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Client fired me on 3rd day, then underpaid and blocked me

5db0c73d
Active Member
Natasha T Member Since: May 16, 2020
1 of 16

Hi everyone, I recently started freelancing on Upwork. My first client is going perfectly for ongoing work. However, my second job as a Pinterest Strategist was a disaster. I was offered an interview with 20 minutes notice, and was hired immediately on the call, to begin Monday morning. 

 

On Monday, we had 2.5 hours of video conferencing meetings, and I was advised I was going to be placed into a social media managerial role instead of solely Pinterest. As such, I provided valuable insight into their current strategies, along with creating multiple Pinterest strategies for clients, along with active posting on Pinterest and cleaning up of their client's accounts.

 

Within a few hours of starting my first day, I was being scolded for content not being posted on a social media scheduling tool that I was not hired for, and that doesn't even have the capability to post to Pinterest. I advised that I was happy to learn that tool, but would need time to learn it.

 

Mid-way through the 3rd day, my account access to all platforms was removed, the contract was ended, and I was paid a lump-sum amount that was far short of the contracted amount. 

 

I worked 17 hours over two days. Due to them being a marketing agency that needs to bill their clients, I was told it was mandatory to use their time tracking system and I would then input the hours into Upwork on Thursdays. However, they ended the contract before I could enter the manual time.

 

I have extensive documentation of work I completed, from pages of Pinterest strategies to screenshots of posts I scheduled on various social media channels and Pinterest management.

 

I messaged the client about the difference and they claimed I failed to use the scheduling tool, which they said was the primary reason they hired me. They also said I was unresponsive, which is untrue given I was actively working 7+ hour days and the contract was ended on the 3rd day. Their response was exceedingly harsh, untrue, and they even claimed I owed them money for wasting their time.

 

Now, I see they had a different job posting that required scheduling using that tool, but that was not the job I applied for or the contract I was sent. Two employees have access to the same Upwork account, and I suspect the person that ended my contract was mistaken on which job I was hired for, and ended my contract for that reason.

 

I wrote out a detailed message with screenshots of the work I completed and documentation of tasks I was being held responsible for despite it being clearly listed as another employee's responsibility. However, before I was able to send it, I was blocked. 

 

Do I have any recourse here? The amount they shorted me is $106, and I'm not sure where to go from here. Any suggestions are welcomed!

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 16

Money is gone. 

 

When someone says "you manually input hours" is when you always use the tracker.

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

re: "Do I have any recourse here?"

 

No.

 

re: "The amount they shorted me is $106, and I'm not sure where to go from here"

 

Nowhere to go from here. This is over.

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

Natasha:

If it makes you feel any better:

 

Clients are not actually required to pay freelancers for manually logged time. If this client wanted to, she could simply contact Upeork, dispute all of your manually logged time from this week, and thus avoid having to pay for those hours.

 

If you were paid anything at all for the work you did for this goofball client, consider it a win. Do NOT agree to work for this client again. Also: Never contact her again.

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
5 of 16

You'll find a steep learning curve on Upwork, Natasha.

 

Until you are well along on that curve, never agree not to use TimeTracker for a new client.

 

Even if a client "allows" you to add manual time to your weekly timelog for their project the client has no obligation of any kind under Upwork’s rules to ever actually pay you for that added time. Manual time is not protected in any way under Upwork's payment protection rules and Upwork will make no effort to enforce payment due to you for manually-booked work time.

https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211062568-Upwork-Payment-Protection

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
6 of 16

When you work with a client through the Upwork system, your contractual rights and rights to be paid are largely controlled by Upwork's TOS. That can protect you, but doesn't in all circumstances. Just as it wouldn't make sense for you to take legal action over $100, it doesn't make sense for Upwork either. So, in most cases, small contracts fall through the cracks when it comes to protections. The hourly payment protection (when all of the criteria are met) is one exception. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with reporting your time using your client's organizational system and Upwork's system. But, only by using Upwork's system can you ensure that you will get paid. 

Also, as you may have already figured out, clients that are disorganized and in a hurry to get work done don't always make the best clients. Agencies can be great to work with because they often offer a steady supply of billable. However, their primary concern is their bottom line. This agency hired you to keep a paying client happy and made a quick decision to fire you once they decided you couldn't do that. Their relationship with the client is far more important to them than you. 

Going forward, read the New to Upwork forums and pay particular attention to the protections available to freelancers when a dispute arises. And, look for discussions that highlight some of the warning signs of a bad client.

 

Finally, I know it is hard to back out of a job, particularly when you are concerned about negative feedback. But almost all of my worst experiences as a freelancer have been in situations when I should have backed out of the gig as soon as I recognized it was outside my scope or the client was going to be difficult. Don't be afraid to walk away from a bad situation. 

5db0c73d
Active Member
Natasha T Member Since: May 16, 2020
7 of 16

Thanks! The hardest part is that I was a great fit for the position and highly skilled for it, and red flags didn't arise until midway through the first day. It's been a tough learning experience for sure!

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
8 of 16

Natasha T wrote:

[Hi everyone ... Do I have any recourse here? The amount they shorted me is $106, and I'm not sure where to go from here. Any suggestions are welcomed!]

_________________________________

Hi Natasha, 

 

As the others have said, you have lost out on the payment. However, the client has been extremely underhand and in effect has circumvented Upwork's payment conditions, even though he has paid you something. He has also given you a creepy (public) 5-star feedback, which underlines his unethical behaviour. If it were me I would report the client, with all the details I could muster. 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 16

Nichola L wrote:

. If it were me I would report the client, with all the details I could muster. 

For what? Nothing the client did was a violation of the terms of service. Being a bleep is not a violation...

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
10 of 16

Petra R wrote:

Nichola L wrote:

. If it were me I would report the client, with all the details I could muster. 

For what? Nothing the client did was a violation of the terms of service. Being a bleep is not a violation...


______________________

I agree, and if the OP had insisted on Upwork's tracked hourly system, this wouldn't have happened. But the client knew that he could play on the OP's newness, and could dodge paying the full whack by paying the OP something, and then immediately closing the contract. So while he hasn't violated the ToS - he is sailing close to the wind and his approach is pretty unethical, and  I bet this is not the first time he has done it. 

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