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How do I report a freelancer that was paid for work, continues to insist he wasn't paid, and completely destoryed my website last night?

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Aaron,


Sorry to hear you are having issues with one of the freelancers you hired. One of our support agents will reach out to you for more information about the contract and the freelancer since those particular details can't be shared here publicly.


~ Valeria

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Aaron,


Sorry to hear you are having issues with one of the freelancers you hired. One of our support agents will reach out to you for more information about the contract and the freelancer since those particular details can't be shared here publicly.


~ Valeria

I would like to report a complaint about a freelancer 

** Edited for Community Guidelines ***

We are having a problem getting my job coplete. ** Edited for Community Guidelines ***on seceral occasions promises dates he will work and doesnt work on the those. Instead I have to remind him . He has a habit of disappearing and abandoning the job causeing major delays.  Its getting rediculious at this point.

 --Can you please help and get ** Edited for Community Guidelines ***on a schecule to coplete my job,

current job : ** Edited for Community Guidelines ***



You are describing a freelancer who fails to keep his promises, misses delivery dates, disappears without notice and causes major delays for your project. You say this is getting ridiculous.


Why are you still working with him?


You can end the contract AT ANY TIME. You can work with better people.

re: "Can you please help and get [this freelancer] on a schedule to complete my job?"



I can assure you that Upwork can NOT do this.


The freelancer is not an Upwork employee. Upwork is not a project manager. There is not much Upwork can do here.


I don't think anybody in the world can get this particular freelancer to complete your job.


If you want the job done on schedule, you need to work with other people.

Hello Joseph,


I'm sorry to hear about your experience. If you feel like your relationship with your freelancer is not working out and you feel like you are no longer satisfied with the progress your freelancer is making, you can end a contract and state your reason. We would also like to advise that you should communicate with your freelancer clearly in order to avoid any conflicts. You may read this article to help you end your freelancer's contract. Thank you!


Hello, freelancer finishes the contract in April 2019 for the Add secure access to my website, they create an app , this app attached to their company server now this app is not working. When I hired this company and agreed on a specific payment contract after they complete it, they tried to get more money. Then a few months later, the app stopped working and they demanded more money. I paid. Then again there was a problem a few months later, and again he wanted more money. Since this problem was not so big and did not prevent me from continuing to work, I refused. Today, the app stopped working at all. This is very harmful to my website and business. Customers complain that they can't log in and new customers can't create an account. I just wondering if this is the normal practice on your website extort money for the same job forever. I wanted to know if there was any way to solve this problem or should I pay forever for the same job?

I am sorry that you have had a disappointing experience while using Upwork. You asked some specific questions. I will answer these questions so that you have accurate information.


re: "I just wondering if this is the normal practice on your website extort money for the same job forever."


What you describe is not the normal practice for this website.


re: "I wanted to know if there was any way to solve this problem"

Yes, there are ways to solve this problem.


re: "...or should I pay forever for the same job?"

You should not.


To help you understand your situation better, it is important that you understand what it means when I say that this is NOT normal.

What I mean is: This is NOT what clients normaly experience when using Upwork.


But Upwork itself does NOT provide websites or mobile apps or programming services.


I think that there may be a disconnect between your understanding about your experience and what actually happened.


Upwork provides a service through which clients can find, hire and pay freelancers.

You (as the client) did these things: You found a freelancer, hired the freelancer, and paid the freelancer. (Or freelancers, plural.)


It was the freelancers (not Upwork) that asked you for more money. And it was the freelancer who provided the server that this app was running on.


What are your options now? You have many options, but they be summarized in this way:

a) do nothing; leave things as they are, with the app not working the way that you want it to

b) use Upwork to hire the original freelancer(s) to fix the problem

c) use Upwork to hire other freelancer(s) to fix the problem

d) hire other people (NOT through Upwork) to fix the problem


Ideally, your goal should be the same as many Upwork clients come to expect: to have a stable, functional web application/website/mobile app/etc. (whatever it is that you want to have) which continues to work as expected without you needing to pay anybody for anything. This runs on a server that you have control over, and you have control over the source code and data in a way that it is backed up in case of emergency, and is also safely sequestered from any potential hacker/competitor/digruntled worker/etc. If you have modifications, new features, etc., there is an individual or small team who are capable of knowledgeably and reliably doing continued work on the system at a reasonable, predictable rate.


it is possible that the original freelancer(s) you hired did some work that you like, but are not the right people to provide continued services to you. It sounds as though you may have hired only a single freelancer (or one group of freelancers). If you hired only one, then you have no way to compare them to others. For a large project, it is common to hire multiple freelancers and then continue working only with those individuals who provide the best value for your project.


Most professional developers would make it a point of personal pride that your system continues to run as expected, especially if they are hosting the system on their own server. Professional developers would also emphasize to you how important it is that you have control over your own domain name and source code. They would make sure that you are able to access all of the source code files at any time and freely move them to another server without needing to pay anybody for the privilege to do so.

Thank you for your recommendation. I will choose the option d) hire other
people (NOT through Upwork) to fix the problem



I'm not a web developer or app developer, but I'm under the understanding, having worked with app developers that it's not uncommon for them to need service and updates regularly. You didn't have an ongoing service contract with the freelancer, so of course they would need you to pay them for upgrades, maintenance, etc. 


