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Elance Upwork Review - Transcription Services Scam

This is yet another warning to home based typists but this time a warning to be aware of the dangers of using third party websites to offer your transcription services.

To get myself started as a freelance typist I started working on Elance.com, which is now currently merging with Upwork, and it is a site where many different jobs are posted from all over the world. Some of these jobs are requesting transcription services that Freelance typists can apply for.

I have worked on Elance.com for over six months now and never had an issue applying for these jobs and receiving payment for completed transcripts. Some of the people I have met have been lovely, friendly people with genuine job postings and are truly grateful that you have been able to supply them with quality and reliable transcription services.

Unfortunately, I have had the misfortune of being awarded a job by, what I now know to be a scammer, who never had any intention of paying for his transcription services. The job was typing transcripts of lecture recordings for UCLL which is a law university in Hong Kong. The initial job was set up for two completed transcripts and I submitted a timesheet and an invoice for these two transcripts and an auto payment was set for five days ahead. In the meantime the recruiter had sent further files to be transcribed and having no reason to doubt, due to the pending auto payment, I transcribed a further five transcripts with the intention of creating a miscellaneous invoice on completion. Unfortunately, after submitting the five transcripts the auto payment defaulted.

On contacting customer service at Elance I was basically informed that I was ‘welcome’ to raise a dispute but it probably wouldn’t be looked at because I hadn’t logged my hours. Apparently this is something called the WorkView Tracker Tool that I had no idea existed and didn’t know that I needed to use it in order to be protected. I argued the case that if they looked at my account they could quite clearly see the transcripts I had sent and the amount of time that would have been spent on these transcripts but sadly Elance’s customer service response was to void the miscellaneous invoice, change the auto payment for the two original transcripts to nil and change the transcription job to complete. Very helpful! So basically all outstanding monies were wiped and the recruiter walked away with the transcripts without even having to answer for himself let alone pay. So all in all I lost £378.54.

I have no idea what the scammer really gained from this apart from gaining free transcripts but why somebody would go to so much effort for free transcripts of lectures from a Hong Kong university, I really have no idea. However, I have reported this to UCLL so that they are aware that this is happening and hopefully, if it is a member of staff acting unlawfully at their end, they will be stopped.

I am not saying don’t use third party websites to offer transcription services because I did get started this way but be aware that people with illegitimate intentions are able to operate on these sites.

Now I’ve had my fingers burnt and emotions turned upside down (it’s not just about the money – I was actually conversing with this guy), I personally will not be using any third party sites. However, I am fortunate that my own website is starting to do well, so thankfully I no longer have a need for them but if you do need to use them my advice to you is to read the small print of what the website is responsible for when things go wrong and to research the instructions of how to use the website properly in order to stay safe and protect yourself from non-payment.

I donate 10% of all my profits to local, national and international charities, so you can rest assured, not only are you getting all your typing done, you are also donating to a worthy cause.


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Customer Reviews

Thank you so much for sending the transcriptions through - they are just what I need - thank you very much. I am really pleased with the quality and layout and will be happy to recommend your service to anyone who needs transcription.

ESRC and Health Foundation PhD Student Nottingham University Business School

Thank you for an absolutely EXCELLENT service !! Very pleased indeed. Thank you for your help – will certainly use you again should the need ever arise !

Sunil Vidhani

I've picked up the completed file from DropBox - perfect, and thank you for doing it so quickly.

Suzanne Ross

Thank you very much for submitting the transcript. I was really happy with your work. I would love to have you on my list of freelancers for overflow work. I would love to hear from you in relation to working together in the future.

Lindsay Smith