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How does the refund process work when contract not accepted then withdrawn

Active Member
Kirk B Member Since: Nov 22, 2018
1 of 3


I have been using UpWork for a while now, and have hired many Freelancers successfully. I am very unhappy about the process on Upwork, when a contract is set up.


I listed a job, for a Freelancer to contact me to say he had a 'Special' team of Freelancers. (It was only a small job) Then promised me he could do the work. So we agreed a price.


So i set up the contract and offered this Freelancer the job.. For the agreed price.

The freelancer didn't accept the contract or job. As he said he now could not do the job. And then said he would need 5 days to carry out the small job, then said if i wanted him to do it, then it would cost 4 times the amount already agreed.

As he didn't accept the contract, I was immediately able to withdraw the contract. Then I got a notification to say the money taken into Escow would be refunded.


I am very disappointed with this, as i now have to wait 3-5 working days for the money I have already paid into Escow. to be refunded. (Aswel as a fee being taken by UpWork, to refund me the money.) So now I have to wait for the money to be refunded back into my account. So I can then Re-Set this job back up, for Upwork to 'Again' take the money, into Escow. This could happen repeatedly. There seems to be all the protection for Freelancers, but little for Clients.


Why isn't there an option, when withdrawing a job or contract to hold the money into Escow, so it's there, when you find another freelancer who can actually follow through with the 'Promises' they have made.


As mentioned, I have had numerous successful jobs done on Upwork, but have also had to go through this same process numerous times, for the work i wanted carried out to be delayed. Due to being messed around by a freelancer. My website is non - profitable, and is a free website. So when i save up money, to pay to improve my website, it's super easy for a client to be messed around by a Freelancer, to then have their work hugely delayed, due to this issue. Then be charged for it.


I think this is a really bad flaw. And really puts me off adding more jobs on Upwork now. It would be so much easier, and better, if there was an option to hold the funds in Escow, then when you want to hire a freelancer, for the same job to be carried out, to then use them funds in Escow. So i am being repeatedly charged, for a refund process, through no fault of my own?


I am now really sceptical, to add any more jobs on Upwork, and it's really disheartening, as I think it is an awesome website, and way to get super talented Freelancers to carry out work, a client needs. It's also a shame for the genuine good freelancers, who do a great job, at what they do.


Very unhappy about this process, and raised the same issue a while back, when it last happened, to get no response back, or for this to be looked into.


Sorry if this sounds a little extreme, but when you save up money, to improve your site, and then get promises, that a flake can deliver, to then say 'Oh I can't do this now' to then have the job delayed by at least another week, before the refund process is completed. To then not know for sure whether the exact same thing is going to happen.




Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
2 of 3

Hi Kirk,


Thank you for your feedback, I will share it with our product managers. 

I would like to confirm that when an offer is withdrawn the deposited funds along with the fee are returned to your account directly. 

Escrow is a neutral holding place where the funds are put aside until the project, or piece of the project, is done. The funds stay there until your freelancer or agency fulfills their obligations and you say you are satisfied those obligations are met and release them. To learn more about Escrow check out this Help Article

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

Part of the reason it can't work how you want is legal. The funds are held in escrow against a specific contract by a neutral escrow party. They're not deposited in some kind of "Upwork account" or balance or something. They are specifically for that contract. Which is why if the contract falls through, they have to be returned.


If this happens to you a lot, you may want to review your screening and hiring process. I have never, in hundreds of contracts, had a freelancer decline an offer once it has been made, or had to cancel an offer. It sounds in this case like you were maybe dealing with an agency. Always better, in my opinion, to deal directly with good freelancers, instead of an agency middle-man.