I have a freelancer who has done some work on an hourly contract which I have now paused.
The instrustions for the task were very clear and have not been followed at all.
The freelancer was not allowed to log manual time and the time recorded just shows a blank screen.
The freelancer has sent me some code but it is useless to me and not what I asked for.
I do not want to pay for this work.
What is the correct procedure for going about this?
All communition has been done on upwork so if it gets to moderation I have no doubt the moderator will understand why I do not want to pay.
Do I end the the contact and leave an honest poor review or is there something better I can do. I do not wish to recieve poor feedback back from the freelancer unfairly.
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From a business perspective, you would be better off if you had never heard of "disputes."
Disputes are primarily helpful for freelancers in situations where clients refuse to pay them for their work. Disputes are counterproductive for clients. Effective clients manage contracts proactively and simply fire ("close the contracts") underperforming freelancers.
You asked what is the "correct procedure." There is not one "correct" procedure. My advice would be to simply stop working with this freelancer and stop spending time on this freelancer. Close the contract and be done with it.
However, you DID ask about getting money back. You might be able to do so, without tremendous effort. You said that the freelancer logged time using the desktop time-tracker, but that when you look at the screenshots, they are blank.
If you haven't waited too long, you CAN DISPUTE the time that the freelancer logged. If the screens simply look blank, then Upwork will automatically decide in your favor and remove those time segments, and you won't need to pay for them.
I really don't mean to sound harsh about this, and I know that you feel wronged, so I am sorry if I sound critical.
For future reference, I strongly advise you to have your project manager monitor the work being submitted more frequently and more closely. Fire an underperforming freelancer quickly, BEFORE she logs a lot of time in billable hours for work you can't use.
You should understand that it is not Upwork's intention that you get a refund for work done by freelancers even if that work was poor in quality or unusable. You may be lucky this time (due to the blank screens), but you should not depend on that happening normally.
Thank you very much for your reply.
I have been monitoring it closely, it is not a lot of hours billed.
I havn't actually paid anything yet as not even one week has completed, the job was a small job started yesterday.
Could you advise on the feedback situation please, I do not unfairly want to recieve negative feedback from the freelancer.
re: "Do I end the the contact and leave an honest poor review or is there something better I can do. I do not wish to recieve poor feedback back from the freelancer unfairly."
If you have been a professional, courteous client, I see no reason to believe that the freelancer would leave poor feedback.
Anyway, remember that feedback is double blind. The freelancer has no way of knowing what kind of feedback you left for her until after she has left feedback.
re: "Could you advise on the feedback situation please, I do not unfairly want to recieve negative feedback from the freelancer."
Thank the freelancer for her work and tell you are going to close the contract now.
You sound like a person who acts with decorum and professionalism. It is not clear to me why you think she would leave negative feedback.
I will be completely straight with you: I think you are worrying about the feedback more than you need to. Feedback is not in any way as important for clients as it is for freelancers.
I have been professional but also reviewed the work and given my honest opinion on it the freelancer, also signaled my unwillingness to pay. Perhaps I should not have done this. I am not famialir with how the feedback system works. Are you suggesting I should have just said thank you, paid and then requested a refund from upwork?
re: "Are you suggesting I should have just said thank you, paid and then requested a refund from upwork?"
Um, actually that would have worked if you are highly motivated to get positive feedback AND get money back.
Right now you may be facing negative feedback if you told you were not going to pay her.
It has been less then a week. You can probably dispute the hours and not pay her anything if all those screenshots are blank. But you also said it has been a small amount of money. You are not obligated to try to get any money back.
If you have not already closed the contract, and you are concerned about feedback, you could simply tell her that you talked to some people and thought things over, and you are not going to dispute any time.
That could maximize your chance at getting positive feedback. If this really is your main goal, then you can use the client-side "pay bonus" tool to give her a small bonus ($10.00) before she has a chance to leave feedback.
What I want to emphasize here is that you should put yourself and your interests and your project first. If you are fretting over her getting any money and spending time on her, then you are putting this freelancer's needs and interests before your own. You are not obligated to make sure she learns a lesson. Don't feel guilty about letting her get paid for this project if doing so makes things better for yourself.
I'm sorry to learn about your experience with this freelancer. I want to share that Upwork has a Payment Protection program which adds a level of security to payment processing for hourly and fixed-price projects.
For hourly contracts, you have the option of filing a dispute against the hours that the freelancer logged. You can file a dispute during the review period, which is following the workweek. In this case, the workweek is this week, from January 27 to February 2, and the review period starts on February 3 and ends on February 7. It would be best to refer to the link I have noted about disputes since the help article has a graphic that will help you understand the Billing Cycle better.
Please know that dispute is not your only option. If you can discuss this further with your freelancer, and resolve this amicably with them, I believe this can be resolved without resorting to a dispute.
Hopefully, this helps. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to reach out, and our team will assist you further.