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Client is asking for a refund but the job is already completed

rashidmaqsood305
Active Member
Rashid M Member Since: Dec 4, 2020
1 of 12

Hi, I had a fixed price contract for creating a website. We had agreed on 3 milestones Design, Content, and Changes. I did the design within 2 weeks and he approved and completed the milestone. Then I asked for the content that he was suppose to provide, then he kept delaying and did not repond for days and blamed me for project being delayed. I clarified which content he needs to provide then he said he will hire a content creator and did not respond for days again. Finally, I received the content but I asked him right away that content is too long it needs to be breif, and he denied that I even said that although I have all the screenshots of the conversation. Anyway, after uploading content I asked him for any changes, he simply replied not for now and just asked for a website speed report which I provided. The 3rd milestone was for changes and I kept asking for weeks to provide any changes or if there are none then complete the milestone, he did not respond and handed over the conversation to his assisstant. His assistant started asking me to do the tasks that were already completed in the previous milestones and I asked her that these tasks are completed and approved by the client and didn't really tell what changes are required actually. Now he has requested me for a refund, although I have completed my end of work (which was to design website and upload content ). The 3rd milestone can not be done unless he provides me any changes that I can make to make the website according to him. He denies it and blames me that I did not work on this contract.

How to I respond to the refund request and open dispute ?

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 12

Rashid M wrote:

How to I respond to the refund request and open dispute ?


Is the third milestone funded?

What was the date the previous (last released) milestone was released to you (the invoice date)?

 

rashidmaqsood305
Active Member
Rashid M Member Since: Dec 4, 2020
3 of 12

Yes I received the funds of 3rd milestone and it was completed automatically by upwork on november 13

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 12

Rashid M wrote:

Yes I received the funds of 3rd milestone and it was completed automatically by upwork on november 13


Right. At this point the client has not disputed anything.

Keep working with the client to find a way forward, but at a leisurely pace, without pushing the client.

 

The client taking time to respond works in your favour here!!!

 

His ability to dispute (and achieve any kind of refund you don't agree with) expires 30 days from the invoice date of the last milestone or while there are still funds in escrow.

g_vasilevski
Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
5 of 12

Hi Rashid,

 

I`m sorry to hear about the bad experience you`ve had. You can either issue a full or partial refund or, choose not to take any actions. 
At the moment as I can see all of the three milestones were paid to you. For any additional information, I would suggest communicating with your client directly. Thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork
jr-translation
Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
6 of 12

Rashid M wrote:

Hi, I had a fixed price contract for creating a website. We had agreed on 3 milestones Design, Content, and Changes. I did the design within 2 weeks and he approved and completed the milestone. Then I asked for the content that he was suppose to provide, then he kept delaying and did not repond for days and blamed me for project being delayed. I clarified which content he needs to provide then he said he will hire a content creator and did not respond for days again. Finally, I received the content but I asked him right away that content is too long it needs to be breif, and he denied that I even said that although I have all the screenshots of the conversation. Anyway, after uploading content I asked him for any changes, he simply replied not for now and just asked for a website speed report which I provided. The 3rd milestone was for changes and I kept asking for weeks to provide any changes or if there are none then complete the milestone, he did not respond and handed over the conversation to his assisstant. His assistant started asking me to do the tasks that were already completed in the previous milestones and I asked her that these tasks are completed and approved by the client and didn't really tell what changes are required actually. Now he has requested me for a refund, although I have completed my end of work (which was to design website and upload content ). The 3rd milestone can not be done unless he provides me any changes that I can make to make the website according to him. He denies it and blames me that I did not work on this contract.

How to I respond to the refund request and open dispute ?


Did he asked for all the milestones or only the 3rd milestone?

If you did not deliver any work under milestone 3, just refund him.

rashidmaqsood305
Active Member
Rashid M Member Since: Dec 4, 2020
7 of 12

He asked for the 3rd milestone only but the whole project was supposed to be the completion of website design and content which was broke up in 3 milestones: design, content and feedback. he approved both the milestones and I kept asking to let me know what changes are required but he kept silent for weeks. After that he suddenly introduced another member which he said would review the website and gave his comments on the design and layout which initially the actual client had approved and was fine with it. 

I still asked to provide details with what changes are required but he kept on arguing on other things, used foul language but didn't actually tell what changes are required. 

He sent a doc for the review of the previous work done and I replied to it the same day. He then took 4 days to reply back and still not mentioned the changes he want but kept on blaming me. I took a couple of days to respond with all the evidence and screenshots but meanwhile he asked for a refund and didn't wait for my response. However, he have been unresponsive for days and weeks but still blame it on me.

 

How do you think I should refund ?

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
8 of 12

How refunds should be decided is not complicated.

 

Below is how these matters should be decided. This is my opinion, and not based on any "written rule" that Upwork has posted. But I believe the following represents widespread consensus among Upwork clients and freelancers alike:

 

If a client funded a fixed-price milestone and the freelancer did not start work on the task, then if the client asks for a refund, the freelancer should immediately agree to the refund. No matter what. It doesn't matter what the "plans" are. If the client wants a refund on un-commenced work, then the freelancer should agree to the refund.

