Hiring Freelancers? How do you deal with fraudulent bills?

I just hired a freelancer a month ago. This lady told me that she used to be an executive at Disney making six digits per year. I was impressed. She had good communication skills, and had good energy. She answered her phone and got back to me fast. However, as I gave her training and tested her on her basic abilities, I learned that she lacked basic grammatical and writing skills which is indicative of a faulty aptitude. On a brighter note, she had an impressive vocabulary — however, vocabulary alone will not get you anywhere (even though it’s really cool.)

Pay me first because I don’t trust you
In any case, I assigned her several tasks. She was to put in a few ads on an online portal. She was also supposed to interview her Disney colleagues to get some interesting and real content for my outsourcing blog. I prepaid her for the first ad, and she put the ad in. The problem happened with the next three ads. She told me she wouldn’t put in the first ad until I paid her. So, I had to wait a week to learn that she refused to do her job unless it was prepaid. She didn’t make this clear to me until after she kept me waiting. In any case, after I learned she wanted money, I paid her. Then, she put the ad in. She thought that I would rip her off if I didn’t prepay her. So, I figured that since I paid her lots of money, that she would trust me for the second time around. I asked her to put in three ads.

She never put in the ad
She put in the first ad, but did it with a free ad, not a $25 ad as discussed. The result was that I got one inquiry instead of twenty. I suspected that she did not put in the first ad. I got no inquiries from the other two ads I assigned to her. So, once again, she did not do what was assigned. Additionally, she wasted my time which I am deducting from her pay for the few minutes she did put in posting the advertisement that I paid her in advance for.

The interviews never happened
The next thing that went wrong is that her interviews never happened. She spend some time on the phone trying to reach key people at Disney who I thought she knew personally from her “executive” work there. It turned out that she was treated like a stranger by the staff at Disney and was not able to secure an interview with anyone. If she were a real executive she would at least have been able to talk to a real contact person who would give her a real reason for not giving her any information. After all, the information might be embarrassing for Disney if they were involved in outsourcing.

“I knew that you would rob me.”
So, she tried to bill me for five hours for the time that she allegedly spent talking to Disney. She furnished me with no dates and times of her calls. She omitted to tell me who she talked to and what she was told. There was no information other than the verbiage, “I knew that you would rob me!” She basically is trying to bill me for work that never happened and then blame me for robbing her. It is very clear that she is trying to scam me, but not doing a very good job. If you do want to scam someone who hires you as a freelancer, my suggestion is to do real work, and have real evidence of what you did, and then add some more well documented hours that never existed. You will still get karmically punished for this trick, but at least, the documentation will ensure that you probably get paid.

When I asked the lady for documentation for the money she spent on advertising and documentation for the calls she made for the interviews, instead of information, she wrote me back and said, “God bless you — that’s all I can say.” She proved that all her claims were false in one sentence.

If you hire freelancers
If you hire freelancers, make sure your tasks have time limits. If they don’t finish putting in an ad, or doing an interview, or writing tweets within a certain amount of days, they don’t get paid. Also, let them know a fixed maximum amount of time you will allow for particular tasks. Let them know they won’t get paid if they don’t get results. You don’t want to hire tricksters who will fake a bunch of hours. If they can’t get results, they should not be in business as a freelancer in any case! So, that is their problem, not yours. I get results for my work, and in the rare situation where I don’t, I take responsibility.

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