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Can a Client refuse to pay offered rate if the contract is a base price contract.

Hi!

Hope you all are doing well. I joined Upwork a few months ago. I am writing with the hope that you can guide me to find a solution to a situation. 

At the end of August, I got a LOFT 2.0 Transcription project in the Malayalam Language. The client sent a list of information and instructions about the project in Upwork Messages. I am pasting a few relevant points among them.

  1. We hire you on upwork/freelancer with base price of 5$ as we are not sure how many minutes will you be able to complete with good quality at the moment.
  2. You get paid for passed tasks.means if the task's quality rating is more than or equal to 3 then you get paid.3,4,5 ratings are passed. 1 and 2 means failed.
  3. Rate offered is 2$ per audio minute and you can work as many audio hours as possible with good quality.
  4. Suppose if you do 10 audio hours in this batch. 10 x 60 = 600 minutes total.600 x 2$ = 1200$. So you can earn depends on how many audio hours you are willing to complete with good quality
  5. Payments will be made on the freelancer/upwork on total passed audio hours done by you.

I agreed and, as mentioned the CONTRACT WAS MADE FOR 5$. I was asked to join a Whatsapp group that has two more transcribers and project management teams in it. A Google sheet link was provided to enter the progress of the tasks. I did the segmentation, labeling, and transcription of 2 audios (30 minutes x 2=60 minutes). I received the feedback and rating on 29th September and my tasks were passed with  5 and 4 ratings. 

As per their offer, I am supposed to receive 120$ (60 min.x2$=120$).But in the google sheet, the Total Amount was only 2700Rs (45Rs OR .61$ per minute). I sent messages in Upwork Messages and Whatsapp to the HR Manager but didn’t get a reply.

Then I got reply to the WhatsApp message with screenshot sent to the Project Manager. She said it is a “miscommunication” and 2$ per minute is a foreign language rate for Danish. I shared the screenshot and informed her that the work is for Malayalam Transcribers and nothing about Danish Language and 45/min is mentioned anywhere and the contract was made after I got a 2$/min offer. Then she started asking, 

“Did you confirm again the rates anywhere? Do you even think 2usd is something that can be given?, How come you agreed without double confirmation?......”.I told her, the contract was made after I received all the instructions about the project including the rate through Upwork Messages, then why and with whom should I “double confirm?”. Then she suggested resolving the issue with their Upwork Hiring Person. I agreed and asked how is the process and how long it will take?. Since then she didn’t respond to any of my messages and 2 days have passed. I didn’t accept the payment yet and the contract is still active. As I am new to Upwork, I am also worried about the Feedback too.

Please guide me…. How do I handle this situation? Will I be paid what was offered for my work? How a Contract for such projects should be made to avoid this kind of problem in the future? Did I make a mistake accepting a 5$ Contract for this project? 

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

This is how you do it: the clients sends you a task. You do the task and calculate the value in $. You tell the client the amount and ask him to create a milestone in this amount. If the milestone in funded, you submit the work. 

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9 REPLIES 9
lysis10
Member

You'll never see that money. You learned.


Fabeena R wrote:

Did I make a mistake accepting a 5$ Contract for this project? 


Yes.

I assume it's fixed price? Submit for payment so you at least get that. 

You should not have agreed to this convuluted agreement, with nothing to protect you to actually get paid. The client tricked you. They will not respond to you again. 

It is what it is.

 

As far as Upwork is concerned, the only thing that matters is the money in escrow.

 

Learn from this and move on.

Hi!

Thank you all for your quick reply.Sorry for the lengthy message.

Yes, It is a Fixed Price Contract.

I learned that I should have been more careful about the Contract. As jobs like this are being posted, could you please tell me how a Contract for such projects (amount can’t be decided beforehand) should be made to avoid this kind of problem in the future? (Fixed/Hourly/Milestone?) so that I can learn and make sure no Client can trick any Freelancer like me so easily on Upwork. It will be very helpful for all of us.

I accepted this Contract because I thought I have all the messages from the Client (promising me to pay this rate) present in Upwork Messages and Watsapp screenshots of the client accepting the mistake, which will be considered as proof of the offer they made and will explain why such a contract has been made. So I can prove it if there is any trouble or inquiry. The Client seemed well-reputed and experienced in hiring Loft Transcribers in different languages for high and low rates too. So I was not expecting that the Project Manager will and can refuse to pay the promised rate and trick me on this platform just by saying it was a “miscommunication” at the time of payment. Now I learned none of these matters and should always make sure the money is in escrow. But how? Client won't make a full amount fixed-price contract as it is based on transcribed minutes with quality work. The hourly contract also is not suitable. So how the contract should be made?

