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ODESK / Credit Card Fraud

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I have been scammed by oDesk resource. Be very careful while hiring any resource on oDesk (virtual assistant, blog poster, programmer - anything). I had hired this person in November 2009 but didn't give him in assignment (his allowed working hours specifically said "0"). Yet he went in and started charging for work of which there is NO RECORD WHATSOEVER (he claims he worked offline - but nothing in their Online Diary). This service provider, who goes by "PaulSystems" or "Tonmoy Paul" from Bangladesh, started charging over $600 hours per week from end of December. He charged over $3000 on my account since December claiming that he and his team did work for me. As I was away for a month I didn't get to check my bills or invoice during this period. Once I got this information, I reported to oDesk and so far I have 0 response from them. I am thinking of suing oDesk or flush this in the media so that the people using oDesk become wary and careful about this kind of issue with oDesk. Once again, this should be BIG WARNING for anyone wanting to deal with people through oDesk.

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  • Vw
      19th of Mar, 2010

    Hi, this is Nicole from Rent a Coder.

    I empathize with the unfortunate experience you've encountered. One of the unfortunate facts about this type of problem is that oDesk arbitration is limited to before the buyer releases escrow (3 days after the timecard completes). After the money is gone, you can no longer exercise arbitration. This is what makes choosing a safe service extremely important.

    I recommend in the future, not to set up a recurring timecard if you know you will be out of the office. Set a limit on the weekly amount instead, so that if you forget, your losses are limited.

    Why not give Rentacoder a try? At Rentacoder, we protect your money with free escrowing so your money isn't given to a worker until the work is complete and satisfactory. We additionally allow you to verify the time worked on a project with an 'in and out' real-time card application. This application records the worker's desktop and webcam so that you can witness your project's development.

    We also offer full arbitration on all projects free of charge.

    You can compare the 7 major services through this link to learn even more: http://www.rentacoder.com/RentACoder/DotNet/misc/CompetitorInformation/WhyRentACoder_ForBuyers.aspx

    If you have any questions, please let me know. You can also call in to talk to a facilitator 7 days a week, or email us (see http://www.rentacoder.com/RentACoder/misc/Feedback.asp).

    Nicole
    www.rentacoder.com

    0 Votes
  • Od
      31st of Aug, 2010

    I have been a trustworthy provider who has some reputation among odesk community but odesk suspended my profile, account, job applications, job offers and contracts in order to force me to provide privacy including date birth, photo, address proof etc. They simply cut off my income.
    Long time ago before this incident, my profile was secretly hidden by odesk from search, and I did not know this until someday a buyer told me he could not find me! And it happened a few times!
    I have heard a lot of cases that buyers were scammed by providers at odesk, but odesk did nothing to help. I was honest and reliable and I never scammed anyone, but my account was suspended! This is very unfair! Maybe because odesk feel they cannot earn a lot from my working, so they just throw me out??
    I feel this crossed the line. Provider should also have certain privacy. I asked around, but other buyers and providers did not have to provide such information!
    Odesk also suspended my access to forums, so that they can cover this issue! Because I submitted many tickets to customer support, odesk even blocked me from their customer support! Later they permanently suspended my account.

    +1 Votes
  • Us
      11th of Mar, 2011

    I hired Omar Edwards from Shabz Design to make 2 pages on my Facebook for $20 and 100 fans on facebook for $4 ($0.04/fan). This was one of my first posts on oDesk so I made this an hourly job instead of fixed because I figured I would get quoted an amount of hours which I can then make a milestone for these certain hours. We agreed on $24 and spoke back and forth on oDesk and skype. He finally messaged me on Odesk on March 3 stating he has completed the job. I reviewed and had a few changes which he complete quickly. So I went into payments to make a milestone and I submitted a $24 bonus on accident instead of closing the job and submitting $24 for this fixed job. He did not mention anything about the hours, and I failed to change this to a fixed job. So I contacted support through live help and told them I made a payment but it is not being released. Here is the conversation which was fairly short since I was on my iPhone:
    Allan: Hello, Alex D. Can I help you with anything today?
    Alex D: ID 11272872
    Allan: hi is that a contract id? please hold as I check that on your account
    Alex D: I hired as hourly but I paid worker as fixed price.
    Alex D: But it says I paid as bonus
    Allan: I see - I'll check your payments as well.
    Alex D: And it will not release
    Allan: yes when you pay a fixed price it is usually called a bonus payment
    Allan: oh ok
    Alex D: And I already ended and we left feedback for eachother
    Allan: is that the $24 payment?
    Alex D: Please release payment
    Allan: yes sure I will go ahead and ask finance to charge your card
    Allan: one moment pls
    Allan: glad to report that your card was charged successfully
    Allan: thanks for contacting oDesk today!

