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jane_editor
Community Member

Client is demanding a refund despite being unwilling to show apparent problems

Hi, my client is demanding a refund despite being unwilling to show his apparent problems. I logged all hours that I worked using Upwork's Hourly Protection and even made some requested changes without charging the client for the time. Some of the issues were my mistakes, which I fixed, but some of the requested changes were asking for changing back to poor English (which I did as requested).

 

He says the work is terrible but is not showing what else is wrong, merely demanding a total refund for the whole job. I'm confident that I provided acceptable quality work in line with the original brief. The client hasn't yet raised a dispute or closed the job, however, I have raised a dispute about it myself.

 

I'm quite gutted because I did the job in good faith and have done other similar work and received good feedback and ratings.

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prestonhunter
Community Member

 

re: "Client is demanding a refund despite being unwilling to show apparent problems"

 

It sounds like the client is an unprofessional, unreasonable person.

 

re: "He says the work is terrible but is not showing what else is wrong"


If the client does not want to work with you any more, he DOES NOT HAVE to. It does not matter if your work is "terrible" or if your work is so great that it makes him jealous of your talent.

 

A client can end a contract AT ANY TIME and does not need to give any reason at all.

 

But he needs to pay you for the work that you have already done.

 

I am very sorry that - as a freelancer - you are facing a situation such as this, in which a client is behaving so inappropriately.


If the client does not appreciate your work, then the PROPER thing for the client to do is to close the contract and stop working for you.

 

If the client has run into money problems and wants to avoid paying you any more, then that is the proper thing to do, rather than claiming that your work is terrible. Even if the client REALLY DOES BELIEVE that your work is terrible, the proper thing to do is to stop working with you. It is not okay for the client to demand a refund from you for time you spent legitimately working on the client's project.

 

Do you think that the client actually likes your work, and plans to use it, but is simply trying to trick you into refunding money so that he gets your work for free?

 

As a practical matter: The client may not be able to get Upwork to remove the time segments in order to avoid paying, because you worked in a way that makes your work qualified for Upwork Payment Protection.

 

Nevertheless, you are allowed to refund if you want to. Have you considered offering a compromise to the client? Perhaps if there was SOME refund offered, he would stop pestering you? Often, a client's complaints really aren't about the money, but about a client who simply wants to "be heard."

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21 REPLIES 21
prestonhunter
Community Member

 

re: "Client is demanding a refund despite being unwilling to show apparent problems"

 

It sounds like the client is an unprofessional, unreasonable person.

 

re: "He says the work is terrible but is not showing what else is wrong"


If the client does not want to work with you any more, he DOES NOT HAVE to. It does not matter if your work is "terrible" or if your work is so great that it makes him jealous of your talent.

 

A client can end a contract AT ANY TIME and does not need to give any reason at all.

 

But he needs to pay you for the work that you have already done.

 

I am very sorry that - as a freelancer - you are facing a situation such as this, in which a client is behaving so inappropriately.


If the client does not appreciate your work, then the PROPER thing for the client to do is to close the contract and stop working for you.

 

If the client has run into money problems and wants to avoid paying you any more, then that is the proper thing to do, rather than claiming that your work is terrible. Even if the client REALLY DOES BELIEVE that your work is terrible, the proper thing to do is to stop working with you. It is not okay for the client to demand a refund from you for time you spent legitimately working on the client's project.

 

Do you think that the client actually likes your work, and plans to use it, but is simply trying to trick you into refunding money so that he gets your work for free?

 

As a practical matter: The client may not be able to get Upwork to remove the time segments in order to avoid paying, because you worked in a way that makes your work qualified for Upwork Payment Protection.

 

Nevertheless, you are allowed to refund if you want to. Have you considered offering a compromise to the client? Perhaps if there was SOME refund offered, he would stop pestering you? Often, a client's complaints really aren't about the money, but about a client who simply wants to "be heard."

Thank you, that was my feeling as well. I did the work, the Upwork Hourly Protection clearly shows me working my way through the job.

 

I haven't responded to the client since the request for a refund, there is nothing I can (or will) say to him at this stage. I'll wait for my dispute to be processed or for the client to close the job.

