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Escrow and oDesk: Questions, answers, concerns & feedback

To our valued oDeskers - we hope you know that we listen to what you say. We really, really do. We read your posts, we talk about them internally, and we respond the best we can. But, sometimes, we don’t do the greatest job communicating what we’re thinking. So, please accept our apologies and give us a chance to answer your questions about why oDesk does not offer escrow.

The issue of escrow has been raised by some oDesk users. We know this a big deal for both Clients who rightly expect to receive the work they paid for and Contractors who rightly expect to be paid for their work. However, after much consideration, we don’t think escrow is the best solution to an important concern.

For escrow to serve its purpose, you need a real, competent human being to serve as judge and jury, and this costs money, which is why other sites charge significant fees when a project goes into arbitration. Unfortunately, moderation often comes down to “he said, she said” accusations, and our sense is that the system tends to favor the buyer - “I didn’t get what I wanted” is difficult to disprove. In all but the most straightforward cases, the losing side will feel cheated, especially after having paid an extra fee for arbitration.

We avoid the pitfalls of escrow by offering (and strongly recommending!) hourly contracts, which allow us to deliver on the oDesk Guarantee that an hour worked is an hour paid, and vice versa. This protects everyone’s interests while helping to build business relationships and create long-lasting online work partnerships...and that’s what oDesk is all about.

We also take an active role in managing and protecting all oDeskers from bad users. Contractors are highly encouraged to notify us if a client fails to pay them for work done on fixed-price contracts. A contractor can flag the client for non-payment before or after a fixed-price job is closed. We review every flag and remove the client if abuse is found.

Our fixed-price option exists because it is preferred by a small portion of our users. To those who do engage in a fixed-price project, we strongly suggest implementing smaller milestone payments associated with incremental deliverables to protect both parties.

Regardless of contract type, we have found that with proactive project management and open communication between Clients and Contractors, most work-related issues can be addressed before they become a problem.

So, that’s our current position on escrow. We know that this is not necessarily the answer some of you are looking for, but while we can’t change our system immediately, we can listen to your feedback and proceed with your input in mind. We’ve set up a survey to get your thoughts, requests, and ideas around escrow. Please take a minute to share and we’ll keep them in mind as oDesk continues to grow and evolve.

Thanks for your time, your efforts, and for being part of the oDesk community!

Vote Result

++++++----
Score: 6.8, Votes: 85
I agree. We don't need

I agree. We don't need escrow. A step in the right direction would be for milestone payments to become the standard if the contract is not hourly. Perhaps there is a way oDesk can integrate this into the system as more of a routine for fixed-price scenarios.

caiglist

hey Plz any one can tell me about the craiglist job on odesk? is it not allowed now?

Hellooooo!!!!

Do you not know how to start your own thread and ask your question, like it was suggested you do earlier?

This is the 2nd or 3rd time you've interjected yourself into another discussion having nothing to do with "caiglist." Start your own thread and someone might just come along to help you. Sheesh!!

Thanks for the comments Mollie

Mollie C. wrote:
For escrow to serve its purpose, you need a real, competent human being to serve as judge and jury, and this costs money, which is why other sites charge significant fees when a project goes into arbitration.

The parties have an option if they want to go for an arbitration or not. Typical arbitration costs around $200-300 of which the contractor pays $100. It can be well worth it, if there is much bigger amount involved. The arbitration is paid only when you have things to lose.

Mollie C. wrote:
We avoid the pitfalls of escrow by offering (and strongly recommending!) hourly contracts

Hourly contracts are not for everyone & every job. In creative jobs, hourly work can be confusing, since a good chunk of work is in the mind and in creating stuff offline (making notes). The time to type is what counted in hourly contracts, but in a great article or a great logo/design 90% of the time will be in figuring out and organizing stuff. Also, many would consider the invasion of privacy and the disclosure of proprietary work flow (what tools I use, how much time I spend in each tool) as unacceptable.

Mollie C. wrote:
Our fixed-price option exists because it is preferred by a small portion of our users.

