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brentsatil
Community Member

How do i lodge a complaint against a freelancer?

I engaged a freelancer who advised that they could complete my task in full. Half way through they told me that more than 30% of the task could not be completed by themselves.

I tried to negotiate with the freelancers for work they can do in lieu of the parts they are unable to do and they agreed. The freelancer has since reneged on our arrangement, leaving me with a product that does not work.

 

After refusing to release the funds until the job was complete, the freelancer lodged a dispute. I was out of town for 3 days and did not have internet access and Upwork support have ruled in the clients favour as i was unable to respond. I have not been given the opportunity to complain or lodge a dispute and cannot understand why. The freelancer offered to take half of the agreed $ amount yet Upwork have gone and paid the entire amount to the freelancer.

18 REPLIES 18
prestonhunter
Community Member

Why do you care so much about this one underperforming freelancer?

Not every freelancer/client pairing is a good fit.

 

Not every freelancer is a winner.

 

I recommend that you put yourself and your project first.

 

Assign the remaining work to members of your team who can actually do the work. If you need to hire additional people, then do so.

 

You don’t owe that freelancer any more of your time and energy. What is your true goal? Your goal is to develop the product. A product as complex and sophisticated as yours is SUPPOSED to have multiple people working on it. You only hired one. That is a mistake you can easily fix now. Hire others. Assign the best ones to do most of the work. Fire the worst ones. Get this project done and don’t let a few deadweights drag you down.

Thank you Preston.


Unfortunately Upwork have released ALL of my funds to the freelancer, despite the freelancer agreeing they only deserved half of the fee. I have not been able to lodge a dispute and support have been entirely unhelpful.

You are never going to succeed in finishing your project if you focus on the past. Make a promise to yourself now that you will never file a dispute, no matter what. Promise yourself you will never again try to get money back from a freelancer. That is the best way to save time and money and keep your project on track.

 

Dispute thinking hurts clients.

 

When I hire a freelancer, I monitor their work closely, especially early on. When I see that a freelancer’s work does not measure up, I fire him.

 

I never need to dispute, because I fire bad freelancers before paying them a bunch of money in the first place.


Preston H wrote:

You are never going to succeed in finishing your project is you focus on the past. Make a promise to yourself now that you will never file a dispute, no matter what. Promise yourself you will never again try to get money back from a freelancer. That is the best way to save time and money and keep your project on track.

 

Dispute thinking hurts clients.

 

When I hire a freelancer, I monitor their work closely, especially early on. When I see that a freelancer’s work does not measure up, I fire him.

 

I never need to dispute, because I fire bad freelancers before paying them a bunch of money in the first place.


Hindsight is certainly 20/20. The client is asking about the dispute, not what to do in the future, although certainly monitoring freelancers closer and breaking projects into manageable milestones is good advice. 

 

OP, I will flag your post for a moderator since you need actual Upwork assistance. 

 

In the future, in addition to Preston's advice, if you do need to raise a dispute, be aware that they are on a timeline and you need to respond in a timely manner (by their deadlines). As a fellow entrepreneur, I know that my business is a 24/7 job, and going off the grid for 3 days without designating someone to handle important matters is not advisable. 

 

Hopefully a moderator can help you. 

Thank you for your thoughtful response. This project was not for commercial reasons, just a hobby. I had not anticipated that not having internet for a few days would be detrimental to my case, particularly given all of the necessary evidence had been provided to Upwork prior to this. Outside of this, since the freelancer lodged a dispute - i was unable to lodge my own which does not make sense. Additionally, the freelancer previously told the support person that they were happy to take 50% of the quoted amount (acknowledging they had been unable to deliver the project) and Upwork proceeded to release the entire amount to the freelancer. 

I sincerely appreciate your message and have certainly learned from this experience.


Brent S wrote:

Thank you for your thoughtful response. This project was not for commercial reasons, just a hobby. I had not anticipated that not having internet for a few days would be detrimental to my case, particularly given all of the necessary evidence had been provided to Upwork prior to this. Outside of this, since the freelancer lodged a dispute - i was unable to lodge my own which does not make sense. Additionally, the freelancer previously told the support person that they were happy to take 50% of the quoted amount (acknowledging they had been unable to deliver the project) and Upwork proceeded to release the entire amount to the freelancer. 

I sincerely appreciate your message and have certainly learned from this experience.


Unfortunately the way you think Upwork works is not how it works. You cannot file a dispute once a freelancer has filed one because there is no need to. Why would it make sense for you to reopen a dispute about something for which there has already been a dispute? Upwork does not determine the outcome of disputes, they merely mediate. For you to get a binding decision, you would need to go to arbitration. 

 

The contract is between you and the freelancer. Upwork is not party to the contract, and they are explicit about this. The freelancer does not work for Upwork, and Upwork does not manage the freelancer. It seems like you think Upwork has power over the freelancer that it does not. You also have to remember, as a 3rd party, Upwork has to follow the TOS that it has laid out to be fair to both parties. 

