Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

1 Year in, 1st dispute. What should I do?

Active Member
Brad P Member Since: Jan 20, 2016
1 of 19

Hello All,


I've never had a single client be unhappy with me until today.  The worst rating I had received was a 4.9 but that client later offered me a raise without me even asking for it.  He said I did such a good job that I deserved it.  Smiley Happy  I still work with him.


I actually have enough clients to keep me busy, but a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a new client to work on their server.  I thought I could sqeeze one more in, so I accepted it.


Unfortunately, I ignored many warning signs.  First, the client made a big point of telling me that they were a non-profit group.  The client was also a first timer on Upwork even though she spoke of bad experiences with other freelancers.


While I was working on her server she kept having problems with things being deleted.  This she attributed to hackers.  However, I was able to pull the logs of the deletions and showed her it clearly was coming from her computer.  I explained very nicely that she must have either done it accidentally or she may have a virus on her computer.


Then, all of a sudden, she paused the job in Upwork and stopped communicating with me.  I called her on the phone and she lied and said that she didn't mean to do that but she would look into it and get it unpaused.


That was 3 days ago, now she is disputing my time with outrageous claims that I was the one deleting things on her site and many other malicious things.  All of it completely untrue.  Each of these times, I was able to undue what she had done and restore her application completely.


I did a lot of work for her totalling almost $500.  I offered to her to decrease the bill by 25% but she will not respond.


Now I'm not sure what I should do.  Should I give her a full refund or dispute the claim?


By the way she is now acting, I'm 100% sure she is going to give me a bad review and list these outrageous claims on my profile.  Is there any way I can difuse this situation?




Community Leader
Alan H Member Since: Nov 23, 2014
2 of 19

Hi Brad,


I had my first and only dispute a few months ago. The situation was very close to yours. It was an hourly job. For all I know, it could be the same client!


If the job is hourly, and you showed relevant screenshots, and used appropriate work diary memos, then I am betting Upwork will rule in your favor, and you'll be paid in full. The client will then retaliate by giving you terrible feedback. You can then keep the money and leave a reply to her feedback, or just refund the job completely to make the whole thing invisible. 


I once had 5.00 feedback after two years and thousands of hours. A few irrational clients pulled that down to about 4.9. Accepting the inevitable raw deal is part of maturing on the platform.


This is just my take on things. Feel free to private message me if you want to chat.



Active Member
Brad P Member Since: Jan 20, 2016
3 of 19

Many thanks for that reply Alan!


One thing I am confident about is that I start and stop the timer at the correct times and I keep accurate notes on the timer of what I am currently working.  So hopefully the dispute will go in my favour.


I do think that I am going to follow through with the dispute.  Mainly because she was VERY needy and took a good deal of my time that week.  Time that I could have spent elsewhere.


I guess I'll find out what a bad review will do to my business.  It's all part of the process like you said.  Smiley Happy


Just hope that I don't lose my Top-Rated status.  Ugh.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
4 of 19

Brad, that's very frustrating. Disputes are stressful. I had one a year ago. Just know that you can get passed it. Of course she's going to give you 1 star. Just accept it's going to happen. If she's gone this far into crazy (users are so dumb... she probably has a virus), you're already getting 1 star, so you might as well fight for your money. 1 star adn $500 is better than 1 star and no money.

Community Leader
Asif R Member Since: Jan 7, 2015
5 of 19

Dear if you worked hard for her then you should stand for your right. I have an experience with such a client once but my milestone was at very low amount and I refunded the amount but in your case you should stand.


Also according to my personal experience, if you are doing well one negative comment can't drop your clients.


Also you may mention the all facts in your feedback so that when someone study your profile, he / she may also take a look on the facts.




Asif Rehman
Active Member
Brad P Member Since: Jan 20, 2016
6 of 19

Many thanks for the feedback!  It's encouraging to hear others who have gone through this and were able to keep moving forward.  Smiley Happy


While I do agree with Techlink that Elance was better in regards to the quality of clients and job postings, I haven't had any trouble here except for this one.  I do like Upwork's site and timetracking software better than Elance though and I have seen some improvement in the quality of clients since it's launch.  I'm hopeful that it will continue to improve.  If not, then I can always take my business elsewhere.


I think if this had been one of the small, one-off jobs that I sometimes take I would have just refunded it right away.  But in this case with so much time being spent on her, I am going to fight for that money.  I did a lot of work on her server and deserve to be paid for it.  She is still benefiting from that work.


Happy freelancing to all!

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 19

Has she launched an official dispute or is she just fishing?


if she has actually disputed make sure you respond calmly and factually, with proof if needed. 


She frankly sounds like she is trying it on...... 

Active Member
Brad P Member Since: Jan 20, 2016
8 of 19

She has actually filed the dispute with Upwork which is when I found out about it.


That's very good advice Petra!


Fortunately, I'm a calm person even in the face of things like this.  I've tried several times to contact her about the issue with no response.  She will not even answer my phone calls anymore.  Lol.


Each time I've contacted her I've been very calm and nice about things.  I've also stressed to her that if we need to part ways that is fine, I just want to do it on a good note.  I've also asked her to tell me what I need to do to improve our relationship.


Personally, I think she is just trying to get work for free.  Ugh.  Hopefully Upwork will see that.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 19

As long as your work diaries are fine you are going to win the dispute.


That is ALL the dispute team looks at.


1) Sufficient activity

2) Meaningful memos

3) Only work related screenshots


If she takes the hacking accusation further it will be investigated, but by people who know what a hacked site looks like, she won't be able to get away with wild accusations without supplying proof in form of full server logs etc.


You should be fine.


Just co-operate with the dispute process, it's probably a good idea to stop contacting her at this stage

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
10 of 19



Given the great reviews you received all along, there's no doubt the client is mistaken, but to give the benefit of the doubt, she may truly believe her accusations. We know you have no reason to hack a client site and risk a dispute or a horrible review. At the very least, you'd wait until you'd been paid before hacking a client site. But some clients who aren't technically savvy are susceptible to the post hoc fallacy -- because you worked on the site, you must be responsible for files disappearing. You have my sympathy.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce