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Terms & Conditions
We are VETTAL (“VTL”) incorporated in the UK under company number 14396165. These are our terms and conditions. They tell you what we do and how we do it.
By using our site, you indicate that you accept these terms and conditions, and the referenced policies, and that you agree to abide by them.
T&Cs last modified: October 5th, 2022
- The cheat sheet
VTL operates a platform linking Freelancers to Buyers.
Services are offered on VTL through either Offers, which are fixed price services; or custom projects, which can be fixed price, price per hour or price per item. Services delivered in these ways on VTL are collectively referred to in these terms as “projects”, whether a project is offered and/or accepted is entirely at the discretion of the Freelancer/Buyer. VTL has no control over this process. Services are provided by Freelancers directly to Buyers, who determine the deliverables, price and all other requirements.
On Commencement of a project the Buyer pays funds into the Escrow Account, and the Buyer must confirm their requirements upfront in the Workflow.
The Freelancer must provide regular progress updates and respond within one (1) working day to all messages from the Buyer, in the Workflow.
Freelancers must deliver work within the delivery times either defined in their Offer or agreed with the Buyer upfront in the Workflow for custom projects. Freelancers' rankings will be penalised for late delivery.
Freelancers must fulfil their projects and Buyers agree to pay for work delivered. Users will be penalised for cancellations or refunds caused by them, without just reason. Freelancers must provide and be given the opportunity by the Buyer to provide, at least two further iterations on the work delivered if the Buyer is not initially satisfied.
Once the project has been completed the Freelancer will raise a request to receive payment, including the release of funds held in the Escrow Account. Freelancers must not request payment upfront before work has been completed. Buyers must pay within the 7-day payment terms.
VTL IS NOT A BANK and only holds funds for the purposes of settling the provision of services and specific invoices of Freelancers. We strongly recommend that all users do not hold dormant balances on the platform. No user is permitted to hold a dormant balance on the platform for more than 30 days. VTL reserves the right to apply Admin Fees or write downs to dormant balances until they are withdrawn or become zeroed. Funds held by VTL on the platform are not insured nor covered by any Financial Services Compensation Scheme or any other government agency. VTL hold the funds in a separate client account.
VTL acts as an Agent of Payment between the Buyer and Freelancer. In return for full invoice payment by the Buyer for the project, VTL agrees to discharge the Buyers obligations relating to debts owed to the Freelancer under this agreement. VTL agrees to make such funds available to the Freelancer balance with 24 hours, subject to fraud and AML procedures. Freelancers are then able to withdraw those funds subject to the setting up of a valid withdrawal account. VTL takes its obligations to prevent fraud and money laundering seriously and reserves the right to delay payments to Freelancers if fraud or money laundering is suspected. All payments for work completed must go via VTL unless VTL has given its express written permission otherwise in relation to a specific payment or invoice; attempts to pay outside of VTL will lead to sanctions not limited to immediate account suspension. Users must immediately report to VTL any offers to pay outside of VTL made by their Buyer or Freelancer.
Once payment has been made, Buyers are granted all rights for the delivered work.
For purposes of service messages, notices, offers and news about VTL, Users receive alerts on certain pages and emails to the email addresses associated with their accounts. If you do not want to receive newsletters, announcements, or other communications and/or services from our Site, please do not opt-in for those communications or services at the time of registration. If you have opted-in and, later, wish to opt-out, please click on the relevant link inserted in our communications. In every Interesting and Important e-mail communication sent to you, we provide you the opportunity to discontinue receiving future communications (i.e., unsubscribe). Simply follow the unsubscribe process or directions provided in these emails. For the orderly operation of the platform, users cannot opt-out from Essential emails such as when receiving an invoice or when a buyer requests a refund.
By accepting these terms, Freelancers automatically opt-in to receive emails from TalentDesk.io, an enterprise service powered by VTL. TalentDesk.io is a cloud-based project management platform used by enterprise clients to efficiently manage large projects that require the services of multiple freelancers, contractors and employees.
VTL provides TalentDesk.io with access to the VTL freelancer database as part of the TalentDesk.io ‘Discover Talent’ feature. Freelancers can be directly contacted by clients of TalentDesk.io and be invited to participate in projects via the TalentDesk.io platform.
VTL takes privacy and data security extremely seriously and users may opt out from receiving project invites and email notifications from TalentDesk.io by logging in to the VTL account and unsubscribing from the Settings > Notifications page.
- VTL user accounts
2.1 User accounts
To access the full VTL site, Users must register for an account, provide accurate and complete information, and keep their account information updated. Both Buyers and Freelancers undergo the same account registration process.
Each account must be a personal account, but Users may trade as a sole trader, company or any other legal entity (whether incorporated or unincorporated).
Users cannot register for more than one account.
The information that Users supply in the public profile of their account must comply with VTL profile policies.
VTL reserve the right to restrict your access, temporarily or indefinitely block your account, stop any projects you have in progress, warn other Buyers and Freelancers of your actions or issue you a warning if:
- you breach the letter or spirit of these terms and conditions or the referenced policies;
- we are unable to verify or authenticate any information you provide to us;
- we believe that your actions may cause any loss or liability to our Users or to us
Users are solely responsible for any activity that occurs on their account, unless it is a result of actions beyond their control (such as hacking or if someone steals their password when they have taken reasonable steps to keep it secure). Users may never use another person's user account or registration information for the Website.
You confirm that you are not economically barred/limited under sanctions rules of any country worldwide. If your circumstances change to be included in such lists, please cease using VTL immediately.
