Shocked! Elance was great until...
Pros: good clients, good jobs, flexibility of working from home.
Cons: elance corporate support - unreasonable, unreliable, shady
I loved Elance. Someone recommended I upgrade by switching from oDesk to Elance. I did so in June of 2013 and began securing contracts through them. I loved having my own business, the flexibility. I was able to find good clients who communicated well and paid promptly.
Then suddenly, on 9/29 this year, I received notice from them that my account was under review and suspended for the time being, citing "Work performance below average." I thought for sure it was in error since I have a consistent 5.0 out of 5.0 rating with great feedback. I started writing to them to try to understand why I was suspended. The first week, all I received were auto-replies. I spent three weeks communicating with them. Never once did I receive any more explanation other than "your feedback rating is not all we consider in determining customer satisfaction." I requested to know what other factors might be involved. I never received any details, and finally they just closed my account. I was right in the middle of a contract, and I was nearly finished with a 30,000 word novella, the third in a series.
Despite them saying that I had no redress at that point, I wrote to them pointing out that it was unconscionable for them to judge my client satisfaction by some standard of which I had no knowledge. I had combed their policies to ensure that I wasn't missing something, but no. Immediately they wrote and asked me for patience while they reviewed me yet again. I requested that I be allowed to at least submit and get paid for the novella I had just completed out of fairness to both my client and myself – more... as I was on deadline. They stopped communicating with me and my account remains closed.
As this was my sole source of income at the time, it was extremely distressing to me.
TWO THINGS: In the course of this, I called their customer service and was told that they were doing a mandated audit. My question: did they just have a quota of accounts they had to close to prove due diligence? Also, in researching, I found a complaint on Yelp from someone who had worked for their sister site, oDesk, and had an experience identical to mine where they were never given any explanations whatsoever. – less