People Per Hour will simply take your money without telling you

I’ve just had a rather unpleasant experience with People Per Hour.  I experimented with using this service a couple of years ago, and it didn’t turn out that well (through no fault of anybody).  But there was a sting in the tail, which I have just discovered.

In order to use the service, you advertise a job.  You then deposit the full payment with People Per Hour.  They talk — on the website — about placing this in “escrow”.  “You the buyer pay nothing”, they cry.

You wait.

If you have funds in their keeping, after a certain time they get greedy.  If you haven’t used it, they take it “out” of “escrow” and put it in your “wallet”.   Then they wait and see if you notice.

If you don’t, and if you don’t log in, after 6 months, they start picking your pocket.  They deduct, every month, $6 from your balance.  Until it’s all gone.

They don’t, of course, email you that they are doing any of these things.

I have just discovered that these weasels appropriated $40 of my money in this way.  It stopped back in September, when — who knows why? — I logged into their site.

But I only found out about it this evening.  And I only found out by accident.  Because I was looking around the confusing-looking account options, when I found something about payments.  And, idly, I clicked on it to see what my experiment last time cost.

I was pretty surprised to find that I, apparently, had a balance in my “wallet” of $150!  That’s real money.

And I happened to notice that you could click on the numeral — there was nothing to indicate this — and so was led to a list of deductions.

Your PPH Wallet has been charged with an Admin Fee of £4.20 for holding on to your money while you’ve been away

How kind of them.

The list of deductions is so well buried that, when I wanted to double-check it, I had some difficulty working out what I had clicked on.  They really try to hide it.

I went looking for an explanation.  Eventually I came across this in their terms and conditions:

8.1 Buyer Fees

PPH do not charge a fee to the Buyer. …

And very, very much further down:

8.4 Admin fee for inactive User accounts

If a User has funds in their PPH Wallet and the User has not logged in to their PPH account for a period of six (6) months or more then PPH will charge a monthly administration fee of £3.50 (excl. VAT) for holding those funds on behalf of the inactive User.    This fee will be automatically collected each month from the funds in the User’s PPH Wallet starting from the seventh (7th) calendar month since the User last logged in to their User account.    The collection of this fee will end when either i) the account becomes active again after the User logs back in to PPH, or ii) the balance in the PPH Wallet is cleared.

Whether their “terms” said any of that, back when I did business with them, well, of course I do not know.  But nobody leaves money on a site for someone else to take at their leisure.  Either way, I feel pretty cheated.

These people also try to hide their details.  They are, in fact, a United Kingdom-based business, registered at Companies House as People Per Hour Ltd, Company number 06369697, Registered Address: 6 New Street Square, London, EC4A 3LX.

I have, needless to say, placed a request tonight to refund every penny they list as belonging to me.

Whether I have any recourse I do not know.  But I think a query to the financial ombudsman is in order.

It’s a shame.  The typesetter I have found looks perfectly sound, and very useful.  But I don’t want to deal with a website if I think it will do things like this.

31 thoughts on “People Per Hour will simply take your money without telling you

  1. I understand your feelings, but it was necessary to read the T&Cc before do any work on their website.

    Good luck

  2. Not really. Any deal between two people involves goods/services for money. A firm who devise “small print”, as an excuse to take money but provide neither goods nor services are no different to thieves.

  3. I agree with you that is not the right thing to charge the members Admin fees, taking the money with no rights from the owners is like a robbery

  4. Hi Roger,

    Frustrating – I think a lot of similar sites do this kind of thing and as such, you should always read the T&Cs. Saying that, not many people do and this is why sites get away with it.

    I think these kinds of sites are very unfair to freelancers who are charged for finding clients who often refuse to pay a decent rate. The sites deliberately drive down the costs for freelancers as they are forced to compete with those in emerging economies for jobs.

    Clearly, someone in the UK/US can’t produce a blog for $5 (for example) and yet many of the buyers populating these sites will not pay more (not accusing you of anything here, just relating my own thoughts).

    In turn this drives down the quality of the work that populates the web and forces talented freelancers out of business. It’s a pretty rubbish state of affairs that’s often made even worse by buyers asking for freebies in order that the freelancer can ‘prove’ that they’re up to the job. So you end up with a situation where the buyer is in the win-win scenario and the freelancer is expected to devalue their work over and over again.

    So it all generally favours the buyer and the $40 you have lost is often very little compared to what the workers trying to make a living on these sites lose. Not that it’s OK to lose anything … but it would be cool if buyers were inclined to look at it from the freelancers POV now and then 🙂

  5. My own experiences were not great, I must admit. But I entirely sympathise with the underpayment issue. The sites are flooded with people who have no real skills, in the middle of which the real experts go unnoticed or dismissed as being too expensive. I always pay a fair rate. But I think the problem is vast numbers of people from the third world.