As per UK AML regulation, VTL is unable to support users from North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan (Republic of Sudan or North Sudan), South Sudan (Republic of South Sudan) and Region of Crimea.
Freelance Bees Agency (from now on called ‘Agency’) is a new Freelance Bees Freelancer type, suitable for businesses or individuals who would like to be presented as an official company, team, or a group of freelancers. Currently in beta for a select group of users. In the future, the Agency feature may be released to existing and new freelancers.
Freelance Bees do not certify in any way that an Agency is an officially registered company.
Agencies can display their full business name and logo and reveal their business website on their profiles. Also, Agencies have access to phone and online chat support.
Freelancers who upgrade to Agencies must submit their Agency application and sign up for a recurring monthly subscription fee. Once their Agency application has been reviewed (within 24 hours) and approved, and the payment is successful, they will officially become a Freelance Bees Agency. All previous activity and reviews are retained on user's account after upgrading.
- Project delivery
On purchase of an Offer the Buyer's funds will be held in the Escrow Account.
The Buyer will then need to provide their requirements (as specified in the Offers description page) in the Workflow so that the Freelancer can get started.
Once the requirements are provided in the Workflow by the Buyer, the Freelancer must:
- respond in the Workflow within one (1) working day to confirm work has started otherwise the Buyer may request and will be entitled to a refund in accordance with Section 6;
- provide regular progress updates in the Workflow and respond within one (1) working day to all messages from the Buyer;
- complete the project within the delivery timescales indicated in their Offer description including handover of all deliverables in the Workflow. Failing to deliver within those timescales may mean the Buyer requests and is entitled to a refund in accordance with Section 6;
- Late or non-delivery will negatively affect the Freelancer's rankings on VTL.
All direct communication between Buyer and Freelancer must go via the Workflow to keep both parties protected in case of a Dispute.
Once the Offer has been completed the Freelancer will raise an invoice and:
- the Buyer is then able to leave feedback for the Freelancer, upon which the funds held in the Escrow Account will be automatically released to the Freelancer as payment;
- alternatively, if the Buyer is not satisfied with the deliverables, they can reject the invoice and provide the Freelancer with detailed feedback on what work remains outstanding. The Freelancer must provide, and be given the chance to provide, at least two revisions of the deliverables based on detailed feedback from the Buyer;
- if the Buyer does not either i) leave feedback for the Freelancer, nor ii) reject the invoice, the funds held in the Escrow Account will be automatically released on their behalf to the Freelancer as payment after seven (7) days.
- if the funds held in the Escrow Account are released to the Freelancer in accordance with a) or c) above, VTL and the Freelancer will be entitled to assume that the Buyer is satisfied with the project and does not have a dispute of any kind in relation to the project. The Buyer agrees that they will not file a dispute or seek to reverse payment through their credit card provider, bank or PayPal.
3.2 Custom Projects
The Freelancer's payment for custom projects are either agreed as fixed price, price per item or as a per hour rate project:
- for a per hour rate custom project the Buyer agrees to pay the Freelancer based on the time spent, not on the real or perceived quality of any deliverables provided. The Freelancer must provide the Buyer, on request, with a breakdown of their billed hours as evidence;
- for a fixed priced custom project, the Buyer agrees to pay the Freelancer based on deliverables. The parties should agree upfront in the Workflow whether to divide the project into milestones, with associated milestone payments. If milestones have not been agreed, then the Custom project will only be invoiced on full completion of all deliverables.
- for price per item custom project the Buyer agrees to pay the Freelancer for all items delivered.
On acceptance of a Proposal the Buyer will pay into the Escrow Account the agreed deposit amount.
The Buyer must then provide their detailed requirements in the Workflow so that the Freelancer can get started. These requirements should include (but not be limited to):
- timeframe for delivery of the project or milestones;
- description of any subjective elements of the project like aesthetics providing similar examples;
- breakdown of all expected deliverables;
- any other expectations for the work.
Once requirements have been received from the Buyer, the Freelancer must:
- respond in the Workflow within one (1) working day to confirm commencement of work. Failing to respond within one (1) working day may mean the Buyer requests and will be entitled to a refund in accordance with Section 6;
- provide regular progress updates in the Workflow and respond within one (1) working day to all Workflow messages from the Buyer;
- complete the project, including handover of all deliverables in the Workflow, within the delivery timescales agreed with the Buyer,
- if missing a previously agreed deadline is unavoidable then the Freelancer must inform the Buyer immediately in the Workflow and provide a revised delivery date.
- failing to deliver the work within agreed timescales, or repeatedly revising previously agreed deadlines, may mean the Buyer requests a cancellation of the custom project and will be entitled to a refund of any funds in the Escrow Account.
- late or non-delivery of a project will negatively affect the Freelancer's rankings on VTL.
All direct communication between Buyer and Freelancer should go via the Workflow to keep both parties protected in case of a Dispute.
When the Custom project is completed (or an agreed milestone has been reached) the Freelancer will raise an Invoice:
- the fees charged in the Invoice should be as has been explicitly agreed upfront in the Proposal. If requirements/ scope changes materially during a custom project the Freelancer may need to propose a change to a previously agreed price. This must be explicitly agreed in the Workflow before any extra work is undertaken so that the Buyer can confirm whether they wish to proceed with the additional scope for the extra cost;
- the Buyer must pay the Invoice within seven (7) days of the Invoice being raised;
- alternatively, if the Buyer does not agree that the project has been completed then the Buyer can reject the Invoice. The Buyer must then provide the Freelancer with detailed feedback in the Workflow on what work remains outstanding. The Freelancer must provide, and be given the chance to provide, at least two iterations of the deliverables based on detailed feedback from the Buyer;
- if the Buyer does not either i) pay the Invoice or ii) reject the Invoice within such seven (7) day period VTL will aid the Freelancer to chase payment and may temporarily or permanently restrict the Buyer's account. If the Invoice remains unpaid after fifteen (15) days a final 24-hour notification will be issued to the Buyer. If after 24 hours the Buyer has not responded to this notification the funds in the Escrow Account, up to the unpaid Invoice amount, will be automatically processed and will remain at the discretion of VTL for approval.
