Worst Bosses Gallery

Monday, January 7, 2013

Writer Watch: Odesk Clients From Hell

The response has been strong for my last post about content sites.  So I decided to bring in the New Year by letting the public know which clients are on record as not having paid for services rendered.  In this case, these were writing or marketing jobs.

Now here are two things I must make clear.

I am human and make mistakes like anyone else.  Sometimes this has been reflected in my submissions which I will correct or revise at no charge.  If the client has a change of heart afterwards, I try my darndest to work out some happy medium.

This is not about opinions.  Some clients wanted something that was very subjective and as I am very likely to weave personal experiences which they may not agree with or do not want for this to reflect their brand.  Normally, I ask for supporting documents or a link so that I can get a feel but if the job is really small or the directives are very general, then I just work with what I have to offer.

Also, some of the people here have accounts at Elance, Guru, Freelancer and other sites that pay our bills.

Why am I listing these people on a site that is likely to be forwarded to others, you ask?

Just like your credit history is reported to consumer agencies for late or non-payment of accounts, the same should apply here.  Not sure about the others but oDesk has a feature that allows clients and contractors to hide negative reviews.  In some cases, these people listed may have 4-5 stars but they are from the same or 1-2 contractors who probably did a large job for pennies.  I have documented conversation and this has occurred in the past year.

If you are this person and feel I'm slandering you, feel free to email me and I will come with the details.

Company Name/Contact Name
  • MaxBloom/TonyRomo - This contract was actually suspended while I was working on it and I wanted to quit at the halfway point for a number of reasons.  Normally, when I get that bad feeling and they contact me via Skype AFTER hours, this has been an indicator of the relationship and how they pay.  It's been more than a month since my submission and this person has not contacted me.  They have been flagged for non-payment.
  • Wiley Long/Greg Little - This one was strange but long story short, they wanted to conduct an interview after a lengthy discussion via email when I was ready to work.  I did not report them because this took less than 15 minutes but I felt as if they were playing games, which cut into my time.
  • Ilie Fometescu (or Fometescu or Fometescu 07) - Major misunderstanding about the number of submissions I was to send.  I understand, it happens as English can be a complicated language for some.  However, I went nuts when they claimed to have forgotten payment.  I got a partial payment but my oDesk feedback goes into far more detail about why this person should be avoided.
  • Bill Zhong (or sohofan or loveoescommerce) - I could tell by their description that their English was not great.  While everyone makes typos and such, I failed to read the previous reviews which were not great.  He has been flagged for non-payment.
  • SUUT/Jamian Suran - Not only did this person monopolize my time but they chose to make it a social event.  Since then, I place a cap on all Skype conversations as well as a time frame. While copy is something that is subjective, when I came up with something that he could use (and he did with a little re-tooling), suddenly his little computer broke and said he would be in touch.  According to his profile, he lives in a large city so I knew this could be rectified in a matter of a couple of days.  Nothing.  So I give him a 24-hour notice.  Still nothing so I close the job and give a lengthy review.  That's when this person proceeded to rant and carry on like a Springer guest.  By this time, I cleared them from my Skype account and they later contacted me through oDesk asking for me to return.  This company has been flagged for non-payment.
When you're getting your feet wet, it can be hard as you want to build up cred and get the money here are my suggestions for avoiding the above situations.

Skype or other chat - Have a time frame like 9-5 and a limit on conversations.  If you find they are being sociable, then that may mean that they don't have enough work to do.  That was the case with one person (low pay but I did get paid) who worked for a pretty well-known company.

Read and define the terms - Clients know that if they list a nice budget amount, it will get a lot of attention. The question is how much content does a freelancer have to produce and how much time do they have to do this?  If you, as the freelancer have other jobs, be fair and make the client aware of this.  Some like to check in during business hours and while I hate this, there is nothing wrong with it.  However, if you are balancing several jobs, this can be annoying.

Do Not Be Afraid to Turn Down Work - I know... but hear me out.  If a job pays only $300 for 20K words, it may take you a month or more to complete this.  If its a new client, you know it won't take less than a week.  Even if it took exactly 6 days, you may want to hold out for an hourly job instead or request an upfront payment.  When I was the BMR "queen", there were clients that more than happy to oblige.

What are my creds, you ask?  I've held an average of 4.6 to 4.8/5 stars for the past couple of years.  Email me and I will happily send you my profile link with client feedback.


  1. Yes. People of E-lance and Odesk, please beware of Ilie Fometescu! He likes his projects to be done urgently and yet he will not pay you in the end. No wonder he has a low feedback score in Odesk! I worked on a huge project of his, which had an unreasonable turn around time, and yet I delivered. However, when I was following up his payment, he barely answers. And after asking him to pay me 5 weeks after work submission, he cancelled and had the audacity to say I delivered poorly. Ilie is a guy full of delays and excuses just so he can get his projects done for free. So, please beware of this guy!!!

  2. People of Odesk and E-lance, please beware of Ilie Fometescu. I had a similar bad experience with this guy from Romania. He likes his projects to be done on such an urgent manner and yet he will cancel your contract in the end and not pay you. So what happened to me is this: I worked on a huge project, which had an unreasonable deadline, and yet I delivered. When I was following up on his payment, he barely responded to my messages. And then finally one day (this is 5 weeks after work submission), he cancelled the contract and had the audacity to tell me I delivered poorly. Please stay away from this person. I don't know if he is inherently dishonest, but please avoid him to spare yourself with headache (and that's putting it mildly!)