I hope another developer here will chime in and specify if ongoing support for an app that was developed is common under fixed price. It seems to me the deliverable was the app. If you needed a contract for ongoing support, then you should have included that in the contract. 

So if you app developer with the access he did can every 2-3 months destroy this app and get paid for it. This sounds like a great business or otherwise ask customer sign contract and charge every month so the customer will be not afraid he will destroy the app. There is practically no way out for the customer.This is simply extortion


Nobody is saying you should be extorted.

Your goal as a project owner should be to have an app or web application or website which is of maximum utility to you with minimum possible ongoing cost.


If you are not making any changes to the system then it should not require additional development work. But it needs to be hosted on a server somewhere.


It is 100% possible to have a mobile app or web application or website online and functioning well without additional payments to a developer. You can pay nothing but hosting costs. About $10 per month if your site doesn't have a lot of traffic is a common amount to pay.


You can pay zero for hosting costs if you host on your own hardware, but you would still need to pay for connectivity.


It is common for project owners to arrange and pay for hosting for their projects, and it is also common for project owners to have control over a code repository.


Your current arrangement does not appear to reflect what I would call "best practices" for a project owner.


It is fine to have a developer or freelancer provide hosting. This is something that I personally do for many clients. But I also provide complete root level access to their systems so that they can migrate to any other server or hosting provider at any time.


It sounds to me like you complaint is not about the web app that you commissioned, but about the ongoing hosting and service arrangement.

the app on the developer server and they control it. They inform me about it when they finish the job. For me to change this I have to hire another developer and pay again for the same job. It is already costing me a lot for the simple adjustment for the website. Even if I do thet it will take time and I losing customers right now. 

re: "the app on the developer server and they control it"


But you understand that this isn't normal, right?


re: "For me to change this I have to hire another developer and pay again for the same job."



A project owner owns the source code, the whole system, and deploys it wherever they want, with any host they want, using any employees or freelancers they want. 

You don't need to start over.


You very clearly stated that you paid for this app. That means you own it and can move it.


If there is some technical or contractual reason that prevents the system from being moved, then you are in an extremely unusual situation. Not normal.


If that is the case then you will need to decide if you want to continue as things are or work with other people to recreate the site free from such entanglements. You can hire a new team to create a clone system, while clearly explaining the need for the new version to be portable.


But I say this without actually knowing if you are in a "vendor lock" situation.


It may very well be possible to ask the current develop to provide the source code and database files to you. This is something that they might do for free, but you can ask them if you can pay them to do so. Then you can pay somebody else to install the system on a host that you control. Alternatively, you may be able to pay the current developers to install the system on a host that you secure for yourself. They can provide recommendations about an appropriate host.


You are the project owner.


If you don't love the service you are receiving from the original developer, or if you don't love the amount of money you are paying...


...then you change the access credentials and maintain the system yourself... paying nobody. Or you hire someone else to maintain the system.


As a developer, I love it when my children go out into the world and no longer need me.


I have created systems that are now maintained purely by the owners. I have created systems that are maintained by in-house technical teams. I have systems that are maintained by other freelancers. There is certainly no rule that the original developer has to be the one who maintains a system or does additional development on it.

Everything you describe sounds great but we living in the real world. For this moment they not even respond to my messages. You are a developer your self and for you probably hard to understand what is the ordinary people facing. The problem is when a contract is finished and a couple of months past you no more in control. And the Upwork does not help at all. For example, my developer forgot to attach states for Australia for the customer registration page so customers from Australia can't register at all. And when I ask to fix it, they simply refuse to say that this is not their problem/. Right now my customers can't log in for starting this morning and I ask if it is possible to fix and nobody even responds to me. All you offer is to hire another developer and pay for the same job. About the thing," I own the app"- this is probably from fairy tail. The problem with this website upwork is that there’s nowhere to even complain about the problem except here but it doesn't bother the developer at all. 

I will never ever use this website again. I think the better way, contact developer straight 

I have to say the developer contacts me and fixes the issue for free. I am so happy! Thank you all for the advice

Irina G wrote:

I have to say the developer contacts me and fixes the issue for free. I am so happy! Thank you all for the advice

IRINA! Very important! While you have the developer in communication, do what Preston said and get the source code etc set up on your own system so you aren't held hostage again.


I am very happy this all worked out but put in place the best practices Preston mentioned so you aren't in this situation again. 


Best of luck. 

@ Irina,


What Amanda and Preston have said. I have a feeling the freelancer may have read this thread - so much the better.


But if it were me. I would now terminate the contract. 

Irina, as others have said, websites require regular maintenance and updates.  As a writer I work with developers for clients and all offer maintenance contracts OR qualified maintenance people referrals.


The developer who did my business website maintains it and handles updates (mine and technical) for a very modest annual fee.


Do as Nichola suggested.  End the contract once you have the coding and find someone new you trust to partner with you to deal with maintenance and upgrades.



Sure you are right. But my website on Shopify and no need any maintenance from my side. And I was talking about the App. Very simple App which is secure customers log in. When I order this App the developer not offer me any maintenance contract. 

Thank you Amanda!

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