- if the Buyer pays the invoice or funds are utilised in accordance with d) above, VTL and the Freelancer will be entitled to assume that the Buyer is satisfied with the project and does not have a dispute of any kind in relation to the project. The Buyer agrees that they will not file a dispute or seek to reverse payment through their credit card provider, bank or PayPal.
3.3 Per Hour Contracts
The Freelancer's payment for Per Hour Contracts is set as a per hour rate project using the per hour rate as stated on the Freelancer’s profile at the time of the Per Hour Contract setup. The Buyer agrees to pay the Freelancer based on the time spent, not on the real or perceived quality of any deliverables provided.
On acceptance of a Per Hour Proposal and on hire request, the Buyer must place a valid payment method on file and gives authorization to VTL to charge it repeatedly per VTL’s Terms and Conditions.
Every seven (7) days an invoice will be automatically raised by the system on behalf of the Freelancer according to the number of hours tracked by the Freelancer during the last seven (7) days and the per hour rate of the Per Hour Contract.
Upon invoice raise:
- The Buyer can pay the Invoice manually within three (3) days of the Invoice being raised.
- If not paid manually by the Buyer within three (3) days, the invoice will be automatically paid by the system charging one of the payment methods of the Buyer on file at any time.
3.3.1 Protection for Freelancers
In the rare event that a Buyer refuses payment for legitimate services performed by a Freelancer, VTL will provide limited payment protection to the Freelancer as mentioned below (“Per Hour Payment Protection”). Per Hour Payment Protection will be provided only if all the following criteria are met:
- Buyer must have an Account in good standing and at least one valid and authenticated Payment Method, and Buyer must agree to automatically pay for hours billed by the Freelancer.
- Freelancer’s Account must be in good standing.
- The number of hours billed must not exceed the weekly limit of hours as defined in the Per Hour Contract.
- Within ten (10) days after invoice raise, if the invoice is rejected the Freelancer must submit a Dispute specifically identifying the details of the work that should be paid. Within ten (10) days after invoice raise, if the invoice is not rejected and not paid the Freelancer must contact VTL Customer Support identifying the details of the work that should be paid.
Per Hour Payment Protection is available with a maximum rate per hour protected by VTL to Freelancer the lesser of
- the rate defined in the Per Hour Contract terms;
- the usual per hour rate billed by Freelancer on the Site across all Buyers; and
- the going rate for the same skills on the Site in Freelancer’s area (such determination to be made in VTL’s sole discretion).
3.3.2 Protection for Buyers
VTL will adjust the invoice to Buyer for work that is not clearly related to either the project requirements or Buyer instructions in the Workflow and within the hours authorized for the week, subject to and conditioned on the following terms:
- Buyer must have an Account in good standing and at least one valid and authenticated payment method, and Buyer must agree to automatically pay for hours billed by the Freelancer.
- Freelancer’s Account must be in good standing.
- The Buyer rejects the invoice within three (3) days of the Invoice being raised identifying the time billed and screenshots of the Freelancer’s screen that are not clearly related to either the project requirements or Buyer instructions in the Workflow.
All Freelancers on VTL must strive to deliver a high standard of work, appropriately meeting their Buyer's needs.
Specifically, Freelancers must ensure that all deliverables are:
- error free;
- fully address each of the Buyer's defined requirements;
- are a complete set of deliverables as defined in the Offer description or as agreed in the Workflow as part of the requirements for custom projects;
- and, for Offers and projects, are of a standard consistent with the level of expertise indicated in the Freelancer's profile and proposals.
3.5 The heavy but important bits:
The Buyer and Freelancer decide on the type of project, Hourly, custom or fixed price. They determine the terms and conditions of “projects”, including deliverables, any specific requirements, and for “projects” the price, directly between them. The Buyer and Freelancer create a direct service contract between themselves and VTL are not party to that contract ('the Service Contract').
Subject to this being varied as part of the Service Contract, ownership in and to any materials and or deliverables arising from a project and any intellectual property rights therein, will be assigned to the Buyer upon successful payment to the Freelancer. If the Buyer and Freelancer wish to include any special terms of the contract (for example, in relation to the ownership of the work produced, ownership of intellectual property rights or special rights of termination), the Buyer and Freelancer should negotiate and document these terms in the project Workflow.
Subject to variation in the Service Contract, the terms and conditions of each project shall be deemed to incorporate a term that in consideration of the fee paid for the project the Freelancer thereby assigns to the Buyer absolutely with full title guarantee the following rights throughout the world:
- the entire copyright and all other rights in the nature of copyright subsisting in the project
- any database right subsisting in the project and
- all other rights in the project of whatever nature, whether now known or created in the future, to which the Freelancer is now, or at any time after the date of Commencement of the project may be, entitled by virtue of the laws in force in the United Kingdom and in any other part of the world,
in each case for the whole term including any renewals, reversions, revivals and extensions and together with all related rights and powers arising or accrued, including the right to bring, make, oppose, defend, appeal and obtain relief (and to retain any damages recovered) in respect of any infringement, or any other cause of action arising from ownership, of any of these assigned rights, whether occurring before, on, or after the date of Commencement of the project.