    After the payment was released, I felt comfortable telling the agent that my job was complete and I wanted to release payment. Keep in mind I work 15 hours a day, and I use oDesk as support to get my work done and depend on oDesk agents to help or catch mistakes if I speak with them. That is what sets apart good customer support from horrible support. So thinking everything was ok, I left very good feedback. After I received the 100 fans from Omar Edwards, I turned on my own Facebook fan account from an external website. This website is where people with fanpages can exchange fans/likes. You can gain anywhere from 30-100 fans in one single day. They just constantly stream in as long as you have enough credits in your account which I had plenty. I had paused it so I can see if Omar's (Shabz Design) fan technique really worked and it did. I received about 120 fans and it slowed down so I un-paused my own fan account to begin exchanging fans on my own and went up another 300 fans in approximately 3 days. So I decided to ask Shabz Design to give me another 400 fans at $0.04/fan and he said I already owed him for 300 fans. He saw my facebook fanpage and claimed it was him that got me 300 more fans and I should pay what I owe. I told Omar Edwards we agreed on 100 fans and that is what I paid you. He disagreed so I took screenshots of my account and showed him 5 pages of fanpage likes that I have received on my facebook fan exchange account on an external site. I have proof of building my own fan base and showed him but he suggested that it was him as if he is the only one who knows how to obtain facebook fans. I used him for additional fans because I like to use different methods of obtaining fanpage likes. After I told him I will not pay him for work I did myself and work that we did not agree on, he told me his charge for fans is $0.12/fan instead of $0.04/fan. He said he will not charge me the same price as before so I told him I will no longer need his service.

    After we spoke I begain other work and did not pay much attention to oDesk because I had to attend to other very important matters in my business NOT knowing that the job was still open and the $24 I had paid him was still considered a bonus and not as a final payment. Approximately 8 days later I receive notice from oDesk that I was charged for $35.55! So I logged in to see why this was charged to my account and noticed Omar Edwards from Shabz Design summed up $0.12 x 300 fans = $36 so he logged on oDesk and logged 5.33 hours @ $6.67/hr which = $35.55! Very clever way of taking advantage of someone who just began using oDesk and made an honest mistake of paying him the wrong way. He saw that I was inexperienced with oOesk and deliberately logged on to oDesk to log hours which we never agreed upon. I take this no other way then theft. If you leave your wallet on a table, and turn your head for a second, it may get stolen. Maybe it is a bad idea to put your wallet on the table in the first place, but steeling the wallet is a crime regardless of where it is. IT IS NOT YOURS!

    I then contacted oDesk to file a dispute and they told me my time for dispute was over!? Here is the ticket conversation:

    Ionie: Hello, Alex D. Can I help you with anything today?
    Alex D: Hello I have a feeling the worker I hired has manipulated odesk to charge me $35 today but I already paid him $24 for the work he did. Unfortunately it was done as a bonus since I am very unfamiliar with odesk. So we left eachother feedback and that was it. Now I have a new charge for hours that we did not agree on
    Ionie: One moment let me check
    Ionie: May I have the Contract ID please?
    Alex D: His name is Omar Edwards from Shabz Design. He made 2 pages for my Facebook page for $10 each and he got me 100 fans for $4. Each fan was $0.04
    Alex D: I am on my iPhone. I am not sure if this chat will end if I try and go to another page
    Ionie: No need
    Ionie: one moment please
    Ionie: So the agreed amount you had with him is just $24 is that correct?
    Alex D: Yes only $24. I asked for more fans but he wanted to charge me $0.12/fan and I said no I will not pay more. So I deleted him from skype because I did not appreciate the price spike. He claims he gave me more fans then 100 which is not true so he probably thinks I should pay. We only agreed on 100 fans for $4
    Alex D: And 2 pages for $20. I would also like to take back my feedback if possible because this is not professional to do.
    Ionie: unfortunately you hired him under an hourly contract which is a guaranteed payment it means everytime a contractors log in they will get paid per hour
    Ionie: you will need to speak with your contract to process a refund
    Ionie: as employers review period for the week he worked for was already ended yesterday
    Alex D: Well can you see screen shots? He didn't do any work. The job ended a while ago before I left feedback
    Ionie: Unfortunately time given to you to dispute charges for the week he worked for already ended yesterday so we cannot file a dispute any more
    Ionie: it is the emcccccccbpnffketrrhinglugccnkcrinvnuounjjtfnfvjf
    Ionie: employers responsibility to check the work diary during the review period and file a dispute between that time as well incase there are issues on the work diary
    Alex D: I have all logs of skype messages. I will try and ask this thief to refund but if he says no, I am calling my bank to file for a charge back and I have all conversation logs to prove the work ended before I paid him $24
    Ionie: What you can only do now is to contact him and ask for a refund
    Ionie: Problem alex is you hired him under an hourly contract it is stated on our policy that hourly contracts are a guaranteed payment. So what ever agreement you have with him if you hire him under an hourly contract and contractor logged in he will still be paid
    Ionie: Contract that you should have offered shoukld be fixed price if it will be a task something like a commission basis'
    Alex D: Yes and I will also call my bank to file a charge back and I'll discontinue using odesk. This is not fair. I will not participate with a company that does not help claims such as mine regardless of the dispute time. I was unaware and did not receive any notification that I was being charged. I thought once you pay and leave feedback the work is done. I did not make a milestone or agree more hours.
    Alex D: I asked to change to fixed but this is not possible. You can see our conversations in inbox. I don't understand why odesk cannot investigate this. There is proof.
    Alex D: You understand that I will not be robbed like this. I will not let someone just take my money because of a loophole in that I failed to understand. You should not protect someone who takes advantage of people like me
    Ionie: he cannot change it to a fixed price as you have to do it on your end
    Alex D: So now he will continue to login and take my money. I want this job closed now please.
    Ionie: Also, if you both just agreed to make a bonus payment on this you should have set the weekly limit to 0
    Ionie: The logged in he made was made when the contract he had with you was still active
    Ionie: How it works was posted on our odesk User Agreement which we asked user to accept
    Alex D: I don't know how to do that! I submitted a ticket explaining this and I said job is complete please release payment. Then I left feedback and I thought job was closed. He logged in and did not work!!!
    Ionie: The charges on your account was for the log in he made March 1
    Ionie: as I see here contract was ended march4
    Ionie: You were just charge yester as employers review periods end Sunday 23:59 UTC
    Ionie: Your contractor can refund these funds
    Ionie: please speak with him and ask for a refund
    Alex D: I know about user agreements as I own a business and I also like to protect myself from refunds but I hope you understand that regardless of what accepted, I did not accept to be robbed or to have odesk not take my claim into consideration and investigate. You guys are not robots. You can clearly see that I have been taken advantage of. But if you want to be defensive and protect a thief then I will protect myself too. I'll discontinue using odesk and submit a charge back since you don't seem to realize that im just an honest person who is just asking for my money back which was not earned buy this crook!!! I work too hard for me to sit back and let this happen.
    Alex D: Please close this job to prevent this a**hole from charging me again. Have a good night.
    Ionie: Time period given to you to file a dispute was already ended
    Ionie: and it is your obligation to check their work diary'
    Ionie: Ionie exited session.

