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damonwilson
Community Member

Client Cancelled Contract After 1st milestone

Hi all - I have a situation. Hoping someone can provide some advice. 

 

I completed a 1st draft of website redesign and shared it with the client. This was the 1st milestone (create look of the website) of the project after which 1/2 of the payment was due. 

 

He then called me to say he didn't like the concept of the site and we talked about some specific changes. 

 

Then he abruptly cancelled the contract the next day. 

 

Am I entitled to that 1st milestone payment? I spent several full days working on the concept and agreed to make all the changes we discussed over the phone and was going to provide him a 2nd draft of the site design. 

 

He's also threatening to destory my reputation if I don't agree to give him the money back. Can he leave a negative for a cancelled contract? 

 

Curious to hear your thoughts. 

14 REPLIES 14
yowiedesign
Community Member

Sounds like he is just after free work.

 

If he has made threats like that, you should report him to Upwork. I'm pretty sure that's against their TOS.

 

You will need to include screenshots of the conversation. 

 

I would also mention this in your feedback to him. 

I genuinely get the sense he didn't like the work. Which is fine, that happens, it was my 1st draft and sometimes in creative work client/freelancer are a little off. 

 

My specific question is am I entitled to the 1st milestone payment? I put in a lot of effort and its a sizeable amount of money for me.

 

Good to know that's against TOS. So he can't leave a negative review on a cancelled contract?

noirre
Community Member

I agree with Craig, this sounds like a client that was only after some free work. Why else wouldn't he let you do the corrections, especially when it's a fixed-price contract?

 

You have a stellar history on UpWork. I understand if you're hesitant for it to take a hit, but I would not refund a client like that, even if my profile took a hit for it. If he leaves you a bad review, just reply to it saying that the client threatened you saying that if you would not give your work to him for free, he'd leave a bad review - and you do not negotiate with terrorists. Compared to your good history on UpWork, one ridiculous review should not "destroy" you, as you are clearly a professional, and every sensible client will understand that even good contractors sometimes run into scammers.

Thanks Hannah. So he can leave feedback on a cancelled contract?

 

Seems wierd to me since how can he leave feedback on something we never completed. 

As long as a contract was in place, he can leave feedback; he'll just mark the reason for closing as something else than "job completed successfully". If you refund the whole amount, his public feedback won't show on your profile I believe, but the private one he'll leave will still affect you JSS, as will giving a refund.

 

The reason I am so suspicious of this client's behaviour is that I think he canceled the contract without letting you proceed with the changes is that he probably thinks that if he does that before the milestone is released (is it?), he won't have to pay you at all, and it won't even be a question of whether you accept the refund or not.

 

Since creating a concept for the website was the first milestone, and that is exactly what you've done, I think you've earned your money - even more so if a client resorts to threatening. You did not promise a free concept, and free work is against the website's TOS as well... And awful as though this might sound, client satisfaction or quality of the delivery is not something that is guaranteed. You offered to make changes so that he'd be satisfied. If he doesn't take you up on this, it's his loss.

No, there is no way for a client's feedback to appear on your profile for a contract that was totally cancelled, meaning that no money was spent.

 

If the client paid nothing, he can't leave public feedback.

Yes, he can leave negativ feedback as long as money has changed hands. Having said that, I would NOT refund any money to him. Doing that teaches and reinforces the concept that he can do that to just about everyone and that would be his way of getting free work. Besides, negative feedback doesn't pay your bills, money does. And if you fullfilled the requirements of the 1st milestone, which it sounds like you did, they you should be paid for it.

 

I would also like to add. that if communication with outriight threats, when shown and submitted to Upwork should NOT be allowed to be posted. Not private feedback nor public feedback.  When threatened with negative feedback why in the world would it be allowed to be posted or figured in to the JSS score.

 

So, do not refund the money owed to you. If you get a negative review, then just reply to it professionals as Hanna stated --  just reply to it saying that the client threatened you saying that if you would not give your work to him for free, he'd leave a bad review - and you do not negotiate with terrorists.

Damon, if you have proof of this client threatening to give you bad feedback unless you agree to a refund, you should report it to CS.

 

If you are not paid, you still own the work you have done, and if the client uses it, you can ask for a DMCA takedown.

Yeah, I'd push for the money. He's trying to pull a fast one by threatening you into issuing a refund... if you don't issue a refund then the odds of him destroying your reputation are probably very minimal. He sounds like the kind of guy that tells people on a regular basis, that he's going to sue them, but probably never does.  

 

If you'd done something wrong, fair enough, but he hasn't got a leg to stand on, especially with documented threats. I'd go for a dispute and make sure you pay the arbitration fee first. If he knows he's in the wrong, then he probably won't want to throw good money after bad, and you should win by default... getting the arbitration fee back and the amount in escrow.

 

It might not happen like that, there's always the possibility it will go horribly wrong, but it shouldn't. 

"Welcome, humans. I'm ready for you!"
- Box, Logan's Run (1976)


@Kathy T wrote:

Yes, he can leave negativ feedback as long as money has changed hands. Having said that, I would NOT refund any money to him. Doing that teaches and reinforces the concept that he can do that to just about everyone and that would be his way of getting free work. Besides, negative feedback doesn't pay your bills, money does. And if you fullfilled the requirements of the 1st milestone, which it sounds like you did, they you should be paid for it.

 



 Even if you refund the money, you can still take a hit on your JSS. Any negative feedback the client leaves won't show on your profile if you refund but the client can still give you private feedback.

 

Yes, you are owed the money and I wouldn't refund. Yes, your JSS will take a hit but at least you can respond to any feedback the client leaves which might help explain any hit your JSS will take. If you refund the money, your JSS will still take a hit and you have no place to explain your side of the story.

21e5fa9a
Community Member

Hi ,
please help me for the Same situation . I had a contract with client . he assigned me a task
I completed this task and shown to client , he Said it is fine you have done excellent work and then he released the milestone with $ 10 bouns . after this he Said me to send the code , I sent him then he says it is Not that I want and cancelled the contract without talking More .
What about my money I worked hard for this task .
Pls help me
aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

 Hi Shubham, 

I'm sorry to learn about your experience. I checked your account and can see that you already have an open ticket regarding the same concern. The team handling your case will update you through your support ticket with more information. 


~ Avery
Upwork

re: "What about my money I worked hard for this task?"

 

Am I not understanding your post correctly?

You said you did the work for one milestone, and the client paid you for your work. Plus the client gave you a $10 bonus.

 

So there is no problem, as far as I can tell.

 

Is this correct? That there is no problem?
Or is there some problem here that I am not seeing?

tlbp
Community Member


Shubham S wrote:
Hi ,
please help me for the Same situation . I had a contract with client . he assigned me a task
I completed this task and shown to client , he Said it is fine you have done excellent work and then he released the milestone with $ 10 bouns . after this he Said me to send the code , I sent him then he says it is Not that I want and cancelled the contract without talking More .
What about my money I worked hard for this task .
Pls help me

Review the many other posts about milestone payments here on the forum and Upwork's official guide for how to get paid so that you don't find yourself in this situation again. 

 

The short version: You can only collect payment from funded milestones. The client may promise you $1000 but if they only fund $10, $10 is what you can insist that they pay. Upwork will not assist you in collecting non-funded (promised) amounts. The solution is to not submit work that exceeds the value of the funded milestone.

 

You must be very clever and knowledgeable about milestones to use them successfullly on Upwork. There are clients who are clever and knowledgeable and will take advantage. 

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