Mar 13, 2023 04:22:04 PM by Sabrina A
I had recently hired a freelance digital marketer to market our brand. Most, if not all, duties of the contract were not met. This freelancer also submitted such poor quality photos it jeporadized our brand. We were put in a position to end our contract 10 days early to salvage any further issues. I was willing to pay the freelancer a portion for her time. However, she wanted to go through the dispute process. I then proceed to write in detail 4 pages detailing the encounter we had with this freelancer and how she did not fulfill the contract duties. We also shared how this jeporadized our brand image, and led to lost time and opportunities. I attached email proof, and images with comments. I submitted this during the dispute process. Within 20 minutes, the dispute specialist responded with a resolution of another 25% payment on my end on top of what was already paid.
It does not seem that this was fairly reviewed and makes me reluctant to use Upwork for any future projects. I proceeded to ask the dispute specialist to review my email again as 20 minutes does not seem fit to review 4 pages of information that also included a timeline of events, images with comments and screenshots of emails. The dispute specialist then responded stating that they are not obligated to make a decision based off of the quality of work. With this information at hand, I am willing to honor that this is Upworks procedure. However, our contract ended early and most if not all aspects of the contract were not met.
The specialist then indicated that I was not willing to come to agreement and indicated that I wanted to go through arbitration which would be another $337 on top of what I already agreed to pay out of my own willingness.
This process does not seem to be a fair option and seems that upwork offers this to fulfill their role of offering a solution but if you take into account all of these issues, it is fair to say that this would never be a resolution for someone who is trying to salvage their business and financial costs incurred by someone who delivered such poor quality work and did not fulfill contract obligations.
How do I contact someone for a second opinion? I feel that this case was not fairly looked at as I provided everything in detail and honestly would not have spent this much time doing so if I had known it was only for a 20 minute review and would result in me putting even more money out of my pocket.
Mar 13, 2023 05:30:43 PM Edited Mar 13, 2023 05:31:48 PM by Preston H
Refund thinking hurts clients.
You are puting the needs of a stranger from the Internet ahead of your own needs.
You don't owe an underperforming freelancer more of your time or attention.
I recommend that you put your own needs and the needs of your project first.
re: "How do I contact someone for a second opinion?"
It is not Upwork's intention that you contact a "dispute supervisor" for a second opinion
I do not work for Upwork. But I have used Upwork as a client and a freelancer for 9 years.
In my opinion, you don't owe this freelancer anything and you should forget about them and put yourself and your project first.
Everything you have said about this freelancer is true. All of your reasons make sense. I understand that it won't be easy, but I think you need to take a more cold-blooded, mercenary-minded approach and toss this freelancer to the wind rather than trying to balance his karma.
As a client, I have hired over 180 freelancers on Upwork. I don't focus on underperforming, undeserving freelancers.
Mar 13, 2023 07:03:27 PM by Jonathan L
Your frustration with the process is rooted in lack of knowledge of the process. The process has worked as advertised/published - it just so happens that your expectations were different. Upwork does not decide on the quality of work. Upwork does not decide whether you are entitled to a refund. Those are not the roles of a mediator (read: Upwork Dispute Specialist). Those are the roles of an arbiter - which will cost you $337 up-front AND will cost the Freelancer the same amount. If your Freelancer is not willing to pay for arbitration, but you are, then you automatically win.
I highly recommend that you spend time to learn the dispute processes for Fixed Price and Hourly contracts (although in this case, only Fixed Price applies) as outlined in the Upwork Terms of Service.
I once went through arbitration with a Client for an Upwork contract (and I was prepared to sue them for a prior non-Upwork contract). I won. Afterward, they raved and complained here and elsewhere and up the chain to one of the top-level dispute managers for Upwork. It didn't change anything for them, because the process was followed as published in the Terms of Service.
Mar 14, 2023 01:53:37 PM by Sabrina A
Thanks for your reply. I appreciate you providing the links to the contracts. I will definitely proceed accordingly and I understand that the dispute and mediation specialist does not make a decision regarding the quality of work. They suggested I pay another 25% on top of what I already agreed to pay the freelancer for her time due to the ruling of "...was not as they (us, the client) expected from the work performed and delivered". An expectation is subjective and I would have to say that an expectation is also a view on the basis of quality of work. Yes in this case, the work was not as we expected but I would much rather focus on the real issue at hand. The work was not done and a freelancer should not be paid in this case. If they are to be a neutral party and base their mediation recommendation on whether the contract work was done or not, then I would 100% agree with their recommendation. In this case the contract work was not done as indicated in the contract . I brought this up to the mediator and have yet to hear back.
Mar 14, 2023 02:12:04 PM by Preston H
re: "In this case the contract work was not done as indicated in the contract."
That's why I am so successful as a client:
I don't care.
I just fire freelancers if I don't like their work.
I don't spend any time on this sort of thing.
Mar 14, 2023 03:27:35 PM by Sabrina A
I agree I don't care but just wanting to clarify your perspective. You fire them and are okay with the financial loss? because I definitely fired her. Trust me I would never spend this much time on anything but this is money out of our pocket. We are a new business so financial losses hit us alot harder.
Mar 14, 2023 04:10:37 PM Edited Mar 14, 2023 04:13:56 PM by Preston H
re: "You fire them and are okay with the financial loss?"
There is rarely much financial loss involved in firing people.
Especially if you set up contracts INTENTIONALLY, having made a decision to never dispute or ask for refunds.
So one thing you might do is to use HOURLY contracts, which doesn't tie up any money in escrow payments.
Or use SMALLER milestones, especially with a new, unproven freelancer. Rather than hiring a New Freelancer to do a $1000 project, and funding $1000...
