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3814fc79
Community Member

Negative Feedback as a Result of a Dispute

I disputed a contract and won the dispute. The reason why I won was because the freelancer made claims the lack of requirements were the reason for their lack of progress, which I proved was not true. The agency freelancers used the same claims in my feedback, and it has resulted in my feedback score being very poor.

 

I want their feedback removed. I've been told to contact them and mediate the feedback, but they will not respond as they are very upset about losing the dispute. Upwork's dispute process is what I followed, and it resulted in a bad feedback score for me. I shouldn't be penalized for using Upwork's dispute process.

 

I have tired to hire several freelancers since my rating went from five stars to 2.3, and now nobody will accept my work.  I've spent well over $100,000 on Upwork, and it not appears I'm going to be forced to change providers due to a dispute process that Upwork initiated, managed, and resolved.  I just can't believe that they would allow either party to post feedback after a dispute has been filed.  Unbelivable.

 

I've tried to contact the freelancers, but both refuse to change their feedback as they are mad because they lost the dispute.

 

Thoughts for how I can resolve it?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

This response is absolutely ridiculous.  Why?  Because the approach "Upwork doesn't want their users to use the dispute resolution process" is another way of saying, "Upwork doesn't want to waste money on their customers."  

 

The sad part is, the proper resolution to this issue is simple: Don't allow the losing side of a dispute to leave a rating.  Yes, it's that easy.  Why they don't implement the rule is beyond me.  They'd rather have unhappy customers than to implement a reasonable rule that satisfies all involved.

 

Now what do you have?  You have people like me who keep freelancers longer than we should and leave them feedback ratings that are untrue so we don't have to deal with situations like this.

 

It's a bad policy.  Period.

View solution in original post

35 REPLIES 35
csjarmitage
Community Member

Do you mean your overall rating went down to 2.3 stars? It seems odd that, after spending that kind of money, a couple of low feedback scores would result in that large a decline.

 

Ultimately though, I'd suggest that you continue to work with customer service and it's possible a mod may reply here to clarify the situation.

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Joey,

 

I am sorry the contract didn't turn out well and resulted in negative feedback. Both clients and freelancers are encouraged to rate their experience working with each other and share it in their feedback. Upwork team won't be able to remove or edit feedback unless it violates Upwork’s Terms of Use. You can respond to feedback or enable changes and ask freelancer to edit it.

 

Please, check out this post for more information about how available options.

~ Valeria
Upwork

This is Upwork's process, in your own words:

 

1) Hire one of our Freelancers and pay us fees

2) Try to work with the Freelancer to work out disagreements before you file a dispute.

3) File a dispute and we'll decide who is right

4) If you win our dispute, we'll allow the Freelancer to leave feedback on you and not allow you to have it removed, even if it isn't true.

5) We believe our freelancers leave honest feedback all the time - even when a disagreement between a client and a freelancer elevates to our dispute process.  We believe our freelancers will leave change their minds after our dispute feedback and leave appropriate feedback that represents our final disposition.

 

Yeah, that makes sense.  This is the most ridiculous process, and is totally unfair for both sides of a dispute.  A good policy is to not allow feedback if a dispute is filed.  Feedback has to be the result of both parties terminating the relationship without mediation.

 

I'll be leaving Upwork after my projects end.  Why?  Because my feedback has dropped to 2.4 stars and now highly skilled talented freelancers won't apply for my jobs.  Time for me to go.  I've spent well over $150,000 this year alone.  Unbelievable.


@Joey R wrote:

 

5) We believe our freelancers leave honest feedback all the time - even when a disagreement between a client and a freelancer elevates to our dispute process.  We believe our freelancers will leave change their minds after our dispute feedback and leave appropriate feedback that represents our final disposition.

 

 


Joey, you could rewrite this paragraph by switching the words freelancer and client, it would still accurately describe the situation.

 

So I guess we lost a client on Upwork's ridiculous processes...

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Hi Valeria,

 

Thanks for the response.  I tried all the options, but Upwork's response always leads to the same message: Work it out with the Freelancer.

 

I don't mind the "work it out" response when the problem is initiated by either party.  I do mind it when the problem is initiated by Upwork's process.  In other words, Upwork encourages both parties to engage their mediation process, and then dumps the resulting feedback option back in our laps.  This is a terrible situation as it is expected that one of the two parties will not agree with the results, thereby resulting in future disagreements on the feedback.

 

When a dispute is initiated, feedback should not be an option for either party.  Protecting reputations inside your platform should be paramount, which is why I don't understand this process?

