cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Client is forcing me to give refund

arifuzzamanmd
Active

Hello all,

 

Hope you are doing well.

 

My problem is - **Edited for Community Guidelines**, my last client I am working with. He wants me to give his money back. I worked for him, I followed his requirements on what to do. But currently he is thinking that we were not on correct path. Should I give him money back? I spent times for him and worked for him, all source code he has in his hand. He is now saying that he will go to take action for me to the court. He will do it through my country. All working times has been logged through oDesk time tracker software.

 

I am working on oDesk for long time. But this type client is my very bad luck. Please let me know what I should do . . I worked for him and spent time for him, all coding, instruction is in his hands. So why I have to money back?

Please help me . . Please help us from this type client . . they are just decreasing our reputations. Please see my feedbacks from other clients.


I am bit very frustrated. The client is continuously forcing me to give him money back. He is saying that he runs a multimillenium company very successfully and like has many power and connections to make me banned. He said "You need to do a full refund or I promise you I will have you banned by the CEO of Upwork by the end of this month"

 

I have been relying on Upwork for many years . . but now I don't know where this rich and powerful clinet will put me in.

 

Please help me!

 

 

Thanks.

33 REPLIES 33
petra_r
Community Guru

It's wrong of the client to make threats like that, and theoretically you could report the client for them if they were made in writing and you can prove it.

 

However, if you had promised a refund of a certain sum you will have to refund the sum you had agreed to refund.

 

You even admitted to agreeing to the refund (in writing, and right there on your very own profile.)

 

The thing is: If you agreed to refund a part of that money that's a binding agreement, and the client has a point.

 

They CAN take legal action (although a international lawsuit makes little sense for a relatively small sum) but if they go to Upwork with proof of you agreeing to refund a certain sum you may very well find your account (inc the agency if the money went through an agency) suspended until you have refunded.

 

If I were you I'd try and sort it out with the client.

snette
Community Leader

Oh my, that's really a terrible client. I assume it's the one who left you that ridiculous bad feedback on your profile.

 

First of all I would remove his name from your post and the post title. Or else a moderator will do that later.

 

Secondly, send a ticket to the Customer Support and provide them with all information that you have.

 

Don't worry so much, take a deep breath and stop communicating with him for now.

Solve this entirely through the Customer Support.

If it is that client that left you the 1 star feedback, he is in no way powerful. He spent 10k on Upwork? That's what an average developer earns in a month in the US.

He won't even be able to talk to the CEO directly, his messages are full empty claims.

 

Ask the Customer Support to remove the feedback. Both of you have left inappropiate feedback there.

That is damaging both your reputations.

 

As long as you know that you did the work you were paid for, then there is nothing to worry about.

If you keep talking with him, you might give in to his claims or say anything that he could use against you. There really is no reason to keep talking to him anymore at this point.

 

// edit: Petra is right, if you said that you will refund then you probably have no way around that.


@Sebastian N wrote:

// edit: Petra is right, if you said that you will refund then you probably have no way around that.


 Exactly. And he confirmed it right there in his response to the feedback.

 

Personally I suspect that the client has already gone to Upwork and regardless of who is right or wrong in this whole sorry saga (remember that there are always two sides to every story) the bottom line is that if he said he will refund $ X then he has to refund $ X. No "if," no "but."

 

There are two ways he can go about it: Sort it out with the client and refund voluntarily as promised, or let it go through Upwork, potentially have his account (plus the agency account in case the transactions were through the agency) suspended temporarily, lose a chunk of his JSS for a lost dispute and potentially get sued.

 

I know which way I would go. I'd take a deep breath and come to an agreement with the client

Hi Petra,

 

Thanks for reply.

 

Please . . the scenario is -

 

I did all his assignments what he assigned me. I spent times for him, all times have been logged using Upwork time tracker software.

 

I did not ever think that I should refund him. But as the client wanted the refund and I always tried to make the client happy, I just tried that.

 

I did not say him that I would give him the money back, rather I said that I should be able (not surely). I gave him condition that he would hold giving Upwork feedback for the job. But he gave me very bad feedback, which is my very first of my all other jobs. (So I think, as he failed to fulfill the condition, I am not any more bound to refund him at all.)

 

Please . . I am a victim. Please see my other clients' feedbacks - around 45 jobs with all 5 stars, long time relations with my other clients. Also please see his (this client's) behavior with other freelancers and feedbacks from freelancers, may be he behaved bad with other freelancers as well.

 

Please let me know how I can provide more information.

 

Thanks.

