We've had stage 4 load shedding here and consequently have had no power for up to 8 hours a day. As such one of our projects was delivered and wasnt able to be checked until a week later. The payment was then automatically made to the freelancer however when we checked what he had delivered the work was not done. We asked for a refund and stated that we would happily pay once he has completed the jobs and rectified his errors. We have no heard back from him and are not sure what to do and how to get out money back. I have tried to contact support but keep just getting a chat bot. What can we do?
Load shedding...I take it you are from South Africa? Even at stage 6 loadshedding, the power is not off for 8 hours at a stretch. For stage 4 loadshedding your power is off for 3 hours at a time. Not being able to get your emails each day is not an option. You ARE able to.
If you had a fixed rate contract, you would have had 14 days to review work before the milestone was automatically paid out AFTER the freelancer hit the submit button. Here, you pay for the deliverables.
If you used an hourly contract, you would also have had plenty of time to check up on your freelancer as you would have received the bill and had a number of days to peruse any work done before the automatic payment was made. Here, you pay for the time spent working on the project.
We all want you to succeed with the projects you use Upwork to work on.
One of the best tips I could give any client is this:
Put refunds out of your mind. For you, there is no such thing as a "refund." I can assure you, the leaders in your business niche are NOT using refunds. The refund concept is only a drain on your time and energy.
Instead, manage your work proactively. Review the work done by freelancers on your team.
Compare the work and the value you get from each freelancer.
And QUICKLY stop working with any freelancer who doesn't measure up. In fact, you should even stop working with the average freelancers. Only continue working with those who provide you with the highest-quality work and the best value for your dollar.
It sounds like you are using an hourly contract based on the timing you indicated.
It's important to understand that with a time based contract you are paying for the freelancer's time and not a specific deliverable. Of course the freelancer's time should be 100% towards the expected deliverable but usually these things are time-based because the final delivery cannot be estimated down to a hard number of hours worked. If you have output that you expect to be done with a very specific number of hours worked, you would then look towards a fixed bid contract. So in the end here, unless there is actual malfeasance with recorded time or work quality, you don't really have cause for a refund.
As has mentioned, you need oversight of the freelancer's work in the form of project management. These things should not be a mystery only to be revealed when time is up. Work quality and estimated time needs to be checked as the project progresses. Not doing so leads to the issue you are now experiencing.
Of course the freelancer should be professional and timely in his communications. There is no excuse on that front. Hopefully he comes back and makes things right for you. I would not say that this means an automatic refund though. Since none of us knows the full details it's otherwise impossible to say how far the freelancer should go to resolve this.