You promise that:
- you can pay for the services if you are a Buyer and perform the services if you are a Freelancer;
- you are not in breach of any applicable laws, rules or regulations or obligations to any other person;
- you have made and will make all required legal and tax filings. If relevant, you will file all necessary legal documentation relating to your self-employment required by any governmental body, and pay all applicable taxes including without limitation PAYE or other income tax and national insurance;
- you shall not (and shall not permit) any third party to either take any action or upload, download, post, submit or otherwise distribute or facilitate distribution of any Content, project, or Proposal on or through the services VTL provide, including without limitation any User Content, that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other right of any other person or entity or violates any law or contractual duty.
3.5.1 Proposal categorisation
Using historical data, our Data Science team have created machine learning models that try to predict which proposals a buyer will most likely want to accept. We can therefore organise proposals into different categories:
- a. Recommended proposals
- The proposals that a buyer will very likely want to accept.
- b. Low Relevance proposals
- The proposals that a buyer will very likely not want to accept.
- c. Everything else
- The rest of the proposals. By choosing the default 'Recommended' sort option, the proposals higher up in the list are the ones a buyer will most likely want to accept.
Freelance Bees only predicts the probability of a Recommended proposal being accepted. If a refund is processed, Freelance Bees is not liable for the outcome.
Payments are made as described in Section 3, for a project agreed by the Buyer as successfully completed, The payment terms are seven (7) days except for Per Hour Contracts which is three (3) days.
For projects, the Freelancer must not request a release of funds from the Escrow Account prior to project completion; the purpose of funds being held in the Escrow Account is to provide the Freelancer with the security needed for them to undertake the work. Buyers must report such cases immediately. In such cases the Freelancer's account may be temporarily or permanently suspended.
Regular payments may be made utilising the Auto Pay feature or Per Hour Contracts. VTL provides this facility solely to simplify the payment process. Use of this facility does not alter the nature of the relationship between VTL and its Users or between Buyers and Freelancers.
All payments between Buyer and Freelancer must be processed through VTL as described in Section 3, both for work sourced on VTL and for any follow-on work between the Buyer and Freelancer, either for the same project or another project. A Freelancer may seek express written permission from VTL to allow payment by alternative means for a specific invoice or payment if the Freelancer intends to issue proceedings or pursue legal action against the Buyer.
Payment (or attempt of) outside of VTL is a breach of these terms and conditions unless the prior express written consent of VTL has been obtained. Such payment (or attempt of) and will lead to temporary and/ or permanent suspension of the Buyer and/ or Freelancer's account. The Freelancer will be liable for any loss of business and legal expenses that VTL may incur in recovering it. VTL reserve the right to sanction funds held in the Freelancer's Account in order to recover lost fees. Moreover, VTL will not mediate any Disputes or be liable to either the Buyer or Freelancer's loss of business as a result of violation of this clause. Users must report attempts or offers to make payment outside of VTL by their Buyer or Freelancer to VTL immediately.
Payments by Buyers are routinely checked by VTL for fraud prevention purposes, before any payments are released to the Freelancer. VTL aim to process these payments and credit funds to the Freelancer's VTL User Account within three (3) working days, however VTL reserve the right to take up to ten (10) working days.
To withdraw funds from their VTL User Account a Freelancer needs to request a withdrawal on an authorized withdrawal account. An authorized withdrawal account can be either:
- a bank account under the user's name as registered on his profile
- a bank account under a different name as registered on his/her profile, so long as written consent has been provided to VTL
VTL process payments daily and will send the money to the Freelancer via their selected payment preference. Once VTL has processed payments, they are then subject to timescales imposed by the banking clearing system (BACS in the UK).
For security reasons, VTL reserves the right to request additional information from Buyers and Freelancers, including original documents, and to verify documents with issuing institutions. Therefore, we reserve the right to request the following proofs of identity:
- a copy of a Government issued ID (Passport, Driver's License or National ID Card);
- a copy of a recent utility bill showing your name and address (less than 3 months old);
For credit/debit card users (one of the following):
- a copy of the front and back of the card used. For Security Compliance we recommend that you blank out the central 8 digits of the card number digits, and the last three digits from the number on the back;
- Credit or Debit Card Bank Statement of the card used on your VTL User account (less than 3 months old). For Security Compliance you must blank out the central 8 digits of the card number digits;
For international Bank transfers, credit to the beneficiary may be delayed by factors such as local bank holidays, delays by an intermediary bank or other local conditions. Please note that some countries have been designated as “slow-to-pay” countries, and transfers made to those countries may take several days or even weeks in crediting the receiving account.
In using the Escrow Account VTL act, subject to these terms and conditions, on the User's behalf. VTL hold the funds in a separate client account. VTL IS NOT A BANK and only holds funds for the purposes of settling the provision of services and specific invoices of Freelancers. We strongly recommend that all users do not hold balances on the platform. Funds held by VTL on the platform are not insured nor covered by any Financial Services Compensation Scheme or any other government agency. Users will not receive interest or other earnings on the funds in their Escrow Account or VTL User Account. VTL will endeavour to ensure that the funds in the Escrow Account or VTL User Account are available to the User in accordance with these Terms and Conditions but do not guarantee that they will be available to the User in circumstances which are unforeseen or beyond our control.
