer can contact you and pay directly – no freelancer fees. The trouble with freelancer is that in their haste to get more money they are making mistakes.

    On a good note I think they are letting me have access to my money now. We will see.

    2 08 2012
    Freelancer User

    I am a PHP programmer and I have been using Freelancer since 2004. I live in Houston, TX. I work on small hourly rates but I am quick so I make “okay” money.

    It is because of this website that I have gotten in contact with countless clients, who are still working with me. I managed to form 3-4 partnership companies with the people I worked with. These people are now my good friends, business partners, and they send a lot of work my way.

    Freelancer has evolved over the years. It was a Swedish company before it was acquired by Matt Barrie and his team in Australia. We have seen the evolution, some changes very good and some quite needless. To be successful at Freelancer, you have to be very careful. A rule of thumb: always use escrow. Another rule that we follow: no free samples or mock ups. Freelancer no longer sends the email address of the employer to the freelancer; ASK FOR IT! That’s what I do the first thing I win a job. I’ve posted as an employer too and so far, I was very lucky – I ended up working with some very talented people. One girl in Indonesia is now a permanent member of our team.

    Like any good thing, there are always people who will abuse it and those who will make good use of it. Use it wisely, and it’s a great tool to find new clients and build up a portfolio. Those acquired clients do not have to go back to Freelancer when they want to hire you again, they can do it directly. The aim of Freelancer is just to set up a meeting place between the employer and the freelancer. I’ve worked on countless jobs for clients who I met over Freelancer but we handled the rest of the projects outside of Freelancer.

    I do not agree with some of the recent changes they’ve made – the new inbox and notifications system, the new credits system, to name a few. The site is now bloated and takes forever to load. But all in all, I owe some of my great work relationships to Freelancer.

    14 08 2012

    Glad you were smart enough to make connections outside of the site before they started making it harder to do so. This was the prime reason for them not to allow contact outside of the site so that they can charge fees and then block your account. I totally agree that you should ask for the email address of the client and deal outside of the site if you can. Even though if they catch you — its curtains for your account that you don’t need anyway.

    23 08 2012

    When I won a competition hosted by Mr Matt Barrie himself the first thing he did was send me his email details LOL. I love the code one has to use to disguise one’s email address in pm’s.

    2 08 2012

    Freelancer are thieves, stolen my money

    2 08 2012

    Can anyone advise me a telephone number for – they ignore all of my mails and my support requests. I do fear I may have been the victim of a scam here as I have money in my account from my Scriptlance days and have no access to it.

    Is this a real company?


    14 08 2012

    @Matt Yes, they are a real company based out of Sydney Australia. No published phone number online as I can find that is working. Your Scriptlance money is probably history as we had no warning of this merger at all before it even happened.

    18 08 2012

    no chances to get your money back, they are the WORSE “company” I have ever seen!!!!!!! You are not the first one who remains without money because they are suspenind/blocking accounts with money and then just ignore any emails… they should be submitted to the court

    23 08 2012

    I looked at the Sweetlancer site and think that it is a good idea to defer fees for 1 year. I’m a little concerned with how much that logo looks like the Freelancer logo modified though so they may want to rethink that one.

    23 08 2012
    Vicente Gambito

    The symmetry and the curves are in sharp contrast with the logo; perhaps, the theme colors used may be similar. They should have selected red, white and blue with a lot of stars to emphasize the nationalist flavor of the site.

    Unless the site can repeal the law of supply and demand, it is bound to become the host of American “free lancer intermediaries” -operators recruiting real freelancers to do work that is passed on to star spangled banner outsourcers as work done in the US of A. In mass-market consumer marketing, this is called re-packaging.

    Of course, I wouldn’t mind being repackaged! My brand is generic and it can also go to the highest bidder. 🙂

    23 08 2012

    Joined freelancer because it looks like a legit website from the outset and I needed a freelancer to do some work. All the freelancers wanted $ WAY above my asking price/budget, so I wanted to delete my ad.

    Freelancer charges you $5.00 for this!!! I had 2-3 ads I needed deleting due to the same reason. (I hired 1 free lancer out of 4).

    Freelancer is a GREEDY company and I will NOT be using them again.

    23 08 2012

    I could not find a phone number anywhere for, however I did find this number for the Australian Securities and Investments commission, (02) 9911-2000. I will be contacting them if I do not receive my money back in the next 7 to 10 days. They may be able to help.