That is a little circular logic. The fixed option is not preferred because there is little protection. Many of your contractors who don't work fixed price here would work fixed price jobs in Elance & other competitors.

Agree

Agree

Mollie C. wrote: Our

Mollie C. wrote:
Our fixed-price option exists because it is preferred by a small portion of our users.
Balaji V. wrote:
That is a little circular logic. The fixed option is not preferred because there is little protection. Many of your contractors who don't work fixed price here would work fixed price jobs in Elance & other competitors.

Actually I am one who prefers fixed price jobs. I cant afford installing a program on my machine that will slow down my PC further. I work on Linux only, I dont think the application is developed for this operating system, so if it's not, I can't even use it, even if I wanted to.
And as a writer, if I manage to finish my article in 10 minutes, I could write 6 in an hour - I would lose money: say I would charge $20 per hour versus $20 per article.

+1

+1

One more thing

Mollie,
If oDesk doesn't provide support or protection for fixed price contracts as it does for hourly contracts, can you kindly say why it charges the same 10% fee? That is not fair. If you can't provide escrow, should you not consider reducing the fee for fixed price contracts?

regards,
Balaji

Agreed

I prefer fixed price jobs and don't have a problem with taking a risk - most of my work is private, through my own website, so I am used to having no guarantee that the client will pay.

That said, I am not sure how oDesk justifies taking 10% on fixed price contracts - all they do is introduce the contractor and client, and provide a payment system.

I would love to see a reduction in the fee, especially for longer-term clients. Smile

oDesk should add 4th warning

oDesk should add 4th warning in 3 warning nag (that contractors are made to accept while applying for fixed price jobs):

"We do not feel like taking any (10%) fee except for charging contractor the funds transfer fee because we not do anything to protect you as contractor nor the client."

Agreed

oDesk has made things clear to me. Yes, it is oDesk's mistake that it doesn't interact with the community as it should. I was also favoring Escrow system early on but I think you have made me think again. I do appreciate that oDesk has actually started to respond to their community more faster than ever.

I don't think I would need an Escrow system. All can go against me. But it is true that other websites are charging good amount of fees to compensate the Escrow charges. oDesk likes to keep it easy on the contractors ( in terms of charges) which is a good sign. Thank you for notifying and clearing my doubts through this piece of thread.

Policy Change Request

Sana M. wrote:
But it is true that other websites are charging good amount of fees to compensate the Escrow charges.

Elance charges less than Odesk does even with Escrow. If there is an issue with a client, you start a ticket and they will then contact the client for you. If the sum is in Escrow - and client does not respond - the funds are released. If there are no funds, you get the client's contact information. Arbitration is something that happens only if the client does respond and says you don't deserve to be paid. Even then it is a choice, and the payment is made clear upfront.

I'm not saying that I will go and ask for arbitration for every client who doesn't pay. Some contracts will be too small for it. But when I get a job on Elance, and I then start work, knowing that the funds are in Escrow puts my mind at ease while I work. I know that if I deliver the work right, the client will either pay me - or in cases where a client disappears - I will get the payment released.

For the 10% I and my client's pay Odesk, all I ask is the following:

1. Better policies for contractors. Currently - no information about the client is released in case of a dispute. All Odesk does is email them, and I would like to know I can do that myself once Odesk loses interest.

2. In disputes, the ability to contact the client outside the system. Sometimes clients do give us full names/websites and if they don't pay we can always approach them outside Odesk. Currently Odesk does not allow this.

Escrow is the ideal situation, but right now nothing makes Odesk a workplace I would feel safe working in. Knowing that 90% of the chances are that one way or another, I will get paid for anything I do. It's a constant source of stress.

Nida, Elance deducts between

Nida, Elance deducts between 6.75% and 8.75% from each payment ( depending on the project budget) transferring the remaining amount directly to the service providers Elance account PLUS the membership fees one has to give on monthly basis ranging from $10 to $40. The odesk fee is only 10% of the employers payment to Odesk which equates to 11.11% on top of the amount paid to the contractor with no membership fees at all.
I know some may reply that it is up to me to choose the membership or not but believe me 15 connects per month do not help to get decent jobs. One needs good amount of bids to easily choose the ones s/he is passionate about.