 

It would avail you to read thoroughly the TOS before hiring again, so you understand how to protect yourself. 

Brent, feel free to ask the freelancer to issue a refund of 50%. Hopefully they are a decent human being and refund.

 

But you can't go off grid for 5+ days when there is a dispute situation and expect stated deadlines to be extended. That wouldn't be fair on anyone.

Cheers Petra. More than sufficient evidence was provided prior to me being out of reach for 3 days. In no world is being out of reach for 3 days sufficient to rule against someone, it is unreasonable. Everything was provided ahead of time to make a decision, there is no reason for the funds to have been released to the freelancer, particularly after they acknowledged their own incompetence. 

Sorry to message again. Another crucial point is that the dispute was closed without even responding to my last message. I sent a message to the mediator and 24 hours later received a notice that the dispute is being closed due to non-response - where is the logic or legality in that?


Brent S wrote:

Cheers Petra. More than sufficient evidence was provided prior to me being out of reach for 3 days. In no world is being out of reach for 3 days sufficient to rule against someone, it is unreasonable. Everything was provided ahead of time to make a decision, there is no reason for the funds to have been released to the freelancer, particularly after they acknowledged their own incompetence. 


A dispute is not arbitration. The evidence means nothing because the Upwork mediator is simply trying to get the two of you to agree on a resolution. You have to go to arbitration to get a binding resolution decided by a 3rd party. Upwork does not, and cannot, make decisions in disputes. 

Thank you for that! Certainly helps and isn’t made particularly clear by the mediator. Unfortunately the process still makes no sense, one party wanted a full refund (me) the other was happy with a partial refund of 50% (freelancer) and the mediator decides to release 100% of the payment to the mediator.

Upwork are certainly a party to the contract as escrow provider, a charge back will come through Upwork and not the freelancer.


Brent S wrote:
 a charge back will come through Upwork and not the freelancer.

And see you suspended from Upwork and quite probably debt collection. 

A chargeback is a violation of Upwork's Terms of Service which you agreed not to do.

You didn't respond to the dispute process in the time required so as per the terms of service the escrow funds were released to the other party. Banks much dislike spurious chargebacks as well.

 

Companies can't just throw their terms out of the window because you decided to pop off the grid for days on end.

 

Have you ASKED the freelancer to refund half the payment?

How do I lodge a complaint against a frelancer. He did the work for paid and never sent me the files 

Hi Marco,

 

I am sorry to hear about your experience with your hired freelancer. Could you please confirm the contract ID you are referring to?

 

You can also lodge a contract by contacting our support team. A quick way to contact support is by clicking the "Get Support" button that shows at the bottom right corner of the Upwork Help page. You will be asked what type of account you need help with and to describe your issue or questions. Please select the best option for your situation. If you’d like to speak to an agent, you can request that via the chatbot. Feel free to post here in the Community if you have further questions.

 

- Pradeep

Upwork
AveryO
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Brent, 


I'm sorry to learn about your experience on this contract and that you missed the timeframe to respond to the dispute. I can see that the team handling your case continues to assist you through your support ticket. I followed up with them, and the agent handling your access will get back to you with more information soon. 


~ Avery
Upwork

Hi Avery,

 

Thank you however support have been entirely unhelpful which is why I am here. They have explicitly told me they will not help me any further no less than 3 times, I am not sure why you would think they are still working on this. Support also closed the ticket 24 hours after my last response without bothering to respond. Since your message, support have offered me a credit which is obviously not what I am looking for. 

 

I have spent an inordinate amount of time and energy dealing with what should be a very simple issue for you to fix. What I am asking now is how i can lodge a complaint as i have not been given the opportunity to do so - the freelancer has lodged a  complaint and i have not had an opportunity to lodge my own. Prior to giving me an opportunity to lodge a complaint, you released my funds to the freelancer without my permission.

 

As a client who has had many jobs completed on Upwork, I anticipated some degree of support. I have been left with an incomplete project while having paid for a completed project and a support person that is seemingly comfortable with this unacceptable outcome. 

AveryO
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Brent, 


I'm sorry to learn you feel this way. I asked the team to look into your ticket a second time, and they will be reaching out to you with more information after we discussed your concern in detail. 

I'd also like to point out that if a dispute is filed, the client must respond within five business days, or the funds held in escrow will be released to the freelancer. You may read more about it in this article and Section 4.1 Release of Funds to Freelancer, sub-section 5 in Fixed Price Service Contract Escrow Instructions of the Upwork Terms of Service here.

Since the appropriate team is already handling this, it's best to follow up on the same ticket thread about your concern. The team will take action as they see fit. 


~ Avery
Upwork

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Question: I thought that I could get a project from Upwork. I had a friend who…

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Answer: Hire the original freelancer to finish the project. Or hire other freelancers to finish the project.

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