 

If the freelancer is part-way through a task, then the simplest, fastest thing for a client to do if she decides she doesn't want that task completed is to release payment for the entire milestone and close the contract. The client should thank the freelancer for his work and tell the freelancer that it is not necessary to do any more work on the milestone task.

 

However, it is the client's right to ask for a refund for whatever portion of the task has not been completed. What percentage of the task has been completed? This is for the freelancer to decide. But the freelancer should immediately issue a partial refund if the client asks for it. If the task is half-way done (for example), then the freelancer should immediately grant a 50% refund.

 

if a task has been completed, then the client should not ask for a refund. Period. The client hired the freelancer to do a task. The freelancer did the task. The client should pay the freelancer for the task. There is no excuse for a client to ask the freelancer to issue a refund. It does not matter if the client's project has been cancelled, or if the client changed her mind about something, etc.

1241e710
Active Member
Nikolay A Member Since: Dec 4, 2020
9 of 12

Jennifer R wrote:

Rashid M wrote:

Hi, I had a fixed price contract for creating a website. We had agreed on 3 milestones Design, Content, and Changes. I did the design within 2 weeks and he approved and completed the milestone. Then I asked for the content that he was suppose to provide, then he kept delaying and did not repond for days and blamed me for project being delayed. I clarified which content he needs to provide then he said he will hire a content creator and did not respond for days again. Finally, I received the content but I asked him right away that content is too long it needs to be breif, and he denied that I even said that although I have all the screenshots of the conversation. Anyway, after uploading content I asked him for any changes, he simply replied not for now and just asked for a website speed report which I provided. The 3rd milestone was for changes and I kept asking for weeks to provide any changes or if there are none then complete the milestone, he did not respond and handed over the conversation to his assisstant. His assistant started asking me to do the tasks that were already completed in the previous milestones and I asked her that these tasks are completed and approved by the client and didn't really tell what changes are required actually. Now he has requested me for a refund, although I have completed my end of work (which was to design website and upload content ). The 3rd milestone can not be done unless he provides me any changes that I can make to make the website according to him. He denies it and blames me that I did not work on this contract.

How to I respond to the refund request and open dispute ?


Did he asked for all the milestones or only the 3rd milestone?

If you did not deliver any work under milestone 3, just refund him.


As I understood, it's not a matter of milestone. I mean they agreed on a concrete price for a website, and just devided it into 3 convenient milestones. So, if there is no feedback from a client when the work is completed, why should the freelancer refund a part of budget that is initially agreed for a completed website..?

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 12

re: "As I understood, it's not a matter of milestone. I mean they agreed on a concrete price for a website, and just devided it into 3 convenient milestones. So, if there is no feedback from a client when the work is completed, why should the freelancer refund a part of budget that is initially agreed for a completed website?"

Nikolay:
You are asking a valid question.

It is important that this concept be understood, so I point out the important concept:

 

It is the milestone that matters.

 

The "project" doesn't matter. The "budget" doesn't matter. The "plan" doesn't matter.

Not when it comes to the Upwork user interface.

 

The milestone is what matters. The milestone is what counts.


So freelancers and clients alike need to understand that and plan accordingly.

 

In the Upwork user interface, there is no such thing as "a concrete price for a website." There is only a funded milestone.

 

Here is an example:

The client hired a freelancer to create a website. The budget for the project is $1000.

Here are the milestones:

1) Design website: $5

2) Create website: $5

3) Deploy website on hosting account: $990

 

The freelancer designed the website. The client paid her $5.

The freelancer created the website. The client paid her $5.

Then the client closed the contract without creating the third and final milestone.

 

According to how the Upwork user interface works, and according to Upwork rules and policies, the client has done nothing wrong. The freelancer has been paid in full. The matter is over. There is nothing to dispute.

 

Freelancers should understand this when they set up contracts.

 

What if the client had actually funded milestone 3? And then asked for a refund on milestone 3 before the freelancer did any of the work for milestone 3? If that happened, then I would say that the freelancer should immediately issue a refund for all money in funded for milestone 3.

 

But if that happened, a couple of mistakes were made:

The freelancer should NOT have agreed to milestones that were structured this way. The freelancer should have made sure that the funding for milestones 1 and 2 reflected the actual work involved in those steps, rather than planning to get paid after milestone 3 (which actually involves relatively little work).

 

The other mistake was made by the client. A client should NEVER fund a milestone if they aren't 100% ready to have that money go to the freelancer. Once a milestone has been funded in escrow, the client can NOT unilaterally back out of it.

 

I SAID that a freelancer should immediately refund any non-started milestone that a client asks to receive a refund for. But that's must my OPINION. Upwork does not enforce that.

 

If a client funds an escrow payment of $990, and then asks for the money back... There is no way for the client to actually get that money back unless the freelancer agrees to the refund request, or more extreme and potentially costly measures are taken (such as arbitration).

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