This is just my opinion but I am here to see what you all have to say and open to suggestions. It is true that oDesk will need good amount of contractors to agree for adding Escrow system on this website. But the clarification that oDesk gave makes me realize that it is not necessary for every kind of job. Vice versa, oDesk needs to focus more on fixed job projects. I will read more opinions before making up my mind. Right now, I am still not convinced to add Escrow over here. So drop me down.

Elance-oDesk

Elance is much much better than oDesk from every aspect.
It is an option for you whether you purchase membership or not. You are free to work even if you don't purchase the membership you can apply every where. While odesk even deduct the fees on each withdrawal request you send (Elance doesn't charge any fee). 10%+$1
Above all I feel safe and secure about my payment while working on elance.

Right now I am too busy

Right now I am too busy working on a contract.

I am sure you can find your own way to the door.

I've looked at elance

I've looked at elance many times but it has never really attracted me, for two reasons. While it may have less really low-paying jobs than oDesk, it seems to not have many high-paying ones either. It seems to skew more toward the middle, which is not a bad thing for most people, but I tend to take high-paying jobs only so there is not much there to attract me. The other thing that I don't like about it is the way jobs are stuck in very specific categories and if you want to bid in more than one category, you need to pay a fee to do so. I have a varied skill set so I am just as likely to be applying for a writing job, a management job and a web development job and I like jobs that allow me to combine different types of skills, and the more flexible system here on oDesk seems to attract more jobs like that as well. Also, I have a lot of hours and good feedback and ratings on oDesk that means I have a better chance of getting a job here than most people signed up on oDesk (about half of whom have not even done a single job yet). And at least with a US bank account, there are no withdrawal fees from oDesk.

The Elance policy is that you

The Elance policy is that you shouldn't start the job without the client releasing funds into escrow, so the arbitration should involve you seeking out the client to request him to pay up; that policy ensures their is money to pay you after completion of the job.
oDesk on the other hand,wants to put in all effort even if you are not assured of pay; why should you? why should you give up all expectations of getting paid for a fixed job when applying for it? I believe this is no charity, and oDesk has to set up Fixed Job Guarantees, coz it can do that with hourly jobs.

Which site charges more than oDesk?

Escrow is like the gun that stays with the cop. It is a tool for deterrence and it seldom needs to be used. The gun fight is arbitration. It is messy, but you fight only in extreme cases. Right now there is no cop. The fixed price contracts are essentially the wild wild west. We are expected to fend for ourselves and carry our own guns like the cowboys did. That is terribly inefficient. That is why civilized societies have legal systems to take majority of the responsibility of protection from individual citizens. I'm done with the cowboy agreements. I need laws.

Sana,
Can you elaborate which websites charge more than oDesk? On an average, oDesk has among the highest fees in the industry?

I believe oDesk is misleading us here. Escrow adds very little cost to the process and only arbitration does cost. Arbitration charges are paid only when then there is a dispute and only by the parties in dispute (and not by the other contractors). If you don't like to pay arbitration fee you can forgo the payment on the contract. That is no worse than fixed rate contracts where the clients go missing or fail to pay for any other 1000 reasons.

The Elance Myth

Balaji V. wrote:
Escrow is like the gun that stays with the cop. It is a tool for deterrence and it seldom needs to be used. The gun fight is arbitration. It is messy, but you fight only in extreme cases. Right now there is no cop. The fixed price contracts are essentially the wild wild west. We are expected to fend for ourselves and carry our own guns like the cowboys did. That is terribly inefficient. That is why civilized societies have legal systems to take majority of the responsibility of protection from individual citizens. I'm done with the cowboy agreements. I need laws.

Sana,
Can you elaborate which websites charge more than oDesk? On an average, oDesk has among the highest fees in the industry?

I believe oDesk is misleading us here. Escrow adds very little cost to the process and only arbitration does cost. Arbitration charges are paid only when then there is a dispute and only by the parties in dispute (and not by the other contractors). If you don't like to pay arbitration fee you can forgo the payment on the contract. That is no worse than fixed rate contracts where the clients go missing or fail to pay for any other 1000 reasons.

