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Should I Give this guy a chance before flagging him?

My first possible gig and its already going awkward and south.

Clients wants some illustrations for a project. Says he likes my illustrations but is not sure if I fit the style. Askes if I'd be willing to do a test sample. A this point I wasnt suspicious because I offered to make a sample when he said he wasnt sure my style would fit.. So maybe he baited me? I don't know.. But when he did finally ask for a sample, he basically asked for a completed image of what he was looking for.

So what I did was give him a sample of art in the style he was looking for, but didnt add the specific details he was asking for.

He Said he enjoyed my style and it fit perfect for the job. THEN comes the conversation of how, he's still waiting for "backers" on the project, but wanted to go forward anyway... I said great... Then he decided to play "Lets make a deal".. He could pay me now, the amount he offered for the job, OR I could wait until it was backed, and I could do the exact same job for 500 dollars more. I told him I was fine with the original price he was offering, and that I was excited to get started. He said great, and wanted to know if I wanted to work off of oDesk, and asked how much their cut. I gave him a very diplomatic answer, and I said it was 10%, and that while I could definitely use the whole amount, this is my first time here at oDesk and I wanted to build a Solid reputation here, hopefully starting by getting a great recommendation for the work I was about to do.

He said fine, that was all well and good, but now he had to get in touch with his "Partner." to make doubly sure that I was their final pick. (He' says after he already offered me the job).. He goes on to say if I wished to add any of the details I originally left out of the test sample in order to better my chances, (with his partners).

I once again politely declined to do any more work on the test sample as I felt its displayed enough of what he was looking for to make a final decision, but that was definitely excited and ready to get started..

He replied with a snark, stating it was only a suggestion and no ones twisting my arm, with a passive aggressive ";)..... " at the end.

I told him great and can't wait to hear from him.

keep im mind this whole conversation happened in one day, after i sent the sample work.
But now all of a sudden, Im getting radio silence. I see the job activity has 5 more people in

So I guess Im wondering, if I should flag this guy now before he does this to those potential contractors or am Im jumping the gun and wait a few days to see if he was indeed conferring with his partners..

Vote Result

Score: 0.0, Votes: 0


I'd flag to be safe but i'm

I'd flag to be safe but i'm not sure what they can do. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that you will not hear from him again. He most likely wanted the work for free and will sadly probably end up getting it (or at the very least waste a bunch of people's time, talent and energy). You were right not to give him exactly what he wanted but the result would have been the same either way. Silence. He might well even get someone else to edit up what you did for him as another 'test' if the work allows for it.

Just take it on the chin and let it be a lesson. There are tons of people on here fishing for free work and the best way to avoid yourself lots of potential headache is to just refuse to do samples or tests for free. Decent clients don't mind paying for a test or hiring you without expecting you to do spec work and it's these you need to gravitate to. You seem pretty savvy so I think you'll find your way around eventually, but definitely watch it and know what to avoid. It's tough at first to get a job but don't be discouraged by the time-wasters. My alarm bell would have rung at "he likes my illustrations but.." and yours will too soon enough.

Good luck.

On the plus-side; working on

On the plus-side; working on oDesk gives you a free crash-course in dealing with flim-flam men.

I definitely agree, and I

I definitely agree, and I really do love the idea of having a mediator such as odesk if I needed one.

Very Well Said

I know what you mean. I learnt it the hard way. With oDesk I have learnt to be safe in life and am glad I once faced disappointment.

I was in Active Candidacy and was asked to show prev work for converting image to vector format. I didn't have any so I took the small blurry icon from his website and recreated a vector image. I showed a small 100 by 100 image of it with a stamp "Sample" right in between.

Having no news from the guy (I was excited because back then it was the first AC I got selected) I checked his website. There it was. With a few additions had had covered my stamp and it lay nicely on his website.

I quit the idea of freelancing for nearly 2 years. I have been very safe since my coming back from last month.

The world is filled with bad people and oDesk provides us a global collection of them.

Flag. I agree with Louis, I'd

Flag. I agree with Louis, I'd be surprised if they get back to you. It sounds like a more elaborate scam scheme. More refined than the usual 'send a specific sample or your application won't be considered' but still a scam. "The client" can probably get someone to redraw the sample or remove any watermarks you've placed on it for like 5 bucks.