 

"Do you think that the client actually likes your work, and plans to use it, but is simply trying to trick you into refunding money so that he gets your work for free?"

 

I don't know. I believe the manuscript was a labor of love for the client, and I think he perhaps felt that was already perfect apart from some formatting issues. Any edits that I made were taking away from that.

 

"Have you considered offering a compromise to the client? Perhaps if there was SOME refund offered, he would stop pestering you? Often, a client's complaints really aren't about the money, but about a client who simply wants to "be heard.""

 

I don't think it would make any difference. When you get the word "terrible" thrown at you, there's nowhere really to go from there. I did do a round of revisions based on feedback without charging the client for the time, so I have already tried to offer the olive branch. 


Jane S wrote:

Thank you, that was my feeling as well. I did the work, the Upwork Hourly Protection clearly shows me working my way through the job.


So it was an hourly contract? If it was an hourly contract, it ultimately does not matter one iota if your client thinks whether your work was terrible or not.

 

All that matters is if you used the tracker, had meaningful work memos and adequate activity levels on your work diary. The quality of the work doesn't, in any way, come into it. 

 

 

 

 

 


So it was an hourly contract? If it was an hourly contract, it ultimately does not matter one iota if your client thinks whether your work was terrible or not.

 

All that matters is if you used the tracker, had meaningful work memos and adequate activity levels on your work diary. The quality of the work doesn't, in any way, come into it. 


Thanks, Petra. Yes, it was an hourly contract in which I worked consistently the whole time, with useful work memos that matched the task at hand and the work diary shows clear activity throughout.


Jane S wrote:

Thanks, Petra. Yes, it was an hourly contract in which I worked consistently the whole time, with useful work memos that matched the task at hand and the work diary shows clear activity throughout.

Then you won't lose the dispute because that is all that matters when it comes to hourly disputes.


Petra R wrote:

Then you won't lose the dispute because that is all that matters when it comes to hourly disputes.

The client so far hasn't raised a dispute, just requested a refund. I did raise a dispute myself after I received a refund request for the whole job.

 

Just this moment, I received a message asking if I wanted a "new list of all the issues you created." I am unwilling to spend any more effort on the job given that wording imposes blame and the client has already requested a refund for the work done. No matter what happens from here, it's going to end in bad blood and a bad review.


Jane S wrote:

Petra R wrote:

Then you won't lose the dispute because that is all that matters when it comes to hourly disputes.

The client so far hasn't raised a dispute, just requested a refund. I did raise a dispute myself after I received a refund request for the whole job.


You can't raise a dispute in this case, and why would you, anyway? A "request for refund" is entirely meaningless and doesn't affect anything.

 


Jane S wrote:

No matter what happens from here, it's going to end in bad blood and a bad review.

You may be right, although generally, I believe that you can fix most things with effective communication. The job post sounds like all the client wanted was the formatting fixed for KDP. From what you said, you went beyond that? Could the bad blood be connected to that?

 

 

You can't raise a dispute in this case, and why would you, anyway? A "request for refund" is entirely meaningless and doesn't affect anything.

When I first received the refund request and wasn't sure how to reject it, hence I raised a dispute that was not attached to the job. The dispute mentions the job id.

 

You may be right, although generally, I believe that you can fix most things with effective communication.

I agree, and what surprised me was the last message I received prior to all of this was asking me if I would do a further task for them. The refund request came out of nowhere.

 

The job post sounds like all the client wanted was the formatting fixed for KDP. From what you said, you went beyond that? Could the bad blood be connected to that?

No, it was very clear in (extended) discussions with the client prior to my being engaged that the job was for a full proofread, edit, and feedback on flow and readability, with the KDP formatting just a part of the job. I gave an estimate of the number of hours it would take, clearly stating what I would deliver, and actually charged fewer hours than my estimate.

Did the manuscript upload to KDP successfully? I do remember what a monumental pain that is...

 

Maybe that's why he is angry?

I don't think he's tried it yet. I did, however, test it on the Kindle Previewer application before I delivered it and it looked as it should.

