Sorry to hear you had a negative experience with a freelancer. I see one of our agents reached out to you back in November when the contract was closed but, unfortunately, they didn't hear back from you. They will reach out to you again and provide further assistance.
For the contexts I'd like to clarify that the client can dispute the charges on hourly contracts during the review period following the work week. If refund is requested outside of that window, the client and the freelancer can communicate and discuss the refund. The refund can then be initiated by the freelancer as agreed. Please, see section "If the freelancer refuses your refund request or does not reply" of this help article for more information.
I'm very sorry to hear about your experience using Upwork.
For future reference for you, in case you want to use the site again, or for other clients reading this, here are some tips:
- Effective clients know that most freelancers are honest professionals who want to do the best job they can, but they are aware that Upwork is an incredibly popular site and that Upwork does not vet freelancers or do background checks. So there are some scammers, scoundrels and thieves who come here and try to take advantage of clients. This isn't a problem for experienced clients, but it can cause big problems for less-experienced clients who aren't familiar with how the site works.
- When using fixed-price contracts, make sure you RECEIVE the work and REVIEW it before releasing payment. Seeing screenshots is not enough. You must have the files in your possession.
- When using hourly contracts, receive and review the work regularly, especially early on when dealing with a new freelancer. An hourly contract offers you essentially unlimited flexibility. You an close the contract ("fire" the freelancer) at ANY TIME, for ANY reason. You don't even need to provide a reason. If a freelancer's work doesn't satisfy you, then close the contract. Continue working only with freelancers whose work you value the most.
- Effective clients work with ALL freelancers in a proactive way. They decide from the outset they will never waste time with disputes, refunds, outside arbitration, litigation, etc. They decide that once money has been paid, it has been paid and they aren't going to get it back. Knowing that there is no easy "reset" button on funds, effective clients review work as they receive it and continue working only with quality freelancers. Effective clients are able to quickly stop working with any freelancer who doesn't demonstrate value to the project.