PPH2This blog post is now out of date. Red Robot Media no longer uses People Per Hour. I’m leaving the post online in case it helps other freelancers.

– Claire (August 2013).


Over the weekend I examined a recent payment I’d received on People Per Hour. I noticed that their commission increased suddenly and without warning.

My weekly invoice for this client, which is only for £20, normally attracts a fee of 4.5% – in other words, 90p. I was surprised to see a fee of £2 had been applied by People Per Hour.

Was this a People Per Hour scam of some kind? I was worried, so I emailed their helpdesk straight away to report the mistake.

People Per Hour Fee Rise

At around 5.30pm yesterday I received an email from People Per Hour confirming that the service fee has been increased behind the scenes. The company had apparently done this without informing anyone working for clients through the site. Nobody had been told.

Staff say that the email notification that was due to be sent had failed, but that was only going to be sent after the change anyway.

Additionally, someone called their office at midday yesterday to ask about the issue and nobody knew anything about the fee change – apparently.

There has been no announcement via email, on their forum, on their blog or on their Facebook page. The pricing page was only changed yesterday afternoon after they had started applying the new fee. The site dashboard and T&C document hasn’t been changed.

Some people are paying £14.95 for Platinum membership in order to reduce the commission they pay from 10% to 4.5%. They are now effectively being charged 10% on a £20 invoice (even more on a smaller invoice), making their subscription completely ineffective. How is that fair?

Even more bizarrely, if the invoice is for £20.01, the fee drops back to 90p. People Per Hour staff say that the charge is £2 for all invoices of £20 or under. This is a lie. This was a mistake. Fellow copywriter Zoe Goodacre raised an invoice for £24 and was charged £2.

There is no longer any reason to take on small jobs for tiny businesses and individuals. (This is the kind of work that almost everyone does in the early days: it helps you to build your profile and feedback ratings.)

Shifting Goalposts: Is It Legal?

I’m interested to know whether freelancers believe it’s fair or legal to retrospectively apply higher fees to an existing agreement. It’s certainly unethical. It’s like sticking a few extra quid on a client’s invoice because you need to buy a new keyboard, or dipping into a bank account for a bonus Direct Debit without permission.

What happens when the minimum fee goes up to £10, £15 or £20? Will they tell me, or will they just take it from my next assignment and inform me later?

More information for freelancers

There is currently a thread running on the People Per Hour messageboard about the unannounced change to service fees.

Update: People Per Hour have now deleted the forum thread. It was posted on a forum ironically called ‘We Listen’. Apparently, they don’t. The new thread is here.

The following two tabs change content below.

Claire Broadley

Technical writer, blogger, and editor at Red Robot Media
Claire Broadley has been a technical author and web content writer at Red Robot since 2010. She contributes to dozens of websites, focusing on consumer technology, online privacy, digital marketing, and small business topics.

Latest posts by Claire Broadley (see all)

Share this:

6 thoughts on “People Per Hour: More Rising Fees at Freelancer Site

    1. That’s my view too, Zisis. I’m really disappointed in the way they handled that.

      So many users complain that companies don’t listen, but when problems happen, they don’t push for a solution. It is any wonder it happens again?

  1. They are launching a new product… They should be more careful… I hear bad things constantly from my clients… As you have already figured out, I used to do business with them as a freelancer…

  2. I’m rapidly losing the massive amount of faith I had in Peopleperhour a few months ago. I went to an event they put on in London, then blogged about it and was singing the praises of their staff for being so helpful and attentive. I was really happy when they asked me to write a guest post for their blog and stayed up all night to write a really detailed post for them. They promised to post it on their blog within a week, but over 2 months later they’re still fobbing me off and choosing to regularly publish the posts of more corporate freelancers instead.

    Add to this the fact that they hike up freelancers’ fees without notice… seeing as small freelancers are the backbone of their business, they might want to start treating them a little better.

    Great site by the way 🙂

    Charlotte
    http://www.cavatica.co.uk/

    1. Hi Charlotte

      Thanks for your comment!

      I too wrote a guest post for the blog. It’s a re-written version of a post on here, although it was edited further by their team.

      I notice PeoplePerHour have just introduced a new system similar to fiverr.com where clients bid for an hour’s work, the minimum hourly rate being set at £6. Seeing as the minimum invoice charge of £2 still applies, I think there are an awful lot of people that will end up doing short, low-paid assignments of one or two hours and paying as much as one-third of their invoice in fees. This seems to be a very cynical move, and it has been announced with great fanfare and party poppers, unlike the change in fees which was announced with little more than a wet fart after a week of forum protests.

      We used to sing their praises, just like you. We got really good service from them until we got defrauded. The Verification system is set up in such a way that stolen cards can be used to pay invoices and this isn’t flagged until it’s time for the freelancer’s wage to be cleared. Then the so-called ‘safe’ Escrow deposit vanishes from the freelancer’s account. I highlighted this to their risk team who were incredibly rude and the whole team then blanked us. We have since closed our account.

      There’s a gap in the market for an ethical freelancer site that offers a great service to clients and freelancers, ensuring great work for good pay. Unfortunately People Per Hour is not it.

      Thanks for your comments. It’s interesting to hear from other people in the same boat. I’m enjoying your site and will be sure to follow your RSS feed.

      Claire

  3. I think they are getting even more greedy. Their new fees are now 15% of invoices up to £175, then 3.5% after that. This means anyone earning less than about £500 per month will be worse off. This is really bad news for those just starting or those using PPH part time. As PPH grows and gets more members, they should be able to REDUCE their fees.

Comments are closed.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
Red Robot Media