Robert Matthew “Matt” Barrie and the www.Freelancer.com Scam by Festus Ndebele
My name is Festus Ndebele. I am from southern Africa, where poverty is high and wages are low; more reason why I was forced into searching for remote work on the Internet to support my family. In December of 2012 I saw an advertisement at www.Freelancer.com. I signed up and was very happy to be hired by a company that needed my skills. Unfortunately, even though all turned out well with the employer and Freelancer debited his bank account to pay my wages, I did not actually receive any money for all my work. But I have no quarrel with my employer. He approved of my work performance and authorized payment. Instead, there is some disagreement between my employer and Freelancer.com and I am caught in the middle. I did a search to see if other people had experienced this problem and to my amazement I found hundreds of similar complaints about FreeLancer.com not paying the wages it collects from employers. It seems I am the victim of an ongoing scam run by FreeLancer.com’s multimillionaire CEO Matt Barrie.
When I signed up at Freelancer.com, I reviewed all the terms and conditions and tried to protect myself from dodgy employers by applying for jobs marked as “verified” by Freelancer.com. I used the FreeLancer Milestone System, which is similar to an escrow account to guarantee that the employer has sufficient funds on hand to pay for work done. I was hired at $2/hour for 52 hours a week and a bonus of $30/week on completed tasks. I accumulated total earnings of US$636.00
When it was time to collect my money from Freelancer.com they said I could not.. I was told that Freelancer.com would not release my money until my employer’s source of funds could be determined. They told me to tell my employer that he must comply with FreeLancer policies and submit additional photo I.D. or I would not be paid. I replied to Freelancer that there was no legal justification to delay or confiscate my earnings since I have no control over my employer’s actions. FreeLancer.com had identified my employer as “verified” but had new doubts. Two different FreeLancer support persons, Y-na A. and Lance (no second names), sent me the same email – word for word. It said, in part:
It ‘s now been 12 weeks and I still have not been paid. My experience, along with the experience of hundreds, even thousands of others, leaves one to conclude that FreeLancer.com is exploiting people from third world countries. I therefore demand, on behalf of all the workers shortchanged by FreeLancer.com, that the Australian authorities open an investigation into this company and its boss Matt Barrie.
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