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muhammadkhan014
Community Member

Client Requesting Refund outside of Upwork and Threatening me.

Hello Upwork Community,

Please check the brief I've attached below and let me know what you guys think. Considering that he is threatening to demand all of his money back, I believe it to be a fraud, moreover, I am already in contact with the Upwork support team hopefully this matter will resolve soon.  It would be amazing if you could read it and give me your feedback. 
 
I was hired on an hourly basis by my client. I initially decided on a tentative cost for this project as per its scope. When I started working on the project, I complied with each requirement that was mentioned and discussed in the specification document.

However, the client made many changes in the design that was out of the project scope in the development phase which took more of my time as things were interlinked with one another but the client had no idea about the technical aspect that how these changes would disrupt the whole pre-defined structure.

Anyways, I did not object to any changes made to the project which were out of context/scope but instead I kept complying with the provided instructions under the same budget as the client did not want to be charged extra regardless of asking for work that was out of project scope with new features and functionalities.

Without any prior discussion or notification, the client decided to bring in a third-party team of developers (outside of Upwork) to work on this project with the intention of taking over the project and stating that the cost to hire the 3rd party team would be charged against me. Please note that there was nothing of that sort mentioned in the contract or in the agreement.

To clarify further, I have always maintained proper and timely communication with the client with regard to project updates and timelines. Recently, the client approached me for a refund outside of Upwork asking me to pay him, via wire transfer, an indefinite amount of money which would start from $5,000 and could go up to $10,000. I have been working with Upwork for some time now and any dispute should go through the proper channel i.e. Upwork.

Later the client sent me an email through a law firm asking me for $120,000 -  $200,000 including legal fees and charges to pay for third-party contractor. That email/letter can also be provided upon request. The email looked fishy as it included grammatical and spelling mistakes along with threats to put liens on my property. To me, this looked like a scam thus the reason I delayed the response to the client. I also contacted Upwork about this but I didn't receive much support on it. You can check your records for the same.

Long story short, I have worked with this client for almost 13 months from Dec 2021 - Dec 2022. A lot of the work performed was not paid for and was out of the scope of the project.

I would request Upwork to please look into this matter seriously,  keeping my profile into account and the high rating I have with my current and previous clients.

Regards,
Muhammad Khan.

13 REPLIES 13
25005175
Community Member

Long story short, I have worked with this client for almost 13 months from Dec 2021 - Dec 2022. A lot of the work performed was not paid for and was out of the scope of the project.


If the client refused to pay you, you should have immediately stopped working.

 

Without any prior discussion or notification, the client decided to bring in a third-party team of developers (outside of Upwork) to work on this project with the intention of taking over the project and stating that the cost to hire the 3rd party team would be charged against me.


Definitely should have stopped working then. Regardless of whether you continued to work, the client has no authority to effect that kind of change by themself. They are prohibited from doing so.

 

To clarify further, I have always maintained proper and timely communication with the client with regard to project updates and timelines. Recently, the client approached me for a refund outside of Upwork asking me to pay him, via wire transfer, an indefinite amount of money which would start from $5,000 and could go up to $10,000. I have been working with Upwork for some time now and any dispute should go through the proper channel i.e. Upwork.

Later the client sent me an email through a law firm asking me for $120,000 -  $200,000 including legal fees and charges to pay for third-party contractor. That email/letter can also be provided upon request. The email looked fishy as it included grammatical and spelling mistakes along with threats to put liens on my property. To me, this looked like a scam thus the reason I delayed the response to the client.


You took the correct action. It is definitely a scam. There is no such thing as an "indefinite" refund. The "law firm" email is a complete bluff. I don't understand the client's thinking on this, although it is entirely possible that their account was hacked by scam artists. Or maybe they gambled away their life savings and are desperate to recoup their losses, not caring what professional bridges are burned. Who knows? Doesn't matter to you. All that matters is that you keep everything on Upwork and cooperate with the team.

 

And don't work for free anymore. If your client is a regular scam artist, working for free made you appear vulnerable.

Hi Jonathan, 

Thank you for the response, really appreciate it. 

I am attaching a screenshot of the letter I mentioned in my original post below. 

 

32d7e552-759d-4aa7-bc58-9c160513402f.jpg

 

From what I see on the this letter. 

1. Gramitical mistakes

2. No signature or company stamp

3. There is no section 2.8 and 8.1 in the NDA which talks about any liquidated damages or breach of warranties.

3. clearly asking for money in an extortion manner

4. Threatening about my investments and property.

 

Much of this will be removed because you can't post names or any identifiers in the forum. At this point, you will have to deal with Upwork. If that doesn't satisfy you, I'm not sure if you have other options.

Hi Jeanne, 

 

I have removed any names or identifiers from my post. 

I have opened a case with Upwork support but they haven't been much helpful. My reason to create this post was to get some advise / opinion from fellow upwork freelancers on what I am facing. This is the first time I have faced such a thing. 

There is a reference to a company in the last paragraph - the company to which they demand you pay an up-front 10k deposit.

 

Anyways, I say you call their bluff by doing nothing and waiting for them to sue. Any court of law will require that you be served notice by either an official serving company or by an officer of the court (such as a sheriff), so there is no fear that it will go to trial and you won't know about it. I will be shocked if these scammers attempt to sue you - they want easy money, not to spend money on filing and serving fees and then have to pay your legal fees when they lose - assuming a judge doesn't throw out their case altogether.

759e32fa
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Muhammad,

 

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It looks like you're already in correspondence with our team. You can access your support tickets here. Note that support requests are responded to in the order they are received. Kindly allow 24-48 hours for the team to follow up with you and assist you further.


~ AJ
Upwork
prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "A lot of the work performed was not paid for and was out of the scope of the project."

 

That was a mistake on your part.

Never work for free on Upwork.

Never do out of scope work.

 

The only type of clients who would WANT you to work for free on Upwork are unprofessional, unethical, immoral people. You don't want to be dealing with such people.

prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "I would request Upwork to please look into this matter seriously"

 

You should not count on Upwork to do anything on your behalf.

I can assure you that Upwork does not want to deal with things like this.

There are times when Upwork feels it has no choice and complies with court orders. But don't assume that Upwork is going to put time and effort into making things right or fighting for fairness.

 

But one thing that YOU can do is NOT COMMUNICATE with this "client."

 

You SHOULD respond to any questions from Upwork itself.

 

If Upwork has an ounce of decency, then they will ignore any communication or requests from this obviously fraudulent "client" that pertain to you and their attempt to steal money from you.

 

re: "The email looked fishy as it included grammatical and spelling mistakes along with threats to put liens on my property."

 

You live in Fort Worth, Texas.

Texas's protective Homestead laws may apply to your situation.

Um, Preston, Castle doctrine does not work that way.

Homestead laws have nothing to do with castle doctrine.

I live in Texas and Preston is correct about homestead law.

I also live in Texas, but I acknowledge that I misinterpreted what Preston wrote. Not owning property means that is a section of law that I generally haven't had a need to learn.

Jonathan:

Don't worry about it. An honest mistake.

 

For anyone interested in what all these Texans are talking about:

 

Texas Property Code § 41.001(a)

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