    28 08 2012

    Hi, I just sign up to use – the most terrible site today to outsource a few projects. First there was a $5 dollar payment verification/sign up fee (or whatever you call it) and Freelancer system stated that the minimal transaction fee is $10 (+ a few cents). Fine, I funded the $10 (plus the few extra cents). Please be noted that is having issues with Paypal (as stated in the header on payment page). So, I had to use my card. $5 goes into’s bank account and the balance $5 remains in my account.

    My guess is that probably, PAYPAL has banned Freelancer.

    I posted my projects and only to get bids and replies from some scammers from India who wanted to be contacted via Skype or Gtalk. Everything seems perfect and when I asked them if they could start the project immediately as I need to fund the escrow and all hell broke loose. Those fellas claimed to be having payment issues with Freelancers because supposedly their are in the midst of changing the bank account in India and with Paypal they can get the money easily. Its the same case with all the 3 Indian scumbags.

    I went to support and support was not available (sleeping, I guess). Submitted a ticket and there is no respond (well, all those support people must be having sweet dreams with our hard earned money- after all its 3 am in Australia). Fine, I will let go of that.

    I was late. As I am always. Just found this blog along with a few others on Freelancer is a scam search term on Google. After reading all the horror stories on SCAM, I decided to withdraw the balance $5 from my financial account (remember i told you i paid $10 to freelancer as that is the minimal transaction allowed – $5 for CEO Matt Barie’s pocket and the other $5 remains in my account). Okay, managed to load the “Withdraw Funds” page after multiple times (keep in mind that their servers are damn slow).

    WTH, they charge a dollar to withdraw funds to my account via Paypal and there is a turn-around period of 15 days and its subject to approval. Wanna know the WORST FREELANCER.COM SCAM part? Minimum amount to withdraw is $30. So, this ultimate scam machine called has easily pocketed $10 for nothing. is a SCAM!.

    I wish the Hackers hack this whole website and make it beyond usable. Wish Julian Assange could write about this big Australian scam. Let’s all of us who are the 99% avoid these scam website for good.

    I have also noticed that there are too many successful jobs completed. I mean, a lot of the employers post some high end programming with a budget of $50-$300 (completed within 2 weeks) and it has been successfully completed with a 5 star rating for both employer and employee. When I post the same/similar thing, the minimum bid is $3000 and above (delivery within 60 days). Looks like Freelancer is posting fake jobs under multiple users and their own team is faking the bid as fake employees. I wonder why these same programmers (have invited them) are not willing to bid on my project, although I am willing to pay more for the same (exact) job and all of them are not online at the same although their profile states different countries. Hmmm…I should have checked account creation time and last login time, too sick to go back to that website. I smell a rat. Something very fishy.


    29 08 2012

    Thanks for the update. I knew that it would be just a matter of time before Paypal would see through their scam. That new invoicing system of theirs is nothing more than money laundering for fees and Paypal is most likely not going to have it.

    28 08 2012

    Hi Lisa,

    Just wanted to update you that I posted the projects on Elance and awarded one of the job. Keeping my fingers crossed that it is not another con artist from India. One thing that I found out with freelancers is that most of them bid without reading about the project (requirements and description), I have yet to get freelancers/bidders who actually reads all the requirements as they will never type out the secret code hidden in between the points. Perhaps I should go with a one or two liner job requirements next time.

    Not being racist. I have nothing against Indians. But, most that I encountered on freelancing websites are scammers and spammers in one way or another – might be the same person or team with multiple accounts. They always wants the money upfront (at least a certain percentage) as deposit released to their account without any work/milestone being done. Arent we suppose to deposit as milestone and have about 15 days or so to review their work before it is released. Well it is not always the case with them. I mean, if I am going to pay 30-50% upfront without seeing any thing, I dont really have to use a freelancing site. I could as well place a ad on craiglist.

    Another thing that I noticed in Freelancer is that most freelancers claiming to be from US or UK are actually from India. Well, they definitely dont sound like Indian Americans. Wonder why do they have to fake their location.

    Secondly, most legitimate US companies that are actually registered under Indians (the person dealing during bidding process will be from India) will definitely outsource to a large firm in India. This creates a hassle as there are no direct communication involved and the chances of project going haywire is high.

    Overall you are doing a great job Lisa. Keep up with the good work on educating people on freelancing. If you are working for or an adviser with, please tell them that they need to improve on their vetting process of legitimate freelancers before they are even allowed to bid. Genuine employers might be wasting a lot of time and money with this scrupulous scammers.