You might hire them to do the first piece for $10.
Planning to NOT ask freelancers for money - no matter how bad a freelancer's work is - helps to save money.
Mar 14, 2023 05:13:51 PM by Sabrina A
Thanks Preston. This is noted going forward. Pay in small increments.
I wish the case was only that the work was not quality, she didn't do majority of what the contract stated which is my reason for even starting this thread.
She asked the dispute specialist for details of why she made this decision and asked that I provide my evidence, in which I did. I proceeded to ask the specialist why she made the decision based off of it not being as we (the client) expected and not on what wasn't done to meet the contract objectives. I have yet to hear back 😔
Mar 14, 2023 04:19:03 PM by Jonathan L
Yes. Preston's practice is to pay for some work that he will never use. Using a fishing analogy, he casts a wide net. He doesn't lament the effort required to pull up some diseased or too-young or toxic fish that he will cast right back into the water. By choosing to cast the net and waste the effort of getting some bad pickings, he gives himself a much greater chance of getting what he does need than if he were to simply cast a hook.
Mar 14, 2023 02:35:08 PM by Jonathan L
An expectation is subjective and I would have to say that an expectation is also a view on the basis of quality of work. Yes in this case, the work was not as we expected but I would much rather focus on the real issue at hand.
Sabrina, I believe there was a miscommunication regarding the subject of the "expectations". I meant expectations of the dispute process, not the work output of your freelancer.
If they are to be a neutral party and base their mediation recommendation on whether the contract work was done or not, then I would 100% agree with their recommendation. In this case the contract work was not done as indicated in the contract . I brought this up to the mediator and have yet to hear back.
The mediator's job is to assist you and the Freelancer in coming to a joint agreement regarding pay/deliverables. If that fails, they will make a non-binding recommendation. After that, their job is to facilitate the arbitration application process.
Mar 13, 2023 08:01:00 PM by Avery O
I'm sorry to learn about your concern. I looked into this and can see the team suggested arbitration because you rejected the non-binding recommendation. Since another team is already handling this, it would be best to continue communicating with them through the ticket as they can assist you more efficiently regarding your concern.
You may also check the links to articles that Jonathan added to his post and this post for more information on the processes.
Mar 13, 2023 08:13:09 PM Edited Mar 13, 2023 08:15:28 PM by Preston H
Refund thinking hurts clients.
If a client doesn't like a freelancer's work, the client should fire the freelancer. Immediately stop paying additional money to the freelancer. That is a sure thing.
Thinking that it will be possible to get money from a freelancer is always a gamble.
The only way to win for sure is to not play the game.
As a client, I proactively decide to NEVER dispute. No matter what. That's why I always win.
Mar 14, 2023 05:18:38 PM by Sabrina A
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I never rejected the non-binding recomendation. I only asked the specialist why she came to this decision based off the freelancer not meeting our expectations and not what wasn't completed to meet contract objectives. The freelancer also requested to understand further in which the specialist asked me to provide evidence and I had no problem with. I have contacted this agent multiple times and have yet to receive a response.
Mar 13, 2023 08:40:25 PM by Tiffany S
It seems like you don't understand what a dispute is on Upwork. You wasted a lot of time assembling information to send to someone who has absolutely no decision-making power. That would be true of a supervisor, too. The process is spelled out in the contract you and the freelancer both entered into with Upwork, and Upwork can't change the rules. Disputes are for negotiation, and Upwork tries to help you and the freelancer reach a compromise. If that doesn't work and you want an official ruling, arbitration is the only way to get there.
Mar 14, 2023 08:32:21 PM by TC M
I have a standing dispute with a contractor that was hired to optimize a google workspace for our small company. It was working before she started and not after. She billed time for sitting in meetings where she was not invited. Then I could see by the screenshots that she was responding to a 40hr per week contract she had accepted (while billing us). Then she quit our firm by accusing everyone of everything and posted a confidential resignation from a senior employee violating the NDA she signed. We are asking for a refund so we can hire a freelancer to fix what was left in unuseable fashion. I cannot believe that clients have no recourse and then I got more billing from this individual. If this is how upworks work then someone needs to REALLY broadcast this as a wild west of risk with little recourse. I get casting a broad net and seeing what shales out for some tasks. But for others you need to find the person that can do the job. But when they are selling other clients while billing you and at the same time billing you for support call they are supposed to know - makes no sense. Breach of NDA in a revenge move after quiting cause the job was over your head and billing time for your selling. Please let me know is this how Upworks works???
Mar 14, 2023 11:44:58 PM by Jonathan L
Breach of NDA? Your only recourse for that is a court of law (or arbiter if specified in the NDA).
Mar 15, 2023 08:24:28 PM by Tiffany S
I'm confused by your question. Everything you say is about what one freelancer did. That has nothing to do with Upwork.
It's good that you're interested now in how Upwork works, though. It will keep you from getting into similar trouble in the future. On an hourly contract, you have the opportunity to review hours each week and dispute any that aren't legitimate. For example, if a freelancer billed for a meeting she did not attend, you would dispute that block. If she billed for a segment where she was clearly working on someone else's project, you would dispute that block. And so on, before she ever received a dime of your money. You would, of course, fire her after one or two of these things happened, so it would never spiral out of control like your situation appears to have.
It seems strange to me that as a business owner, you thought you could ignore the project and if it went south Upwork would somehow take responsibility for fixing it for you. The protections (somewhat limited) for both clients and freelancers are clearly spelled out in the terms of service you agreed to and several other places on the site.
If you had an NDA and the freelancer breached it, that is a matter of contract law and you should consider suing her under the terms set forth in your agreement.