    The way I always do it for a translation job is to ask for a sample of the first page without obligation, and pay if it is OK. You have to do this, because otherwise you find yourself being targeted by people who can’t do the job. Again, the quality control issue is the problem.

    A fair days’ work for a fair days’ pay is my belief. $5 for a website is pathetic.

  6. The only real winners are the sites themselves I think. I suppose the good people will eventually get out of using the sites as their portfolio builds. The problem that they then have is trying to raise prices – so much more difficult for those that devalue themselves in this way.

    We have translation partners btw, so if you are looking in the future, feel free to drop me a line 🙂

  7. I have just had exactly the same experience, on gaining my first job in a while with them I logged onto my account and saw I had money I could withdraw from my escrow account. I tried to withdraw the money to find out I had security checks to go through first. I was slightly baffled by the balance so asked for a breakdown – needless to say it was then I found they had continually deducted charges for several months without email advise. The total amount for a job went to them so I literally worked for nothing. Awaiting a payment to come through and will close my account immediately

  8. If you read this, probably you want to make sure about the place in which you want to invest your time, effort, and money. This will help you. These limited words are summary of 2 years. We were on page 3 and was ranked as 119th – TOP. I didn’t sleep for nights till I got there…
    For *whatever* I say here, emails and replies exist as proof and I’ll be glad to share them.

    My story on PeoplePerHour began on 18th of Jun 2014. Let me copy-paste the first email:
    “I am Faryad, from Iran. I am leading an expert team for graphics design, web design, and web development. My question is, as an Iranian, can we work in your website with no concern?”

    Reply:
    “Hello Faryad
    Thank you for your message.
    People from all over the world are allowed to work on the site, there is no restriction for them. You are welcome to work on our site. You can register and get work.
    Best wishes for your business in PPH.”

    We signed up. For many times I noticed there are somethings wrong with the platform but I thought maybe these are software bugs. I didn’t care much and each time I composed lists of bug reports trying to report strange behaviors of the platform in my long lists of bugs. Each time they were telling me things like “that’s fine, we are working on it! Oh, we are sorry to hear this, we are fixing.” Stuff like this. I noticed that this is an official robbery because a mistake may happen once or twice accidentally- not after reporting it for hundreds of times. Let me clarify one after another about how they rob you (sellers) specially using their smart proposal credit system. Since I wasn’t a buyer on this scamming website, I don’t know how they rob buyers and I leave this for buyers to review.

    -Proposal credits are not free on this platform. If you want to bid on jobs, you have to buy them. Each proposal credit costs something about 1.5 GBP. They claim each month they give you 15 free credits. They are right. They do this till you get to a point. When you start growing and need to buy more credits, thievery starts. Suppose you have 85 credits. In the beginning of each month, instead of adding 15 free credits, they RESET your credits to 15. Yes! Don’t be shocked! For my last 4 months of working I noticed this robbery and each month I was reporting this to the whole team (support, product, web designer). We had two accounts and this was happening to both of them. They told me, hey, sorry for this! Maybe this is a bug or something. Here are some credits!! And I didn’t know how many credits did I have before getting robbed.

    -When someone posts a job, sellers start to bid. If, after bidding a buyer changes or updates his job or his budget, according to their own terms and email notifications, sellers can cancel proposals and credits must be refunded. This happens very frequently. Someone posts a job for $200 and after 15 minutes changes the budget to $50 (thanks to the uncontrolled bids and junk system of bidding). They claim you can send another proposal for the same job without losing any credits. Guess what? When you cancel your proposal, the credit will NOT refund. If you send another proposal for the same job, ANOTHER credit is consumed and will never refund. This means if you cancel your proposal and send another one, you will lose 2 credits!! A very sneaky type of robbery! This also applies to what they call Featured Proposal Credit which is a more expensive type of proposal credit and features (so-called) the proposal. Featured proposals does NOTHING and they will NOT refund to your account just like normal credits. They just add a ribbon to your proposal and this is what you pay 5 pounds for.

    -PPH is a great place for posting fake and scamming jobs because no one controls anything. They filter things randomly. Spammers and fraudulent buyers keep posting spamming jobs. Newbies and those who are not aware of threats keep sending proposals for all types of jobs. They bid and bid and they lose credits very quickly. Guess what? If after reporting a job (by the community and for hundreds of times) they moderate the fake job, credits will NOT refund to bidders’ accounts. Also if they don’t moderate fake jobs, they will stay pending forever and so does your poor proposal. This means for each pending job you waste your time and your credit (money) like a charm! You will never get your credit back. According to my working experience for 2 years more than %60 of jobs is fake and they remain pending forever. I’ve reported this in detail for more than 10 times and each time they only thank me for reporting!

