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Freelancer does not want to transfer store ownership in Shopify

Active Member
May N Member Since: Oct 21, 2019
1 of 11

Hi peeps!


Freelancer just took my Shopify store hostage. He blackmailed/ threatened me yesterday he is not giving access unless I pay up.


I cancelled contract just had the last straw. It's taking 2 months and still going so yesterday I said web dev is ok, just proceed to products loading (without edits, I said just load according to products of my site). He proceeded but wrong products. I said that's it, I am closing contract. Paid First milestone but not the completion. I mean, that's what milestones are for. If I am discontent/ unsatisfied it is my right to terminate. I paid the part which I think is OK but to threaten and blackmail a client is another level. Paid everything including subscription of Shopify ($70 not the basic because he gets commissions, he knows the drill) even with an unfinished store.


He won't give me access now. I am shut off from my own store (first store unfortunately). He still keeps on modifying uploading "now" correct products. Just found out today. I am completely shut off and powerless. I still gave him 4.5 rating in here hoping that he can still go on working despite my bad experience.


Please help. I am willing to lose my first milestone payment. I will deac my Shopify but this kind of attitude cannot continue. There must be something put in place.




Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
2 of 11



I've flagged your post to get a forum mod's attention - hopefully one will be along soon to help you out.

Active Member
May N Member Since: Oct 21, 2019
3 of 11

Thank you

Ace Contributor
Tim S Member Since: Nov 13, 2015
4 of 11

Definitely a cause for contacting upwork support.  I'm not sure if they can arbitrate after the contract is closed - but I do think they would help you out.  

Alternatively - you should be able to contact shopify and have them change the password of your account - if the freelancer has changed the password themselves so that you can't get in.  I imagine you're paying for the shop - so you should be able to have them recover it for you by using your info and verifying the card number.

Active Member
May N Member Since: Oct 21, 2019
5 of 11

Hi Tim,


I already did that but still waiting for response.


I'm not sure though who they are going to support or believe. Freelancer is a Shopify partner and has been working for them under their commissions scheme. Probably built his portfolio, etc and would have existing client subscriptions.


I will let you know what happens. Case is with both Upwork and Shopify.


I don't want to disadvantage him as well. I paid first milestone, I should at least have a website even if it's incomplete. He can remove the products all he wants but I did not want them. But if he wants my Shopify store, then I'll ask  for refund from Upwork. He can't control everything!


He have me 1 star and I still gave him 4.5 rating inspite of my experience based on first milestone (that I paid) and I don't want him to be banned from working in Upwork but he heartlessly gave me 1.


He said to me in the end of our message, I earn  $7k per month it doesn't matter to me. How rude.

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
6 of 11

Hi May, 

I'm sorry to learn about your experience with this freelancer. I checked your account and can see that you already have two open tickets regarding your concern. If you need further help, feel free to update the same ticket threads so that the team handling your case can assist you further. 

I would also like to note that in the future, it would be best to leave honest public feedback for a freelancer, as this helps create a more trustworthy online marketplace for other users of the Upwork website. Feedback helps other clients decide whether a freelancer is the right person for their project or not. As such, we would appreciate if clients left honest feedback, that are reflective of your experience with a freelancer. 

Active Member
May N Member Since: Oct 21, 2019
7 of 11

Hi Avery,

I should have! But I replied to comments he left for me so now I told the truth.

Somehow I know what most of these people go through looking for jobs.  I came from Phils so I understand and as much as possible want to preserve their source of income but yes, truth before anything else.



Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 11

There is of course the little matter that the work does not belong to a client until it is paid for.

Unless you paid for all the work that was done, it is not your store...


I am not defending the way the freelancer is going about it, but nobody can have it both ways, not the freelancer and not the client.


The work product can not have shared ownership.

Active Member
May N Member Since: Oct 21, 2019
9 of 11

Hi Petra,


I paid for one of the two milestones. Like I said I have the right to terminate contract if it's not going anywhere. I don't have all the time and if output keeps on failing me, should I just let him finish and still pay anyway? Musn't I draw the line of enough? It is one of the purpose why milestones of work are created.


I have expressed many times in our chats that I want to end contract and if I say that, he starts to get back up again and tries to work "harder" and gives attention to the work then disappears or only responds with few words. Many days and weeks later I still have nothing. He saw that coming.


So with my payment shouldn't I be deserving of something (unfinished website perhaps) and not completely shut off from the website/ Shopify store for which the subscription I have paid and for which he has claimed commissions?


If he wants to keep store, he can go ahead but I will want a refund. If he wants to keep the money, I'll take an unfinished website. I do understand the terms.


I am only after of what's fair here. Right now it does not feel right to me.




Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 11


Your analysis and reasoning here are accurate.


To confirm some of the things you said:


Do you have the right to end a contract at any time?



Is this freelancer's behavior reasonable or professional?

Certainly not.


re: "If he wants to keep store, he can go ahead but I will want a refund. If he wants to keep the money, I'll take an unfinished website. I do understand the terms."


Yes, I agree.


Upwork's rules hold that the freelancer retains ownership of work that he has not been paid for. Conversely, the freelancer needs to deliver any work that he HAS been paid for.


You're simply asking that the freelancer follow the rules, which are reasonable.


Unfortunately this project and situation is more complicated than some, because there are commisisons involved, and the nature of the site makes it impossible for you to use without access credentials. This is more complicated than (for example) a contract involving writing 2 chapters in a book... where a freelancer writes, delivers and is paid for one chapter... but never writes and is never paid for the second chapter.


As I think you understand, the way that Upwork fixed-price contracts are supposed to work is this:


The freelancer should deliver the actual, fully functioning files and work to the client first.

And THEN the client reviews the work.

And THEN the client releases payment to the freelancer.


The freelancer does not seem to be on board with this. That's a big part of the problem. It seems that he wants to be paid for work that he has not delivered.


Unfortunately, Upwork itself does not have your source code files or log-in credentials. It can not directly provide you with what you want.


I hope things can be resolved. But it sounds like the freelancer is being uncooperative.


Upwork's customer support team is already working on this, trying to communicate with the freelancer. Hopefully they will be able to mediate with him in a way that helps you resolve this. You said you are waiting to hear from Shopify itself as well. Between Shopify and Upwork, hopefully you will be able to get control of the site you have put time and money into, and not need to start over.


How much money in total did you pay to the freelancer so far?

Is there additional money he feels he is owed now? An amount that the freelancer is saying he needs to receive in order to finish the work and turn over the credentials you need?


I ask these questions because I wonder how feasible it would be - if necessary - for you to drop everything about this first Shopify store, cancel your involvement with this subscription, etc., and start over. That is not something you want to do right now, but if I was in this situation, I would want to look at all of my options.