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Freelancer is over 6 weeks late

Active Member
Vikki Y Member Since: Dec 27, 2017
1 of 4

My freelancer is over 6 weeks late on a fixed price contract and has cost our business clients and funding - we have paid him two milestones already but feel like at some point you have to cut your losses. Ideally we would get the milestones released refunded but at the very least we want to stop working with him and not pay him any more and at least have him email us the work he has done. Can anyone advise on the best way to proceed? I messaged him and gave him notice but have no reply...

Community Guru
Ramesh K Member Since: Oct 25, 2015
2 of 4

In most cases, all escrow funds are paid out over the course of the contract. If you choose to end a contract without releasing the full remaining escrow balance, your freelancer will be asked to approve or dispute the return of your escrowed funds.

Upwork Fixed-Price Protection requires disputes to enter a mediation process with an Upwork dispute specialist. Users can usually come to an agreement among themselves, but if necessary the dispute specialist will make a final recommendation according to dispute resolution policy.

To request an escrow refund:

  1. Go to My Jobs and click the contract name in the list
  2. Click the "Cancel Contract" button at the top right
  3. Choose to pay an amount less than the full milestone amount (or nothing) and end the contract.

Your freelancer will be notified and given the opportunity to approve or dispute the refund. If they fail to respond within seven days, the escrow funds will be released to you automatically. You will receive a refund of any payment processing fee associated with the unused escrowed deposit. If you previously released funds to your freelancer and they choose to return them, you won't receive a refund of the payment processing fee.

Escrow refunds will be returned to the billing method used for the deposit. The credit to your billing method will take up to five business days to appear. Funds held more than 60 days may instead be returned to your balance for reuse due to refund time limit restrictions (determined by your payment method vendor).

Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
3 of 4

You almost certainly will not be able to get back any milestones you've already paid out. The best you can do is get the remaining funds in escrow refunded.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
4 of 4

Not to beat up on you, Vikki, but if a freelancer you've never worked with before was the sole person entrusted with something critical to your business's funding and client relationships, you have made some startlingly poor business decisions.


You can and should terminate the contract and request a release of the unpaid milestones, if your freelancer is 6 weeks late without having worked that out with you. But, you should also take a hard look at your business practices. Your freelancer didn't cost your business anything--the way you handled the situation did.