    29 08 2012

    What should be done is to put a code in the case of programming, starting from certain date that is necessary to put a password.

    4 09 2012
    Himawan Jogja

    I know it would be hard to say this to you all.
    That had paid me over my winning design contest worth $ 260 USD because I’ve just withdraw funds at amount of $ 260 for.
    Maybe job & hourly job will many problems with milestones or employer’s review but in contest design there’s nothing to worry about’s payment system there which milestones not to be requirement for. It’s the following links of mine :

    Thanks You

    4 09 2012
    Himawan Jogja

    I know it would be hard to say this to you all.
    That had paid me over my winning design contest worth $ 260 USD because I’ve just withdraw funds at amount of $ 260 for.
    Maybe job & hourly job will many problems with milestones or employer’s review but in contest design there’s nothing to worry about’s payment system there which milestones not to be requirement for. It’s the following links of mine :

    Thanks You

    7 09 2012

    Freelancer is the worst freelance job site. They have too many hidden fees and collect all project fees upfront even before any milestone payment. When a project goes awry, they will insist you pull money out of thin air and pay for a project that never materialized. They are very adamant about that.

    It is unbelievable they get away with their highly dubious practices. My simple solution to their brazen exhibition of fraud is keep my account running, as soon as a client opens up a communication channel after portfolio review, I simply take them to Elance or Guru. Works all the time and I have no regrets. Get your clients from Freelance (more like FLEECElancer) and take them to Elance/Guru or any freelance job site without some elaborate scheme to bleach you dry.

    To hell with freelancer.

    11 09 2012

    I agree @Andrew To Hell With Freelancer. Hopefully everyone continues to comment on this site so it will rise in the search results under “Is A Scam?” because these incidents will deter people away from using the site.

    28 09 2012

    I agree Andrew To Hell With Freelancer.

    24 11 2012

    Well, I resigned from Elance and moved to freelancer over the past couple weeks. It’s pretty much the same as Elance. Lots of fake clients trolling for designs, rates are too low. Competition from 3rd world countries is stiff. I had won a contest which payed out 100$. The contest was actually put on by freelancer, after winning I took a look at the logistics of the payment. Freelancer billed a commission for a project they internally posted (lol). I bitched about it, and they waived/returned the fee. I then discovered that in order to get my winnings paid out to my pay pal account I’d have to wait 15 days for them to run the their security check, whatever that means? Apparently after that first check they lock your account and you can not extract any funds for another 20 days. I’m assuming they’re just capitalizing on the interest from my winnings sitting in their bank accounts. I was wondering why they’d need to run a security check on a pay pal transfer? Aren’t pay pal transfers a secure way to receive funds? Idk, it all seems fairly convoluted to me, and as I mentioned its just way a method for freelancer to collect the interest on other people’s money’s. Anyways I also discovered that freelancer doesn’t mail out payments either (unlike Elance). They also won’t do a wire transfer for less than 500$. So no matter what I must wait the fifteen days to get paid. This kinda funny because freelancer posted this contest citing that they wanted a quick turn around, I produced and turned over the required files within 24hrs, yet I must wait half a month to get paid paid, like wtf! Anyways, I’m done with freelancer and have signed up to 99designs and ill see where this leads. So far there are thousands of submissions for these contests and tons of designers submitting designs without reading or understanding the design brief and basically visually clogging the site and confusing the hell out of contest posters with there plagiarized and crap designs. – oh and I also want to note that while on freelancer I read of one freelance designer who got ripped off for almost 500$ and failed to take any action or responsibility for the scam that a client had posted. I wrote to in support of the guy who had been scammed and I also encouraged other freelancer members to do the same. Unfortunately the worker was never compensated and was basically told by freelancer that it was his responsibility to chase down the money (lol). Freelancer is in my opinion a joke. I also want to point out that freelancer is chalk full of clients trolling for design ideas, a number of contests I entered went unawarded and these contest posters just disappearing. I have a few contests I entered and awaiting the contest winner decision. In particular “giant swan pool toys” where this contest poster didn’t seal the contest and half way through the contest basically stopped checking the design submissions. So obviously this poster was just there to source out ideas for whatever means other than to actually get pay for and get a design. With all this said I’m done focussing on these types of sites. As I mentioned I’m on 99designs now and will only put in a minimal amount if effort here. I wonder how so many people put in all this effort to these sites when the rewards are so far and few between. In essence these sites are really a big waste of time.

