We’ve recently hired a contractor on UpWork by the name of Joshua Berk of Berk Labs. We have used UpWork for more than 5 years, worked with over 75 contractors and never had anyone commit fraud, cancel contracts or make unauthorized charges. Josh Berk should not be trusted and he will rip you off. Here are the facts related to our experience. | After interviewing multiple candidates, we were excited as Josh appeared to be the most qualified candidate. We immediately hired Josh on Feb. 14, 2019 to optimize our funnel pages, create content and design, setup analytics and reporting and manage our monthly Google Ads spend. Shortly thereafter things fell apart. | Josh initially provided an invoice and SOW with his terms and conditions. We hired Josh and originally setup 2 UpWork milestone payments however Josh immediately demanded we convert the project to an ‘hourly’ rate or he wouldn’t do business. We should have been concerned at this point and didn’t understand why Josh demanded hourly payment vs milestone payments but trusted him based on his dozens of 5 star reviews. | In hindsight, we now understand Joshes unethical and fraudulent tactics. By circumventing the milestone process which protects both parties by allowing a review period to confirm completion of work, Josh had exploited a work around to get funds released without completing the project. Specifically, Josh simply submitted ‘hourly detail’ reports to UpWork which then triggers release of full payment without first confirming the work was completed. | Once Josh was hired and received payment, it was if we had hired Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Josh began working on Thursday, Feb 14 and stated it would take him at least 1 week to complete the setup in order to launch our campaign. On Monday, Feb 18th, Josh was still far from being complete with many outstanding deliverables including setup of analytics, reporting, call tracking, funnel optimization, code and URL setup, etc. | On this same day, Josh and our VP of Marketing were reviewing the progress which was still days away from being completed and to our surprise and without our authorization, Josh told our VP he unilaterally turned on our Google Ads campaign. This campaign had been running for 2 hours but had already charged our account over $2,012! In total disbelief, we immediately paused the campaign. | After investigating this further, we discovered that in the darkness of Josh starting this campaign without any authorization or notification, Josh had failed to complete the AdWords setup, confirm or test the target URL associated with these campaigns which resulted in zero leads being generated or delivered. This meant there was no way to recover or offset any costs from Joshes unfortunate actions. We sent an email to Josh requesting a full refund of these unauthorized charges. | Within 6 minutes of sending that email, Josh responded and had the audacity to blame our company for his own actions, specifically stating “this mistake was yours, not mine”! His first response was so disturbing yet he continued further in the most unprofessional and rude manner stating he had no intention of working with us any further and would not refund anything! Upon being unilaterally terminated by Josh, we had now been charged $3,000 for project and services Josh never completed in addition to being charged $2,012 for an AdWords campaign Josh activated without our authorization. | Rather than provide a total refund, Josh proceeded to send a completely unethical email attempting to extort us by making the following ridiculous offer, “You will be getting a refund of $1500 in the amount of the work that was done this week, but only if a review is posted for this project 10/10 and 5-stars with glowing feedback”. Is this the only way he can generate ‘glowing reviews’ so he can prey on new clients? In total disgust, we immediately declined his offer. | Josh then proceeded to terminate the UpWork contract in his attempt to justify not providing a refund. It gets worse from here. Days after Josh terminated our contract, he then charged our UpWork account another $1,500 without, you guessed it, any authorization, and any open UpWork contract or any preauthorized agreement. He had now charged our account a total of $6,512. This man is a complete fraud. | The entire balance of $6,512 has been disputed with the UpWork escalations and resolution team. We’re so disappointed with this UpWork experience, specifically with Josh’s entitled and fraudulent behavior. We will recover every penny whether through working with the UpWork escalations team, disputing our credit cards or filing a lawsuit to recover these charges. | It’s unfortunate that contractors like this on UpWork ruin credibility for others and cause so much damage unnecessarily by refusing to be accountable and resolve what could have been otherwise a great relationship. If asked to provide a review of Josh Berk, I would give him a 5-star for his vast Google experience however if asked to review Josh Berk on a professional and ethical level, I would give him a -100-star for his intentional negligence, deceptive practice and dishonest behavior. BE CAREFUL AND VIGILANT PEOPLE! | Simple considerations for hiring contractors on UpWork. | Prior to hiring a contractor, request 3 current/past client references | Request contractor provide SOW (Scope of Work) that properly details all work and includes milestone payments | Setup milestone payments in UpWork that matches the SOW language to avoid any fraud or misrepresentations. | If anyone would like any further information regarding this post, please feel free to PM me at your convenience. Good luck everybody! | www.upwork.com/fl/joshuaberk www.linkedin.com/in/joshuajberk/ www.crunchbase.com/person/joshua-berk berk.is/ twitter.com/joshuajberk?lang=en www.cloudpeeps.com/joshuajberk github.com/JoshuaJBerk www.trustpilot.com/review/berk.is clutch.co/profile/berk-labs www.thumbtack.com/-Houston-TX/service/3461858
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