Joey,

 

We encourage our users to resolve any misunderstanding and conflicts between each other and contact our dispute team only if they are unable to do it on their own. Often as a result of the dispute or mediation process the freelancer and the client are still able to part ways amicably. 

 

When it comes to feedback, we believe that users have the right to share their honest experience working on a contract with the Community as long as it doesn't violate Upwork ToS. An option to dispute a contract to hide feedback would open room for abuse.

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

An option to dispute a contract to hide feedback would open room for abuse.


This is a valid point Valeria. But in this case, you would have to win the dispute in order to avoid or hide a feedback. And if you win the dispute, then the no feedback makes perfect sense.

 

I'm failing to see any easy way to abuse the system if it was framed this way.

 

But abusing the system as it is designed right now is definitely doable. You perform badly, the other party disputes the payment, you threat them with a poor feedback and If they stand their ground, you retaliate. Period.

 

Yes Valeria, Upwork encourages people to resolve their disputes in a friendly manner. This is very nice, but if your freelancer behaves in a dishonest manner what friendly resolution can you reach? In this case, the best way is just to abandon the money to the dishonest provider and to move on. Any dispute may result in a strong retaliation against you. Ask Joey.

 

I understand that Upwork doesn't love disputes. It costs you money and in the case of a refund, you lose your fees. But see, Joey is leaving. What's the shortfall when such client leaves?

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Rene,

 

Could you please clarify if you are suggesting that only the party that won the dispute would have feedback hidden on their profile but the party that lost the dispute would have it displayed?

I would also like to add that a lot of disputes are not caused by dishonesty of the freelancer or the client but by misunderstanding between them.

 

It looks like Joey's average feedback is 5 stars, so his case is probably an example of how misunderstanding could be resolved between the client and the freelancer.

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

Rene,

 

Could you please clarify if you are suggesting that only the party that won the dispute would have feedback hidden on their profile but the party that lost the dispute would have it displayed?

 


I would allow only the winning party to hide/block the feedback, in order to avoid retaliation. I would actually let the winning party choose whether they want ot hide/block or allow the feedback. It could prove useful if a misunderstanding is dissipated after the dispute and if both parties end up in good terms.

 

It is unfortunate that disputes are triggered by misunderstandings. But id doesn't excuse a retaliation feedback after the dispute.

 

I understand that the disputes can arise from many different situations and that there is no one unique solution that fits all the possible cases. But in the limited cases where you are stuck with a dishonest provider/client, the fact that they can still leave a feedback after a lost dispute is hard to swallow.

 

It never happened to me, but I wouldn't love being in this situation.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless


Rene K wrote

 

But abusing the system as it is designed right now is definitely doable. You perform badly, the other party disputes the payment, you threat them with a poor feedback and If they stand their ground, you retaliate. Period.

 


How do you know 100% who is right or wrong if a dispute does not rule a full refund?

 

There are other measures in place to prevent freelancers perform badly, get paid and threat a client with bad feedback. Not only the JSS but the risk of being suspended if there is a trend of jobs with bad outcome.

claudiacezy
Community Member

The job will no longer appear under your work history if the entire contract amount was refunded to you after the dispute. It might take some time to go away.


You can fill a ticket and ask if possible to have the contract visibility set to private. Don't know exactly which "private" option removes entirely the job from a client's work history (the job title/feedback can still be seen on the freelancer profile even if set private).

The problem is, I kept this team months longer than I should have.  I paid them for nothing, and only got a refund for the last invoice.  So, the feedback will stay because the entire project was not cancelled.  Yes, I paid them for nothing, received nothing, paid upwork fees, followed Upwork's dispute process, and was rewarded with negative feedback.

 

Unbelievable.

versailles
Community Member

I find it totally unacceptable that the party who lose a dispute is allowed to leave a feedback for the winning party. It makes no sense.

 

If the party lost the dispute, it means that they were wrong in the first place. They will definitely want to retaliate by leaving a bad feedback for the other party.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
3814fc79
Community Member

Yeah, your exactly right in the assessment of switching client and freelancer. That proves that the policy is really that bad.

It's an easy fix, but it appears they don't care.
rshue
Community Member

Hi Joey,

 

Did this ever get actioned by an Upwork representative? I'm in the same situation (but the client is the one at fault and I raised the dispute). Is there now a mechanism in place where the losing party cannot submit feedback if the dispute ends and you win?

