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2d1d8dcc
Member

Dispute for fixed price contract - nothing delivered

Usually the freelancers have difficult time with clients, but in my case it is the other way around. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am therefore asking for an advice from the Upwork community, hoping that you can share some insight into this, for me very dark situation.

 

1. I hired a freelancer to complete legal writing for the complex 2-way marketplace startup that I'm building. Basically I need Terms & conditions, Privacy Policy and Terms of use for buyers, sellers, site owners and site visitors, similar to something that Etsy has, but with lot of specifics that are unique for this startup.

 

2. Freelancer won me over with her apparent experience (she linked to a 3rd party portfolio as she has none on Upwork) and with her extremely competitive turnaround time - 3 days. I funded the Escrow immediately for the whole amount. 

 

3. Freelancer gave me a questionnaire to fill, whih was very poor and didn't have enough space nor questions where I could describe the specifics of my startup. (you can find it enclosed) It even asked me to link my Privacy Policy, something which is a subject of this very job ?!

 

4. I filled the questionnaire nevertheless and immediately expressed my concerns to the freelaner that her questionnaire is hardly useful.

 

5. And that is where the freelancer disappeared for 3 days, not replying to any of my messages.

 

6. After the 3 days have passed I decided to cancel the job because of the freelancer's unresponsiveness and to request the refund. The whole time within which the whole job should have been done, I didn't hear from the freelancer once to address my concerns.

 

7. Late in the evening she messaged me that the job is almost finished (?!) and that I am to pay her for her work and that she wouldn't accept cancellation.
Also she said that she won't be sending me her draft (like I have any use of legal generics without specifics of my business) before I fix the thing with Upwork.

 

8. I agreed to try to sort it out and contacted Upwork support who unfortunately couldn't revert the action, but suggested that I make a new job for her when she refunds the old one.

 

9. She refused and asked that I fund the whole amount to the new job Escrow before she accepts refund.

 

10. I didn't have money nor will to do that after the tone and conduct she's been using all the time (that could be the subject for an entirely new topic) and I let her dispute the cancellation.

 

11. In the dispute's message board she's became openly rude, calling me names and insulting me even when I didn't address her once but upwork, trying to present my case with facts and screenshots the best I could.

 

Mistake I made:
- I didn't define the deadline in the contract with her, it was left undefined as I was holding to her word in the proposal (stupid of me, I know).
My dilemma:
- Maybe I did cancel the job too soon, but what would you have done after not hearing from someone during entire period within which the complete job should have been done?

 

Now I've read on the forums about everyone's experience with disputes and arbitrage and I'm really scared. I belong to those cases where arbitrage is the loss for everyone involved as the escrowed amount is $300. Only I am not some rich fella who's owning a company but a startupper who's outsourcing only what I cannot do myself - in this case: legal help.

 

If I pay for the arbitrage and lose - I lose $600 . Even if I win, I lose $300 (the same amount the dispute is about) and I don't get the end product.
I can offer the freelancer $50 for the settlement but not a dime more as:
1. I didn't get a single document of what I put the money for
2. The freelancer tricked me into hiring her with false promises
3. She was extremely rude and unprofessional

 

What is everyone's take on this? I am open to all criticism, different points of view and advice you can provide.
Thank you in advance!

15 REPLIES 15
prestonhunter
Member

You hired a genuinely terrible contractor l

 

I think you would have been better off hiring three people using an hourly rate.

 

The two of them who were flakey, you would just close their contracts, and you would have obtained good results from the third who you allowed to continue working on the project.

lysis10
Member

lol I am pretty sure those questions are copied word for word from one of the websites most people use to create a ToS automatically. You should check into them. It's easy and it's boilerplate and it's free. Unless you have some crazy different website, it's useful for startups just making cash from ads or something like that. It covers Adsense policies that require you to have one too.

