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Community Member

1st Experienced with Upwork is FRAUD, learn my experienced how to lost $1450 + 3 months time wasted



by tell my story i need explain my purpose clearly, to avoid missunderstanding.

my purpose is only to help/protect/prevent other clients, especially new client like me, so they not through pain with Upwork just like me.



i put mostly story on pdf attachment so you can check on it most of the story.


For who doesnt want read all, the short is:

1) i put all requirements i need for new site with that spesifications with Fixed Price.

2)  Freelance agree with the price and timeline and with the all requirements i need.

3)  Freelance show ongoing progress with not include framework that he promised, with the reason is not necesarry for my requirements., he just use ready template that you can buy cheap on codecanyon.

4)  Freelance finally want to use framework as we agree before, and ask me to send all mockups design.

5)  I send all mockup and he promised to deliver as my mockups on the 1 month later.

6)  1 month later he send the work result but the mockup design still same  1 month ago when he show me without framework (see number 3).

7) since i already waste 3 months without nothing and freelance not deliver as timeline i gave and as he promised, i finally do dispute.

😎 We use Arbitrary , and we need pay more $300 for this service.

9) Arbitrary decision is made and the result is all my funds for this job is 100% must be paid to freelance.


**Edited for Community Guidelines**


So that mean i just lost all money and waste a lot time and my project will be postpone due financial issue.

I never thought business flow road upwork run based on third party.

Upwork not want make decision or responbility regarding issue on their platform.

and Arbitatry decision is the final, you will not able know that you are on the wrong side or right side even you already read all TOS or TERMS Upwork, because Arbitatry is the decision owner.


So i not get any single file at all for $1450



So my Final Note:

This Arbitatry doesn't want explain regarding his decisions and it is clear This Arbitatry considers Freelance is a fellow profession as a seller of services, very irrelevant and biased.


* i remind you not all Arbitrary is like above, some is good peoples, but as you are a clients you must be careful and understand you will lost all your money with this Upwork terms.

Also i not blame Freelancer because on all platform like Upwork or F***rr or E***ce or others there are always good and bad freelance person.

But if you want more safety as client you might consider how is the platform work so you not risk your money when you stuck with bad freelance and finally you stuck with the dispute and finally you lost your money.

Since i already tried other platform like Upwork, definelty other platform has a better or clear term, like Fixed Price with exact requirements will mean you will not pay for something outside of your requirments.

Plus they will not waste your time and not ask you to pay more for Arbitrary service.


I like Upwork if i Freelance, but if i'm client, i will not risk my money on Upwork, i will use other platform that more safer.


i don't want argue especially with other Freelance, this just my experienced and truth and already happen. 


Best Regards



Community Member

Hi Martha,


I'm sorry you are unsatisfied with the outcome of the arbitration. Please, note that according to ToS, you agree that the arbitrator's decision regarding the funds held in Escrow is final. Unfortunately, it can't be changes.


Also, I had to remove attachments and screenshots from your post since they contained private information.

~ Valeria



i don't understand which one my post is demand my money back, so please don't think i wrote here for that purpose,

i already mention this purpose is for protect clients that not understand what they risk on Upwork.






We are extremly sorry for that.I am also freelancer,i always work for my client satisfation otherwise refund money.You rate  a fraud this best for others client.You are always welcome on our family.I like to communicity with my family and discuss about my family problem.I realy want work permentay in upwork community team.



Community Member

A lot of this comes down to the way fixed price protection works. When a freelancer submits work and requests payment, you have 14 days from that submission to dispute the work that was done, request changes, etc. If you don't respond within those 14 days, then it is assumed you are satisfied with the work submitted, and the funds are then released to the freelancer.


This is why it is vitally important for clients and freelancers both to set explicit, clear terms on what deliverables are due and when. By using milestones, you can have a project with clearly defined deadlines, deliverables, etc. When you fund the escrow for a milestone, the freelancer knows that they can begin work without risk of nonpayment. But at the same time, if you release a milestone payment to the freelancer, that tells them you are satisfied with the work done. If you're not satisfied, you need to dispute any of the work done within that 14 day window.


Where fixed price projects are concerned, it is imperative that the client not release any funds until the freelancer has actually submitted an agreed upon deliverable, whatever that may be. If you release the funds early, you are severely harming your position if there is a problem with the work delievered. That's why the escrow system is in place; it assures the freelancer that the funds exist to pay them for their work, but that they must deliver the work as agreed before they can actually get paid. Releasing payment early negates the entire point.