This is getting worse by the minute ... Bartering a refund for feedback is a very serious policy violation, and the client can prove that you did that. You just proved that you did that in that screenshot.

 

It looks like the client can also prove that you offered a refund.

 

Essentially, depending on what the client does, you will be refunding either way. Voluntarily or get your account will get suspended and the refund forced.

 

You are further breaching more rules by naming the client and publishing private communication between the client and you on the Internet.

 

I would suggest that you edit your posts, remove the client's name (we can figure it out ourselves) and the screenshot to the email conversation.

 

But if the client knows his way around the system you will likely be refunding one way or the other, voluntarily (least damage to yourself) or via Upwork forcing you because of the offer of a refund and the attempt to deal a refund for good feedback which is absolutely forbidden or (least likely but possible) through legal proceedings.

 

 

Hello Petra,

 

Yes, I know, I am not very smart . . and I just said honestly what happened between us. Sorry and thank you for your suggestions!!

 

Actually the client offered me about the refund first. He said me to refund him. If I won't, he would give me very bad feedback with 1 star rating. So if I want to avoid this bad feedback, I have to refund. After that I just sent him this email, not I offered first.

 

Please let me know what I can do or provide more.

 

Thank you.

 

Kind regards,
Arif

Hi Sebastian,

 

Thanks for reply!

 

Please . . the scenario is -

 

I did all his assignments what he assigned me. I spent times for him, all times have been logged using Upwork time tracker software.

 

I did not ever think that I should refund him. But as the client wanted the refund and I always tried to make the client happy, I just tried that.

 

I did not say him that I would give him the money back, rather I said that I should be able (not surely). I gave him condition that he would hold giving Upwork feedback for the job. But he gave me very bad feedback, which is my very first of my all other jobs. (So I think, as he failed to fulfill the condition, I am not any more bound to refund him at all.)

 

Please . . I am a victim. Please see my other clients' feedbacks - around 45 jobs with all 5 stars, long time relations with my other clients. Also please see his (this client's) behavior with other freelancers and feedbacks from freelancers, may be he behaved bad with other freelancers as well.

 

Please let me know how I can provide more information.

 

Thanks.

Hello Md,

 

you are better off listening to Petra on this. That email is not in favor of you.

 

I know that getting threats to be taken to the court or getting banned can put a lot pressure on a freelancer and that leads to giving in to all kinds of claims, but this might be too late to do anything about it.

Your client is angry and made a bunch of stupid empty threats. Your client can't get the CEO of Upwork to intervene in this on his behalf, and your client is not going to take you to court.

 

Your client is just like any other client on Upwork. He can work with you, or he can work with Customer Support.

 

That does not mean you are free and clear, though, because customer support can shut you down completely, so they actually have more power here to have an effect on your Upwork account than any Bangladeshi court.

 

What you need to worry about is not Upwork's CEO or the courts in your country, but your own history with your client and what Upwork customer support decides to do with the two of you.


@Sebastian N wrote:

1) If it is that client that left you the 1 star feedback, he is in no way powerful.

2)He spent 10k on Upwork? That's what an average developer earns in a month in the US.

 

3) He won't even be able to talk to the CEO directly,

4) his messages are full empty claims.


 1) He is. If he can prove an offer of a refund he is very powerful indeed.

2) He spent between 10k and 50k, and it's not that relevant. What is relevant is what he can prove.

3) He may be able to, but he doesn't need to.

4) I don't think so. The only part that is potentially an empty threat is the lawsuit. But he doesn't have to go down that route with the evidence he holds, and could go don that route if he wanted to. He can hire a local lawyer and sue the OP without ever setting a foot into the country. Taking into account what the OP has shared the client won't have to do this though, the OP is in deep trouble and the only way out of it at this late stage is to come to some agreement with the client before it's being taken out of his hands completely.

 

Furthermore, the feedback manipulation issue could really break the OP's neck in more ways than one. Firstly it is strictly forbidden to exchange feedback for a refund. Then I see a fairly devious attempt to avoid the client being able to leave any feedback at all by saying "I close the contract, refund you over 2-4 weeks, and you can leave feedback after the refund" knowing fully well that the client will be unable to leave any feedback at all once 14 days from the close of the contract have passed.

 

Md. Arif, I don't know what you can do at this point to avoid some serious negative consequences, whether it is losing money or having a bad review, or having some kind of action taken against your account. The bad review is already there. The only surefire way to get rid of that review is to issue a complete refund. But that is a lot of money, and I can easily see why you don't like that option.

 

This client clearly feels like the victim, and you clearly feel the same.