Auww thanks for your suggestions, I was afraid something like that might be the case. ๐Ÿ˜ž

Alas EU law is very strict and the services that startap plans to offer are  indeed complex which is why I cannot use any such sites.

I hired another contractor for this job as this dispute already took too much time.

But what is that you would do regarding dispute itself? I need advice how to act. Should I offer some compensation for the undelivered work or wait for the arbitrage ? Is there any possibility that arbitrage would decide in this freelancer's favor?

re: "But what is that you would do regarding dispute itself?"

 

Easy answer.

 

Never do a dispute.

 

It is not good business. It drains time and energy. It is backward looking.

 

Pay regularly and frequently for small chunks of work. Never get so far into something that you can't afford to bail if it goes south.

 

"Developer was paid $3000 for project but it is unusable"

WRONG.

 

"Developer's first submission, the first part of a large project, (paid $100) is unusable."

RIGHT.

 

Close the contract on the contractor who wasted $100, and hire somebody else, or just continue working with the others you had already hired.

Believe me, I would turn back time if I coud. ๐Ÿ™‚ I worked for living as a freelancer on Elance for 4 years and started hiring only recently for this startup. All the freelancers I worked with were responsive, honest people with work ethics, just as I have been. I guess it never occured me that someone might be different. ๐Ÿ˜•


I didn't want dispute, I simply wanted to cancel the job that went beyond freelancer's initial proposal without hearing from her. I didn't put milestones as the delivery time should have been 3 days. Ah well, you live, you learn.

 

I'm concerned if there is any way I can salvage escrowed money back from this fiasco when it already happened?

Hi Igor,

 

I see that our Mediation specialist reached out to you about half an hour ago. Please, reply to her message with any information you have regarding this situation and she'll assist you with the dispute. I'll also forward this thread to the team.

 

 

~ Valeria
Upwork

Thank you so much Valeria!

It is immensely appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

2d1d8dcc
Member

A small update about this case:

I have offered the freelancer $50 to drop the dispute, without any single document delivered from her part.

She refused it and asks for $120 instead. 

 

This is clear extortion.  If I proceed to arbitrage, can they 'force' me to accept her work which I never layed my eyes on ? 

In the meantime, Upwork's mediation team is not providing any advice or opinions even when I ask for those, they are just sending messages back and forth between me and contractor. ๐Ÿ˜• Very disappointed. 

 

Also, I have found the following info:

"if one party fails to pay the arbitration fee, the funds are released to the party who paid the arbitration fee. "


But I cannot find what happens with the arbitration fee paid by one party if the other party doesn't follow. Will it be returned to the party that paid it, or is it good as gone ? 


Hi Igor,

 

If one party pays the arbitration fee and the other party doesn't, the funds in Escrow will be released to the party that paid the fee and the fee will be refunded as well.

 

I also suggest you reply to your dispute ticket in order to proceed.

 

Thank you.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Thanks Valeria, I greatly appreciate your info! 

Your reply and opinion of the community are important to me so I could make an informed decision in my reply to dispute ticket - whether to succumb to freelancer's extortion or proceed with the arbitrage.

She's **Edited for Community Guidelines** to go into arbitration if no work was delivered especially since you offered good faith money. She's not going to win. Considering she's **Edited for Community Guidelines** to go this route, I'd say she doesn't have the cash for arbitration. I'd call her bluff.

I'm sure she's like: "Lol, he won't pay for arbitration so I have nothing to lose :)"

 

If you put the money on the table, and Upwork asks her to put her share, which may be more than the amount disputed, I bet she'll bail out.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

Igor, I have the feeling she will bail as per Rene's comments.

 

@ Upwork - the contactor in question should be banished - now and forever.

Go for arbitration. The contractor is blackmailing you.

Thank you all for your suggestions, I greatly appreciate it. I have done as you said and didn't accept to pay $120.
The next move is on her. I guess she will either need to request arbitrage or let EEC deal with the issue.

 

I will keep you posted how the situation develops. ๐Ÿ˜•

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