You have a very nice style, Jose, just put more stuff in your portfolio and rely on it. If a client can't tell that you're a great illustrator after reviewing 10-15 samples with the quality of the ones you have up, you probably don't want to work with them anyway. And if the project is so specific that they require a sample, always make them hire you for a paid test project. Good luck on oDesk Smile

/// Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it's the courage to continue that counts.



Flag the job post and kindly

Flag the job post and kindly contact Customer Support to report this person. Please include all the communication you exchanged with them.

As already pointed out, if yo have to do a specific sample, suggest a test hire to the client.

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...


He already asked you if you wanted to work off oDesk. That alone is enough to get him off the site.
Include the communication.

ok thanks guys

ok thanks guys


Yep, asking for work off of oDesk is strictly against ToS and oDesk will have no problem suspending or banning him. Sounds like he was trying to scam for free work anyway, especially with the whole "I can pay you more, I just have to wait to get backed" thing. That is a load of BS and screams "Scam." Do you have the original job post link?

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” - Inigo Montoya

Interesting turn of events.

Well I have an update to all this.

So I sent one last message . Inquiring about his partner's decisions. I'm really not sure why, possibly morbid curiosity. This individual is pretty well spoken and I was curious to see if he would have anything further to say, or how he would spin it.
After a few hours of no response I finally went ahead a flagged him..

Within moment's of the flag I received a reply. His partners were happy with my work and wanted to move forward. Once again, he suggested that we work off odesk. Suggesting that we possibly just do the last payment on odesk, so I could get my reviews and job completes. etc. Basically saying he feels I deserve the full amount for the work I'm about to do. Once again I suggested that we simply follow the rules provided.

Now I'm not green behind the ears, I've freelanced on my own, and have dealt with this stuff before. Frankly I don't want to anymore. I'm more than willing to lose a cut of the money if it means having a platform like odesk to mediate,so Im down. I DO think, this guy just might have some noble intentions, and is just going about it the wrong way..

So I just NOW got the email notice that he has initiated process to begin the job.

So I will go forward with this, because hey, if he does have the money, and if this process gets him in the right mind set on how odesk works, then its win- win for everyone.

I will be handling this like a snake charmer with a basket of cobras though. I'm asking for upfront payments for each milestone.

Now hopefully flagging the guy doesn't get me in trouble with odesk.
hopefully when I provide the chat-logs it will show why I originally flagged,but also show why Im taking the chance.

I'll keep everyone posted.

Just a thought: If you've

Just a thought: If you've flagged him and then take on a contract with him aren't you putting your account at risk of suspension if Odesk does indeed decide to penalise him? If you start the job and halfway through Odesk kicks your client off, you won't receive payment and you might leave any other earnings inaccessible if your account is suspended at the same time.

thats good to know, I'll try

thats good to know, I'll try and contact odesk, and explain the situation


If you have flagged him for offering to pay outside of oDesk and oDesk suspend his account - temporarily or permanently for this, your client won't like you very much...

If he gets suspended before all you are due to be paid up to that moment has been paid you can not get your money.

I had a client who was suspended and owed me a couple of milestones (not a huge amount) and I lost the money. The client was perfectly willing to pay me via oDesk (but apparently could not) and then offered to pay the outstanding money by Paypal but I was told by support that even though I had done the work and the client had been suspended I was not allowed to accept payment from him in any form.

I would also ask for an upfront payment before you even start, it makes the contract visible on your profile and gives you the ability to leave and receive feedback.

I'll happily eat my words if

I'll happily eat my words if it all goes smoothly, which I hope it does. Maybe I was too quick to conclude? Good luck.

It's sad but you get cynical fast on here. I've had 3 people mess me around this week as it is, with strong correspondence, a promise to start the next day or so, then.. nothing. It's a hassle because it's hard to gauge how much extra work to look for. I'd rather people just said something rather than disappearing, it's not like I mind. Luckily i'm generally upbeat and not too fussed by it, nor is it life or death.. although the money is more than welcome. Sorry that became rantish didn't it, i'm kind of buzzing on strong Hawaiian coffee.

Same here, I've called

Same here, I've called companies threatening legal action for money. That was a long time ago, but its tiring, frustrating, and definitely not good for creativity. It definitely puts you on your guard at all times,and I too, would definitely love to be wrong about this. I really hope I am.

