It all started back in May 2019. I needed help with a mobile application for a ‘socially responsible project’ that I was working on. Much like any rookie in the field, I approached a local Pakistani ‘Mobile Application Developer’ (Freelancer) through an online platform.
I told him about the project and he instantly agreed to take it up quoting, “Jee, bohat unique idea hai”. Perhaps that’s what all the rotten fishes in the pond do – just talk and no walk. After agreeing on the details, he assured me that everything will be done in the best way possible. When I asked him again “Are you sure that you’ll be able to do it?” He replied:
‘Be-fikar ho jayein, jesa ap kahein ghay wesi application hi banay ghi’
The application was to be released on both iOS and Android within a time-frame of 1 month, a point upon which both parties had agreed. Moreover, the payment was to be given in portions wherein 15,000 PKR would be given after the completion of 15% of the work, and so on up to a combined total of 70,000 PKR, which had later increased to 95,000 PKR.
After starting out alright, this black-sheep performed really well for the first two weeks. It actually seemed like a sound investment. Looking back now though, I guess he was just trying to build up some trust so that he could get the money as soon as possible – and my intuition proved to be true.
After getting hold of the substantial amount of money which equaled to 50,000 PKR he started making delays and missing deadlines. To his fortune, I was caught up in important work out of the country for a month, and hence I was unable to keep an eagle eye on the project.
Whenever I inquired about the project he always used to make numerous excuses. Nonetheless, after 3 months (that was the end of July), the black-sheep was able to develop the application.
In all earnest, I thought it was such a terribly crafted application that I didn’t even want to open it. At first, the application did not work at all and kept on crashing on multiple devices. Upon asking him about this he had the audacity to say, ‘Mobile ka masla hogha, wo change karlo’ I mean I did not spend 70,000 PKR for a faulty application with an atrocious aesthetic. The application was so shoddy that even after a month of debugging, it never functioned properly and kept on crashing. Kudos to my friends who, with every bit of patience, kept on testing the application.
Anyway, after a complete failure of trying to make the application work for a month, the black-sheep sent a message,
‘We can improve the application and its design for 25,000 PKR more’
You know in Pakistan when a person is being exploited, freelancers like this guy do not leave a single stone un-turned in an attempt to exploit him further – to extract the juice out of him, and to suck out the remaining drops of blood.
Even though I provided him the designs for the UI of the application this time, freelancer still messed it up. At this point, I was sure that I have been scammed for a total of 95,000 PKR.
The hard-earned 95,000 PKR for which I had to sell my belongings and work overtime so that I could raise this much amount of money and bring this idea to life with the sole purpose to help the people in our society.
To my surprise, the fraud even used the server of his university without my knowledge. Due to this, the application does not respond most of the time.
All of his fraud was unfolded in front of me when I got 2-3 other developers on board to check the source code and database management of the application. I was torn down apart when they unanimously agreed that the code is so messed up that they themselves cannot figure out what to do. The fraud freelancer could have used Google Firebase but instead used his own university’s server to save money for himself.
I believe this freelancer not only scammed me, but also scammed all those people for whom I was working on this idea. He not only wasted our money, but our time as well. Finally, after mustering up the courage I dropped him a message explicitly stating
that ‘If you are unable to do this tell me in a straightforward manner and do not try to play now because already a lot of time has been wasted. Also, if you continue to be dodgy then you will force me to knock at the door of the court and go through a proper legal channel.’
After this message the tone of this freelancer literally changed, he hurled a few abuses in his voice notes towards me and then finally sent a message:
‘Hum Nauker Nahi Hain Tumharay, Jo karna hai Kar lay’
His message was not only a slap at the legal system of this country, where a fraud can easily threaten the courts and get away with the money fraudulently earned, but it was also a slap at the hard work of other freelancers who literally spend countless hours in front of the computer screen to satisfy their clients.
This fraud is still out there, probably looting another client and destroying another idea just for his short term gains.
‘Afsos is baat ka nahi hai ke ye be-ghairat insaan dhoka de kar paisay lootnay mein kamyab ho gaya, afsos is baat hai ke is Islami muashray mein is Insaan aur is jesay aur insaanoun ko roknay ke liye ko nahi hai.’
It has been 7 months; I have lost my money but I am still fighting to turn the idea into reality. I have just written this out to actually let the public know about the dark side of this industry. Do you really think that anyone would be willing to invest a single penny working with a person with this kind of attitude? After this horrendous experience, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust a Pakistani Freelancer again. This black sheep is not only a disgrace to the word freelancer but is also a disgrace to the principles upon which the name of Pakistan stands, ‘Unity, faith, discipline.’
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