I don't mean to sound harsh, but this definitely seems like an issue that could have been avoided by having clearly defined terms in the contract. Not just what you want the end product to be, but what you require to be done and when, with instructions on how to proceed at any given step. That way, you could have funded the first milestone and the freelancer would know that unless they delivered according to the contract, no future milestones would even be funded.

Thank you  Michael for your explanation.

I do understand, but like you said, escrow is middle man, only able to send fund from client when freelance already deliver work as requirements, and the fact is the freelance is missing deadline and also freelance never submit the work, so as client it clear that freelance unable to do as agreement and demand to cancel the job, but escrow keep that fund and give the freelance chance to get paid by allow do respond dispute and go with arbitrary.


And now freelance that has been proof not do work as it should based on agreement has able to get paid 100%, so if i bad Freelance on Upwork i just need to do:

make the work process as long as possible and prepare the template example that can be the reason that I am working, then wait for the client to disagree me then I will propose the dispute's resistance with compensation reason, and finally I will win at Arbitary, 100% bayawan with common template.


So Upwork/ Escrow , they just suggest/ recommended freelance to client and then they hold fund from client and they make decision from 3rd party.

That is why i said, once client funds is send to Escrow and you not realize that Upwork Recommendation is a "bad one" and prepare loose all your funds.

Upwork just washed his hand from any issue between client and freelance and put that responbility to 3rd party AAA.


that is just the fact i experienced.

I have recently had a similar experience. A key factor here is that escrow funds are released even if you complain that the freelancer's work is not to standard. If you complain to the Upwork customer service they do not take any action regarding the project, such as highighting the issue, or telling you what to do, but just try to sell you a service to find someone else. They will automatically release your funds in escrow without any authorisation if you don't go into the project and stop it there. I lost $500 this way. Laughably, Upwork said they will refund their portion - to fund another freelancer for this job - something that had a deadline last year! This indicates to me they have a broken organisation and think they can operate outside of the statutory consumer protection laws, something that needs to be changed. No escrow funds should be released without the express authorisation of the client - the only reason they want to release them automatically is so they can get their cut.

Community Member

So sorry you had to go through this ordeal, I hope your future endeavours are more prosperous.

The reading of your post was really difficult and unenticing due to a lot of grammar errors and discrepancies. Just a gentle suggestion please use a Browser extension like Grammarly to help with correcting common mistakes that usually happen when writing.

By the way, thanks for expressing your honest views! 

Best Regards,


Hi Kingsley


Are you a client or freelance on Upwork ?

Can you pointing me which side you have difficult to understand my issue ?

I would love we talk about my case rather other thing.


Sorry if my english more worse than yours

Thanks for suggestion

Hello Martha, I am a Freelancer on Upwork.

I'm sorry if you took it the wrong way but I didn't mean any offence.

Wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

Nothing personal Kingsley,

Update my case:

I understand rule and decision is based AAA. 
But AAA is not competent with the result, how come a client that fraud by freelancer lost 100% money ? 
Upwork keep doesn't care with the unfair result due TOS ? 
that mean Upwork have serious issue on TOS.

Yesterday Freelancer who win my 100% from AAA reach me by skype and he mocking me due the result. 
and he said 
**Edited for Community Guidelines**

He laugh to me due the decision on skype, and Upwork doesn't care. 

How come Upwork let it happen when client paid 100% but Freelancer never send even single file for Client, and Client until now never get any files or result from Freelancer but her already paid $1450 ??


I will try legal law for this abuse and fraud.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Martha, 

Please know that we have the Upwork Payment Protection Program to protect both clients and freelancers. You may read more about it in the link I provided above.

~ Avery
Community Member

Hi Avery


Thanks for help,

Yes, that is why the TOS already mention that

"Upon receiving and approving the work, payment is released to the freelancer."


But since me as Client never receiving and approving the work and Upwork move all funds to Freelancer balance and close my issue, i don't have any option except take law action to Upwork due this abuse.


Thank you

Best Regards

Community Member

But since me as Client never receiving and approving the work and Upwork move all funds to Freelancer balance and close my issue, i don't have any option except take law action to Upwork due this abuse.


 By not requesting changes within 14 days you did approve the release of the funds to the freelancer according to the terms of the contract you agreed to while setting up the contract.

When you agreed to arbitration you agreed to accept the arbitration ruling as legally binding.


You have no case.

Community Member

When you agreed to arbitration you agreed to accept the arbitration ruling as legally binding. 

 Arbitration decision based on item/digital goods/product that i pay for.

Pay without no item/digital goods/product Freelancer never deliver it will mean Fraud.

If you have experience that you been Fraud or abuse by corporation/persons even you already agree with terms on it, you can still bring to the court. Upwork TOS even already mentioned it.


