Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MTurk Requester Payment Problems

Earning money online can be frustrating sometimes.  Most turkers who have worked on Amazon Mechanical Turk for any length of time has experienced MTurk requester payment problems.  There are times when you know why you have not been paid sometimes, for instance, you had a computer glitch, or an interuption happened, like you were phoned up, and you ran out of time to finish doing the MTurk hit.  Another time, you might have been unsure what you were supposed to be doing on the hit and so not surprised when your work was rejected by the MTurk requester.

Late Payments

It is frustrating when you complete a job and then you are checking your account every day expecting to see your earnings and nothing happens.  In my experience, most MTurk requesters pay up within a couple of days.  Some pay quicker than that, within a matter of hours sometimes.  The annoying thing is where is takes over a week before you receive your MTurk payment.  You can email the MTurk requester in this situation, but be aware that Amazon allows them up to 30 days to either pay or reject your work.  That is way too, long in my opinion, and Microworkers have got a better idea by giving MTurk employers a one week cut off period to resolve outstanding jobs.

Non-payment by MTurk requester because of hits rejected

Occasionally you can get hits rejected by an MTurk requester and it seems unfair.  As well as losing the money you felt you earned, getting hits rejected can also damage your hit rejection rate and effect which hits you are able to do in future.  So even if the amounts of money involved are small, it can still be annoying and upsetting.

If there were technical problems at the time of doing the hit, then you should report the hit as broken using the link in the bottom right.  If you believe that the requester is breaching the Amazon Mechanical Turk policies, then you should click the “Violates the Amazon Mechanical Turk policies” link which is also at the bottom right.  

Sometimes you have no idea why you have had your hits rejected.  In this case it is best to contact the MTurk requester.  I would advise that the tone you adopt with them is polite but firm.  You should explain that you followed all the instructions and ask why your work was rejected.  In many cases the matter can be resolved this way and you will get your money (or they will explain to you your mistake).  Sometimes the MTurk requester will use stalling tactics and you have to write more than once before they pay up.  Note though, that an MTurk requester cannot themselves reverse a rejection decision without the help of Amazon.

If you still have no joy, then your options for complaint as an MTurk worker are very limited (one gripe of turkers is that MTurk requesters can ban certain MTurk workers, but not the other way around).  Though you can, of course, warn other MTurk workers about the bad requester and discuss your experiences either on Turkopticon, or on one of the MTurk forums.


  1. This is good advice, I reckon!

    1. They can pay you a "bonus" payment to make up for a wrong rejection, without Amazon's help, I believe.

  2. Thanks for this. Got my first two rejections ever, within the space of a week. Wonder if this is going to be a pattern. I felt I did a great job in either case and have received bonuses in the past from requesters. I really think these two were gaming the system.

    1. Yes, you might be right. It's often difficult to tell, as you don't get any feedback as to why you are rejected unless you persue it and even then they might not tell you...

  3. It's false that a Requester cannot reverse a rejection; the call was added to the API by Amazon. I have a script that reverses mine in a click of a button. Whenever a Turker believes that he/she has been unfairly rejected, if they contact me, I check my data, see if we can come to a resolution--one of us has to fix a mistake--and I reverse the rejection. My recommendation is that if you've truly given an honest effort, you should ALWAYS email the Requester for a fair resolution.

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