 

This is completely uncharacteristic of what we see throughout the rest set of your work history. Unless you were doing something to manipulate your history, it looks like you have a stellar record of pleasing clients.

 

If we could roll things back a few days or weeks, I would say that your best bet is to work out a deal with the client. I don't know if that is possible any longer, but maybe you need to ask... Is there anything at all in all the work that you did that he likes and wants to pay for?

 

If he is able to use some of the work, he could pay for that amount, and get a refund for the portion that he can't use.

 

But now it may be too late for that.

 

Obviously the ideal thing would have been for the communication to be in place that would have allowed you to avoid doing a lot of work that he didn't want to use or pay for.

 

Unfortunately, this thread may serve as more of a warning and an education for others, rather than as a way for you learn how you can come out of this mess unscathed.

Hello Petra, Preston and Sebastian,

 

Yes, I know, I can fall into trap of law, I don't have any idea about law and how it works. But what I know is, what happend between he and me.

 

The scenerio in simple words is - 

 

1. I did all his tasks according to his instrucations. I joined his team which was already setup. 

2. In the middle of project, he asked me that if the technology we were using was a good choice. Choosing the technology was not in my responsibility though, I just joined a running team.

3. I said that most popular app like this use native technology, not this one. But not imposible by this technology.

4. After that he totally stopped the project and asked me to refund. He said that, if I do not, he whould give me very bad feedback with 1 star rating.

5. So to save me from this bad feedback, I just let him know that I should be able to refund if he hold giving the feedback. Please I did not offer him but I put a condition to save me.

 

Please let me know if can do anyting more or provide more informations.

 

Thanks.

Hi Petra, while I see your point with Rating -> Refund trading you seem to ignore completely Md's  situation.

 

If he worked his hours and tracked everything through team app following client's instructions, the money is his.

 

Even if Md hasn't delivered what they discussed previously, or underdelivered due to some circumstances, it is client's fault that he let him track to $3,2k  point without any control over what is going on with the job.

 

If any client can ask for refund or 1 star rating by just starting conversation about it with freelancer, I can't see  what kind of protection Upwork provides for workers here.

 

Given that 3,2k is a substantial amount of money for freelance work I would assume that Md has made a lot of work (given his rate it is close to 100 hours) before refund request from the client. 

 

I would stick with his feedback and leave money for yourself.  If upwork starts any process just share all your message history with client support and they will solve this one way or another.

 

 

PS Please keep posting on the situation.


@Ivan K wrote:

1)Hi Petra, while I see your point with Rating -> Refund trading you seem to ignore completely Md's  situation.

 

2) If he worked his hours and tracked everything through team app following client's instructions, the money is his.

 


 1) I am not ignoring his situation at all. The main problem is that he has promised a refund and has put that in writing and confirmed it right in his response to the feedback. That is all the client needs to prove at this stage.

 

2) Had he never promised a refund the money would indeed be his to keep as far as Upwork are concerned. The hours were tracked and not disputed, end of story.

 

However, the fact that he provably agreed to make a refund and then made his situation worse by the whole feedback bartering trick means that if and when this goes to Upwork's dispute team or a court his chances are very poor indeed.

You said the client threatened to give you bad review if you did not refund his money.

 

He already gave you a bad review and you already decided to not refund his money.

 

So aren't we talking about things that already happened?

 

That review doesn't look great on your profile, but it will be balanced out by quite a large body of highly-praised work. Your job success score might take a bit of a hit, but even if that is the case, it won't be a huge drop. And there's nothing you can do about it anyway. Refunding the money won't increase your job success score.

 

If it is possible to work out a deal with the client that would leave him satisfied by him paying for some of the work, and you refunding some of it, then that is what I would recommend.

 

But if he is not communicating with you, then what can you do?

 

It seems to me that most of your options are gone and the optimal window for communicating with the client and resolving differences amicably is now past.

 

You may be asking us for advice when there is literally nothing you can do other than to focus on the other projects you have right now and make sure you do a great job on them. That way, when those projects are closed, the top-most projects listed on your profile will feature highly positive feedback.

 

I'm not really seeing any way that an appeal to customer support will help you. What would you want them to do? You've already been paid for work that a client was very unsatisfied with. What exactly would you like them or anybody else to do for you at this point?

 

You have asked again for advice. Maybe we have nothing more we can suggest.

 

Maybe you should tell us what you think your options are.

Hello Preston,

 

Thanks for your suggestions.

