I hired a professional freelancer and she has spent $16,000 so far. However, it has been five months and an endless supply of excuses despite many requests to turn in what she has completed so far. We need to cut her loose and get our money back. Do we have any recourse to recover the money we were billed by her thus far?
I am sorry if you have been disappointed with your experience with this freelancer.
There may be a portion of the money that you can get back with Upwork's help.
Was this a fixed-price or hourly contract?
If you can answer that, we can advise you further.
You can read this:
Basically, when you hire a freelancer using an hourly contract, then you pay for the freelancer's time.
You may review the work diaries.
If you see time slots during the previous week that show the freelancer not working on your project, or if there are time slots without any memo, or if the activity level is very low, then you may dispute those time slots, and Upwork will automatically drop them from the time that you were billed.
This means that you MAY be able to avoid paying for some of the time that was logged during the past week.
It sounds like you may have had some misperceptions about how to use Upwork properly, or what type of service Upwork provides. Upwork does not have any of your work files.
If you want the work files produced by the freelancer, then you need to ask the freelancer for those files.
The proper way to handle an hourly contract like this is to ask for and receive the files on a regular basis. At least weekly. Daily is even better.
This is how it works:
Looks like we are essentially screwed and this freelancer is under no obligation to turn in any of her work and we are out $16,000 because this did not happen within a 30 day time frame as it was a larger project. Pretty awful client protection.
I think there was a misunderstanding about what type of services Upwork provides.
One option you have is to ask the freelancer to refund the money to you.
Also: If the freelancer worked for 5 months... did she actually produce usable work and simply not provide the files to you yet? If that is the case, then you can ask her to provide the files to you at this time.
re: "and we are out $16,000"
But, yes, you are probably correct about that.
I'm sorry about your experience with this freelancer. I have escalated your issue to our team. They will reach out to you directly as soon as possible and further assist you with this concern.
Thank for your patience
The limits mentioned are within Upwork's own rules and protocols and relate only to actions Upwork will take or expects clients and freelancers to take for dispute resolution.
Your money amount is significant, so if you think a lawsuit through a court system is necessary, there is nothing I am aware of that Upwork would invoke or that the freelancer can invoke that limits your ability to pursue compensation or reimbursement outside of Upwork's internal mediation system or more formal arbitration. (Someone here will correct me if I have got that wrong.)
This avenue for dispute resolution rarely comes up on Upwork because the amount of many projects is too small to justify legal expenses, freelancers and their clients are often located hundreds or thousands of miles from one another or even in different countries, etc.