I don't doubt that you are disappointed by this turn of events.
It is entirely possible that what the freelancer did is NOT fair, and NOT right.
But that doesn't necessarily mean there is a way for you to get your money back.
Escrow has special rules. Upwork has specific rules. People at Upwork aren't allowed to determine what is moral or righteous. They have to abide by those rules.
One option you have is to apologize to the freelancer for the misunderstanding, explain that you won't be able to use these files, and offer to pay him half of the money immediately if he will agree to release the remaining half.
Another option you have is to stop communicating with the freelancer completely and this contract completely right now by releasing any remaining escrow funds and closing the contract.
You could also ask the freelancer for a complete refund.
You could also close the contract and trigger a complete refund request, which the freelancer would need to agree to. If the freelancer doesn't agree, then the next step would be a dispute. The next step if that doesn't work would arbitration.
I discourage clients from getting into disputes and arbitration, because these processes primarily only benefit freelancers. But these ARE options.
If you can work out a compromise with the freelancer, that is better for everyone.
Panagiotis K wrote:
He basically told me that I did not originally request a specific file type that is now in question. However, I did not know that he was going to use a different application for the design work. So when he sent me screenshots of the design in the application he used, I realized that he was using one which I’m not familiar with but it’s used by many other designers. So when I asked for that specific source file, he said he already sent me what I originally requested (in a different format). But he thinks that since I did not request the newer file type at the very beginning of the contract, he’s not required to share that with me. That’s on its own indicates that he’s not trustworthy. Will opening a dispute help resolve this matter?
If the freelancer has not delivered the work, you do not pay him, and if it were me, I would dispute and take it to arbitration if necessary.
ETA: Assuming you have only seen screen shots which would not be usable.
re: "If the freelancer has not delivered the work, you do not pay him"
I completely agree.
But what if the freelancer DID do the task that was specified in the original agreement? And the freelancer DID deliver the files?
But then the client has an explanation for why he wants something different than that?
I think that is the situation we may be facing.
In order to fully understand the situation, we really need the freelancer to come here and explain his side.
Having ONLY heard what the client has said, it sounds like the client is justified in being disappointed, and it sounds like the client is violating Upwork TOS.
Did you specify exactly which program you wanted him to use at the start of the contract? From all of your replies, it seems as if you did not. You asked for a finished product, and never mentioned anything about revisions or whatnot.
If you did ask for a specific program to be used, and he delivered a different one, then you have a basis for dispute. If you did not specify, but he delivered a file to you that you can actually use and follows the guidelines you provided, then he is due his money.
As long as the files he provides are what you asked for at the start, and they actually work, he is not obligated to give you an advanced program that you don't already own. You can ask, but he does not have to agree.
I'm sorry to learn about your experience with this freelancer. I can see that you have reached out to our Customer Support Team, and they have given you advice on your options, regarding this account concern. If you need further help, please feel free to reach out through the same ticket thread and the team handling your case will assist you further.