I understand that Elance offers some things that oDesk does not offer but they also short-change providers on several services that oDesk provides .... while their big claim to fame is they charge less than oDesk let me ask you this: (1) does oDesk charge you an inactivity fee (answer no), (2) does oDesk require you to invoice your clients on your own (answer no), (3) does oDesk require that hourly assignment guarantees be "accepted" by buyers (answer no it's mandatory that they accept them not optional (unlike Elance where it's optional)...

nuff said

I signed with elance

I signed with elance yesterday, applied for some contracts, read their forum, looked at their skill tests, went to apply for verified.

Skill tests do not have the tests to take that I need to put forth in profile.
Verified ID, nope. I do not do web cam and will not buy one just to get verified.
Reading their forum about hourly payments that can be changed by the client, that for sure is not me.

Within four hours was sending them an email to delete my account.

I am here! Will just CMA with an upfront payment of 50%.

The only thing I wonder about is if an honest client is going to cop an attitude about being required upfront payment because of 'not being trusted'.
Oh well, will never know.

Take a peek

Joseph, take a peek at my profile at the number of fixed rate assignments I have taken on. Each and every one of them has paid 50% up front with no arguments! You'll do fine Wink

Doreen

Doreen I had allot of

Doreen I had allot of complaints regarding my upfront payment request. In my field it seems they do not like so much to pay upfront. I got rejected countless times because I asked 50% upfront. Its not that simple. And countless times the buyer even if he payed upfront payment disappeared for no good reason, after he received the first samples ofc.

I am not saying that Escrow should or should not be implemented but I see more and more buyers that wont pay upfront because they are "Afraid".

Developing trust

David Beczuk wrote:
Doreen I had allot of complaints regarding my upfront payment request. In my field it seems they do not like so much to pay upfront. I got rejected countless times because I asked 50% upfront. Its not that simple. And countless times the buyer even if he payed upfront payment disappeared for no good reason, after he received the first samples ofc.

I am not saying that Escrow should or should not be implemented but I see more and more buyers that wont pay upfront because they are "Afraid".

David, once you get the first client to pay an upfront fee it's an option to ask them to allow new clients to contact them. Honestly, it's a sales job and believe me when I tell you that I could not sell ice water to a person in the desert but I have learned to stand up for what's right. I don't draw my earnings out of my account until I am 100% certain that the client is happy with my work - If I was ever asked to refund I would then launch into negotiating with the client. However, I do make clear to them that I will not withdraw funds until the job is complete. It is a matter of earning their trust however.

You're Right

As a new contractor, chances are that you will not be chosen over other contractors that are not asking for 50% upfront. Especially when other factors are similar.

True, but I had rather be

True, but I had rather be passed up, than work and not get paid.

Always have my pet projects to work on during that time. So I do not call it wasted.

some

Some people work on Odesk to earn their food on the table, some work just for fun.

Response to Doreen

Doreen Martel][quote=Balaji V. wrote:

I understand that Elance offers some things that oDesk does not offer but they also short-change providers on several services that oDesk provides .... while their big claim to fame is they charge less than oDesk let me ask you this: (1) does oDesk charge you an inactivity fee (answer no), (2) does oDesk require you to invoice your clients on your own (answer no), (3) does oDesk require that hourly assignment guarantees be "accepted" by buyers (answer no it's mandatory that they accept them not optional (unlike Elance where it's optional)...

nuff said

(1) does oDesk charge you an inactivity fee (answer no)
The $5 is charged only if there is money in your account, and after 5 months of no activity. Hardly something you can compare with the massive issues Odesk has.

(2) does oDesk require you to invoice your clients on your own (answer no)
Neither does Elance. Invoicing is an optional thing, I have never had to invoice a client to get paid. However, I do have an option of asking a client to release payment which is then something the system will keep reminding them about (a great service in my opinion).

