Dispute Resolution and Arbitration
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The vast majority of transactions on freelancing marketplace sites go smoothly, with the contractor and client agreeing on terms, the contractor doing the work, and the client paying in a timely manner. But “vast majority” is not “all”, and if you freelance for any length of time, you will eventually run into a problem of one sort or another on a project.
It is when you need help with a problem client or project that you’ll really learn whether a freelancing site has your back, or just wants your money. Some sites go out of their way to help protect both clients and freelancers, move projects along smoothly, and resolve issues as they arise. Other sites take a much more passive approach, often leaving you on your own when a conflict occurs. This is one area that really separates “the men from the boys”, as it were, in the pantheon of freelance marketplaces.
The first step in resolving a project dispute is always to encourage the two parties to resolve their differences amicably. This is really the best approach for all concerned, including the freelancing site itself.
Dispute assistance generally takes the form of policies that encourage better communication between the parties, and attempts to provide guidelines for fixing specific problems (such as concerns over project timing or deliverable quality). But some sites go beyond this, using a formal process to help buyers and providers get past common problem situations. And on the flip side, unfortunately, some sites provide very little support even in general dispute management.
The effectiveness of dispute resolution services provided by a site is often linked closely to their overall customer service quality.
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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