 

Yes, I have paid for the job and the contract has been ended with very bad feedback. But still now the client is continuing giving me threats. He is saying that if I don't refund him, he will banned me by contacting CEO of Upwork and will take action against me going to court. 

 

Also please, as he already gave me very bad feedback (Which is my very first in my long Upwork/oDesk/Elance life. I am a victim. If you consider that all other 45 jobs are of all 5 stars), is there any way to hide it or something like that, so that my Upwork profile looks like as it was before?

 

Thanks.

 

 


@Md. A wrote:

 

 

Also please, as he already gave me very bad feedback (Which is my very first in my long Upwork/oDesk/Elance life. I am a victim. If you consider that all other 45 jobs are of all 5 stars), is there any way to hide it or something like that, so that my Upwork profile looks like as it was before?

 

Thanks.


 

After seeing that mail where you asked for a good feedback, I'm not sure anymore if you should refer to the good feedback of your other jobs.

 

The bottom line is (again) that you did offer a refund.

 

Work it out with the client, if at all possible.

 

If the client goes to Upwork and shares the full communication and can prove that you offered a refund, you will most likely be refunding, either voluntarily, or be forced to by your account being suspended until you do.

 

"is there any way to hide it or something like that, so that my Upwork profile looks like as it was before?"

 

Yes there are 2 ways: 1) by issuing a full refund or 2)by convincing the client to change his feedback.

 

 

Md. A.:

 

Is there a way to hide the bad feedback?

 

Yes, actually there is.

 

It is this: refund the full amount that you were paid. That will the bad feedback from your profile, and it will do nothing to help improve your Job Success Score.

 

But you already decided to not do that, so you have one bad feedback and the rest of your jobs show good feedback. That's what you're stuck with. Customer Support isn't going to change that for you. Neither myself, Petra nor Sebastian can change that, either.

 

There is a one-time-use button that will allow you to allow the client to change the rating, but there is little reason to think that the client will give you better feedback if you allow him the option. At this point, he would probably say even worse things about you.

 

The client said he will contact the CEO of Upwork and take you to court if you don't refund his money.

 

You already decided to not refund his money, so that narrows our range of options, doesn't it?

 

If I'm being completely honest with you, the only reason why those of us who replied to this thread are trying to help you is because you are the one who posted a message here in the Community Forum.

 

If your client posted a message here, we would just as likely be trying to help him figure out what to do about you. Remember, he is also claiming to be the victim.

 

I will tell you what I would do if I was in your situation...

 

First of all, I would never, in any way, acknowledge anything he says about contacting the CEO of Upwork or about threatening to take you to court. He is saying these things because he is trying to gain power over you. Don't give him that power. Just pretend those statements don't exist.

 

If he is actually going to do those things, he is going to do them whether or not you ignore him (depriving him of power) or whether you acknowledge those threats (granting him power). You would be granting him power over you if you acknowledged his threats by saying something like: "Oh, please sir, anything but that! I can't sleep at night for fear that you will talk to your best buddy, the grand CEO of Upwork, during one of your weekly golf games! Please, I'll do anything!"

 

What do you have to gain by acknowledging his threats? Nothing.

 

IF you are communicating with him in any way, and IF you are willing to refund some of the payment, you could talk to him about which portion of your work he would like to use and pay for, and you could refund money for the amount he isn't using.


But it sounds to me like you don't want to refund him any money, and it sounds to me like he claims he doesn't want to use any of the work that you did. So I don't see a whole lot of room for any kind of amicable settlement.

 

So your main options seem to be:

- refund the full amount; you lose ALL the money; but all the problems go away

 

- figure out how to arrive at a settlement with the client in which you refund some of the money and he agrees to never contact you again and forget the whole matter; whether or not this is even possible at this point is something I can't answer. It is unlikely that any permutation of this option leads to a change in the already-posted bad review.

 

- refund none of the money and do your best to ignore him; block him from contacting you; let the chips fall where they may; assume that the client is doing everything he can against you anyway, and that anything he could have done to carry out his threats, he has already done, mostly without success, or will do, regardless of what you do.

 

Mathematically speaking, those are your three main options.

If I were the OP, I would try to take a real honest and as objective as possible look at the situation with all its turns and events and ask myself if I deserve the money or not. If it comes to a yes, I would try to mentally/emotionally walk away from this client situation and try to focus on what I would normally focus on. I'd leave the feedback as it is, swallow it and move on. If the client wants to take any action, I'd let him spend time and energy and resources, but would only act upon them if I absolutely have to (e.g. if prompted to make a statement to Upwork).

TOP SOLUTION AUTHORS
TOP KUDOED MEMBERS