 

Thanks,

Rachel

odeskos
Community Member

I agree Upwork's feedback system is not objective. I've had freelancers leave me negative feedback out of the blue. There should be a way to dispute such negative feedback to determine whether it corresponds to the objective truth or the other party was just having a bad day (or bad outcome in a dispute).

re: "Did this ever get actioned by an Upwork representative? I'm in the same situation (but the client is the one at fault and I raised the dispute). Is there now a mechanism in place where the losing party cannot submit feedback if the dispute ends and you win?"

 

There is no system in place that prevents negative feedback from being left in cases where there are disputes.

 

This is by design.

 

Negative feedback may well be associated with disputes.

 

Remember: Upwork DOES NOT WANT freelancers or clients to engage in disputes. They are not inclined to rescue you from all negative repercussion that arise from these cases.

 

As both freelancer and client, I use specific strategies that allow me to use Upwork without ever needing to be party to a dispute. If you want to avoid negative feedback associated with disputed contracts, then you should use similar strategies.

This response is absolutely ridiculous.  Why?  Because the approach "Upwork doesn't want their users to use the dispute resolution process" is another way of saying, "Upwork doesn't want to waste money on their customers."  

 

The sad part is, the proper resolution to this issue is simple: Don't allow the losing side of a dispute to leave a rating.  Yes, it's that easy.  Why they don't implement the rule is beyond me.  They'd rather have unhappy customers than to implement a reasonable rule that satisfies all involved.

 

Now what do you have?  You have people like me who keep freelancers longer than we should and leave them feedback ratings that are untrue so we don't have to deal with situations like this.

 

It's a bad policy.  Period.


@Joey R wrote:

This response is absolutely ridiculous.  Why?  Because the approach "Upwork doesn't want their users to use the dispute resolution process" is another way of saying, "Upwork doesn't want to waste money on their customers."  

 

The sad part is, the proper resolution to this issue is simple: Don't allow the losing side of a dispute to leave a rating.  Yes, it's that easy.  Why they don't implement the rule is beyond me.  They'd rather have unhappy customers than to implement a reasonable rule that satisfies all involved.

 

Now what do you have?  You have people like me who keep freelancers longer than we should and leave them feedback ratings that are untrue so we don't have to deal with situations like this.

 

It's a bad policy.  Period.


 Joey, it would be helpful if you pressed the "quote" button in your replies so that we can follow your post. Whose response is "absolutely ridiculous"?

 

And why do you keep on freelancers longer than you should and give them untrue ratings?

 

This is contradictory to your OP.

 

 

 

 

He is responding to Preston. And Joey is right, the system is ridiculous and unfair. You do not encourage disputes because of lost money, ok, is better to have a dispute tax, but build a fair system. Upwork has some very good points, but the ones like this case are just abusive and unfair. First of all a Community manager should represent customers interests in the Upwork meetings, should talk to a customer manager if a situation is unfair. And it is clear in this case that in the situation of a lost dispute the one who loses it, should not be aloud to leave a starred feedback. He can say a few words if he wants, but he should not be able to impact the other’s party score. The one who won the dispute should not be forced to find ways around the system, he pays fees and he should be able to use a non-abusive system. And I know other cases where feedback is a problem. I had a customer representative tell me to close old contracts no one cared about, because they take my score down and my score was top rated. I closed 7 such contracts (gathered in 3 years) and I became not so top rated, because the contracts counted as negative and it was really not the case, but upwork did not even leave the clients leave feedback to me when i closed the contract. I have contacted them to leave feedback and everyone who still had access to the account did leave the feedback, SO CLEARLY THE FEEDBACK SYSTEM IS created more based on the financial requirements of the platform and less based on what is fair and a good practice. It is a general issue and I took it to all the customer care managers and they could agree with me, but no one did anything to change the platform. Same case for Joey here. His case is an example of abuse from the freelancer to the client. We can all agree that an upset party can be dishonest and do anything to force the other party to refund the contract. This system was made by humans as well and as smart as they are and we appreciate the good things they did, they are definitely not all mighty and should listen to feedback from users. Not caring about your users feedback and needs is a sign of abuse as well.

Simona, there is no such thing as losing a dispute on Upwork. In a dispute, all the Upwork employee can do is try to help negotiate an agreement. They cannot and do not make a ruling as to who was right or wrong. That happens only through paid arbitration, which there is no indication happened here. 


Tiffany S wrote:

there is no such thing as losing a dispute on Upwork.


 

In a "binary" dispute, such as a decision to refund or not (after freelancer has decided not to refund), the dispute can be won or lost depending on the final action taken.

