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Client ask for full refund for a paid milestone, even though I'm offering a free of charge fix

Active Member
Bily P Member Since: Jul 25, 2019
1 of 16

Hello, I have finished a fixed price last milestone for a client.
Yesterday I have submitted the work and the client confirmed it because he found that the application is working as expected.

But today the client claims that the application isn't working anymore and request a full refund.
The application is still working fine on my computer.

I offer the client a fix, free of charge, as long as I can see the full logs of the application on the client's computer. But the client refused it, still want a full refund.

I'm not accusing, but it's kinda fishy. And wondering why the client refuse for a fix and the logs. Since I'm sure I can fix the issue in few hours after I saw the logs.

Right now the client want to file a dispute to the project.

So what's the suggestion for me ? Should I go with the dispute ? I have never have a dispute before.
I also have 100% JJS and top rated badge, I don't want to risk my JJS score either ..

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 16

If you did the work, you should be paid for the work.


A client is not entitled to receive the fruit of your labor for free.


We do not know if this client honestly is having problems, or if the client is simply trying to manipulate the system in order to get all of the work for free.


You need to understand that refunds are meant for freelancers to use, in situations such as if the freelancer doesn't do the work. It isn't Upwork's intention that clients demand or receive refunds, and certainly not simply because a client doesn't feel like paying for the work.


Whatever you do, be professional and polite. Do not argue with the client.


This was a fixed-price contract with multiple milestones?

How much money have you received so far?


How much money is currently in escrow that the client hasn't released yet?

Active Member
Bily P Member Since: Jul 25, 2019
3 of 16
It's a fixed-price contract with just one milestone.

The client tell me that he had scammed before on other freelancer platform, and accused me that I also scammed him.
I have deliver the application alongside with source code.

I have receipt the full payment. Still in pending status.

No more funds on the escrow, since it's only one milestone.
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 16

The client ALREADY RELEASED payment to you.


That is a good thing.


Read more here:

It really IS NOT Upwork's intention that a client get money back after ALREADY RELEASING an escrow payment.


However, Upwork says that it will offer dispute assistance to a client for thirty days after a fixed-price payment is made.


The more time that passes, the less likely it is that a client will be able to do anything at all.

I see no reason why you should issue a refund to the client. But maybe if the client received a token refund he would feel that he has been listened to.


I am NOT an expert on disputes or on what happens if a client tries to get a refund after releasing escrow payments. But my understanding is this:


YOU don't have the option to file a dispute, because you already have received all of the money. There is nothing for you to dispute. The client may or may not go to Upwork Customer Support. It is better if the client doesn't go to Customer Support to ask them to help get a refund. If you can work things out amicably with the client, that would be better. Offering to fix the problem he is having is a good idea.


At this point, if the client actually went to Support, then what is most likely to happen is that an Upwork employee will attempt to mediate the situation. That means he would try to help the client and freelancer communicate and come to an agreement. But at this point, we typically don't see anything that forces a freelancer to give up earnings. You may be asked to refund money, but you can say no. Or you can discuss how much of a refund to give. Maybe a 5% refund is appropriate, as a way to acknowledge the client's feelings.


If you don't simply volunteer to refund all of the money to the client, and of the only thing thr client can do is ask Customer Support for help, then the client may never even do that. What if he knows full well that what you sent him works well and that he plans to use it, but he simply wants free money? If that is the case, he may be too embarrassed to actually go to Upwork Customer Support. 


How much money did you earn on the contract?


Active Member
Bily P Member Since: Jul 25, 2019
5 of 16

Firstly I want to say thank you for your answers.

For now I just have to wait if the client really file a dispute to the project.

I would like to fix the client's problem, even for free. But if upwork doesn't allow for a free work, I will only ask for just $1 .

But the client doesn't want me to fix the issue, the client just want the moneys back.
All I want is the client to be happy with my work.
I already put my best on the application.

I earned $1500 from the client

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 16

It is not a violation of any Upwork rule for you to fix a problem for free.


It is a violation of Upwork TOS for a client to ask a freelancer to work for free.

Active Member
Subodh S Member Since: May 30, 2017
7 of 16

Beware that client has right to ask for full refund within 30 days from last payment via dispute. Even though milestone is approved, Upwork may initiate refund if you do not provide sufficient proof of work. Upwork's mediation team does not work as a "judge" on the case. They encourage client & freelancer to come to an agreement, else you would have option to move forward to arbitration where real judgement happens. 


Here is my suggestion:


A. Report this client to Upwork that client is trying to scam you by client asking for refund when work & code is already delivered. Proactively reporting a client helps make your case stronger and if client has a hisotry of bad behavior, his ratings may not impact your JSS. 


B. Share all of proof of work in a Word/PDF document. You would need this anyway if dispute arises. Share this with client too.


C. Ask the client to share a video of the issue and genuinely try to find out what issue he is running into. If you can resolve amicably, you will save time and hassle from going into a dispute.


I have recently been through a dispute (resulting into arbitration) and it eats lot of your time (and peace of mind) to prove that you are right. Btw - I won the arbitration.

Active Member
Bily P Member Since: Jul 25, 2019
8 of 16

I have update regarding of the issue.


Yesterday one of upwork's customer service reached to me. It's cleary that the client submit a request to the support regarding of the issue.


After that, I talk to the client again, offering him a fix again and I wanted to see the full logs of the application.

Not because I'm affraid of upwork or the client, it just my responsibility.

BUT again, the client refused, no matter what I said, he just want a full refund.


I'm more and more suspisious to that client.

The client gave me the proof that the app is not working, but it's only on the front side. He refuse to give me the full logs.

There is a posibility that he change the source code to make it look like the app not working.


The client said that he want to escalate it to the meditation team.

But I will give any proof that the app is indeed working to meditation team.

I'm 100% sure that I deliver a working app.

Does the meditation team will provide the Tech guy/programmer to support the issue ?


Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
9 of 16

re "Does the meditation team will provide the Tech guy/programmer to support the issue ?"




Upwork people are not going to look at your work and make a determination that your programming is solid, or even try to determine if you did the task. Mediation means that they encourage client and freelancer to come to an agreement.


If you stand your ground and explain SIMPLY that you did the work and offered to fix any problems for free, and you know that the client is trying to get the work for free, I think the mediator will understand the situation.


The mediator may ask if you would like this opportunity to give the client a refund, and you can say no thank you but you will offer something even better: you are offering to fix their problem if they send you the logs or video.


I think the client's position is very weak.

Active Member
Bily P Member Since: Jul 25, 2019
10 of 16

Hello all, I just want to inform about the end result of this issue.


The client still refuse me to fix the issue, and ended up end the contract.

He implies that I'm lying about these two things :

1. I didn't reject his refund request. I clearly reject him by my word. But he though that I should reject it on upwork, but there is no function or button to reject the refund request. He want me to reject so he can go to dispute process. But to dispute he only have to talk to the support, not by a button. In the end I give him the screenshoot of the refund page, and he ended up silent about it.


2. He want me to put back the money on escrow before fixing any of his issue and I didn't put money back to escrow. How am I supposed to do that if there is no function or button to put the funds back to escrow ? I can't find it anywhere, I also try to googled it but find nothing about putting back money to escrow. I have already told about that to him, twice, but he still mad at me with his ego. 


And as expected, he gave me 1 star rating. And I also give him 1 star rating.

So, what is best suggestion for me to handle this 1 star rating, should I request upwork to remove it since I have top rated badge. Or will upwork review this client and do anything about it ?

This client doesn't have any previous record/job/review on his profile, he clearly new to upwork.


Thank you.