Well I’ve had 2 different negative experiences with Elance.
The first one was about 3 years (2003) ago when I hired a desktop publisher, & gave her 50% upfront which was $600. Of coure Elance offers a payment system, & most companies pay through their payment system, so that’s how I paid her.
She had communicated with me through MSN pre me awarding her the project, but after I hired her, she was never around on MSN.
She also taught me that whenever an independent contractor starts asking you about other work you may or may not give him/her in the future before even being hired, or doing the job they were hired for, that means they are irresponsible & live only in their heads/future, not in the present & in doing a good job to prove themselves. That & I think they are desperate & money hungry.
I never encountered this type of personality before, so I didn’t know what to make of it, it seemed really pushy to me & stuck out in my mind. My fault was when I talked to her on the phone & she seemed spacy, I should have just dropped her right then & there, but I was so excited about getting the project done, I didn’t listen to my intuition.
There were delays on the project because I was waiting for the editor to send me files, but she knew ahead of time that there was an editor working on the project.
The desktop publisher NEVER told me she didn’t want to do any work until she had all the files. There are like 50+ file, & I would never had agreed to wait that long. I sent her edited files as I received them, reviewed them & established they were good to go.
After a couple of weeks I got a few mockups from her all in PDF format. Why I state the format is because there was no way for me to edit them if need be, so they were useless because…
They ALL had spelling mistakes, & she assumed things that weren’t correct without asking, like all the forms were the same when clearly they weren’t.
When I asked her to fix something, she said yes, but never sent me the newly corrected files.
I spent hours going through font styles to find one I liked for one letter because what she showed me I didn’t like.
After another 2 weeks of not getting any additional files, or the previous ones corrected, I started trying to call her. She wouldn’t return my calls.
I e-mailed & started to get really pissed off when I started to get excuses.
That is when I contacted Elance saying I wanted my money back, this was going nowhere, & it was clear I had been scammed.
Elance wouldn’t do a thing, instead they directed me to Square Trade which I think I found out later on is owned by eBay or Elance themselves.
Square Trade is supposed to be a mediation service, not sure what it is now.
I filled out the form with my complaint & did I ever even get an e-mail or call back?
Nope, they just ignored the situation saying unless the independent contractor agrees to mediate, they can’t do anything.
So clearly by now I was very unhappy having 3 companies produce no quality of work & I was out $600.
I then proceeded to contact my credit card company saying I wanted my money back.
Elance proceeded to fight me for the next 3 months stating I had agreed to their Terms & Conditions, blah blah blah.
They said they take no responsibility for fraudulent independent contracts.
After 3 months & much wasted time on my part, I went to log in to Elance only to find out that the desktop publisher who scammed me was still a full fledged member of Elance & it really felt to me that Elance just allows all independent contractors to do whatever they want.
I eventually got my money back, but not after considerable stress.
If Elance doesn’t want to be hounded for money that’s been stolen from companies by independent contractors, they shouldn’t be offering a payment system.
You can’t be a middle man & then say “sorry, I’m just the middle man, I see nothing, I hear nothing.”
Just to be clear, they now they have Escrow, but they never had it back then & who knows who they side with when it comes to their escrow services.
My second negative experience with Elance was about 6 months ago in 2007.
I started placing ads again hoping this time I would have more positive experiences.
Elance starts to tell me they don’t allow adult companies & they gave me warnings.
First I had never been told this before, second, I was doing nothing wrong, why should I be dyscriminated against just because I’m a suedo adult company?
I continued to place ads only to have my account frozen after a month or two.
I later found out they allow adult toy sites, sexual dating sites, but for some reason those adult sites are allowed to flourish while I was locked out.
While soooo many companies refer Elance to others (viral marketing), what matters to me is how they treat people & clearly how I was treated was pretty nasty. While no one ever said anything mean to me, their actions spoke volumes.
Square Trade was also totally useless & I don’t even know why they exist.
Thank you for listening.