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Thread: PeoplePerHour removing money from customer accounts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    PeoplePerHour removing money from customer accounts

    This represents the start of my endeavor to present an issue to the public relating to money handling by PeoplePerHour, which is the result of several days of correspondence. I think it is incredibly important that potential customers are made aware of what is going on at PeoplePerHour, and i will therefore avoid any conjecture, or emotive language, which might suggest that this is merely sour grapes over a dispute.

    These are the basic facts which are probably self explanatory, and i will be happy to further discuss my interpretations or provide evidence from correspondence if required.

    1. In early 2013 I sought a developer to undertake a small software contract, via PeoplePerHour and accordingly paid the agreed cost to PeoplePerHour, to be held in escrow.
    2. The developer did not in the end undertake the job, did not claim his money and the money i had paid into escrow was refunded into something they call a "PPH Wallet"
    3. It was fortunately a relatively small amount of money, as I decided to leave it where it was on the basis that at some point I would probably want help with another small project. As it happens that did not transpire until this week, some 10 months later.
    4. I duly logged in to my PeoplePerHour account to discover that that over 95% of the money was gone. I assumed that there was a reasonable admin explanation for this and queried it with PeoplePerHour.

    This is where it starts to get interesting and in some respects difficult to believe but, as i say, I have detailed correspondence.

    5. They wrote and admitted they they had taken it. Apparently they have been helping themselves to the equivalent of $5.25 plus tax every month for quite some time.
    6. I asked where, in the notification that the money was going into this "wallet", did it state that they would help themselves to my money?
    7. I asked where and when was I notified on each occasion that they helped themselves to my money?
    8. They wrote and told me that it is apparently in the small print of their T&C's which i had clicked on to agree when i first ever registered with them.
    9. I responded by stating a: that I had no reason to have expected that I would end up with a plus balance in my account, and b: why would i go and check the small print of the T&C's at the time of the"refund" unless i suspected that they might start to help themselves to my money.
    10. I'll cut through the various correspondence until they started to tell me that it was my fault because I could have withdrawn the money from my wallet before this mysterious 6 month period expired.

    Then it gets even more interesting - keep that last paragraph 10 in mind.

    11. On closer investigation I discovered the existence of a message sitting on my account from PPH, from the time that the money was refunded into the "wallet" stating categorically that "the credit CANNOT be withdrawn and can only be used against future business through PPH and, more importantly, that it does NOT expire!". Furthermore, there is a warning placed against the remaining money on the account stating explicitly that "it is NOT available for withdrawal"
    12. Further correspondence has taken place in which PPH have refused to accept any responsibility, despite having lied to me about the ability to withdraw the money, and they are even now presumably lining up to help themselves to the last remaining funds in my account.

    In conclusion:

    PPH never took any steps to warn me that they would begin taking money from my account. They never informed me when they actually did so. They never advised me to withdraw the money from the "wallet" - in fact they expressly noted on my account that I could NOT withdraw it. They have then, incredibly, lied about it in the hope that i would drop the issue and go away.

    My concern for other potential users of PPH, is not so much that they might fall foul of poor quality or inept customer service. It is very much that users should understand that there is a fundamental policy within PPH to grant themselves the right to help themselves to money which is left with them on trust, to which the user has no right or facility to withdraw the money themselves.

    I am happy to discuss the detail and implications of this case, but please please be aware that, as unbelievable as it may sound, removing money from users accounts is very real and exactly what this company PeoplePerHour are up to.

    I have only lost 40GBP, but business is transacted through these people at much higher levels. It is my goal to try and spread the word so that as many potential customers as possible can understand the risk that they will be taking.

    Be aware and be safe.

    David Oldridge

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Re: PeoplePerHour removing money from customer accounts

    Welcome to RealScam David,

    From PeoplePerHour's Terms of Service:

    8.4 Admin fee for inactive User accounts

    If a User has funds in their PPH Wallet and the User has not logged in to their PPH account for a period of six (6) months or more then PPH will charge a monthly administration fee of [3.50/€4.20/$5.25] (excl. VAT) for holding those funds on behalf of the inactive User. This fee will be automatically collected each month from the funds in the User’s PPH Wallet starting from the seventh (7th) calendar month since the User last logged in to their User account. The collection of this fee will end when either i) the account becomes active again after the User logs back in to PPH, or ii) the balance in the PPH Wallet is cleared.

    It is fairly annoying that they did not take any active step to warn you that your account would be charged but it is a posted policy so they aren't acting dishonestly. I think it should be just good customer service on their part to send out an automated email to inactive account holders reminding them of the situation. I think they'll find that the $5.25 administration fees they can legally albeit annoyingly keep for themselves are hardly worth the dissatisfaction of customers like you or the bad publicity that comes with it.

    I'm sorry for your bad experience but thank you for articulating it clearly and in a balanced manner. It occurs to me that they could hire one of their own freelancers to tweak their auto-responder to prevent complaints like yours. Let's hope the same thought occurs to them soon.
    So your prophets of finance have fallen on their collective proverbial face, and you hear muffled voices calling: Welcome to the human race.
    You made a killing dealing real estate at NASA selling cemetery plots in outer space til some falling coffins crashed upon your doorstep: Welcome to the human race.

    Open up your heart...

    Welcome to

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Re: PeoplePerHour removing money from customer accounts

    That rule about admin fees only appeared somewhere between February 14th and April 2013
    (in february it did not exists:

    On April , when part 8 was added to Terms it says "These terms and conditions are effective from Friday 1st March 2013."

    I believe David was not made aware of change in Terms.
    And he was prevented to withdraw his balance.
    And eating 40 at 4 a month means about 10 months of charges
    so even if they started counting since march 2013 it would only be 6 months of inactivity right now (first six months are not charged)

    -- seems scam to me.
    Last edited by NikSam; 03-06-2014 at 07:14 PM.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Re: PeoplePerHour removing money from customer accounts

    Hi Glimdropper,

    I hear what you are saying (and PPH tried the same argument)

    However, my point here is not that they hid the fact that they were going to take the money within the small print of T&C's, but they made it abundantly clear that I could not withdraw it.

    You will see from Para 11 of my original post that they explicitly stated that the money could NOT be withdrawn from the PPH wallet and that the credit does NOT expire. This was stated in a prominent alert next to the balance of the wallet, and repeated in a message from their customer service at the time that the money was placed into the wallet. There was no indication whatsoever that those instructions might be relaxed under any circumstances. Indeed, if I were to take this to court (which obviously I won't for such a small amount of money) I have no doubt that the court would rule that the unequivocal nature of those two statements would be deemed to override any previous T&C. The only reason I did not challenge the statements at the time was that i was happy to leave the funds there to be used against future business; exactly as they had instructed.

    In other words, they stated that i could not withdraw the money, whilst apparently stating within the small print of the T&C's that they could withdraw the money for themselves.

    Had there been even the slightest indication that i could withdraw the money before they did, then this might be just a case of very poor ethics. In my view this was a culpable attempt to ensure that the money stayed in the wallet until they could empty it under the terms of their T&Cs and constitutes fraud.


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