I recently hired a freelancer but am not satisfied with the way the job was handled. How should I best handle this? I would like to pay less than the full amount, but I also do not want to because that would be unethical (and this was done to me before)
Should I simply pay and leave a bad review? Or work with the freelancer and try to resolve it?
You should focus on your project needs, and not on the freelancer's needs.
I do not advise you to become a tutor or teacher for the freelancer.
If you think that the freelancer is capable of fixing the problems with the submitted work, then it may indeed be worth your time to tell her what is wrong and ask her to fix things.
If you have seen her work and now know that there is simply no way for her to do what you need, because she lacks the ability, then close the contract and leave accurate feedback.
Don't try to pay her less. It isn't worth your time to do so and you are not responsible for making sure she is paid "accurately" in order to teach her a lesson or anything. Put your self and your project first and stop spending time and energy on underperforming freelancers.
I recently had a similar experience and handled it thus:
* First worked with the freelancer, giving them specific feedback about what we were unhappy about and the opportunity for them to resolve it
* When that didn't work, ended the contract, paid the full amount, and left an honest and fair review
Unfortunately the freelancer continued to contact me afterwards, asking for me to change their review, and I ended up having to block them.
Remember that Upwork mediation and also the escrow dispute system will make no ruling on quality. If the job was completed, the freelancer gets the money. You can, if you wish, try to negotiate that with your freelancer, but they're under no obligation to accept less if the work was complete.
(Side note: Preston, there's this thing called "singular they". You should really learn to use that when you don't know the gender of the freelancer.)