If VTL has to return funds to the Buyer due to the Buyer (contrary to these Terms and Conditions) filing a dispute or requesting a payment be reversed through its credit card provider or bank then VTL will be entitled to recover any such amount from the Freelancer’s VTL User Account (and if insufficient monies are in the Freelancer’s Account), credit card or other previously made payment method if available. If VTL is unable to recover the amount returned to the Buyer from the Freelancer in full then the Freelancer agrees to pay to VTL any outstanding sums within 48 hours of VTL making a request.
To prevent funds being held indefinitely in the Escrow Account, VTL will notify the Freelancer in the event of funds being held in an Escrow Account for a project that i) does not have an unpaid Invoice nor an open Dispute; and ii) has not had any activity in the Workflow for a period of one (1) calendar month or longer. Activity is defined as any action by the Buyer or Freelancer in the Workflow such as: a message posted, an Invoice is raised, a deposit into the Escrow Account made or a Refund Request raised.
- The Freelancer will be asked to confirm either i) that the project is still in progress by posting a message to the Buyer in the Workflow with an update on progress; ii) that the project has been completed by raising an Invoice in accordance with the terms defined in Section 3; or iii) that the project was cancelled and issuing the Buyer with a refund in accordance with the terms in Section 6.
- If no action is taken by the Freelancer within seven (7) days, it will be assumed that the project was not delivered by the Freelancer and the funds held in the Escrow Account will be automatically refunded back to the Buyer's VTL User Account. In this event the Freelancer's rankings will be affected in accordance with the terms in Section 6.
VTL uses Stripe to process payments by Buyers and to transfer funds to Freelancers. These third-party payment service providers are regulated and authorised to provide payment services in the countries where they operate. VTL may share your personal or transactional information with third-party payment service providers when it is necessary to process payments.
- Leaving Feedback
When the project is completed and the Freelancer has been paid by the Buyer, both parties are asked to provide both qualitative feedback and a rating from 1-5 for the other party. This rating influences each User's ranking on VTL. For a user to read a received review, they must submit their feedback as well. A review (feedback) is published on the member profile page when both parties (Buyer and Freelancer) leave their feedback within the first 60 days since invoice payment (funds released / amount paid). In case 60 days have passed, any submitted review is disclosed and users that haven't left any review will no longer be able to do so.
Both parties should complete the feedback honestly. Users must not VTLsify feedback, manipulate or coerce another User by threatening negative feedback or offer incentives in exchange for feedback. Any attempts of this nature should be reported immediately to VTL.
Feedback comments that are reported to us as defamatory, abusive or offensive will be reviewed and may be removed at our discretion.
- Cancellations and refunds
6.1 Cancellation of a project
After the Commencement of a project, the Buyer may request a cancellation:
If there are funds in the Escrow Account and the Buyer believes they are entitled to a refund, the Buyer can notify VTL of the cancellation by requesting a refund using the “Request Refund” action on the Workflow.
6.2 Project Refund policy
A Buyer is entitled to receive a refund of funds held in the Escrow Account under the following circumstances:
- no response: the Freelancer has not responded in the Workflow within one (1) working day of the Commencement of the project;
- for Offers, the Freelancer of an Offer did not deliver the scope of work within the delivery timescales indicated in the Offer.
- for fixed price or price per item Custom projects, non-delivery means agreed scope of work was not delivered within the agreed timescales;
- for per hour rate Custom projects no time has been spent.
- poor quality: with the exception of per hour rate Custom projects, the deliverables provided by the Freelancer do not meet the terms defined in Section 3.2.
Buyer and Freelancer may mutually agree to a refund for reasons other than the previous clause however authorization of such refunds will be subject to a review by VTL, as defined in Section 6.2.1.
Refunds are only applicable to funds held in the Escrow Account. As per Section 3, funds should only be paid out of the Escrow Account once the Buyer is satisfied that the project (or any agreed milestone deliverables) has been completed. By releasing funds from the Escrow Account, the Buyer accepts that this money is non-refundable.
Buyers must avoid filing a dispute or reversing payment through their credit card holder, Bank. Attempts to seek a refund in this way will lead to the Buyer's account being automatically suspended.
6.2.1 Requesting a refund
A Buyer can request a refund of the funds held in the Escrow Account using the “Request Refund” action in the Workflow and specifying a reason for their request.
VTL will process refund requests subject to a review of the refund reason and circumstances to ensure that both parties have complied with these terms and conditions, and that the purpose of the refund is not to avoid any of the parties' obligations under these terms and conditions. If VTL reasonably believes that the parties have not complied with these terms and conditions or are seeking to avoid any such obligations VTL shall not be obliged to make the refund.
6.2.2 Refund and cancellation penalties
Users are strictly discouraged from causing cancellations and refunds. Refunds will impact Users standing in the VTL marketplace as follows:
- where the Freelancer is at fault for the refund (for example, due to no response, poor quality of work or they have cancelled the project), it will negatively impact their Freelancer status and rankings;
- where the Buyer is found to be the cause for the refund (for example, an early cancellation due to a change in their business need) it will negatively impact their Buyer status;
- multiple refunds attributed to a User will lead to temporary and/ or permanent restrictions on their account depending upon the severity.
VTL encourage our Freelancers and Buyers to try and resolve any disagreements between themselves. However, should that not be possible VTL Customer Services can provide Dispute resolution.
A Dispute can be raised:
- by the Freelancer manually after a Buyer has rejected an invoice;
To raise a dispute, the Freelancer is required to pay a non-refundable fee as per section 8.2
Disputes are available to Freelancers that have qualified as trusted members of the VTL community.
For Invoice Disputes specifically, the amounts taken into consideration for the Dispute are the lower of the escrow balance or invoice amount.