Even after having all the proof of this cheating and the client accepting her mistake, if she can refuse to pay the promised rate without any issues and just stop responding …. then we should really be careful next time to make a contract that protects freelancers too, so that we don't get tricked and feel frustrated like this anymore. 

Hence please tell me how Contracts should be made for this kind of project so that Freelancers like me can avoid such traps. Thank you.


Fabeena R wrote:

Hi!

Thank you all for your quick reply.Sorry for the lengthy message.

Yes, It is a Fixed Price Contract.

I learned that I should have been more careful about the Contract. As jobs like this are being posted, could you please tell me how a Contract for such projects (amount can’t be decided beforehand) should be made to avoid this kind of problem in the future? (Fixed/Hourly/Milestone?) so that I can learn and make sure no Client can trick any Freelancer like me so easily on Upwork. It will be very helpful for all of us.

I accepted this Contract because I thought I have all the messages from the Client (promising me to pay this rate) present in Upwork Messages and Watsapp screenshots of the client accepting the mistake, which will be considered as proof of the offer they made and will explain why such a contract has been made. So I can prove it if there is any trouble or inquiry. The Client seemed well-reputed and experienced in hiring Loft Transcribers in different languages for high and low rates too. So I was not expecting that the Project Manager will and can refuse to pay the promised rate and trick me on this platform just by saying it was a “miscommunication” at the time of payment. Now I learned none of these matters and should always make sure the money is in escrow. But how? Client won't make a full amount fixed-price contract as it is based on transcribed minutes with quality work. The hourly contract also is not suitable. So how the contract should be made?

Even after having all the proof of this cheating and the client accepting her mistake, if she can refuse to pay the promised rate without any issues and just stop responding …. then we should really be careful next time to make a contract that protects freelancers too, so that we don't get tricked and feel frustrated like this anymore. 

Hence please tell me how Contracts should be made for this kind of project so that Freelancers like me can avoid such traps. Thank you.


Upwork is a is a matching site with a few extra services such as payment processing only.  It publishes freelancer profiles and client gig posts. However, it does not negotiate the contract for you. Upwork's powers and willingness to intervene are limited to what it has agreed with both parties in its contract with them. In the case of a fixed priced contract, that means that Upwork will hold the escrow amount under certain conditions and release it under others. If there is no escrow amount...Upwork has no part in the transaction. 

 

In business, what matters is the contract. It is possible that if you were to sue your client, you could present the evidence of promises made in the messge room or other apps and ask a judge to force the client to pay. But Upwork is't a court.

 

I undestand why you might have thought that there were protections in place to force others to keep their word. Ideally, we would all be upright people who keep our word. But, if that were true, many courts and lawyers would have nothing to do all day. People lie, deceive, and try to take advantage. The only person who can protect you from all of them is you. 


Study the services and protections Upwork provides, review others reports of contracts that have gone badly or instances when they have been scammed and freelance from a position of caution and wisdom. A trustworthy client will not object to following the rules to ensure that both you and they are protected. A client who does object is not one that you want to work with. 

This is how you do it: the clients sends you a task. You do the task and calculate the value in $. You tell the client the amount and ask him to create a milestone in this amount. If the milestone in funded, you submit the work. 

Hi!

I am very thankful for all of your immediate responses and valuable feedback. Much Appreciated!!!

They are very helpful to learn how a Contract for this kind of job should be made. 

Sadly, I learned that I don’t have an option other than accepting what they are offering now.

I will make sure the money is in escrow before submitting the work in the future. 

Thank you.

re: "Sadly, I learned that I don’t have an option other than accepting what they are offering now."

 

You also have the option of not working for that client.


Fabeena R wrote:

Hence please tell me how Contracts should be made for this kind of project so that Freelancers like me can avoid such traps.


Simple. Fixed rate contracts with milestones.

 

Just set up milestones as X number of minutes times the rate agreed per minute.

 

So if the rate per minute was $1 (for example), you could set milestones per 60 minutes ($60 funded) or 30 minutes ($60 funded).

 

When you reach the number of minutes, you submit for payment.

 

Martina P wrote:

You do the task and calculate the value in $. You tell the client the amount and ask him to create a milestone in this amount. If the milestone in funded, you submit the work. 


That only works if the work isn't done on a platform....  In this case the work is done in captioning software (LOFT 2)

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