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Client Refusing to Pay

Active Member
Brett E Member Since: Feb 4, 2019
1 of 7

Landed my first client today (yay?) and was excited to get to work. Managed to do the job quickly and threw in some extra effort to make sure he got great value out of it - was going for a five-star glowing review. Instead, after I completed the work, the client began insisting that I "did not finish the job" despite the fact that I had and that I had proven it with multiple screenshots. He also turned really nasty and started getting aggressive. Only after I did the work of course. It's all documented. He then changed the password to his website admin and is insisting that I did not finish the job. He's now refusing to remit payment. 

 

Is this a common problem on here? How do I get paid?

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
2 of 7

Based solely on speculation and anecdotal evidence, I believe there has spread among scammers the rumor that if they use fixed-price contracts on Upwork and then complain about the quality, they can get free work. The only way to ensure payment on Upwork when a client is a scammer is to use an hourly contract and meet all the criteria for Hourly Payment Protection. 

 

If you worked for a fixed-price and there were funds in escrow for your fee, then you can request payment using the submit and request payment button and then wait to see if the client pays or requests changes. At some point, if the client continually requests changes, you can take the matter to the dispute level.  After that, things get complicated. 

 

Do a search on the forums for "refuses to pay" and "dispute" to see what others have said on the topic. 

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
3 of 7

Brett E wrote:

Landed my first client today (yay?) and was excited to get to work. Managed to do the job quickly and threw in some extra effort to make sure he got great value out of it - was going for a five-star glowing review. Instead, after I completed the work, the client began insisting that I "did not finish the job" despite the fact that I had and that I had proven it with multiple screenshots. He also turned really nasty and started getting aggressive. Only after I did the work of course. It's all documented. He then changed the password to his website admin and is insisting that I did not finish the job. He's now refusing to remit payment. 

 

Is this a common problem on here? How do I get paid?


No, it is not a common problem. As a newbie, though, you have to be extra careful who you work with and not get scammed one way or the other. 

How to get paid:

1. was it hourly?

1.1. did you use the time tracker?

2. was it fixed price?

2.1. did you use the submit for payment button?

if you answer is yes to either 1.1. or 2.1. you will get paid, unless the client opens a dispute. Just because he turned nasty does not mean he is willing to do that. 

 

 

Active Member
Brett E Member Since: Feb 4, 2019
4 of 7
Yes, it was fixed price and yes, I did submit for payment. Thanks for your reply Martina.

I am getting mixed information on how to approach this. Is there a time period where I should wait before opening a dispute on my end? Are the funds released from escrow automatically after a certain time period?

Sorry if these questions have been answered already in other areas, I just haven't been able to find a definitive answer.
Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
5 of 7

Brett E wrote:
Yes, it was fixed price and yes, I did submit for payment. Thanks for your reply Martina.

I am getting mixed information on how to approach this. Is there a time period where I should wait before opening a dispute on my end? Are the funds released from escrow automatically after a certain time period?

Sorry if these questions have been answered already in other areas, I just haven't been able to find a definitive answer.

The money will be released to you after 14 days automatically. In cases where all goes well the client will usually release it before that time is up. 

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
7 of 7

**Edited for community guidelines**

I imagine a dispute and figuring out upwork at the same time could be overwhelming.

 

The damage to your jss is probably done, but if you go into a dispute the contract is closed so pretty much you have to move on from that whole aspect. Disputes go into mediation where you have to decide what you want out of the contract. The obvious answer is you want the full amount, but many times it's worth settling since arbitration will cost you $300 (the client too).

 

The other side to this is a lot of these people are broke, so putting $300 on the table for arbitration will muscle them into quitting, which means you win. If you think $300 is a lot of money for this guy, just tell the mediator you want the full amount or arbitration. If it's a low amount, Upwork might just pay out.

 

The downside to this is if your client is as crazy as I am and has the money, he might blow the $300 just to **Edited for community guidelines** with you, but I think this is something that very rarely happens.

 

The one thing you need to remember when going into mediation is that the mediator cannot make a decision, so you are in control of the situation and pleading your case is useless and a waste of energy. Only an arbiter can decide. You decide what you will take as a settlement and you decide if it goes into arbitration. If you pay the fee and the client backs out, you get the fee back and the escrow money.

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