If the amount disputed is £100 (or €130 or USD $160) or above, VTL may reach out to both parties in order to mediate and try and bring the Dispute to resolution.
VTL will aim to make a resolution decision on behalf of both parties within seven (7) days. If a mutual resolution has already been agreed between both parties on the Workflow, then the dispute will either be cancelled or resolved in line with the mutual agreement.
In the event of having to make a resolution decision, VTL will use only the communication in the Workflow as sole evidence, and consider:
- if both parties are acting in good faith and have tried to resolve the issue between themselves before contacting us, including at least a second attempt made between both parties to complete or rectify the project;
- if the project was delivered (or the milestone was met, if the Dispute is for a milestone payment) in accordance with the terms in Section 3;
- for Disputes concerning the quality of the work delivered: VTL will consider whether the Freelancer has met general quality standards as defined in Section 3.3. Assessments on quality i) down to perceived taste, or ii) requiring specialist technical or subject matter expertise, will not form part of the resolution decision;
- if the Buyer and Freelancer have complied with these terms and conditions.
- In the event of having to make a resolution decision on behalf of the parties, VTL will notify both parties within fourteen (14) days of the Dispute. The disputed funds shall be dealt with in accordance with the resolution decision and these terms and conditions. Our involvement with the Dispute ends once the resolution in relation to the Dispute has been communicated
Users agree and accept that any payments and/or other actions made by VTL in accordance with the resolution decision of a Dispute are made in good faith and Users shall have no cause of action against VTL (whether in contract, tort or otherwise) in respect of the resolution decision or any such actions or payments made pursuant to it. Users further agree and accept that they have no right to seek to hold VTL liable for a Buyer or Freelancer’s alleged actions or failures.
- VTL fees
8.1 Buyer Fees
The Buyer fees are for the use of VTL as an intermediate platform, they do not reflect the outcome of any Freelancer collaboration and will not be refunded. Buyer fees are broken down as follows:
Credit / Debit card
£0.6 + 10%
We may make changes to our service fees from time to time. These changes will be reflected in updated terms issued by us, which will apply to any transactions which take place after the updated fees come into force.
- If you've used a paysafecard to complete a VTL transaction, we cannot refund this amount. However, if you have an unused balance on your paysafecard, you might be able to cash it in. To do this, you need to contact paysafecard directly.
- Furthermore, funds from Trustpay cannot be refunded either.
8.2 Freelancer fees
VTL reserves the right to charge Freelancers a Service Fee in accordance with the Service Fee Structure they are assigned to.
Our Freelancer’s service fees were updated on 1st July 2019, in accordance with the communication sent to all Freelancers on 4th June 2019. The following setup has been implemented for all Freelancers:
Over £5000 | $7000 | €6000 lifetime billing per Buyer: 3.5% (excl. VAT) Service Fee
Between £500 | $700 | €600 and £5000 | $7000 | €6000 lifetime billing per Buyer: 7.5% (excl. VAT) Service Fee
Below £500 | $700 | €600 lifetime billing per Buyer: 20% (excl. VAT) Service Fee
The minimum payment made using Auto Pay or Per Hour Contracts is £6| €7 | $10 (excl. VAT).
The minimum Service Fee per invoice is £2.5 | €3 | $3.5 (excl. VAT).
All Users are provided with a statement at the end of each month showing their net effective commission fee in their ‘Payments' section on the Website.
When a Freelancer withdraws funds from their VTL User Account, VTL pass on any fees incurred to process the payment by third parties as a withdrawal fee, as follows:
UK bank transfer
International bank transfer
US bank transfer (ACH)
International bank transfer
International bank transfer
*SEPA / Local currency bank transfer: - If your country is included in the SEPA/Local Currency countries list and you choose the local currency bank transfer option, our banking partner will automatically convert (at wholesale foreign exchange rates) and pay your withdrawal directly to your local bank account
Bank transfer reversal fees - If your bank transfer gets reversed due to incorrect banking information, wrong bank account type or foreign currency bank account settings limitation, you will be charged a reversal fee of £2 | €3 | $3 as well as the currency exchange difference (if applicable).
If a Freelancer decides to purchase optional features to further increase their chances of winning work on VTL they will pay a feature fee. The latest fees for these features can be found here.
If Freelancer decides to raise a dispute as per section 7, they are required to pay a non-refundable fee equal to 10% of the invoice or refund amount, subject to a minimum charge of £ 5 (or € 7 or $ 8) per dispute.
Bank transfer investigation fee - Please note that if there is a delay in payment from the banking institution, a formal investigation can be initiated with the bank to determine transaction issues. There is a 25 GBP fee that is issued which must be applied by the customer in order to initiate this process.
Chargeback or RFI (Request for Information) fee - A chargeback is a disputed card transaction filed by a buyer with their card issuer when they dispute a payment or when their card is being used without their authorization. An RFI is a Request for Information the bank raises asking VTL for additional information regarding a particular transaction, which may be in dispute or unauthorized. The buyer’s bank charges VTL a fee in both instances and as a result, we are passing these fees to Freelancers whose buyer filed a Chargeback or RFI with their bank for a project/payment. The Fee per Chargeback is £15.00 and £7 per RFI.
In case of chargebacks, if the buyer’s credit card company decides in the Freelancer’s favour, the Freelancer will be refunded the money to their VTL User account. If the decision is in favour of the buyer, the transaction will be cancelled, the buyer will receive a full refund, and the Fee amount will be deducted from the Freelancer’s VTL User account.