    I agree that there are policies to follow but you cannot write a policy for all issues. It is not possible. I was in the military and there are issues that still happen to this date that there is not a policy in place for. We are all humans, and we have to treat each case differently. I tried to contact Omar Edwards from Shabz Design on skype and he blocked me right away so I then knew this was not a mistake. He deliberately took advantage of me. I contacted oDesk one more time and pleaded that they look at my case and forward it to a manager for review and Odesk refused to help me. I am an honest man and I explained to odesk that I have proof of our agreement and him saying the job is $24 and he has completed it on March 3. Odesk will realize Shabz Design obviously took advantage of my open project to log hours which he did not work if they just reviewed the evidence! I will be damned if I just let some jackwagon steel my money. How are you going to ask a thief to give you your money back? I understand policies but this is a very clear case of abuse. Odesk should set all hourly jobs to 0 by default, NOT unlimited incase things like this happen! Once the job has been awarded, it should be up to us to set the hours we agree upon and have the provider agree and accept. If you set as unlimited as default, the provider can begin logging any hours he wants! This is ridiculous! There are no checks and balances here. Mistakes happen! I am getting no protection here. I am going to try once more to get help from odesk. If it fails, I will file a chargeback and I could care less if my account is closed because I will not support a company who does not have the capacity to investigate claims of abuse. If I would make suggestions to odesk I'd say to set all new hourly jobs to 0 by default so if people like me are new to odesk and do not know that the job starts off as unlimited, the provider will be forced to remind them to add hours just like milestones which we both can agree and accept! But if people like me accidentally do not change the hours from unlimited to whatever hours that we both agree upon, the provider can stay quiet and log as many hours as he wants which is a ridiculous loophole in favor of any dishonest person or company like Shabz Designz. Wake up oDesk! I have read countless complaints about the same issue! Don't you think it's time to take a closer look at your policies?! You give little time and notice to file disputes! Now that I have been charged, I cannot dispute?! I literally contacted oDesk with in one hour after I received notification that I was charged. I will do my research and find out if I can file a BBB complaint. I will also post this on /link removed/ sitepoint.com, etc... I do not care if this takes 30 hours out of my work time. I will gladly do this so I can warn people of Omar Edward's scam tactics from Shabz Designz www.shabzdesignsinc.com, and oDesk's lack of protection for employers!

    0 Votes
  • Ra
      2nd of Jul, 2011

    odesk sucks!!! they suspended my account without any valid reason! one of my employer set a fixed contract for me but i end up ending the contract seeing this employer that i work onto this projects got a load of works to be done where its out for the interview that we had and then he report me to odesk team about not completing the projects well who the hell would like to continue this kind of work where your employer pay you next to nothing!! beware of this employer name " Edward Sayers" hes such a money sucker!! he didnt even pay me any single cents for that worked that i have done! dont trust to any "fixed priced work" odeskers seems to be unfair they both sucks!!

    0 Votes
  • Da
      6th of Jan, 2012

    Odesk is horrible and they are scammers!!! They charged my credit card $600 for work never done!!! I opw my credit card reverses the charges.

    0 Votes

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