Can I Get Sued By An Elance Employer?

by Monthy
8 replies

Recently I started to work on Elance and have seen some success.

I have completed a few projects but now have taken on a project which ended up seeming too large for me to be able to complete it within deadline.

The task is to translate a company┬┤s documents and there are over 300 pages. I was expecting the pages to be shorter and I have only been able to translate a few tens of pages today. I only have a few days left.

Has anyone had experience like this before? Can I somehow withdraw from the contract?

My main question is: Can the employer sue me for not completing the project within deadline?

One more thing, we have not entered into an actual contract yet (in my humble opinion at least, because I still have not been awarded the project on Elance and the employer and I have only been in contact on Skype where we have been sending each other the respective files (we have also been using email for this purpose).

Best regards,
#contract #elance #employer #law #sued
  • Profile picture of the author Monthy
    I forgot to mention that I have not received any money from the employer yet, we agreed I would be paid after completing the entire translation work.

    I have no intention of ripping the person off, I would love to do the work in time but there is really such a ****load of content that must be translated it would probably be impossible for me even if I was typing the entire day all five days in a row.

    Free thanks to anyone who replies to me. :)

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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    You should simply tell them it will take you longer than expected to complete the project.

    We do not know if this is a time sensitive project or what the documents are. If there is a time issue you could be causing someone damage by not finishing on time.

    Although you are working outside of Elance, although I presume it is through Elance that you expect to get paid, that does not mean there is no contract. What you mean is you do not have a written contract via Elance. Contracts be be oral and you probably already have a contact based on what you have indicated.

    Now, bottom line, are you going to be sued? There are a number of factors in that, such as the dollar amount at issue, where you are located, and where the other party is located.

    As a theoretical question: if you promise to translate docs by a certain date and do not deliver, then yes, there is a breach of contract and you could be sued.

    As a practical matter it is rare for an issue like this to end up in a court battle. Let them know you need more time and ask if any documents are time sensitive for delivery.

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  • Profile picture of the author Cali16
    Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

    One more thing, we have not entered into an actual contract yet (in my humble opinion at least, because I still have not been awarded the project on Elance and the employer and I have only been in contact on Skype where we have been sending each other the respective files (we have also been using email for this purpose).
    Monthy, I can't speak to whether or not you can be sued (Kindsvater has already answered that for you) part, but my question for you is: Why on earth are you doing work for this client if you haven't officially been awarded the project? As such, you have no protection via Elance if things go awry. That's just foolish.

    I'm wondering if you and /or the client are planning to do all of this outside of Elance (including payment), which is a blatant violation of Elance's TOS. You're setting yourself up for no protection for what sounds like a really big job, and you're also setting yourself up for losing your Elance account if Elance should ever discover this violation.

    As for the deadline issue - yes, that happens. You need to let the client know this and renegotiate the deadline. But if I were you, I wouldn't do any further work until this client has officially awarded the job to you via Elance and he or she has paid via Elance (to be held until the job is complete, or via milestones - whatever you and the client have negotiated) . What you're doing right now is risky and just foolish.
    If you don't face your fears, the only thing you'll ever see is what's in your comfort zone. ~Anne McClain, astronaut
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  • Profile picture of the author kk075
    Originally Posted by Monthy View Post

    Can the employer sue me for not completing the project within deadline?
    I'm guessing that I'm the resident Elance expert here because of my earnings so please pay very close attention to ALL OF MY ADVICE. Others here are guessing and that's not going to help you at all. I'll start out by saying no, you can't be sued in this situation, but you are being taken advantage of.

    First off, NEVER EVER EVER do any work for anyone on Elance until they assign you the job and agree to terms. People who try to get you to work outside of Elance before you build a relationship are often doing that to hustle you, because you can't summon proof from Skype and show he said he'd pay you. Furthermore, working outside of Elance with a new client is strictly if you complain to them when this guy doesn't pay you, then they're only going to suspend your account.