    Mid-July I decided to ask them to stop robbing us. I sent them an email telling them about all these events including more thievery scenarios. I asked them to stop filching. Guess what? They have deactivated my account in less than 1 hour!! I asked the reason and they sent me one of their junk corporate emails telling me that I have violated their terms! I immediately contacted Christina P (don’t write the full name for her privacy) which works in their product team. Christina was the ONLY helpful person and she was not aware of the stealing algorithm of the platform. She reactivated my account and said this was a mistake! So what if I didn’t have her direct email?! I regained access to my account and was happy that I had it again because it included 2 full years of non-stop working of a group of people. But this isn’t the end!

    Three weeks later I received a system email:
    “Thank you for using PPH.
    In a recent compliance review, we have noted that your account is based in Iran.
    In line with UK AML regulations, PPH is unable to support users operating from this location. As a result, we need to close your account and are providing you with 1 week’s notice of closure to complete any work in progress. To find out more, please visit section 2 of our terms and conditions.
    We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused however please note this is for compliance reasons.”

    I said WHAT??? First of all, what the … does AML mean??? I googled it and found the abbreviation. I was so shocked that couldn’t talk for few hours because:

    -After working as a freelancer for the first year, we closed our offices and focused on working at home. Now we didn’t have any office and we were going to lose our freelancing job as well.

    -It wasn’t about me only. I was concerned about my wife and her team. She faithfully worked on this platform non-stop and we managed to serve about 170 clients from more than 30 countries. We had 178 positive feedbacks and our rating was %99.6. What about our exceptional customer testimonials? Those magnificent clients had written marvellous reviews about our performance and we were relying on their words for our future projects/positions. Are we going to lose them all?

    -I was always sending them bug reports and feature requests. Their product team thanked me personally for many times. More than 100 bugs have been reported by me and they used my ideas to improve their scamming platform and now they are banning me! Can you imagine this?!

    -I never charged my clients outside PPH because I was loyal and committed to their system. We used to have customers with monthly invoices but I never accepted their payment offer outside PPH. They could simply and easily send their money to my withdrawal account and therefore we didn’t have to pay any share to PPH. I didn’t do this because I was committed to those beasts.

    -We had sent our CVs to different locations for different positions. Link to our profile was included in all of our CVs and if they close our account, the link will return a nasty error page instead of our beautiful customer testimonials. So what about those people reading our CVs? Most probably they will think we are lying to them. Can you imagine? My profile includes 2 years of our most recent career and the most important ones because they are recent. If we lose them, we had a 2-years gap in our career and people with link to our profile think we want to cheat them.

    Let’s get back to the AML thing. They deactivated our accounts again. This easy! I searched UK authorities and asked about the AML claim. Here’s the result. Please google “uk advisory aml notice june 2016” and read page 1 of the first PDF. Here’s the last line from page 1 I copy from the document:

    “On 24 June 2016, the FATF suspended its call for countermeasures against Iran for twelve months.”

    If it was about AML rules, these rules were onset from 2007, so why did they let us (Iranians) join their website on 2014 with a very warm welcome and without restrictions? On the other hand, if they are obeying AML rules it clearly states that countermeasures are suspended for one year and this document has been released on June; that is 2 months before PPH thieves warn us with their fake AML message.

    Wait! There’s more! Hearing this will drop your jaws: still, there are some active Iranian profiles on the website!!! Please check it for yourself. Go to freelancer’s section and search for Iran. They kept those poor rookies active. It seems like they are planned to be robbed after they gather some money for them in their small wallets.

    I have more surprises for you readers. They closed our account; swallowed the money in our wallet; stole the money in our pending invoices; and clearly stated that they won’t give us access again EVEN IF we live somewhere else than Iran!!!! Let me copy-paste:

    “Hello,
    So this means PeoplePerHour.com has closed our account, withdraws our earned money for itself, and won’t give back our account even if we exit Iran.
    Can you please confirm this?”

    “Hello Faryad,
    Thank you for your message.
    I can now confirm this Faryad.
    Your account will remain closed.
    Thank you for your patience and if you have any other question regarding our case please let me know.
    Kind Regards,
    Natalie
    PPH Senior Advisor”

    PPH thieves:
    You will be more arrogant if you sell yourselves instead of robbing people like this. Your children will read your story.