 

I'm considering taking his original manuscript and just doing the KDP formatting and hand that to him as is, with no edits. It's a fair bit of work as he hand-formatted it with a double carriage return between every single line (not each paragraph, each line) to make it double spaced, which is why it looked terrible on Kindle.

 


Jane S wrote:

It's a fair bit of work as he hand-formatted it with a double carriage return between every single line (not each paragraph, each line) to make it double spaced.

 


๐Ÿ˜ฎ Oh dear god....


Petra R wrote:

Jane S wrote:

It's a fair bit of work as he hand-formatted it with a double carriage return between every single line (not each paragraph, each line) to make it double spaced.

 


๐Ÿ˜ฎ Oh dear god....


And that's when I should have said "no" to the job...!


Jane S wrote:

Petra R wrote:

Jane S wrote:

It's a fair bit of work as he hand-formatted it with a double carriage return between every single line (not each paragraph, each line) to make it double spaced.

 


๐Ÿ˜ฎ Oh dear god....


And that's when I should have said "no" to the job...!


Yup!

If I were to send him an updated manuscript with just the formatting fixed, what happens to his request for a refund? I did actually spend the time doing the work I was hired to do, and having to redo the reformatting of just the original manuscript is a bit of a mission.

 

Should I just ignore the refund request? The job is still open at this stage.


Jane S wrote:

If I were to send him an updated manuscript with just the formatting fixed,


But wasn't that fixed during the job? If that was part of the issue?

 


Jane S wrote:

Should I just ignore the refund request? The job is still open at this stage.


 

The refund request is entirely meaningless. The whole thing will only go anywhere if he disputes, and as you tracked your hours correctly, he'd lose a dispute anywhere. 

 


Petra R wrote:

Jane S wrote:

If I were to send him an updated manuscript with just the formatting fixed,


But wasn't that fixed during the job? If that was part of the issue?

 


Jane S wrote:

Should I just ignore the refund request? The job is still open at this stage.


 

The refund request is entirely meaningless. The whole thing will only go anywhere if he disputes, and as you tracked your hours correctly, he'd lose a dispute anywhere. 

 


Yes, I fixed all the formatting when I did the proofreading and editing, then verified it with the Kindle Previewer before I sent the edited manuscript to the client. 


Jane S wrote:

Yes, I fixed all the formatting when I did the proofreading and editing, then verified it with the Kindle Previewer before I sent the edited manuscript to the client. 

So why would you do it again? Beause the client didn't like your edits? 

 

Out of interest I personally would actually like to see that "list of issues" jut so there would be something I could address. Things are factually right or factually wrong so if you could show him why the issues aren't issues, that might calm him down?

So why would you do it again? Beause the client didn't like your edits? 

Yes, but when you put it like that, it does seem rather silly. Just trying to think of ways to end this gracefully.

 

Out of interest I personally would actually like to see that "list of issues" jut so there would be something I could address. Things are factually right or factually wrong so if you could show him why the issues aren't issues, that might calm him down?

I took the first list of issues and made the changes as requested (and didn't charge for them, I might add, but it was only an hour's work so I left it). I would be interested in seeing the list also, but honestly, I don't think it's going to help. He's already accusing me of "ruining his manuscript" so that doesn't give a lot of scope to come back from. And if it was that terrible, why didn't he say so in the first round?

 

I think it boils down to that it doesn't really matter what I do at this point, it will be wrong as far as the client is concerned.


Jane S wrote:

I think it boils down to that it doesn't really matter what I do at this point, it will be wrong as far as the client is concerned.


Probably, but it can't hurt trying... I would usually say "Fire the client" but when you only just started on Upwork, you don't really want a bad outcome on your profile...

 


Petra R wrote:


Probably, but it can't hurt trying... I would usually say "Fire the client" but when you only just started on Upwork, you don't really want a bad outcome on your profile...

 


I have sent through a formatted-but-unedited manuscript to the client now, see what happens from here, I guess!

Update:

 

Well, I just received the last thing I expected - an apology from the client for his comments! When he actually went through my revised manuscript in detail, he admitted that I'd put in a lot of effort and had done a good job with the edits.

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