    Next, I have been sued on Elance...twice...and I won both cases. In the terms and conditions that you accept, you agree to let Elance arbitrate the dispute before you go to a court of law. So if you ever have problems, this is step one. I won both cases though because I do everything through the Elance chat and I won't write a single word without the client agreeing to it in writing. That way if something goes horribly wrong, or if the client completely changes the scope of the project, everything is in writing to make it an open and shut case.

    Now, about your particular situation. Message the client through Elance immediately. And say this-

    "Hi. I just wanted to let you know that I have started on this project like you requested in the Skype interview...editing the <number of pages> pages for $<amount>. I did notice that you haven't assigned the job to me yet or agreed to the actual terms though, so I was going to hold off until I heard from you further. Just let me know either way. Thanks!"

    That way, if the client says, "Please keep working", then at least he's acknowledged your terms in writing. Once he does that, then you can go back and mention that it seems like some of the pages are a lot longer than discussed...and you can either ask for more money, a bonus or just swallow your pride and write it off as a learning experience.

    He can't complain that you're late though because he never formalized the contract in the first don't worry about that. Even if you did agree to terms and passed the due date though, the client has no recourse except to bring you to mediation...and he's not going to pay money to do that when he has nothing to gain. He's just going to find someone else to finish the project...or give you a few more days.

    Hopefully that helped....and you better get that paragraph I gave you posted IMMEDIATELY. If he doesn't respond then you're screwed, you have no recourse to collect payment from him.

    Learn to sell like a pro through Web Synergy's marketing blog.

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  • Profile picture of the author abhayghildiyal
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    • Profile picture of the author chaitanyathengdi
      Originally Posted by abhayghildiyal View Post

      Hello Guys,

      My name is Abhay Ghildiyal. I am a 4 month old verified user of this platform. I have completed 1 job successfully and now when I am working on my second job I got the payment after that they hold my payments without any reason. After making dispute on job I got the payment but I can't withdraw message comes in that you will have to speak to our representative then you can process your request. When I am trying to submit my request they haven't reply me just to make my request ON. And merging my request but no response.

      I can send you the screenshot of my account how the message comes when I withdrawing my payment. Share your email ID's

      Tell me guys what will I do. Don't believe on them. I also got some good feedback from others and bad as well. But I thought it just a bad news competitors are spreading. But no guys I was wrong. They having bad policy.

      They do frauds with some freelancer take money from Client and sometimes not give it to freelancer that is why they are in top. Doing frauds to setup their market.

      My responsibility is to telling the truth and fact what I feel. Be alert Guys.

      All I wanna say is don't believe on them. They take my money I don't want this happen with any of you please go back and try other sites who secures your money and give you guaranteed for the payment.

      If you have any query anybody can contact me at anytime.

      Looking forward for your reply !


      This is why people hate Indians.
      Post in your own thread please. Hijacking others' threads is forbidden. Also, go to for these kinds of things.
      Being irked or desperate is no reason for butting in other people's conversations.

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  • Profile picture of the author a123
    Look obviously you have only oral agreement, and Its very hard to get that in court because on the end you can deny everything delete your accounts and so on, but you have a moral and ethic obligation to finish that, since you cant finish until deadline let them know and as a compensation for the delay offer them a discount, lower the agreement price- that's what I suggest.
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  • Profile picture of the author chaitanyathengdi
    Agree with kk075 100%.
    Do not work further without a formal working arrangement. It's not rude; it's professional.
    Most clients appreciate this. It's only fair for both parties.

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  • Profile picture of the author DN85
    Hey I think you're are worrying a bit to much. They wont sue you for missing a deadline. They might not want to pay you though. Just remember to always be clear in the agreement to save any issues coming up.

    I wouldn't worry to much. Just message them and tell them the situation. I'm sure they will be fine and if they're not then you both agree to end the job.

    Good luck :-)
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