vWorker - Dispute Resolution and Arbitration
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Many vWorker contractors take issue with the site’s hefty transaction fees. But while that 15% may be a bit hard to swallow at times, you’ll discover what your money is buying the first time you have trouble with a client. vWorker doesn’t just lead the pack when it comes to its dispute resolution process—it leaves the others in the dust. Of all the freelancing sites I’ve used over the years, this is the only place where I’ve really felt confident that as long as I did what I said I would, I was sure to get paid.
vWorker has a two step dispute resolution process, consisting of mediation followed by arbitration. Both are provided free of any additional charges. The full arbitration process applies only to fixed rate projects; a much more restricted version is used for hourly work.
Most disputes between clients and contractors are handled via the arbitration process that I’ll get to in a moment. However, vWorker may try to first mediate a project to see if it’s possible to get the two parties to agree to an amicable solution to the dispute. The benefit of mediation is that it is generally faster than full arbitration, and depending on the particulars, there’s a higher chance of both sides being satisfied with the outcome.
This decision about whether or not to mediate is made by the vWorker facilitator who is assigned to handle the case. He or she makes the call based on the evidence provided by the parties, and an assessment of how likely mediation is to be successful. Cases where the problem is related to miscommunication or where the two sides are generally not far apart are more suitable to mediation than ones where there are major disagreements, or one party is clearly at fault.
The mediation process is largely informal, and unlike arbitration, vWorker doesn’t provide a lot of specifics about how it works. The process most likely consists of an attempt to get communication re-established between the client and contractor, helping to resolve arguments, and seeing if it is possible to get the two sides to either come to a consensus on how to dispose of the project, or if that won’t work, to agree on a compromise.
If mediation doesn’t pan out, then the project moves automatically to arbitration. Either party can simply refuse to participate in mediation if they feel that they are not willing to budge from their position. vWorker makes clear that mediation is optional, and that it will not penalize either party during arbitration for refusing to participate in the mediation phase.
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Last Site Update: December 13, 2011
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