  9. Alright, just adding to the experience, it appears as if all funds from our account have been kindly funnelled into the black hole called “Admin Fee”.

    Refund requested. Don’t have much hope of one, though.

  10. Fair play to return here just a few hours since my last comment.

    A little more than 4 hours after my “Admin Fee Refund Request” the folks at PPH were kind enough to do a full refund of six months of “Admin Fee”. Needless to say, I’ll be diving straight into finding freelancers on PPH…

  11. Excellent news, Jakob. So it looks as if the PPH people might be getting on top of their problems, and starting to manage these issues better. That’s good news; and it means that it might be worth looking again at the site.

  12. Just had a very bad experience from PPH, They decided on the sellers favour and splitting my money on escrow service in half for machine translated content which was supposed to be done by their 5 Cert. top 5% translator seller..%&#”€C%&.. Dispute resolution is crap, they only think of themselves. i paid 10% commission as a seller when depositing funds, got ripped of by their trusted buyer because of their decision. And now i´m gonna try to withdraw my money back to my bank account will also be charge while doing so. In the end i have a file of 6400 rows of data which is incomplete.

    PPH is so unprofessional, never again!

  13. Hi there, I have just been stung in the same way. I kept my account open with money in the escrow for several months, and they started helping themselves to £8.04 each month for 6 months without telling me. I finally got wind of it now, that no money is left. Nearly £60 they’ve had. And no means to complain.

    DO NOT TRUST THIS COMPANY – THEY ARE THIEVES

  14. please stay away from them, They are unethical, unprofessional and extremely non transparent. they take your money without care of whether you have your product or service. I regret doing business with them and I cannot wait for them to go liquidate or disappear.. such unethical business , we have too many dont need one more

  15. This is what i find most disturbing: They do not publish or remove any feedback from their site or their sellers profile that not in their favor, even it is nicely professionally written. ITS A CUSTOMER”S RIGHT TO LEAVE A FEEDBACK OF THEIR EXPERIENCE. If they remove all negative feedback that manipulative information. I trusted the seller’s reviews and now I know they are all false. I looked up their community comments many people have complained about why their feedback was removed. Next i just spent 15 minutes on google they are truly notorious and has a bad reputation. And this is the best on glass door their internal staff current and former have’nt got good things to say about the company of its CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou. Now that just shows why their customer service is below mediocre. I wrote to him three times no reply. My biggest concern not the money, not the abuse from seller not even the zero customer support it was that they have no portection for your information. You think you are sending it to the seller and trusting her she will forward it whoever ! This is concerning.

  16. People per hour just stole £800 from me.
    I had a buyer who paid money in to escrow for the work. I completed all the work, raised an invoice and waited for payment. Today I’ve been told that the invoice was rejected, not by the client but by people per hour. They closed the buyers account, unable to tell me why and that they’ve refunded him. This is after I’ve done the £800 worth of work and had an invoice waiting to be paid for 6 days.
    £800 I’ve never see!
    This is pure thieft.

  17. stay away from this company

    i earned some money and then they deactivated my account and i could not withdraw my money

    cannot submit ticket to customer service about it, and this is the only way to contact them, no emails or phone number they have.

    i dont know what to do to get out my earned money

    stay away

  18. It is interesting how many unhappy customers PPH seems to have. Obviously I cannot tell whether everyone posting a complaint is genuine; but it does look as if the company is hard to deal with.

  19. I am a buyer who has had positive experiences with the company in the past. But I NEVER paid in advance (escrow). I just posted a job for a fixed price and when the job was done I paid for it. I have actually today posted two new jobs. Why would you send money to the site before work is done?

  20. Roger Pearse – If these complaints were not true, People Per Hour Team would say something here or in other places where their clients posted complaint, obviously they dont care about their clients (sellers)

    For buyers, it is paradise website, because to post a job – you don’t need to upload any documents for verification, you can just post like that and pay 30% deposit and get your job done and then disappear, thats it

    this is what happened to me but i was a seller, it was one of bad experience i had

    the most interesting thing is that they don’t have any contact details to contact them, so if they suspend your account, that’s it, you cannot login and cant do anything. No emails & no phone numbers.

  21. I am not saying they have obligation but they would have say something to address these “untrue” posts. It is true, therefore they keep silent about it.

  22. The very fact that they charge 20% commission just for providing an escrow service is a complete rip-off in my opinion.
    On top of that, they punish you if you do not earn enough money for them. So if you are sick or doing work outside of PPH, they will increase your fees, charge you a monthly fee to use the site, and reduce your rating.
    On top of this, you still have to purchase credits to bid on jobs.

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