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Exclusivity Period, Reporting Disintermediation and Opt-Out Fees

Updated: Nov. 1, 2013

Exclusivity Period

Elance provides the most trusted marketplace for clients and freelancers to meet, do great work together and pay/get paid. 

Clients who identify freelancers via the Elance platform are required to pay Elance its Services Fees on all payments made to those freelancers for the first 24 months (Exclusivity Period) after identifying those freelancers. More details on this Exclusivity Period are outlined below.

  • These Service Fees are required, regardless of whether the client officially awards a job to the freelancer via Elance.  For example, if a client identifies a freelancer via a job proposal but ultimately awards the job to another freelancer, cancels the job, or does not award the job, the client would not be allowed to hire the freelancer off the Elance platform without submitting Service Fees to Elance.
  • Should payments be made outside of Elance, Elance reserves the right to request the Service Fees for those payments.
  • After 24 months, Elance’s Service Fees apply only if the payment is made through the Elance site.
  • Members who attempt to take jobs and/or payments off the Elance platform before the 24 months are subject to penalties up to and including immediate termination from the Elance platform unless the client has paid an opt-out fee for the freelancer.
  • Taking jobs or payments off the platform also leaves clients and freelancers more susceptible to fraud and job scams. For tips on recognizing and avoiding job scams, click here

Reporting Disintermediation

Elance members who wish to remain in good standing with Elance must report any Member who offers to conduct jobs or payments off the Elance platform in violation of the Period of Exclusivity. This violation is referred to as "disintermediation."  If you have any confusion about whether an offer is considered disintermediation, please contact Elance Customer Support.

Opt-Out Fee

All clients and freelancers who formed their relationship on Elance agree to keep their work on Elance for at least 24 months. Clients can make payments off Elance and directly to their freelancers only if the client pays an "Opt-Out Fee" for identifying the freelancer through the Site.

The Opt-Out fee is calculated to be the greater of the following amounts:

  • $2,500, or
  • 15% of the value of the work performed in the Elance Relationship during the Exclusivity Period as estimated in good faith by the prospective client, or
  • The amount of all Service Fees that Elance would earn or would have earned on all payments during the first 24 months, and in either case plus interest at the rate of 18% per annum or the maximum rate permitted by applicable law, whichever is less, calculated from the date the client makes payment to the freelancer identified through the Site.

If you wish to Opt-Out of using the Elance Payment Service, you must email Elance at optoutfee@elance.com. In your email, please include the following information:

  1. Your username.
  2. The freelancer's username.
  3. The job title and ID.
  4. After receiving your email, Elance will then post the Opt-Out fee as a charge to your Elance account. After paying the fee you will receive a confirmation notice that authorizes you to make payments to your freelancer outside of Elance. Note, no protection plans are available for work paid off the Elance platform. 
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