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8 months after successfully finished contract client wants a refund/legal actions

loyalworker
Ace Contributor
Ivan I Member Since: Nov 13, 2014
1 of 30

Hello there my wonderful family of freelancers!

 

I will keep this short as possible, but apologize me if it takes too much of your time.

 

All of us experienced freelances know that bad clients are inevitable every now and then. Law of numbers, I guess.

 

As title says, 8 long months after successful contract has finished, client asked for a refund. Again, 8 months. I do not have to mention client was happy with the website when delivered, paid and left 5-star feedback. And now client wants a refund because I do not want to provide free work do fix apparent situation with the website. Since 8 months have passed, client is not entitled for a refund and cannot dispute. Only thing client can do, and is doing it, threating with legal actions. I had enough and blocked the client. There is not a single valid reason I should waste any more valuable time and be exposed to the stress of such.

 

Furthermore, I am getting mixed signals from Upwork. Upwork agent, during live chat, told me I did the right thing. On the other hand, support agent over the ticket kindly asked me to reach out to client to find the solution. And I tried. I asked for more money, one of the support agents also told me to ask for extra funds, but client refused and threatened me with legal act. That was the moment when I had enough and blocked client and I have no intention to correspond further. No one should be exposed to such threats, and especially not in given circumstances.

 

Honestly, I see no real point of this topic of mine and I apologize for taking your time. Maybe I just want to hear was blocking the client right thing to do? Also, is there a way to protect myself from such situations in the future? I guess I want to hear your opinions and recommendations.

 

Thank you everyone and sending you some tranquil, good energy.

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
2 of 30

Ivan I wrote:

Hello there my wonderful family of freelancers!

 

I will keep this short as possible, but apologize me if it takes too much of your time.

 

All of us experienced freelances know that bad clients are inevitable every now and then. Law of numbers, I guess.

 

As title says, 8 long months after successful contract has finished, client asked for a refund. Again, 8 months. I do not have to mention client was happy with the website when delivered, paid and left 5-star feedback. And now client wants a refund because I do not want to provide free work do fix apparent situation with the website. Since 8 months have passed, client is not entitled for a refund and cannot dispute. Only thing client can do, and is doing it, threating with legal actions. I had enough and blocked the client. There is not a single valid reason I should waste any more valuable time and be exposed to the stress of such.

 

Furthermore, I am getting mixed signals from Upwork. Upwork agent, during live chat, told me I did the right thing. On the other hand, support agent over the ticket kindly asked me to reach out to client to find the solution. And I tried. I asked for more money, one of the support agents also told me to ask for extra funds, but client refused and threatened me with legal act. That was the moment when I had enough and blocked client and I have no intention to correspond further. No one should be exposed to such threats, and especially not in given circumstances.

 

Honestly, I see no real point of this topic of mine and I apologize for taking your time. Maybe I just want to hear was blocking the client right thing to do? Also, is there a way to protect myself from such situations in the future? I guess I want to hear your opinions and recommendations.

 

Thank you everyone and sending you some tranquil, good energy.


________________________

 

The client can't take legal action after all this time (if at all!). You have already offered to address the problem with a new contract, and I don't think you can do any more. This may be the end of the matter. If not, keep posting here. 

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
3 of 30

Nichola L wrote:

Ivan I wrote:

Hello there my wonderful family of freelancers!

 

I will keep this short as possible, but apologize me if it takes too much of your time.

 

All of us experienced freelances know that bad clients are inevitable every now and then. Law of numbers, I guess.

 

As title says, 8 long months after successful contract has finished, client asked for a refund. Again, 8 months. I do not have to mention client was happy with the website when delivered, paid and left 5-star feedback. And now client wants a refund because I do not want to provide free work do fix apparent situation with the website. Since 8 months have passed, client is not entitled for a refund and cannot dispute. Only thing client can do, and is doing it, threating with legal actions. I had enough and blocked the client. There is not a single valid reason I should waste any more valuable time and be exposed to the stress of such.

 

Furthermore, I am getting mixed signals from Upwork. Upwork agent, during live chat, told me I did the right thing. On the other hand, support agent over the ticket kindly asked me to reach out to client to find the solution. And I tried. I asked for more money, one of the support agents also told me to ask for extra funds, but client refused and threatened me with legal act. That was the moment when I had enough and blocked client and I have no intention to correspond further. No one should be exposed to such threats, and especially not in given circumstances.

