Have you ever checked your bank statement to find a purchase that you have no memory of making? The same thing happened to us this weekend when we discovered an unauthorized $50 debit. Fortunately, we were able to settle the situation for a refund, but we just want to issue a friendly warning for those who previously used vWorker and have since been transferred to Freelancer during the buyout of the company.
vWorker was an online portal for independent contractors and those seeking to outsource work, becoming the “Craigslist” of the professional freelance world, if you will. In November 2012, however, Freelancer purchased vWorker and all users – including us – were transferred to the new site.
From vWorker to Freelancer
We understand that company buyouts happen all the time. Consumers witnessed as private equity firms bought Clear Channel Communications and Facebook acquired Instagram. However, these acquisitions are confusing times, and consumers are often left in the dark about any changes concerning services, privacy, and billing charges. The Freelancer acquisition of vWorker is no different.
Users transferred to Freelancer weren’t given any notification or option to “approve” the transfer and the associated monthly charges after the buyout. Previous vWorker users such as ourselves were transferred to Freelancer and quietly given a free month membership. Throughout that month-long trial period, we had no idea that we had been signed up for the membership since we hadn’t been billed or received notification. Now that the free month trial has expired, the monthly $50 membership charge is in effect and new fees appeared out of nowhere – even though we never approved a subscription or change in services.
We don’t want to jump to conclusions. It’s very possible that this was an oversight on the part of Freelancer, but it’s more than a little confusing, and possibly a little shady, that former vWorker users were quietly transferred over with a free promotion and then later charged without having to approve a change in subscription services. If you’re a former vWorker user as well, we encourage you to check your bank statement for any surprises. Don’t get us wrong – we loved vWorker! But Freelancer is a completely different ballpark with a different set of rules.
It’s important to note that Freelancer does have a free option for users and that they do provide many stellar services. We’re just disappointed that we had to pay both a surcharge and membership fee without any notification. Fortunately, they’ve been very accommodating and have kindly settled our situation.
As content creators who focus on brand reputation, we feel it’s important to remind companies that:
- Transparency is vitally important when dealing with customers
- Brands should work to prevent potential problems
- Customer service to resolve outstanding problems goes a long way
While the subscription service isn’t for us, we look forward to using Freelancer’s free plan in the future. Regardless, brands should always maintain respect for consumers through transparency. Whether this was an oversight or something shadier, consumer satisfaction (like ours) should always be kept in the forefront. If you’re a former vWorker user like we are, we encourage you to check your bank statement for any unexpected charges.
How are you treating your consumer audience?
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