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A refund was processed to my client but I never authorised this! Please help.

I received a notification that Upwork processed a refund of $2400 to a client but they never asked for this nor did I ever get a notification to this effect. Please help me! This is the income I was relying on this month which now seems lost after so much hard work on a contract.

 

17 REPLIES 17
prestonhunter
Member

Was this refund associated with an hourly contract?

Did you log your time manually?

Yes, it was with an hourly contract. The time was logged manually as per the contract but limited to 10 hours a week. I discussed this with client and then he removed the 10 hours a week so that I could claim my full hours which I did. Now I am told that 30/40 hours were refunded by me but I never authorised this at all and client is unresponsive.

Manually logged time is not protected by Upwork Payment Protection.

 

If a client wants to dispute manually-logged time, he may do so and Upwork will remove those hours from the time that he has to pay for.


Sorry.

Nothing you can do about it.

 

A simple way to think of the situation is this:
"Clients are not required to pay for manually-logged time."

 

The great thing about Upwork Payment Protection (which you did not qualify for) is that Upwork won't remove hours even if the client tries to dispute. You'll still get paid for those hours if the client disputes. Even if the client does not pay, Upwork will pay you out of its own pocket.

 

These are some reasons why freelancers like to use Upwork Payment Protection.

 

Out of curiosity, was there a compelling reason why you did not follow the rules of Upwork Payment Protection, including by logging your time using the Desktop Time Tracker?

"If a client wants to dispute manually-logged time, he may do so and Upwork will remove those hours from the time that he has to pay for."

 

Doesn't "dispute" imply some sort of investigation by UW that would also include the freelancer's input before just refunding her money without notifiying her beforehand? So a client can just tell UW they want their money back and they automatically get it?

re: "Doesn't 'dispute' imply some sort of investigation by UW that would also include the freelancer's input before just refunding her money without notifiying her beforehand? So a client can just tell UW they want their money back and they automatically get it?"

 

I don't know if the word "dispute" implies that or not.

It doesn't matter.

 

Upwork doesn't investigate.

 

Here's how it works:

- client clicks a button

- Upwork removes those hours and client doesn't have to pay

Ok, so theoroetically, Bob, who is both a freelancer and a client, could accept a job as a freelancer, then as a client could post a job and farm that out to another freelancer as a manual time allowed time job? And after the freelancer Bob hired delivers the work, Bob delivers it to the client that hired him and receives payment for it. Then Bob disputes the money they paid to the freelancer he hired that actually did the work and doesn't have to pay them?

Exactly. Payment Protection should apply to all contracts, otherwise the platform is allowing unethical behaviour by leaving loopholes open to opportunists, bringing the platform into disrepute.

To qualify for payment protection you have to use the time tracker. That's the only way Upwork can verify you were really working, and so then can protect you. Is it really so much that Upwork is paying you out of their own pocket that they ask for some proof of work? 

 

The easiest way to solve this scenario is to use the time tracker properly. 

So basically, unless a freelancer qualifies for payment protection, clients don't have to pay unless they feel like it and freelancers can't do anything about it. I guess I never really fully realized that until now. But then again, I suppose that's why payment protection exists for those freelancers whose type of work lends itself to using the time tracker. Unfortunatley, for many freelancers, that just isn't the case.

I understand that if, as you say, the client disputed it. But he did not. Upwork processed this of their own accord. Would also have been more helpful if the notification stated that Upwork processed the refund and not me. It gives the impression that I willingly gave a refund.


Inge L wrote:

I understand that if, as you say, the client disputed it. But he did not.


No, the client simply never paid.

It's called a refund, but in reality, the client didn't pay for your hours, so the money that would have become available today was reversed.

Wow, sounds like you got a really raw deal. So sorry to hear this. Too bad you couldn't dispute the refund before UW issued it, even though you were logging time manually which the client agreed to.

Thank-you. I feel really **bleep** as I started on this particular contract on Christmas day. Spent time away from my family to work on what I thought was a big contract I really needed just to have it taken away.

a_lipsey
Member

Inge, your client's payment method must have failed, so the manual hours were not protected. They can still pay you. Ask them to pay the refunded amount through a bonus. 

Thank-you for your help everyone. I will try Amanda's advice.

bstojadinovic
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Inge,

 

I'm sorry to hear about this. On hourly contracts when a client fails to pay for the hours logged by the freelancer and those hours donโ€™t meet the requirements for Hourly Protection, the payment may be reversed. Looks like our team has reached out to you already regarding this case. You'll be able to find a related ticket here and follow up with our team with any additional questions.

 

Thank you! 

~ Bojan
Upwork
tagrendy
Member

With this client the only thing to do is try and reach out to him, in case he is not a scammer but, say, didn't have the money now to pay, you want to leave the door open for him to pay later. 

 

As many pointed out, tracking your time with the software is the only way to make sure you'll get paid, but there is a limit of $2500. 

 

If your line of work is the type that cannot be tracked with software, you'd be better off using fixed contracts and start working after client funds the project into Escrow. That way if he refuses to pay in the end, at least you can use arbitration to get the payment.  Arbitration costs $291. With fixed contracts though you're not protected against chargebacks, which some scamers use to get free work.

 

So, ideally, using time tracker would be the best.

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