I've contacted support and explained my situation, and basically it's still up to the review team to determine what to do next, but I left a long explanation on why I did it, and also why I want to clear it. Hopefully they won't suspend his account until he shows his trues colors.

what a way to start a first gig though. That Hawaiian coffee sounds pretty good about now.

Time for an update

Ok so I figured as Im a few days away from the end of my first milestone with this client. I can say so far, so good, he has just submitted payment for this first milestone, and is even considering an advance on the second. (yes I did start the job without an upfront,yes I'm a little masochistic that way.)

It's been a volley of mind-games and chess moves the whole way through, each time he tries to convince me to give up the full rez assets, or adding animation work we didnt agree upon in this milestone. With me politely reminding him of our agreement each step of the way.
So now lets see if this payment clears, and if he indeed does advance me for the next milestone. He has already asked for the all assets to be uploaded asap as he says. "odesk locks in my payment within 24 hours, so you should see my payment by the next day." So I kindly remind him of the grace period, and that he will still have to wait until it's in my account before I can give him the assets in the correct sizes.
(unless I'm wrong? can mods clarify? can he retract a payment during this grace period?")

Either way, I will keep you guys posted. Let the poker game begin..

Yes, he can.

I'm not a mod, but yes, he can retract the payment.

Keep doing it the way you're doing it if that is working out for you. The minute it stops, you should too.

Good luck.

What Cate said, plus:

Cate B. wrote:
I'm not a mod, but yes, he can retract the payment.

Keep doing it the way you're doing it if that is working out for you. The minute it stops, you should too.

Good luck.

Indeed! I hope the project is interesting enough to be worth the mind games

By the way: I think you're terribly talented and have the skills to translate that talent into very polished work. Love the "character" of your figures and the video (whilst so not my style music wise ) is brilliant!

Thanks alot! While not as

Thanks alot! While not as detailed, the work I'm doing for this client and another is probably my most polished work to date. I'm not known for a steady hand,so its a refreshing challenge..

I actually do really love the work, as it taps into my love for old cartoons. But I have to refrain from showing that enthusiasm too much,as it sometimes gives the impression that I'm part of the "Team" and as such, I may willing to take the risks the client may be taking on this endeavor, when I am not.

Jose, for fixed price jobs

Jose, for fixed price jobs there is a 24-hour window during which a client can reverse the payment (basically there to cater to mistakes but can be abused by clients) so you should at least wait a day till you see a due date next to the pending payment on the Transactions page.

After that the funds enter the Security period which means oDesk takes that time to charge the client's payment method and process the funds. At this stage if there's an issue with the payment method you won't be able to see a Due Date next to the pending funds, and that's when you should hold on a little longer to the deliverables. If you do get a Due Date next to the pending payment(usually appears the next day for fixed price jobs), it generally means everything is OK.

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...

So it is not the period to

So it is not the period to the Due Date (5 days) that the client can reverse?

Not to worry: You're not alone!

Jose O. wrote:
Ok so I figured as Im a few days away from the end of my first milestone with this client. I can say so far, so good, he has just submitted payment for this first milestone, and is even considering an advance on the second. (yes I did start the job without an upfront,yes I'm a little masochistic that way.)


A lot of us have masochistic tendencies or we would not be freelancers Smile It sounds like this is working out OK so I'm glad for you. Just cover your butt Sick

Jose, there was a discussion

Jose, there was a discussion last year about accepting milestone payments ahead of delevering the work.

General consensus was to leave it in your wallet till the date that it was suppose to be paid.

That post pertained to a writer that had been paid ahead of time for articles/books and then woundup not being able to deliver. She had already taken the money out and spent it.

I am not saying you will do this, but you can never tell what the future holds.

That's pretty fair, and to be

That's pretty fair, and to be honest I have no problem doing it that way, as long as it its understood, the work isn't delivered in a workable form, until then.

You just voted to close Odesk down

Just get out of here. Your type sucks. I hope they block you. You just admitted to disintermediation.

how did I admit to

how did I admit to disintermediation, everything is still being done through odesk. and what do you mean 'my type'?


Spot the post that doesn't fit. Perhaps it was intended for another thread.


Wrong thread.