My startup tech business has been growing, and I decided it was time to bring in some help to keep up with things like emails, customer service, and so on. I’m not successful enough yet to hire an employee outright, so I started looking into getting a Virtual Assistant.
I read reviews about a company called Time Etc, and decided to give them a try. Now looking back, 3 months later, I wish I hadn’t. I can sum up my experience with Time Etc in one sentence: It’s a Scam. Once they get your money — and you have to pay them up front — they do everything to avoid actually doing the work you’ve paid them for.
I reached out to them through the Time Etc website, and soon after I had a call scheduled with an account manager person in the UK. I told her what I needed help with, and within a couple of days they found a virtual assistant for me. At first everything seemed great — I signed up on a Monday, and by Friday I had a virtual assistant working for me.
Time Etc has different plans to choose from — I chose their $480/month plan which gives you 20 hours a month of VA time. After the first month I realized my VA was using barely half of these hours. It wasn’t for lack of work to do — I gave my VA plenty of tasks, but assignments that she could have finished in a day or two took her over 2 weeks to complete.
Now, in fairness, I had told my VA these tasks were not urgent, because I didn’t want to be a dick and say everything’s “urgent” when it’s not. So my VA was busy with other clients and more “urgent” tasks. Apparently Time Etc fills up their VA’s schedules with as many clients as they possibly can, which is great for the employees, but lousy for the clients (i.e. me) since I now have to compete for my VA’s attention with however many other clients she is juggling. (I wasn’t expecting a dedicated VA, but I WAS expecting my tasks to get done in a more reasonable amount of time!)
The end result? No matter how many hours you pay for, you’ll never get that many hours worth of work. You will always have unused hours at the end of the month.
After about 6 weeks I decided to lower my plan down to the cheaper, $250/month plan, which gives you 10 hours a month. That was about all the time I was getting out of them anyway. So I logged into the website to change my plan and, guess what, you can’t lower your plan through the website. You can upgrade your plan with the click of a button, but you can’t lower it. To lower it, they make you email them. So I emailed them, and then of course they wanted to set up another phone call with me. In other words, they make it really easy to give them money, but really hard to stop giving them money (or give them less).
Well anyway, on this call the account manager person suggested they could find a 2nd VA for me to help work off the unused hours in my account. I said yes, and she said they would find someone for me. That was March 28th. I didn’t hear from her again, so about 2 weeks later on April 11th I emailed her and asked for an update. She replied:
“No luck as of yet, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get you someone over tomorrow though!”
Tomorrow? Ha! That was the last time I heard from her. Here we are, May 12th, a whole month later, and still nothing. It only took them a few days to find my first VA, but to find another one takes months?
Now here’s the real kicker — any unused hours you’ve paid for “roll over”, but only for a limited time. After 65 days those hours expire and the money you paid for them is lost. In other words, you paid for nothing. Its clear to me this was their intention all along — they didn’t really want to find me a 2nd VA to work off those hours. They just wanted to string me along until those hours expired, so they could keep the money and not have to do any work.
So, to review. Time Etc has a great onboarding experience — they’ll find you someone right away and start taking your money right away. But after that, once you realize you’re not getting half the time you’ve paid for, they just blow you off.
My advice: stay away from Time Etc. You’re better off finding somebody on Freelancer.com, where you only pay for the hours your person actually works.
10 thoughts on “Time Etc Virtual Assistants Review – It’s a Scam”
It is such a minefield and there are no where near enough honest reviews out there on VAs, so really appreciated this.
No pun intended Programmer Bear, but I am utterly surprised that you would pay $480/month for 20 hours VA service, this sounds excessive. Most in-house administrative assistants are not paid $24/hour (unless you live in CA), and the whole concept of hiring a virtual assistant is that the rate is competitive, or even less than having an employee on site.
The search engines are saturated with VA companies (domestic and foreign), so how do you know if a virtual assistant business is true to what they say? A 10 minute interrogating conversation can reveal a lot of information; is the business customer centric, putting your interest above their own, or are you given a sales pitch that over promises and under delivers?
The bad news is – the VA market is crammed with deceptive companies and getting a bad name, the good news is – there are honest VA small business owners like myself out here, who are not affiliated with any marketplace freelance platform. Generally, small business owners are priced based on our geographic location, so paying for a virtual assistant in NY or CA is likely to cost more than a VA in the south or mid-west.
If you’re needing a VA, reach out, you’ll find me in on page 1 in the local search results – otherwise I’m lost in the the general query for VAs – Google search, About 149,000,000 results (0.52 seconds).
I’ve looked into joining a few VA agencies, and I have to say its disappointing to hear this about Time Etc. Their application process makes it seem as though they have a large number in employ and assistants have no more than two or three clients at a time; the term “dedicated” was used often in the application process. Also, as is likely expected, the company gets a larger cut of the fee it charges clients, which I’m sure is standard in most cases.
I work for Time Etc. and have had a very good experience as a freelance VA.
One correction to your review is that the company does not “fill up their VA’s schedules.” The VA is totally in control of that.
I suggest if you ever use a VA again be specific on the due date. Nothing for a new employee should be open ended. But be realistic on that due date, as well. Consider the breadth and depth of the assignment. Communication is key in the beginning.
I work very hard for Time Etc. Many, many others do too. I’m sorry you had a disappointing experience because a VA can be a great asset to your business.
I concur – they are dragging their feet to complete event the simplest tasks. For example, I asked two different assistants to complete the same task to see the quality difference: Copy charts from the attached excel files and paste them into the template word document. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve had to explain the simplest thing on the phone, via email, and on TimeEtc to no avail. I still got the task incomplete and having to do it from the scratch myself. Something that would have taken me 30 minutes has taken me 4.5 hours with TimeEtc. They are either playing dumb (who doesn’t know basic Office functions in this day and age?!) or deliberately stalling to charge time for back-and-forth b/s. One of the worst VA experiences I’ve had so far and that includes those services offered out of Asia. Stay away!
I’m sorry to hear you feel that way.
We offer a full money back guarantee covering every task – so if you’re unhappy with how long something has taken we’ll give you your money back. All you have to do is email, send a request in the portal or rate the task In our portal.
With this in place, I hope you can understand that there isn’t really any incentive for our assistants to take longer than they need to on a task, because you can simply request your money back if you think it took too long.
Please reach out to me directly if you’d like a refund to cover the task in question.
Barnaby from Time etc here.
It’s disappointing to read some of the things said on this page and in the comments.
We work extremely hard to provide a good level of service – and we’re constantly improving the service we offer based on client feedback.
This is reflected on the many hundreds of positive reviews our clients and assistant choose to write on various sites.
To address directly the notion that our assistants might drag work out there are two things to point out:
A) we monitor almost every task completed on our platform both automatically and humanly and check things like length of time taken to make sure it’s fair and proportionate.
B) we offer a complete money back guarantee on every task we complete – which is widely promoted. Our guarantee means that if you ever felt that your assistant took too long to do something, or were unhappy for any reason with their work, you can simply email us for a full refund. No questions asked.
In summary, we work hard to provide a good level of service and improve what we do based on feedback.
Our aim is that our clients are 100% happy and we’re more than happy to refund and put things right if this ever isn’t the case.
I’d invite you to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll personally assist you.
CEO and Founder
They are an ageist company! So dissapointed and am taking steps to turn them in!
Since we have a large number of wonderful Virtual Assistants and clients from almost every possible age group and background, I don’t understand the basis for your comment.
Hi Barnaby , that’s a lie as your company is ‘extremely selective’ ! You just chuck the rest of us out like trash.