(3) does oDesk require that hourly assignment guarantees be "accepted" by buyers (answer no it's mandatory that they accept them not optional
We're not talking about hourly assignments here, and I think we can all agree that Odesk's software is amazing for people who have jobs that work great on an hourly basis.

Doreen - I can sense from your responses that you're happy on Odesk. That is great! I was too, and it's only every few months that a bad experience leaves me with a sour taste regarding policies on Odesk. But tell me this, and I really hope you will respond to this question:

If a policy change (and/or Escrow addition) costs you nothing, and changes nothing for you, why are you against it? Because what we want is a system that is fair to all the users on this platform - writers, coders, designers, people from different countries and different experience levels.

tool

I think Escrow should be implemented just because it will filter out the scamming buyers and the spammer buyers and many of the buyers that come here to Odesk to get advantage of some providers. Because a true buyer will have no problem with the escrow if he wants the product.

For example escrow will filter out even the buyers that post the same job on different sites then decide to cancel the job on Odesk just because he found another provider on a different platform. And also will filter out buyers that ask for free samples then vanish in thin air.

We are getting sidetracked

1. I'm not saying Elance is better than oDesk. I'm just saying every major competitor to oDesk has escrow without any extra fee.
2. Inactivity fees has no relevance here. Fwiw, if a contractor is inactive for 5 months he/she gets charged. It keeps down the dead weight. I don't see why it is related to escrow payments. Do you mean to say inactivity fee is their big cash cow?
3. Again differences in hourly contract guarantees are irrelevant here. We are just discussing about escrow for fixed priced ones. Everybody knows hourly system is not broken here.
4. I don't understand invoicing part. In the work I completed there, I don't remember filling any invoice. It was auto-generated for me.

The point of discussion is how to make oDesk better by bringing the best practices in industry. It is not about Elance vs. oDesk.

This is simply NOT true

Balaji V. wrote:
1. I'm not saying Elance is better than oDesk. I'm just saying every major competitor to oDesk has escrow without any extra fee.

What you are asking for is an escrow to be put up before you accept a fixed rate assignment. What point you are missing is that a client who is determine to avoid paying for work will wind up putting the job into dispute. If you think that escrow guarantees you'll get payment I think you are not fully aware of what escrow really offers. Client STILL have to approve the payment ..... this isn't a "built in" guarantee....

If the client files a dispute even with funds in escrow *it does cost* someone to mediate the claim.

I guess since I don't feel that escrow is necessary that I'll just take a powder and eliminate myself from this discussion. I simply do not see why it has any value. A dispute is a dispute.

...

Doreen Martel wrote:
I guess since I don't feel that escrow is necessary that I'll just take a powder and eliminate myself from this discussion. I simply do not see why it has any value. A dispute is a dispute.

Thank you for understanding that not everyone has to see the value in Escrow. It's not a matter of how many agree and how many disagree. If a large enough proportion of people one Odesk feel Escrow is important, and it costs the remainder nothing, then why not have it?

Secondly, and this is something I would really want Odesk management to think about - in terms of making this a widely discussed enough topic - the survey should be emailed out to every Odesk client/contractor - not just the ones who use the forums and are following the discussions. This way it will be possible to get a better idea of what everyone wants. I know we've been mailed surveys before - is this one not important enough?

I'm not worried about the

I'm not worried about the client who is disputing. I'm more worried about the client who loses interest/has change in circumstances and goes off the radar. In fact, in almost all the cases I have heard so far about this issue, it is about the absconding clients. That is what escrow will prevent - because if they abscond they can forget their money. I need protection only for that.

No actually it won't

Balaji V. wrote:
I'm not worried about the client who is disputing. I'm more worried about the client who loses interest/has change in circumstances and goes off the radar. In fact, in almost all the cases I have heard so far about this issue, it is about the absconding clients. That is what escrow will prevent - because if they abscond they can forget their money. I need protection only for that.

Clients that are gone can't approve money to be released from escrow meaning it does NOTHING to solve the problem of absconding clients.

How escrow works

That is incorrect -- From elance page on this --

Once the contractor completes the work and requests payment for a milestone, the client has 15 days to review the work and either approve the release of funds from escrow or dispute the request. If no action is taken by day 15, the payment is marked as "Overdue" and a reminder is sent to both parties. If the client has still not made payment 30 days after the release request, funds held in escrow are released to the contractor. Elance will send multiple notifications alerting the client that the 30 day deadline is nearing.

30 days huh??

Balaji V. wrote:
That is incorrect -- From elance page on this --

Once the contractor completes the work and requests payment for a milestone, the client has 15 days to review the work and either approve the release of funds from escrow or dispute the request. If no action is taken by day 15, the payment is marked as "Overdue" and a reminder is sent to both parties. If the client has still not made payment 30 days after the release request, funds held in escrow are released to the contractor. Elance will send multiple notifications alerting the client that the 30 day deadline is nearing.

That's pretty selective Smile

So let's get two things clear: Escrow will involve a fee regardless. I can't say how much. So assuming it's 1% and assuming (from your profile) that you got stiffed on a job of less than $300 and you are paying $30 for the benefit (sic) of escrow then in 30 days you *might* get your dollars...... That's of course assuming that the client isn't smart enough to "play the game" and deposit the money in escrow *then* dispute the work. YOu also missed something else

Quote:
Elance Dispute Assistance for Fixed Price Jobs is available when funds are still held in Escrow, or within 30 days of the Final Escrow Release Date
so for a month after you get paid you'll still run the risk of LOSING that payment.

One other thing that some may have overlooked: Escrow accounts require the use of an escrow agent (defined "a person or entity holding documents and funds in a transfer of real property, acting for both parties pursuant to instructions. Typically the agent is a person (commonly an attorney), escrow company or title company, depending on local practice. ") ..... keep in mind that either oDesk will need to be licensed as an escrow company or they will have to hire an escrow company ... you can see what the fees involved in hiring an escrow company are here Escrow Calculator and see what this little gem will cost Wink

I'm suspecting that if someone *really* wants to stiff you that escrow isn't going to help you one iota ... but that's my opinion Wink

I think you are confusing

I think you are confusing real estate escrow with freelancing escrow. I don't think escrow adds any overheads or extra fees at all. It is like an upfront payment, instead of getting in your account it gets into third party's account. The interest rate in holding the amount usually compensates for any extra cost to the company. I would request you to kindly research more on this. This is a standard that is used by almost all freelancing sites.

You're confused

Hi Doreen,

Escrow is actually a lot simpler than you imagine.

1. When you sign a contract, you set up milestones. The client can then fund the first milestone so you can start. The money goes into Escrow (There is no fee for this, besides the 6-8% you're already being charged on the contract, same as 10% on Odesk)

2. You submit the work. You ask the client to pay you.

Now either the client says the work wasn't good enough and refuses to pay you, or they never reply (third option is they pay you, but we don't need to discuss that for this purpose).

For the first option, you can start a dispute. THIS is where the arbitration fee/Escrow fee ($99 as mentioned by some people) comes in. This is only if you feel that you deserve to be paid, and the client refuses.

For the second option (most common), the client never responds to you or the platforms management. After a certain amount of time, the funds are (as they are in Escrow) automatically released to you (no additional charges are levied).

I hope this clears it up. And now that it does, I would really want to hear your opinion on Escrow.

Please remember, there are no charges for Escrow. Initiating Escrow in the platform will cost Odesk some money (I believe the charges that the have to pay are 1% per transaction, and this should be deducted from the 10% we already pay Odesk). There are absolutely no costs for the contractors or clients unless you decide to go and dispute a contract.

Cheers,
Nida

You are WRONG Escrow DOES involve costs!

No I am NOT Confused!

When you have not bothered to do any research. Since I worked for an escrow agent and I've done escrow for other freelance work, I can assure you that it is not free. The company (in this case oDesk) would either have to become an escrow agent (e.g., costing them registration and bonding fees) or they would have to hire an escrow agent. I used the one I did because frankly, they are the most commonly used one and they DO NOT just do real estate. IF oDesk starts collecting funds up front to guarantee payments *that's escrow* and it's ILLEGAL for them to not be licensed as an escrow agent (or to use an escrow agent) if that occurs.