 By not requesting changes within 14 days you did approve the release of the funds to the freelancer according to the terms of the contract you agreed to while setting up the contract

I already request changes to Freelancer but he never do revision or even do work, that is why i request cancel after wait 2 months since day when i requested to him.



You have no case.

easy to said by person who not lost $1450 for nothing or have same experienced with this situation.

You keep saying you "never received the files" but in your original post you said " 1 month later he send the work result". So you DID receive files, yes? Because if you received nothing, you certainly would have won arbitration.


Arbitration is a legal process and the arbitrator is independent. It is part of a legally binding contract you entered into. As Valeria and others have said, you agreed to the rules of the arbitration when you decided to use Upwork. Unfortunately, there's nothing else you can do once the arbitrator has made their decision.

@Jennifer D wrote:

You keep saying you "never received the files" but in your original post you said " 1 month later he send the work result". So you DID receive files, yes? Because if you received nothing, you certainly would have won arbitration.

 I must rectify the words, i mean, he only send link to show but never send the files to me, and the fact is i never receive any files until now, and i lost on arbitration.


Community Member

You lost arbitration. You had agreed to accept the arbitration decision as legally binding.

It's over.


Obviously you are welcome to spend another $ 10.000 or more to attempt an international lawsuit, which you will also lose.


Personally I am not in favour of throwing good money after bad.

Community Member

That is why Upwork is abuse or fraud.


You said

" You had agreed to accept the arbitration decision as legally binding."


What option i have ?

Upwork is force me accept all things that they offer.


When Freelancer never send the work/files, why Upwork not help me cancel the task/job ?

Instead Upwork give Freelancer ability to against my dispute/cancel offer, and when only option for me only follow it and continue to arbitrary, and i lost.


See, the Freelancer has nothing is at stake except pay $300 for chance win $1150 without doing the work.

meanwhile, i already trust and put my $1150 on upwork as middle man + $300 for fee AAA, but i never get any help or protection as client when freelancer is trying do fraud/abuse to his client.


No need your advice for attorney cost since you not have any sympathy when i lost $1150, i get it, you are on Upwork side and not neutral side.


Funny that you always focus on AAA decision and not focus the case who is wrong side, you think AAA is the perfect figure and never making the wrong decision ?

If the freelancer showed you a link to the work they did, then they did the work. There is no way an arbitrator would have ruled in the freelancer's favor if the freelancer had done no work. There is clearly more to this story.

If show link mean already do work, that will easily abuse by any freelancer, even i can show you default wordpress admin  and demo link any theme from google, and i can claim i already do work, and i can go to arbitrary to win claim.


The fact that the Freelancer need  show link only (but not investigate is the link is same like requirements of the job) that actually explain everything he not yet doing anything based on requirements, and is pity that arbitrary is person who do not understand cases related to website, arbitrary only knew  freelancer already gave link and claim it so freelancer deserve to pay full 100%, oh my God.


If use Arbitrary, please use one who really understand about digital goods very well and not just understand law or rule but lack knowledge on digital goods.


Hi Jennifer,

I would like to ask because I have similar problem. Can a client file a legal case outside upwork without going through arbitration first?

@Cherry Mae H wrote:
Hi Jennifer,

I would like to ask because I have similar problem. Can a client file a legal case outside upwork without going through arbitration first?

 I have no idea, I'm neither a lawyer nor an Upwork employee. I expect there's something in the ToS somewhere that says you agree to use their arbitration process or something like that. And probably you'd have better luck with a legal case if you tried to use the avenues available to you first.

Hi Cherry,

If a client wanted to pursue legal action outside of arbitration, we won't be able to prevent the legal process from commencing, however please refer to your recent communications with our support team for more detailed information, thank you.


Hi Cherry


I hope your problem is done in a fair way for the right party.


upwork, no matter what happens in my contract with a freelancer, Upwork will only care about their TOS which means arbitrary if your freelancer is "naughty".
If there are any issues Upwork will throw into the arbitrary, even though you may be on the right side of the innocence.
When you put money in Upwork, you have to be ready with the counselor and prepare to lose at the arbitrary level even if you are right.

The funny example concept is, you eat at the Upwork restaurant, and you are upset that the menu you ordered is not the same given by the chef, and you ask for the money you have paid back, but because the chef disagrees with you, you try to hold the account owner Upwork restaurant, but the restaurant owner will throw to the arbitrary party to decide.
Why ?
Because it's their rule.
Nothing personal.

it breaks my heart.


I like everything about Upwork, especially the system and beautiful UI,  but with feelings of fear and worry at any moment harmed by arbitrary, since i can't lost my money for a blank result, make me avoid Upwork for now until they change Their TOS that are detrimental to the client.

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