Freelancer.com

Apparently the customer service at Freelancer.com is not good. At least according to many blogs, tweets and comments. Unfortunately, I didn't find this out until I encountered my own problem with the Freelancer service.

I was trying to deposit funds so that I could pay a freelancer for his work on the system and encountered all manner of problems.

 

Here's the error code I received: "Deposit Error! Sorry, deposit failed. Sorry, deposit failed. The transaction could not be completed due to a PayPal error. Please verify your payment source in your PayPal account and try again. Please retry deposit again."

 

I did what the error instructed me. All was great in Paypal. I was using my bank credit card through the Paypal gateway so I knew there was not a balance issue. Still, I kept running into that error. Finally I turned to the chat window that only pops up when a user is on the "Make a Payment" page.

That's when I had the most ridiculous conversation of my life with two different customer service reps. They switched in the middle of the conversation and their responses were so stilted that at first I wasn't even sure they were human.

What I eventually learned was that Freelancer.com was seeing Paypal error code 10417. Trouble was, the customer service reps didn't know what to tell me about it so they kept telling me to call Paypal. This made no sense to me, because I wasn't using a Paypal account. I was using my bank credit card.

So I decided to look into Paypal's error codes myself. Paypal has a page that lists all their API (this is the way Freelancer.com interacts with Paypal) error codes. When I found the code I saw that the customer service rep was just repeating what the Paypal response was telling her to say, but she clearly didn't understand why.

What I discovered is that Freelancer is a business headquartered outside of the U.S. and therefore, bank cards (debit or credit) will flag transactions as international and potentially suspicious. My credit card saw the potential transaction with Freelancer and it tripped a fraud alert. My credit card was frozen and therefore wasn't working in the payment portal for that reason.

What Freelancer needs to do is teach its customer service reps more of the potential "why?" behind the API error codes and teach them how to start resolving a situation without blaming the customer. The rep should have said, "Sometimes, because we're an international company, credit card/bank cards flag a potential charge and won't let it through. I suggest you call your bank to be sure they are not holding up the transaction."

Instead, I had two different customer service reps basically tell me it wasn't their fault and so clearly it was something I was doing incorrectly. The whole experience put such a bad taste in my mouth that I won't use the site again. But I did want to share my experience in case others run into the same problem.