Great News For Odeskers – Protection for Flat Rate

People had been moaning about it for years – why couldn’t odesk offer the same protection for flat fee jobs that elance offers? Why not use Escrow, an internationally recognised system (or something like it) for processing and holding money while a job is ongoing? Why not protect the people (Freelancers) that are making them money?

The problem of not having a holding fund worked heavily in favour of clients and it left the site open to persistent abuse. Somebody could allocate a job, get you to do the work and then never pay you – even clients with a good reputation. That happened to me a couple of months ago when a client persistently ignored my messages despite that the work was completed to satisfaction. This person had a good reputation and good feedback and simply decided not to pay me because they knew they could get away with it. I kicked up a stink with odesk, emailing them every week asking when they were going to take action. I never expected to get my money, but I wanted odesk to do something about it – after all they were losing money too.

As it was after persistent lack of response to their email, they suspended the account and I doubt they would have done had I not continued to hound them about it. A week later the client came back, realised the account was suspended and paid me. This must have been happening every day for years and many contractors will have lost a lot of money.

Now though, all that has changed. Odesk are now working with a system that is similar but not identical to the Escrow system offered by Elance (hurrah!). The client is now expected to make a refundable deposit at the time of allocating the job – this can be a milestone or the total value of the job so that funds are available to release to the contractor.

Upon completion of the work, the contractor applies to have the money released – marking the job as complete. If the client requires changes, he or she sets the job back to working status and so on. If the client does not respond after 14 days, the money is released to the contractor automatically.

Anyway, see the link a couple of paragraphs back for full details of how it works. Users of Elance will find it very similar, but not identical.

2 thoughts on “Great News For Odeskers – Protection for Flat Rate

  1. Andrea Freedman

    That’s great news; thanks for letting us know and good for you for standing your ground and getting paid!

  2. Reblogged this on Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink and commented:

    Just reblogging this because I have received notification that odesk has finally moved to the elance system. I hope this will lead to improvements to the site, a drastic reduction in the number of scam jobs and greater protection for both client and contractor.

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