 

Honestly, I see no real point of this topic of mine and I apologize for taking your time. Maybe I just want to hear was blocking the client right thing to do? Also, is there a way to protect myself from such situations in the future? I guess I want to hear your opinions and recommendations.

 

Thank you everyone and sending you some tranquil, good energy.


________________________

 

The client can't take legal action after all this time (if at all!). You have already offered to address the problem with a new contract, and I don't think you can do any more. This may be the end of the matter. If not, keep posting here. 


Within the U.S., the client typically has at least a couple of years to file a breach of contract claim. 

 

That said, most people who blather about suing are just posturing, and if the freelancer and client are in different jurisdictions it would be expensive to pursue legal action, so it does seem unlikely that it would happen.

kat303
Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
4 of 30

IMO you did the right thing in blocking this client especially after 8 months. You did reach out and try to come to a solution but the client didn't want to pay so in order for this to end, you had no other choice but to block the client. 

 

I can't think of anything you can do in the future for situations such as this, unless you specify that for $x amount you will fix future problems. But even with that, if the client decides they don't want to pay there's nothing you can do. Besides you may not want to even include a stipulation of future fixes. 

 

Don't worry about the client taking legal actions. It's just a threat to get you scared and to make you do the work for free. 

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 30

This client's request was deeply inappropriate.

loyalworker
Ace Contributor
Ivan I Member Since: Nov 13, 2014
6 of 30

Nichola, Kathy and Preston, thank your for your posts. I am not worrying about the matter. Guess I just wanted to hear what would you do. And I will definitely keep you posted. For me, this situation is part of history. I blame myself for giving it so much of attention, time and energy, but you cannot be cool headed at all times. Moving forward.

abinadab-agbo
Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
7 of 30

You are of course, more than welcome to block such a client.

Nobody should have free rein to harass one so.

The block feature is there to be used when it absolutely has to be used to help you preserve your sanity so you can continue working with other clients of yours.

 

You have no reason to keep such line of communication open in the name of "openness" - such would be damaging to you.

 

florydev
Community Guru
Mark F Member Since: Jul 10, 2018
8 of 30
Did you deliver the source?

If you did, and you probably should have them you could simply say find someone else to do it.

They could sue you. But what are the odds? Still this is why having Errors and Omissions insurance is a good idea.
loyalworker
Ace Contributor
Ivan I Member Since: Nov 13, 2014
9 of 30

Abinadab, thank you. Mark, I delivered. Not only I have delivered, I have also migrated the website from my server to client's immediately after I have been paid. 8 months ago. It is sort of a bonus which I do for all my customers. Errors and Omissions insurance is something I have never heard about. Will read about it more. Thank you.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 30

None of us want to play these "gotcha" games. This drags everybody down - clients and freelancers alike.

 

We don't want a "Wild West" mentality where clients can bully freelancers, or vice versa. We all want to work on a platform which exhibits civility and professionalism.

 

A client who returns 8 months after a contract has been closed with threats to take legal action against a freelancer is simply being a bully. There is no way that such behavior can be excused or explained away as something even remotely ethical.

 

Technically, Upwork allows a client 30 days after a fixed-price contract has been closed during which time a dispute can be filed. I am aware of this functionality within the Upwork user interface and policies. The fact that such functionality exists does NOT MEAN IT IS OKAY to request a refund after a contract has been closed.

 

A professional, ethical client will work within the intentions of a contract with a freelancer, and will work within the ways that fixed-price and hourly contracts are intended to operate. After submission of fixed-price milestone work, clients have 14 days to review the work. This is plenty of time. Clients can even click a button to request changes, and reset the clock. Upwork literally places no restriction on the number of times that clients can do that. If a client chooses to "request changes" repeatedly, even when there are no valid changes to request, the only thing that can stop the client from doing so is if the freelancer triggers a dispute.

 

With all of this time and functionality that allows clients to review fixed-price contract submission, there is no reason any ethical, professional client should requst a refund after a contract has been closed. A client who does so is violating the spirit of collaboration and cooperation that should be the hallmark of how this platform works.

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