Since you are determined to *not* believe me I'll provide you some helpful links:

first Online Money Transactions Using Escrow

In addition, if you read the escrow agreement that you keep saying exists at Elance you'll clearly see that indeed I am correct about needing to be an Escrow Agent (which Elance is)

from their agreement

Quote:
The direct provider of the escrow services pursuant to the Escrow Instructions is Elance Escrow Corporation, a Delaware corporation (“EEC”). EEC is a wholly-owned corporate subsidiary of Elance. EEC is licensed as an Escrow Agent by the Department of Corporations, State of California, License No. 963 5086. Client and Contractor hereby employ, authorize, and instruct EEC to act as Escrow Holder and Escrow Agent in connection with the applicable Job to provide for the retention, administration, and controlled release of the escrowed funds in accordance with the Member Contract and subject to and conditioned on the Escrow Instructions. You authorize EEC to disburse to Elance amounts released from Escrow pursuant to the Escrow Instructions in payment of Service Fees payable to Elance pursuant to the Elance Terms of Service or other deductions provided in these General Escrow Instructions.Throughout these General Escrow Instructions, the terms “Elance,” “us,” and “we” are intended to mean both EEC and Elance unless the context otherwise requires.

In order for oDesk to obtain licensing as an escrow agent in California they would have to be licensed by the division of Corporations and put up a bond Internet Companies are also subjected to these rules and otherwise would in fact be subject to cease and desist orders.

I also find this quote fascinating

Quote:
Please remember, there are no charges for Escrow. Initiating Escrow in the platform will cost Odesk some money (I believe the charges that the have to pay are 1% per transaction, and this should be deducted from the 10% we already pay Odesk). There are absolutely no costs for the contractors or clients unless you decide to go and dispute a contract.

So while those of us who have no use for escrow because we pre-negotiate our fixed rate jobs to include milestones and up front payments those who need escrow pay the same 10% I do? umm that's weird.

This is what I am trying to

This is what I am trying to explain Nida and Balaji. It is expensive and it DOES cost. And Doreen... calm down will ya! Laughing out loud You don't need to give the references since 'everryone' knows about the Escrow system. If oDesk applies this system, we would have to spend much more to cover up the expenses along with oDesk. This can even reduce the amount of bids oDesk is offering right now, I mean, come on...

Calm Down

Doreen,

I think the reason I used Elance as an example was because you keep bringing it up, but you're right, I don't know the way Escrow works beyond my experiences through other freelancing platforms.

Having said that, there is no need to get so upset. I've already said that I can understand why people have different opinions on this topic - justifiably so. Escrow does cost more money, but that money should be paid by Odesk, not passed on as an even higher fee to the contractors. It's the same as everyone in the country paying taxes and only a few people needing services like police and fire. Would you have an issue with paying that too?

Sana, I was going to respond to you separately, but I'm just going to respond one last time on this thread as there is no reason to keep saying the same things again and again.

You're right. Elance charges more for membership. But I'm absolutely happy paying more to them since out of every 100 jobs I go through every day, there are only about 4-5 that pay lower than 1 cent per word. Every jobs is high quality/pays well, plus I get Escrow. Sure some are only for US contractors, but that's true for Odesk too.

By contrast, on Odesk, out of every 100 jobs there are more than 60/70 that pay between $1 and $3 per 500 words. That's not the kind of rate I can make a living on. On top of that clients walk away without payment with no consequences.

I guess it comes down to what you make per hour and how willing you are to spend time weeding through low paying jobs to get to the good ones. Personally, I will not be applying for any jobs via ODesk any longer. I have a lot of clients here, and I will obviously continue to work with them, but any further jobs will be through other job boards. Odesk offers the same service Craigslist does, as far as fixed-payment jobs are concerned, and if it isn't worth my time to go through postings on Craigslist, it's not worth my time here either.

That's a good thing for you. Less competition Smile

To Odesk management - if they are indeed reading these (I doubt it). You just lost a client. I've made somewhere in the 20-30k through Odesk in the last 3+ years. That's a few thousand dollars I paid you. Not once have I felt you deserved that money. I hope this is something that is noted down somewhere, and possibly helps you change your policies so they are less biased against contractors. Once they are, I will come back.

