I am the owner and lead developer of a Bulgarian company specializing in WordPress / WooCommerce solutions. Recently, I tried to create an agency/client account on Upwork...what an experience! I apologize in advance for the length of this review, but if you are a freelancer or representing an agency ( or even a client ) you should definitely read this before joining Upwork.
At first, I tried to create an agency account using my main company email. After I finished the initial setup, I realized that their system was forcing me to create a freelancer account and all account URLs were redirected to this screen. Due to my misunderstanding, I believed that I created a freelancer-profile account by mistake. I tried to contact their support to clarify this, but they don't provide direct support for freelancers ( at least non-approved ones, not sure what happens with working accounts ). Unable to communicate their support, I probably made the mistake to cancel my account, in order to create a new account from scratch.
After reading more carefully their help pages, I realized that creating a freelancer profile was a prerequisite for the agency profile. So, after knowing what I had to do, I tried to create a new account with the same email...this was not possible, my email was blocked. Again, access to their support was not available, so I used an alternative company email and I finally managed to create the second account and set up all the information.
My profile featured a legal company based in Bulgaria, a WordPress-specific overview and skill set, 8 years of WordPress themes and plugins authoring experience ( 12 total in web development ), a portfolio containing lead web development work on 6 commercial WordPress themes, several high-profile client projects, all my work history and I also took my first WordPress test with a 4.8/5.0 score. Without intention to brag about my skills, I consider myself an expert on my field and this was far from obvious in my Upwork profile.
The next day, I got a generic profile rejection which caught me by surprise. Again no support chance to ask what the problem is. After a while, I received another notice that they rejected my VAT number. Since this was not wrong in the first place, I tried just to resubmit it...it was rejected two times. I updated it again, only this time I added the BG prefix...their system warned me that this might not be a correct one, but allowed me to submit it. I also updated my company name, changing it from English to Bulgarian in order to help their "smart" script to verify the data with the EU VIES system...zero progress.
The final outcome: after spending two days of my life preparing my profile and trying to guess how to solve issues with their system, I get, out of the blue, an account rejection message. Even if they didn't provide a single valid reason for their decision ( they just said it was a term violation ), it was clearly an indication that my account was considered a fraud case! They didn't even bother to ask me...that was the first shock!
Since this was the first time they contacted me via a support message on the account panel, I got the chance to write a response, in order to let them know that all their anti-fraud alarms were a product of my struggle working with their dysfunctional system and unreachable support and that I will be more than happy to provide them any type of prove or official documentation.
How naive I was, expecting a human answer! Unfortunately, I received an instant automatic reply that they were not willing to revise their decision ( so they had already predicted my response, but they simply don't give a damn! ). Well, I have used and partnered with several web services, this is the first time I was treated like this. I wasted so much time and effort in this, and they didn't even have the courtesy to allow me to access their support. I was totally shocked!
I was so upset with their unacceptable behavior, that I had to take a day-off to calm down. Today, I tried to make a little research on their reputation, and my guess was confirmed. Agencies, freelancers and, most importantly, the clients are absolutely frustrated with their service. If they treat professionals like garbage, why would someone expect that clients will get better treatment?
Finally, I'm quite happy with the outcome since providing client services via unreliable partners is a recipe for disaster. For sure I got my lesson...I should have done my homework before getting involved with them in the first place.