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Re: Ghostwritter didn't like review; refunded. Can I still use the e-book?

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Active Member
Desire K Member Since: Sep 4, 2017
1 of 11
Hi! I hired a freelance ghostwriter to write a short ebook for me in a week. He finished the work and sent it to me, I spent the entire weekend at my desk editing it to its final draft. After spending all of this time editing, I left a review for him that was positive, about 4 stars out of 5, with constructive criticism. He immediately started messaging me like crazy asking me to take the criticism out of the review and make it 5 stars. I messaged him for a few hours, trying to explain that I was happy with his work, but I wanted to leave an honest review. After he tried guilting me into changing the review, and I still refused, he decided to send me a refund (which I had not asked for) so that my review be taken down from his page (his words). 
 
So my question is, if he sent me a refund, can I still use the finished ebook? I put it through 2 rewrites myself, and had already published it by the time I left him a review. I have since "unpublished" it until I find out if I can legally use it. He DID sign a ghostwriter agreement, and upwork sent an email saying that the contract was closed / completed 2 hours before he sent the refund, however - does sending a refund reopen the contract and void it?.... I've been looking for the answer online, but haven't found anything.
 
I spent time in the effort to make money, not to come out completely empty handed for this man's refusal to accept criticism. Business is business. Time is money, and that's how business has always been.
 
Thank you
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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 11

The freelancer you describe exhibited completely unprofessional behavior. I hope that Upwork moderators see this and take action to have the freelancer investigated. He should be expelled permanently from the platform, in my opinion.

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

What should you do?

 

Use the Pay Bonus tool to pay the freelancer 99 cents. This is just under the $1.00 threshold necessary for your feedback to appear on his page.

 

That way your review will not appear on his Profile page, so he will be happy. And yet you will have complete ownership of all the work that he did, by the rules of the platform. So you can use the writing in any way you want to.

 

If the freelancer tries to refund 99 cents, just tell him that he doesn't need to, because your feedback won't appear on his Profile. I think that is all that he cares about.

 

And don't forget: He doesn't really have a right to claim ownership of the writing in its current state, because of all the work that you put into it. Were he to try to block your use of the writing, he would need to pay you your fee for your editing and rewriting work (which is $7500.00, if my guess is correct).

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Active Member
Desire K Member Since: Sep 4, 2017
4 of 11

@Preston H: I completely agree at this point. This morning I woke up to him sending another message asking me to remove all of the words from my review and leave it with just the star rating, because that's still "honest". If the refund really took this review off of his profile, I'm not sure why he's STILL HARRASSING me.

 

Do you know how I can get in touch with the moderators? I don't see any email links to contact updesk, just phone numbers. Is calling my only option?

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Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
5 of 11

Although by the freelancer refunding all the money, which would take off the PUBLIC feedback from their profile, you can still leave PRIVATE feedback. The freelancer and any other clients that looks at their profile will not see the Private feedback. Private feedback is used to determine a freelancers JSS score.

 

IMO... yes, I would say you can use the work that was sent to you. You paid the freelancer money for it, what he does with that money, liek giving it back, doesn't take away that away.

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Desire K Member Since: Sep 4, 2017
6 of 11

@Kathy T: I was thinking the same thing, that the contract was closed a few hours before he decided to refund the money, which was an action completely seperate from our deal. He was essentially doing the only thing he knew how to get the review off of his profile. However, since he is still harrassing me this morning to remove all of the words from my review, I'm not sure it was taken down....?

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Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
7 of 11

Desire,

 

We don't allow any feedback manipulation on Upwork and will have the freelancer's actions reviewed as soon as possible. I believe we were able to identify the freelancer you are referring to. As others suggested, please use both public and private feedback to provide honest feedback about your experience with freelancers you hire.

 

Thanks!

~ Valeria
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Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
8 of 11

@Desire K wrote:

@Kathy T: I was thinking the same thing, that the contract was closed a few hours before he decided to refund the money, which was an action completely seperate from our deal. He was essentially doing the only thing he knew how to get the review off of his profile. However, since he is still harrassing me this morning to remove all of the words from my review, I'm not sure it was taken down....?


 The freelancer cannot unilaterally undo your contract by sending you a refund after the fact. As long as you complied with all terms of your agreement, you are free to use the material.

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
9 of 11

This is kinda like that **Edited for Community Guidelines** who thought he could unilaterally decide that $200 was enough to pay on a $650 contract. Umm, no it doesn't work that way. He wound up paying another $300. lol This is a lot of client attitudes here because they think you are some unskilled employee and don't see it as a contractor/client relationship. You can't unilaterally change contract terms. Dumberrrrses.

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Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
10 of 11

Hi Desire,

Please send me more details in a PM(click on my name) with the full name of freelancer contract title and link. And if you have something to add on this feel free to let me know. 


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