Popular freelancer ban reasons on Upwork

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Getting a ban on Upwork is easy because many of the rules of the freelance platform are not obvious, especially for novices. In most cases ban is not permanent and freelancer can fix violation and work more, but not always. Studying possible causes of ban on Upwork will help you to avoid them in the future.

Small applications response rate

This is the most popular cause of ban. If you send a large number of applications and do not receive a lot of responses from client, Upwork may block your account due to mismatched to market. You will receive a letter that your skills are not in demand at the moment, but you can appeal this decision by providing more information about yourself and your specialization.

Any account can get a ban for this reason, even Top rated and with a big amount of earned money. By the way, it will be very difficult to withdraw money from Upwork after the ban. But in most of the cases, Upwork bans newcomers.

This ban is permanent (forever), but there is a good chance to unblock your account. To do this, go to the link from the letter, where you are offered to provide more information about yourself and write the following:

  • Repent that you did not know how to work on the platform and you will spend much more time on a profile and proposals;
  • Provide scans or links to certificates of your specialization;
  • Provide scans of your University documents;
  • Give links to working projects you’ve done before. It is important to have an English version of the product;
  • If you have not had a well-defined specialization before, you should tell about your plans on what niche you will work on Upwork after unbanning;
  • you can be unbanned just once, so be careful with the second chance.

Unconfirmed profile

This is not a ban, but Upwork may not confirm your profile as the platform does not need specialists from your field at the moment. Usually, you just need to apply again to pass the check (just make sure that your profile is well filled) and hope that your application will be served by more loyal support officer. But it may take a long time and many practices to create a profile for a completely different niche (for example, at the end of 2017 Upwork refused to confirm Web development profiles, but after reorientation the profile to video-editing, it was confirmed. After confirmation it was possible to return all information about the old specialization). This practice does not even violate the rules of Upwork. However, I advise you to fill out the profile as best as possible for your niche and apply for a re-check in a couple of weeks after the failure.

Contacts and links in profile

Upwork ensures that clients and freelancers should work inside platform only, so you will receive a ban if you mentioned contact information or link to personal website in profile. Ban is temporary until you fix the violation. Contact information cannot be added to any part of the profile, Upwork even prohibits you to type some stop words in your Overview, for example, “Skype”.

The situation with links is not so clear. You can’t add links to Overview but it is possible to add them to the description of the portfolio, work experience, education etc. You can leave links to various professional communities, such as Behance or StackOverflow.

Fake data (name or photo)

According to the rules of Upwork, it is necessary to specify your name truthful and set your own photo. There’s no reason to provide fake data. Usually, such a ban comes after the video call required to confirm the profile, or after request to send scans of documents. Upwork does not check every account, but the chance that the platform will ask to verify your personality is high.

You are not 18 years old

According to Upwork rules, all freelancers must be 18 or more years old. If you have not reached this age, I recommend you not to create an account for yourself (because fake birth date violate ToS and you will be banned) and ask your parents to create an account.

One computer and multiple accounts

Upwork does not prohibit to use one computer for several people. But Upwork might suspect that one person has multi-accounts and may ask your to verify identity. Usually, it is enough to pass video verification of each account and send scans of documents.

Upwork tracks visiting the website, using Upwork Desktop App, mobile application. It is better to force every person in the office or home to use a unique computer to work on Upwork.

One account and multiple computers

Upwork prohibits to use one profile by several people. So if you give someone a password from your account and this person will sign into your account (or even logs into it at the same time with you), then you have a big chance to be blocked.

The main problem may be when you log on to multiple computers at the same time and when the location is quickly changed (for example, using an account in several distant cities within a short period of time). It will take you a long time to convince Upwork support managers that you did not give your account to another person. You can report that you have been hacked or that you are using a proxy server. But the best option is not to share your profile in any situation.

Fake projects and reviews

There are two possible situations for such a ban:

  • Stranger propose you to participate in a project for the reward;
  • You want to get more good reviews in your profile and make a fake project.

You need to be ready to provide to the platform a confirmation that the project was real: screenshots, technical specifications, chat history, source code etc. I do not advise to violate this rules in any of these cases.

Asking the client for a good review

Upwork prohibits to ask for a good review.

Therefore, freelancer cannot do the next things:

  • Don’t provide work results before client leave positive feedback;
  • Offer to do work at a discount (or even for free) for a good review;
  • Force good feedback from the client in any other case.

No one forbids you to ask for feedback (without the notice that it should be positive) from the client.

Work outside platform

You should not ask clients to pay for work outside Upwork: You will be banned forever. It is possible to leave the platform and continue to work outside the Upwork but you should pay the opt-out fee. In order to continue to work with the client on their own after the Upwork, you have to pay fee to the platform. If you agreed with the client to leave Upwork somewhere in Skype, Upwork probably will not know about it. But I don’t recommend you to cheat the platform.

Two accounts (multi-accounts)

You cannot have two or more accounts on Upwork. If your old account was banned, you can not create a new one, you can only try to unban the old one. Otherwise, you will lose all chances to work at Upwork in the future. If you have an old account with a bad reputation, you need to fix the old account instead of creating a new one. If you forget the login/password from the old account, you need to restore access to it instead of creating a new one.

Mobile developer from Ukraine. Work on Upwork from 2013. Share experience about freelance from 2014 (jff.name blog in Russian). Wrote book about remote work "How to freelance on Upwork" and free eBook "Upwork Tips & Tricks"

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