    16 09 2012

    I wish I had stumbled on this blog much before. I am from India and if strives to provide a platform for developing countries like us. it should be in both words and action. I was awarded a project for the first time after nearly 6 months of bidding and I am now $-5. The buyer after awarding the job to 10 providers has cancelled the project and opened another project for the same work and has again awarded to another 5 providers.

    I followed up with the support desk and all they have to tell me is that is a platform for the buyers and providers to meet and it is introductory commission which cannot be refunded whatever happens to the project. Such is commitment to the providers. I was also advised to demand a milestone payment after getting a project awarded and before accepting it to safeguard myself. When I highlighted the issue of another project for the same requirement by the buyer, all they can say is report it.

    Negative balance will automatically suspend my account. If can care as much as they care for their money to provide quality services providers like us who are there will not feel cheated and disappointed.

    Thanks Lisa, for giving me an opportunity to open up and convey my disgust.

    17 09 2012
    Stephanie SUCKS! I posted a project, got charge $45 and the writer withdrew. I paid $45 for NOTHING!! Total scam!!!! DON’T USE FREELANCER.COM!!!!!

    17 09 2012


    read below:

    Never convert you money on freelancer to any other currency. you will never notice but you loose an amount equal to “1 week car fuel” just by converting a small amount of £200

    Yeah, I am serious!!!
    I tried converting £200 to USD’s . here is the conversion rate on 18th sep, 2012

    £200 GBP = $295.53 USD

    Then try converting same $295.53 to GBP. You will get £178.96

    Where does the £21.04 goes to?
    It goes in the pockets of vultures.

    You do this to save you $1 payout on paypal. but you never know you lost £20 in this conversion.

    This £20 is a huge amount and in poor southasian countries like India, Pakistan, Srilanka etc. this amount is equal to Bread and butter for 1 month for a poor family.

    Don’t know what to say :(., I myself noted this today and I calculated that till date, I had lost more than $500 to these freelancer Dogs.


    19 09 2012

    I am located in the US and I represent a small business that has no other choice but to outsource to be able to afford an internet developer. I ran into and posted the job, the issue is that the bidder wants me to do an escrow deposit of $1,000…

    So, I have started to investigate how trustworthy actually is, and you will be amazed on how many complaints are around… too much noise for it not to be true… I have tried their customer support and it truly sucks: completely unprofessional, unaware of the rules of the company, they only advise they have is for you to e-mail support…

    I even clicked on the “contact us” link in their website and as today it is not working… you click and click and nothing happens… There is barely any contact information for their business at all.

    It seems this is a site where you can only risk very small amounts of money, so if you are scammed at least you don’t end up losing too much…

    19 09 2012

    Why not see if any of the bidders were based in your country and then make contact?…after all the express aim of freelancer is to bring you guys together. You’ve paid your fee to post the job – so ethically you are not doing anything wrong.

    Try a local search for freelancers – you’d be surprised how many locals could do what you need AND there is less risk of communication problems.

    9 10 2012

    You are missing the point: it is a scam, period.

    There nothing you can do through them:

    1- if you try to exchange or request contact information it is used as an excuse to withhold whatever amount of money you pay as escrow or deposit… and you will never get it back.

    2- Many of the claimed employers/bidders are just employees posing as employers/bidders… they will always press you for escrowing money through to start the project, if you are an employer, or to accept the job, if you are a bidder… then you don’t hear from them again and freelancer keeps your money or charges you their commission… they keep talking about “milestones” and “escrow deposit”, but when you contact their extremely unprofessional customer support (who are clearly the very scammers) they openly tell you they are not a escrow company and that you have no warranty on your money once you do any transaction through them: you have to file a dispute and wait for the result (really!? since when you deposit any money any where and you have to dispute to get it back… it is evident that you are not going to get it back)

    There is no way around, no trick to pull: they are the trick, if you are naive enough they scam you, simple as that…

    The only thing you can do is go to a real freelancer site…

    24 09 2012

    There will soon be an alternative for the US market to compete with Its clear that the site cares nothing about US businesses that need outsourcing. I hope you get your money back.

    20 09 2012

    Another update on my research for the freelance wannabe community.

    It is ever more evident that is a scam:

    1 – Like all scams they have a myriad of rules, many completely unnecessary, that excuse them to freeze and withhold your funds. They can actually freeze your account for months just for trying to do a withdrawal… and customers get their money back only after they have gone through many lengths exposing their scamming activities in the internet… so t