 

  • If Upwork refunds, the client wins.
  • If Upwork does not refund, freelancer wins.
  • In a situation where the funds have already been released from escrow, if nothing is done, freelancer wins.
  • If the freelancer is suspended from the platform and the client is compensated, the client wins.

 

The outcome is so specific that one party would either lose money or keep it, regardless of the outcome of the dispute resolution. Especially when one side is for the status quo, in which case "do nothing" means they win.

petra_r
Community Member


Tim A wrote:

Tiffany S wrote:

there is no such thing as losing a dispute on Upwork.


 

In a "binary" dispute, such as a decision to refund or not (after freelancer has decided not to refund), the dispute can be won or lost depending on the final action taken.

 

  • If Upwork refunds, the client wins.
  • If Upwork does not refund, freelancer wins.

In fixed rate contract disputes, Upwork do not make a decision. They only provide a non-binding suggestion.

What in the world do you mean by "binary dispute?"


 

3814fc79
Community Member

Binary is a result that is either true or false. Yes or no. On or off. There are no other choices. One party has to win a dispute.

Ok Tiffany, thanks for the clarification. In conclusion one party (the one Upwork decides) gets the payment, so the other party should not be able to leave a feedback that can influence the score. Period


Simona M wrote:
Ok Tiffany, thanks for the clarification. In conclusion one party (the one Upwork decides) gets the payment, so the other party should not be able to leave a feedback that can influence the score. Period

The contract is closed and feedback given before a dispute is filed. The client has no idea if the freelancer will dispute at this point. They might not even know the freelancer can dispute. So the end result of a dispute isn't factored in at this point.

lysis10
Community Member


Joey R wrote:
Binary is a result that is either true or false. Yes or no. On or off. There are no other choices. One party has to win a dispute.

You're forgetting the third option of arbitration where you can win or lose however much the arbiter decides. You don't necessarily win all your money or lose all your money in this case.

This does speak to the bigger issue of people placing too much weight on these scores. On Upwork (and other sites) 5 stars seems to be the go to rating if there wasn’t anything particularly bad with the freelancer/client. However every now and then you get someone who sees 5 stars as being almost unattainable (like the teachers who didn’t believe in giving 100%). This doesn’t affect established freelancers as they have a large number of projects with good feedback but if you’re just starting out and it’s your second review it’s gonna hurt you a lot more. I’m not saying there is anything Upwork can do about it it’s up to the users to not place as much weight on those ratings.

That's interesting Simona. I have been top rated @ 100% for years and recently closed old contracts - BOOM my rating dropped to 90%. I have  contacted customer service twice and they couldn't explain. What I found really strange was that it happened after I got three new longterm jobs and the same week two clients left me 5 star feedback! 


Penny S wrote:

 I have been top rated @ 100% for years and recently closed old contracts - BOOM my rating dropped to 90%. 


Those two events had absolutely nothing to do with each other at all.

 


Penny S wrote:

What I found really strange was that it happened after I got three new longterm jobs and the same week two clients left me 5 star feedback! 


One of the contracts that ended in the 2 weeks between the updates came with poor private feedback. The stars are completely irrelevant as far as the JSS is concerned. The average public feedback on Upwork is 4.9 and the vast majority of clients leave 5 starts unless they absolutely hated the work, and often even then.


What drives the JSS is the private feedback.

So can a client leave public feedback that is good and private feedback that is bad? Because there is only one client who might have left bad private feedback. 


Penny S wrote:

So can a client leave public feedback that is good and private feedback that is bad? Because there is only one client who might have left bad private feedback. 


Yes, absolutely. I'd hazard a guess most of us can accurately guess the culprit.

 

But what do you mean by "you recently closed" old contracts and your JSS went from 100% to 90%.

Your JSS is 91% and the last closed contract I can see ended in October...

 

That said, because you haven't completed a contract for so long, you also don't have a 6 month calculation window anymore, and when you're on 100%, that's usually your calculation window. So in your case, chances are you simply defaulted to the next best calculation window, which is 91%. You need some completed contracts to re-establish a 6 month calculation window

 

Up 1% today! Doubt I'll have completed projects anytime soon unless I ask long-term clients to close a contract and open a new one! But then I'll have 20% deducted by Upwork when we start a new contract, won't I? Six of the contracts are working ... two are on pause because of COVID. The remaining three have possible work still to do. I closed the rest of them. 


Penny S wrote:

Up 1% today!  


It last updated on Sunday.

 


Penny S wrote:

But then I'll have 20% deducted by Upwork when we start a new contract, won't I?


No, the fee-structure is per client, not per contract!

 

I didn't realize! Clearly, I haven't been paying attention :-)

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