Elance Blog

Industry-Leading Payment Protection = Peace of Mind.

As promised, Elance Senior Director of Trust & Safety Jeff Chen will be posting on our blog regularly to help keep you up-to-date on our Trust and Safety programs. Here are his thoughts on Elance’s exclusive Payment Protection programs.


Industry-Leading Payment Protection = Peace of Mind.

Top freelancers and clients ask for (and come to expect) one important thing: An honest day’s work leading to an honest day’s pay. And we have that covered with our unmatched payment protection programs.

Yet, when we talk to people, some 60% of Elancers aren’t even aware of the protection they have available through Elance Escrow Payment Protection and Work ViewTM Payment Protection.

So we thought this might be a good time to give you a quick overview of your coverage. Here’s a brief summary, and for more information visit our help page on payment protection or watch quick videos at Elance University.

Only Elance offers payment protection on ALL jobs – both hourly and fixed priced.

Elance continues to be the world’s most trusted online workplace. One reason for this is because we’re the only platform with payment protection on ALL jobs, hourly and fixed price, for BOTH freelancers and clients. This is why great clients and freelancers choose Elance, as you can always count on great work and timely payment.

1. For hourly jobs, your coverage includes Work View™ Payment Protection.

Whether you’re a freelancer or a client, Elance protects you on hourly jobs. It just takes three simple steps:

The result is peace of mind for both parties. Elance’s Work ViewTM Payment Protection guarantees payment for hours freelancers have agreed to with their clients (and have documented using Elance’s Tracker tool). Plus it helps ensure clients pay freelancers only for the time spent on their jobs. This happens by viewing real screenshots of their billed time in weekly timesheets.

2. For fixed priced jobs, your coverage includes Elance Escrow Payment Protection.

Again, for freelancers and clients who work on fixed priced jobs, your payment protection happens with 3 simple steps:

Elance’s Work ViewTM and Escrow Payment Protection programs let you sleep well at night.

We’re proud to offer industry-leading payment protection to all freelancers and clients, for all jobs. This exclusive coverage is just another way we’re ensuring that Elance is the world’s most-trusted online workplace.

Learn more in our Help Center or with Elance University videos, and thanks for being part of the community that Works Differently™ and works with confidence.



yes good

For my first project a client didn't pay me and ran off as a fraud. Despite full well my ID being legitimate and easily accountable by anyone who can type my name in Google, as I wasn't able to connect on the Skype call to verify my ID, Elance wouldn't pay me for the work I did and the money I am owed. I since found a very reputable client who is great and gives me faith in the system, however I don't have any in Elance backing up their promise of guaranteed payments.

Elance is the only freelance site I come to when I have available slots in my calendar and am seeking gigs. It is safer, cleaner, with a higher signal-to-noise ratio than any other similar site. BUT...

The so called 'Guarantee' doesn't seem to worth the paper it's written on. A Guarantee to me means that I get paid, period! By Elance if the client doesn't, as long as I meet all defined conditions.

1) The 5 day limit for filing a dispute is unreal. Typically when a payment doesn't happen within the mandated 7 days, a freelancer tries to resolve it with the client, understand what has happened, and why, and try fix it in an amicable manner so that the relationship can be salvaged, the payment comes through, and subsequently more work happens which is a win-win for the client, the contractor and Elance too. Filing a dispute within 12 days of the invoice if the payment hasn't come through is not in sync with how business is conducted in real life in a post-paid scenario. Would your cell-phone/ DTH/ credit card company file a legal dispute after they sent you a bill with 7 days to-pay and you hadn't paid 5 days after the bill came due? And in an Elance world, once I submit my invoice on a Monday, do I stop working till it is paid? What happens if I didn't get paid? What about the guarantee of the hours/ milestones past the disputed invoice?

2) I didn't know about the arbitrage fees I would need to pay if I filed a dispute either, as someone mentioned above. Wow! I don't know if it's $133 or $250 as has been mentioned variously above but in either case it's a huge chunk of the weekly payment that is due for most freelancers. Imagine paying $133 or $250 to get a payment that is under $300-$600 as is the case with 98% of weekly milestones I am guessing. My mind boggles to think if the disputed amount was under $250.

3) Chargebacks - I didn't know that one either. Tell me it ain't true? Scenario from a horror film script - I filed an invoice, I got paid, and then the credit card was charged back and I have to return the money, or else!!! What's worse than not getting paid what's legitimately yours? Getting paid and having to return the money due to a chargeback.

Enough ranting, Elance is my preferred freelance website, it does provide "industry leading payment protection" as Jeff claims. I don't know a better marketplace, at least to the best of my knowledge, but there are certain things Elance needs to do, in my opinion, to stay at the top of the heap.

a) Make sure that when they bandy around words like "guarantee" they have looked up the word in a dictionary. A guarantee should mean "even if a client doesn't pay, we will make sure you get paid, as long as you meet mandated Elance conditions and terms of the contract". This should be true in spirit and practice and not just marketing BS.

b) The deadline for filing a dispute should be extended from 5 days past due-date to something like X weeks to give both parties an opportunity to resolve issues amicably. Hands up anybody here who has NEVER delayed paying a bill you intended to pay past 5 days of the due date. The delay is often legitimate or resolvable.

c) Arbitrage Fees - This is fine to act as a deterrent for frivolous or fraudulent parties but the winner should get the arbitrage fees reversed. We must remember that the weekly payment under dispute is typically a small amount and very rarely worth paying the arbitrage to win. Even if the 3d party arbitrage company needs to be paid anyway, Elance should pay that and why do we need a 3rd party to arbitrage that anyway? Elance staff should be able to arbitrage.

d) Chargebacks - NO! Chargebacks are a standard operating practice of card giants like Visa and Mastercard and they are charged back to the payee/ merchant but in case a middle-man like Elance is involved in the service delivery funnel, Elance must carry the risk. Cases like this would constitute a tiny fraction of one percent of their commission earnings but they must remember that a small $200 legitimate payment that should have happened but didn't is of big significance to the person who earned it. Maybe it's his rent money.

Obviously Elance should add other conditions to the "guarantee" so that the system is not abused by so called freelancers and employers working in collusion to milk the guarantee system. Maybe there should be a cap on the guarantee amount which should be a max single digit percentage of either the freelancer's previous earning from other employers or the employer's total spend on Elance and also a max of 3 milestones. This will ensure that Elance never has to pay out-of-pocket to live up to its guarantee as the amount will be always less than the commissions already earned from either or both parties, and such cases would be rare anyway.

Obviously this won't work for freelancers just starting out on Elance but if they choose to work with a new-to-Elance employer who can post a project for free and they have no track record themselves, they shouldn't whine when the pizza topping hits the fan. This would also make sure that both freelancers and employers work harder to create a strong Elance history.

That was just my 2 cents from a freelancer's perspective. Obviously Elance needs to think about protection of employers too to make everything work. Maybe by making a system where deliverables are clearly spelled out so that disputes can be easily resolved.

At the end of the day it has to be a win-win-win for employers, contractors and Elance.

Here's a simple delicious recipe for you as a reward for reading so far -

1)Take the Elance Guarantee.
2) Add a beeg pinch of salt.
3) Enjoy!

Today I am Awarded to a Job. But I have Accept the Term. But Escrow Not Yet Found $. Is there any problem about this Payment?

Best work Place elance

its awesome to work with elance :)