Fast Track Fee - Once your Freelancer application is submitted and/or your Account/ID documents uploaded, you have the option of paying a fee of £ 10 / € 11 / $ 13 , in order to have your application and documents reviewed within 24 hours (1 working day).The Fast Track Fee will provide you the Fast Track service for as long as VTL provides such service or similar.
Feature Offer Fee -For a fee of £ 9.95 / € 11.95 / $ 14.95 Freelancers can promote their Offer on the listings either daily, every three days, every 7 days or only once. For an extra £ 3 / € 3 / $ 3 Sellers will be able to promote their featured Offer via specific newsletters sent to Buyers searching for similar Offers with theirs.
Featured Profile Fee - Users are permitted to submit bids to feature their profiles in the freelancer listings. Such bids are placed upon specific skills of the users choosing, and upon VTL acceptance of that bid, VTL shall make available upon payment of an optional daily fee (determined by the bid) a Featured Profile Upgrade. The daily fee (determined by the users bid at time of bidding) will feature the profile for 24hrs. Users are permitted to setup bids in advance for 1, 3 or 7 days where winning bids will incur the daily fee each day the bid is successful. Said fees are not refundable and includes the profile being highlighted and placed prominently on the freelancer listing page. The exact number of profiles that can be featured, the likelihood of a bid winning is represented, and which bids are accepted by VTL is entirely at VTL’s discretion.
8.3 Zero Service Fee scheme
The Zero Service Fee scheme enables Freelancers to apply the benefit of the tools available on VTL to the work with their existing client base for no Service Fee. To participate in this scheme Freelancers invite a client that they already have a working relationship with outside of VTL (“Existing Clients”), to join VTL by entering their email address in a special invitation form (“VTL Invitation”) or by placing a widget on a website or blog (“VTL Widget”). Clients that receive invitations by Freelancers through the zero-service scheme and successfully sign up on VTL, will receive a £30 coupon which will be automatically added upon checkout of their first purchase on VTL (First purchase should be the equivalent of £50 or more).
If the amount of coupons redeemed by Clients, invited by a single Freelancer, reach £150|€160|USD $175 within a month (i.e. 30 day period), then said Freelancer will not be able to send out any more invitations to Buyers to join the Zero Service Fee scheme for that month (i.e. 30 day period).
8.3.2 No Service Fee
Subject to the eligibility conditions in Section 8.3.3 all payments made by Existing Clients to the Freelancer through payment of Invoices on VTL will not be charged the Service Fee described in Section 8.2. The full invoiced amount paid by Existing Clients will be deposited in the Freelancer's VTL User Account and be available for withdrawal in keeping with these terms and conditions. Similarly, subject to the eligibility conditions in Section 8.3.2 all payments made by Buyers to Existing Freelancers through payment of Invoices on VTL will not be charged the Service Fee described in Section 8.2. The full invoiced amount paid by Buyers to Existing Freelancers will be deposited in the Existing Freelancers' VTL User Accounts and be available for withdrawal in keeping with these terms and conditions.
As a Freelancer, to be eligible for the Zero Service Fee scheme for payments made by your Existing Clients:
- you must have an active User account on VTL;
- you may not invite yourself to the Zero Service Fee scheme;
- the work with your Existing Client was not originally sourced on VTL;
- your Existing Client should not already have a User account (active or inactive) on VTL;
- your Existing Client must sign up for a User account using the activation link they received in their VTL invitation or the links of the VTL Widget;
- after sign-up, your Existing Client must pay at least one of your Invoices through VTL.
There is no limit to the number of Existing Clients that can be invited under this scheme.
As a Buyer, to receive the reward and allow your Existing Freelancer to benefit from the Zero Service Fee scheme:
- you must not have a User account (active or inactive) on VTL;
- you must sign up for a User account using the activation link received in your VTL invitation or the links of the VTL Widget;
- the work with your Existing Freelancer was not originally sourced on VTL;
- you must pay at least one of your Invoices to your Existing Freelancer through VTL.
8.4 Admin fee for inactive User accounts
VTL IS NOT A BANK and only holds funds for the purposes of settling the provision of services and specific invoices of Freelancers. We strongly recommend that all users do not hold dormant balances on the platform. No user is permitted to hold a dormant balance on the platform for more than 30 days. If a User has held dormant funds in their VTL User Account for a period of sixty (60) days or more then VTL reserves the right to charge a monthly administration fee of [£6.70/€9.33/$9.95] (excl. VAT) for holding those funds on behalf of the User. This fee will be automatically collected each month from the funds in the User's VTL User Account starting from the sixty first (61st) calendar day. The collection of this fee will end when either i) funds held are less than 60 days old, ii) the balance is cleared.
8.5 Currency Conversion
If you require a transaction within the VTL site which involves a currency conversion, it will be completed at a foreign exchange rate determined by an official institution, which is adjusted on a regular base. Exchange rates fluctuations are not under VTL control.
A Currency Conversion Fee of 2.5% will be applied every time VTL performs a currency conversion. When a currency conversion is available by VTL, you will be shown the exchange rate that will be applied to the transaction before you proceed with authorising the payment transaction. By accepting this transaction, you also agree to the exchange rate currency conversion terms.
- Referral Programme
The VTL Referral Program is a program that allows Users to receive certain benefits in their User account ("Referral Reward") if they refer a non-VTL user ("Referred User") to VTL and they then make a qualifying purchase on the site (“Successful Referral”). Users perform this referral by submitting the email address of the Referred User on a special referral form or by sharing a special referral link found through VTL ("Referral Invitation").
9.2 Referral Reward
Referred Users will receive a coupon of £30 (or €32 or USD $35). Said coupon will be redeemable upon checkout for purchases of at least £50 or their currency equivalent.