Cheers,
Nida

Nida, I compete with myself

Nida, I compete with myself only since I consider myself the best. You know... something like this | Steve |

There are good jobs here as well. But yes, they are difficult to search - I mean no doubt in it. I have not read your comments posted later on this thread on Escrow system so I am going to read them right now and respond.

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Wow!

The news turned in to a good debate!

Read above

Mr. Balaji wrote:
Sana,
Can you elaborate which websites charge more than oDesk? On an average, oDesk has among the highest fees in the industry?

Read the reply I gave to Nida. I believe I have lended my opinion clearly over there for your review.

Arbitration or Escrow...which is more costly?

I agree that escrow is the best way to go on any type of contract..heck if the client doesn't pay up who is going to compensate us for our expenses? Not Odesk..Odesk is making it easier for clients to get away with it..!

which site charges more than oDesk

freelance.com charge both the client and contractor 10% of the project amount. So, in total they deduct 20% of each project and the amount is deducted from your account as soon as you accept the project. Now, if for some reason you and client come to terms and do not continue the work. For example, if the first milestone creates quality dispute and the work is discontinued, and project was $500, you lose $50 for nothing but completing first milestone. oDesk is an excellent platform, work and get paid. Doing nothing? No charges.
1-if someone cannot work for sometime and earn money, should they be punished for that by charging inactivity fee? you think this fee is not a cash cow for elance, but what if a person has only source of income working online? Now, let us suppose they are sick and cannot work: they should be deprived of the money they already earned. Interesting?
2-Did you notice, some people earn their bread and butter here by doing small jobs here. Whatever they earn will go into paying membership fee to get the connects needed to apply for job and whatever they have earned doing small tasks is reinvested. Doesn't matter if you do big jobs but for people working on low price jobs as their only source of income; it really really does.
3-An escrow is a good thing but the cost that comes with even if minimum, matters for those doing small jobs. Those who do big jobs, milestones system is there to protect them. Get the upfront, deliver the milestone and continue after you get paid for that milestone. Your work history tells how honest you have been.
4-If you believe the clients who find another contractor on some other platform and then cancel the job here, an escrow should be for that. Look at it in another way, if the client cancels the job, you lose the application fee nevertheless. If there is a way you can stop the client, you make it unattractive for client. They should have option to search someone best suited to do the job for them. You dont want to demotivate the clients either. they are the one who spend the money you earn. If they are not here, you cannot earn anything. Besides freedom of choice should always exist and that oDesk offers to us both. the only thing needed is a reduction in fee for fixed price jobs and make it mandatory to add milestones and upfronts.

Survey

Concerning the survey. My worry is not about not being paid by a client that is and stays on oDesk. My concern is about the client that disappears without paying. In this regard, the use for arbitrition is mute if the client disappears, though escrow is there because the payment is garanteed in the first place.

I think it would be a big help in just the fact that the number of scammers would be automatically cut down tremendously.

This is my opinion. I have been left without payment on one project, with a client that had paid up several times before. He had acquired financial problems and disappeared off the face of oDesk never to return... (I did find him by searching and he did apoligize profusely, though I still never got paid). THAT is where my worries lie.

Linda, according to current

Linda, according to current Odesk policies, you cannot contact client's outside Odesk - regardless of the reason. You can - in cases where they use your work but don't pay - not claim ownership of the work either as per Odesk policies.

These are the two big reasons why Escrow would help. Otherwise I would request these policies be changed.

I'm not really sure...

how that works, but since I had been working with him for a while and we had contact through mail and such, I think I was justified in asking him where he went and why.

He didn't use the work.

I must point out that direct

I must point out that direct contact with a client who hired you on oDesk is not a violation - you are welcome to communicate via any method (skype, email, telephone, etc.) from the interview stage on.

(unless you're harassing them, but that would be a violation via the message center too)

Thank you Jacqui!

Thank you Jacqui!

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