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Odesk creates a model for scammers

I have been using odesk happily for a couple of years. But I have to say that now, I am seriously considering leaving.

Recently I hired a guy who said he had experience and could start right away. Days go by, nothing. Finally I see him logging work. Still he isn't responding what he is doing and when he will be done and I was concerned that his screenshots were not making sense. Finally got the guy on skype. After making an inappropriate comment about my photo, I start asking him questions. It becomes clear very fast, that he does not know what he is doing. The job clearly outlined SSH and he did not know how to access our server via SSH. He admitted he could not do the job, apologized for wasting my time, and that was that. I went and ended his contract which thanks to the lag on odesk, did not reflect any time billed. It forced me to leave feedback which I just left positive because I didn't feel it was right to say anything bad about work he never did.

Suddenly I see time poppup in my payment history. So I disputed it. He response saying he did work and for odesk to check his logs. I thought that was strange because the logs had nothing on there that was mine and why would he say that so quickly as if he were confident this would work out. His screenshots consisted of one by one of him on the same homepage of my site, sites that were not mine and had nothing to do with my project, him looking at the job description for 20 minutes, Downloading files that were not mine etc. Nothing at all that showed any real work.

Yet ODESk just decided in his favor, saying that the logs and time was adequately documented and that they don't refund for not being happy with the work??!! I was like wait, what work? If I felt he had done anything whatsoever I would pay for it. He did nothing on my job. And apparently odesk doesn't really look at the screenshots or ask us to explain them.

What scares my about this, is that these contractors can make a business model of lying and taking jobs they are not qualified for, log time doing nothing, bill for the time and odesk supports them. I do not feel at all protected right now. ODESK says this system is so we only pay for time worked on our projects. But that is not true.

Just was told I cannot appeal this. So there is no way to have them review the screenshots to see that they were not mine and I get stuck paying this guy to do nothing. VERY NICE.

I am SO SO disappointed because I was in the process of bringing over all my other contractors to odesk to centralize and because I love the system, but now I don't even want to be here at all anymore.

Vote Result

Score: 9.3, Votes: 16
Sweet taste of victory

Actually, it's that of justice. Enjoy it, and learn from it.


Due Diligence

I used to be a hiring manager and I'd get fired if I made an employment decision based on "say so." For what goes on here, that's what profiles, portfolios and tests are all about. They help you perform due diligence.

So was this guy the only one who applied for the job? Was he the most qualified? Among all others, why did you hire him?

no there were a lot

Thank God its my business so any mistake I make, no one can fire me! lol

There was a lot of people who applied. I hired him because he was one of 3 people who actually replied personally to my listing. Most people just send these standard cover letters, they all say the same thing.

When I post a job, I ask for them to respond with 3 things or they wont be considered. (1- please confirm you can start right away 2-how long will it take you 3-please confirm you have done this type if upgrade before.

This way I know they read my listing for one. It also helps me weed out spam. Then I like to see

what they respond with and it helps me further narrow it down. Then I interview. I had 3 people, this guy said he was ready to start right away and said he knew how to do what I was asking. So did the other 2, I picked the guy with the higher rate and history because I assumed he would be better. Turns out my 2nd choice who I ended up using, was better even though he was cheaper and had less time on odesk!

This was my first true bad experience on odesk. I had a few minor issues, I consider this a big one. It was bound to happen eventually. I am happy it worked out and I am going to be much more careful in the future.

I rarely hire new people anymore anyway, I am pretty happy with the people I have now. Every now and then I will help a client with something that we don't normally do, so I have to go and find someone. That was the case here. It actually stresses me out to hire here which is why I hang on to the people I found and treat them so well!

How about finding your own rather than posting a project?

Dani K. wrote:

It actually stresses me out to hire here which is why I hang on to the people I found and treat them so well!

On my client account I tend to find someone by searching through profiles. It is a LOT less hassle than a public post and then having to weed out the spammers and the frauds and the fakes.

I spend a lot of time looking at profiles, and analying feedback and application patterns. So far so good - but I appreciate that it's a numbers game, I may well fall flat on my face with a contractor one of these days as well.


Also contractors appreciate being invited to private projects.

As a contractor, that gives you a sense of standing out, having your profile shortlisted already and knowing you have a good chance of getting that one project.

true that

true that

Sorry about your experience

But please, don´t forget that there are honest, hard working people here in ODesk, who commit to a job and deliver....we are many!!!

About rating, I suppose in a case like that might be best not to rate. I had an experience here where I committed to a transcription job, I did work on it, I got the preliminary work done but when I went to fill in gaps, I just couldn´t do it because of the accent, there were parts of it that I just couldn´t get, and that repeated itself throughout the transcrip. I got in touch with the client and I told him what my problem was, sent in the transcription, I told him that I didn´t think it right to get paid because I hadn´t delivered a finished product and that was that. But, to be honest, i did appreciate when he didn´t give me a bad rating, because I work very hard to keep my rating good.

So I suppose in such a case, I would say that it is better not to rate, than give a poor rating, unless of course, you know beforehand that it is an scam.

You failed, not ODESK

You misrated the person on communication and skills. Your faulty only.


how is this my faulty again?


Dani K. wrote:
how is this my faulty again?

Potential buyers will see:
Project "MEDIA WIKI SPECIALIST" completed successfully. Feedback positive.
Rather than "Project failed by inadequate cheater" as it should be from my point of view.
Bad thing: You want to be politely, but actually ruin oDesk reputation system.
Even more bad thing: you are not alone to say a minimum.

I suggest to set weekly limit to 0 rather than close project with half-truth feedback.
Wait for 1 week, check all new bills from oDesk (if any).
Next close project with actual feedback. Actual bills will help you.

as i said, lag in the system

as i said, lag in the system said no hours were being charged to me so at the time I left feedback, I was not aware there was a problem

Lemme guess. Lowest bidder??

Lemme guess. Lowest bidder??

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

it is funny

It is funny that a lot of comments are jabs at clients for choosing the cheapest labor. Truth is, it is the higher dollar contractors I have had trouble with. It is the cheaper ones who end up fixing it and doing it right.


Then you didn't pick the right higher dollar contractors.

Polite to 1 person, impolite to 500K persons

Now he is "higher dollar contractor with great review"
rather than
"inadequate higher dollar cheater"

Just lost 20hours for nothing

Agreement or discussion with the contractor does not matter if the work is not what was ordered. Marked hours will be charged. You have to monitor a diary 24/7 if you want to be sure that the right work is done. I do not trust oDesk anymore.

how canyou leave positive

how can you leave positive feedback for a job not done? you asked for ths to happen: if your feedback was negative, then oDesk could have helped you more...the way odesk sees things is: you hired him -granted you were lied to, but you left POSITIVE feedback for no job done, and odesk sees the screenshots being praised which denote a job done well. so this is what they see: put yourself in their position.
and both you and and your contractor lied about the job, so both lost credibility.
now, it's too late to cry over spilled milk.

read my post

You need to read my posts. That is now how it happened. The guy could not complete the job and although I was annoyed that he wasted my time, the system lag did not show that he had charged me for any time so I was not aware of what he had tried to do until after. When I tried to close the job, no time was showing billed and it was forcing me to leave feedback to close the job. My feedback comments actually said that I was only leaving feedback to close the job and that he did not complete the job therefore I could not really give proper feedback. Because I was not yet aware of the issue, I did not want to leave him negative feedback. Obviously had I known at that time that he was trying to bill me for his time, I would have done it differently.

Bottom line is ODESK helped me, he had to reimburse the money to get his account back. And I am now aware of the lag in the system and will make sure I check that before I close a job.