Subject to the eligibility conditions in Section 9.3, Users who refer others will receive the following as a reward for every successful referral:
The equivalent of £30 will be credited to their VTL account. Said amount can only be used as a form of credit for purchases on VTL available upon checkout to users invited to VTL via our referral programme.
To be eligible for the Referral Reward:
- you must have an active User account on VTL;
- you may not refer yourself for the Referral Program;
- the Referred User should not already have a User account (active or inactive) on VTL;
- the Referred User should sign up for a User account using the activation link of the Referral Invitation;
- the Referred User should have received and paid invoices within 730 days from registration of at least £50 (or €70 or $75). Payments from the Referred User towards the User account as well as from the Referred User towards other User accounts that got referred by the User account are excluded from this Billing calculation.
Each User can receive monthly maximum of £150|€160|USD $175 in referral rewards.
9.4 Discontinuance or modification
VTL reserves the right at any time to modify or discontinue the Referral Program either temporarily or permanently with or without notice. VTL will not be liable to you in the event of any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Referral Program. Non-fraudulent accrued Referral Rewards are not affected by suspension or discontinuance of the Referral Program.
VTL reserves the right to not grant or to remove any previously granted Referral Reward from your User account should any of the VTL terms and conditions not be met. VTL reserves the right to suspend the User account or remove Referral Reward should abusive or fraudulent activity regarding the Referral Program be suspected at the discretion of VTL.
Users may receive funds deposited directly in their VTL User Account as part of a promotion or as a Referral Reward (see Section 9); or alternatively receive a promotional code for a fixed or percentage discount on services purchased on VTL (“Vouchers”).
- will be for the exclusive use of purchasing services on VTL, their monetary value will not be available for withdrawal from VTL.
- where the voucher is a direct deposit of funds in the user's VTL User Account, the currency of the voucher will be the one that corresponds to the highest balance in the User's VTL User Account in case there is one that is higher than the other two or GBP (£) in any other case.
- where the voucher is in the form of a promotional code, the code can only be used once even if the voucher is used in a transaction for less than the monetary value of the voucher.
- General terms of website use
The VTL terms of website use define how Users may make use of VTL whether as a guest or a registered user. They contain the heavy but important stuff so please read them carefully.
VTL may use your personal data to gather feedback regarding your experience you may have with our platform. This helps our business grow by assembling useful information from our end-users.
- Governing Law
These terms and conditions and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with them or their subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims) shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. The courts of England and Wales shall have non-exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with these terms and conditions or their subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims).
- Related Policies
The following policies are part of these terms and conditions and should be read carefully:
- Terms of website use
- Posting policies:
- Offers posting policies
- Projects posting policies
- Profile policies
- Workflow policies
In these terms and conditions:
- 'Billing' is the total invoices paid during the month;
- 'Buyer' means a person buying services from a Freelancer on VTL;
- 'Commencement of the project' means either the purchase of an Offer by the Buyer or acceptance of a Proposal for a custom project by the Buyer in the Workflow;
- ‘Content' means such things as data, text, photographs, videos, audio clips, written posts and comments, graphics, User content and interactive features generated, provided, or otherwise made accessible on or through VTL;
- 'Custom Project' is a piece of work that commences with the acceptance of a Proposal by a Buyer or the acceptance of a Hire request by a Freelancer. This work is agreed either after the Buyer has posted a request on VTL or in direct communication between a Buyer and a Freelancer in the Workflow. A custom project can also be agreed as a follow-on piece of work after an Offer purchase;
- 'Guest' means an unregistered user of VTL;
- 'Per Hour Contract' is a piece of work that commences with a Buyer placing a valid payment method on file that can be charged repeatedly by VTL and the acceptance of a Per Hour Proposal by the Buyer or the acceptance of a Hire request by the Freelancer
- ‘Dispute' means a dispute raised in relation to a rejected Invoice;
- 'Escrow Account' means the virtual account where money is deposited on Commencement of the project and is only released in accordance with these terms and conditions;
- 'Offer' means a pre-packaged service, that is offered on VTL by a Freelancer for a fixed price and delivered within fixed timescales.
- 'Invoice' means a bill for a completed project which is raised by the Freelancer in the Workflow or in the VTL payments dashboard;
- 'Project' means a piece of work that a Freelancer and Buyer agree via VTL is to be provided by the Freelancer to the Buyer. Project refers to work either agreed when the Buyer purchases an Offer, or when a Proposal by a Freelancer is accepted by the Buyer for a custom project.
- ‘VTL' means the website with the domain name www.freelancealot.me or Freelance Bees Limited as the context so requires;
- ‘VTL User Account' means a User’s VTL persona, profile, settings, activities, invoices, transactions and funds balance available for you to withdraw;
- 'Proposal' means an offer made by a Freelancer to a Buyer to provide a custom project and which must contain a fee quotation;
- ‘Freelancer' means a person selling services to a Buyer via VTL;
- ‘User' means any registered person who uses VTL;
- ‘User Content' means all Content uploaded, submitted, distributed, or posted to the services by Users, including without limitation, Proposals and communication via the Workflow. User Content does not include any materials or deliverables, or intellectual property therein arising from a project, which shall be assigned to the Buyer on successful payment for the project. User Content is the sole responsibility of the person who originated it;
- 'Workflow' is where all the communication between Buyer and Freelancer is conducted in private. Via the Workflow, the parties can exchange information including attachments, send a Proposal or raise an Invoice, make payments, request a refund or raise a Dispute in relation to a project.