Funds from escrow were released without my approval.
Freelancer admits that he can't deliver the job. He offers to do something else, to make up for wasted time, but then all of a sudden Upwork automatically released escrow to him.
Now, freelancer becomes unresponsive ))
Everything can be found in our conversation in Upwork chat room.
Any idea how can I get my money back?
Has it been 14 days since the freelancer submitted the milestone? That's when Upwork automatically releases the payment to them (provided you don't ask for a revision). You might be out of luck here. In any case, it's worth filing a "refund request" through the system and also sending an email to Upwork. Might be a special case since the freelancer didn't actually submit anything.
Varun G wrote:
Has it been 14 days since the freelancer submitted the milestone? That's when Upwork automatically releases the payment to them (provided you don't ask for a revision). You might be out of luck here. In any case, it's worth filing a "refund request"
He can file a dispute within 30 days of funding (!!) the last milestone.
He should not waste time sending a refund request unless it has been more than 30 days since the milestone was funded, as that just wastes time if the freelancer has been unresponsive.
I do not doubt that you feel disappointed right now.
But from Upwork's perspective, unless you get into non-standard territory such as dispute/arbitration, there are only two ways that escrow funds can go to a freelancer:
a) The client approves of the freelancer's work and manually releases funds.
b) The client does nothing for 14 days after the freelancer's submssion, which implies approval of the freelancer's work, and the funds are automatically released to the freelancer.
As far as Upwork's software and database is concerned, you have approved of the work that the freelancer submitted and you approved of the release of all escrow funds to the freelancer.
You may not feel the same way. But it is helpful to know how the system works, regardless of what you do next.
So that we can discuss this situation with more context, how much money was released to the freelancer?
When were the funds released to the freelancer? (As in: How many days ago?)
re: "Freelancer admits that he can't deliver the job. He offers to do something else, to make up for wasted time... Now, freelancer becomes unresponsive..."
If the freelancer agreed to a fixed-price contract, and then did not do the task that was agred to - either because he does not have the ability to do so, or for any other reason, then EVERY honorable freelancer WILL refund the money back to you. Without question, without excuses.
If the freelancer you hired did not do this, then you are dealing with a freelancer who is acting dishonestly and dishonorably.
I don't think any of us want freelancers like that on the platform.
If the freelancer agreed to do something, and then could not or would not do it, then it is not appropriate for the freelancer to "negotiate" and suggest an alternative task. The proper thing would be for the freelancer to refund your money, and then discuss alternatives.
After the money has been refunded to you, if you want to consider hiring the freelancer to do other work, that is your choice.
The way that this freelancer handled things was not appropriate.
re: "Any idea how can I get my money back?"
What you should have done is to not allow the release of escrow funds to happen automatically (if that is indeed what happened). You could have closed the contract and - while doing so - clicked the button to request all the funds be returned back to you.
If the freelancer is truly unresponsive (as you described him), then the request for a refund would have been granted AUTOMATICALLY by Upwork's systems 7 days after you closed the contract.
If the freelancer had paid attention to messages from Upwork enough to see that request, and then intentionally rejected the refund request, then the matter would have gone to dispute, which would have given you an opportunity to get your money back.
I'm sorry about your experience with this freelancer. Our team will reach out to you directly to assist you with getting in touch with the freelancer and advise on further steps regarding your escrow funds.