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Client is forcing me to give refund

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
11 of 34

@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.

 

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
12 of 34

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.

arifuzzamanmd
Active Member
Md. A Member Since: Apr 10, 2015
13 of 34

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.

ivan-klimovich
Active Member
Ivan K Member Since: Nov 7, 2014
14 of 34

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.

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
15 of 34

@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.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
16 of 34

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.

arifuzzamanmd
Active Member
Md. A Member Since: Apr 10, 2015
17 of 34

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.

snette
Community Leader
Sebastian N Member Since: Sep 22, 2015
18 of 34

 

 


@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.

 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
19 of 34

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.

 

 

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
20 of 34

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.

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