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riz80
Community Member

Client is not releasing funds.

Hi All,

I have a situation ever first time in the history of my freelancing. I have been hired by a client for 10 tax returns. I have prepared the returns and showed him before filing. He was all happy and said the tax amounts are looking exactly what he was expecting.

 

Once I have filed all the returns and sent him a request for release of funds, he is never happy paying me but rather delaying my payment tactically. Asking me to do what was not agreed in the project and pushing me and blaming me on the stuff he was doing himeself. Like he made payments from his bank to the tax authorities and delaying me that department has deducted more amounts from his bank and he will release my payment once this is back to his account. 

Then again started asking me to get his surcharges removed from his account and he will pay me after that. This was not agreed BEFORE he hired me and everything is in our chat discussion.

I have started a dispute against him for the payment and now he is asking the money from Escrow refunded to him as he believes that the work was not completed. In case, I dont refund him 100% , Upwork will block my account.

Is there someone who had gone from such situation and able to advise what is my rights and what I can do to be paid? Client is in the belief that he can do the same task in a few minutes and i am charging him higher and as the surcharges are not removed from his account, he thinks the project is not complete so need his money back.

I am looking for comments and advice from all community members.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

you think I can withdraw fund leaving $291 in my Upwork account (Arbitration fee in case thats needed) or should I wait with that as well?


How would you pay the client if you were to lose arbitration or if Upwork decide the funds should not have been released? Usually funds in escrow are frozen once a dispute starts.

 

I've now said "Don't do anything" a number of times. If you want to withdraw that money, withdraw it, but personally I would wait! 

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28 REPLIES 28
petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

I have started a dispute against him for the payment and now he is asking the money from Escrow refunded to him as he believes that the work was not completed. In case, I dont refund him 100% , Upwork will block my account.


Where did you get that idea from? This is not how disputes work.

riz80
Community Member

Dear Petra,


Thanks for the reply. 
 What is my option when I have completed my work and requesting funds released from Escrow but client says they think the work is not complete. The incomplete task is something we have not agreed before they hired me but during discussion after the hiring process was complete.

I am a bit comfused and a bit more pressed due to this case and in panic as well. I have been in the market since more than a decade but my knowledge about disputes is quite limited as this is once in a blue moon with me to get along any such client.

 

prestonhunter
Community Member

Rizwan, I am very sorry about what you are going through.

This client is behaving unprofessionally, unethically and immorally.

 

I know that YOU would never treat another person in such a way.

 

I hope everything works out for you.

Thanks for your reply and wishes Preston. I am really feeling disrespcted once they said they can do it in a few minutes themselves.

Stand firm. I can assure you that they need you a lot more than you need them.

 

Of course you must always be polite, professional, and respectful.

 

But that doesn't mean you must work for free and do things that were not part of the contract.

Thanks Preston.

I am just wondering whats next? They are saying they think the work is not complete and I am requesting funds as from my side its all done.

I have offered a resolution asking them to pay me 80% now and hold the remaining 20% till the other task is updated which was not even my project to do.

My question is..if they dont agree on this resolution and still keep asking money refunded from Escrow, what option do I have then?

We have gone through the mediation and mediation advised me that client needs money back as they think work is not complete.


Rizwan M wrote:


We have gone through the mediation and mediation advised me that client needs money back as they think work is not complete.


Are you sure that this is what the mediator said to you? Mediators don't take sides or threaten to ban your account; they are only supposed to help you and the client come to an agreement. But if you think that an agreement is impossible at this stage, then the next step is for you and the client to pay $291 each in order to go to arbitration. 

Mediation said the client needs money back as they think the work was not complete.

My question is that client believes the work is not complete and I am saying the work is complete and I have offered them a resolution as well.

What is they dont agree on the resolution? Why should I return them 100% money while I have worked what they have agreed with me.

What you mean is that I have to pay $291 out of pocket to get to the arbitration? Which means if I get the whole amount from client, I will still be losing $291 and if client loses he will be paying an extra $291 in addition to the funds they have to give me. Is this what it means?




wrote:

What you mean is that I have to pay $291 out of pocket to get to the arbitration? Which means if I get the whole amount from client, I will still be losing $291 and if client loses he will be paying an extra $291 in addition to the funds they have to give me. Is this what it means?


If it were me, and I was sure that I had completed everything fully and correctly, then I would pay the $291. It's possible that if you do this, the client will simply give up, instead of paying $291 and running the risk of losing his money plus his arbitration fee; if he does, you'll get your $291 back plus the money in escrow. But there's also a possibility that the client is certain that he's right and he does want to pay for arbitration, in which case yes, you'll both lose your $291 fee no matter who wins the case.

 


@riz80 wrote:

Mediation said the client needs money back as they think the work was not complete.


That means that the client thinks your work was not complete; it's not the mediator's personal opinion and it doesn't mean that the mediator agrees with the client. They are not allowed to take sides, that's why you have to pay for arbitration if you can't come to an agreement with the client.

Dear Christine,


Thanks for your reply.

I suppose it will be a better decision to go to Arbitration if he does not agree on my resolution or come up with an acceptable resolution for me. He has no solid grounds but only to say that he was misguided and being charged higher etc. He even said that I insisted him to create a single milestone for 10 tax returns rather than 1 for each but again, no proof for that as I never insisted him and even if I insisted, I know how to charge my clients so his ground does not seem sensible.

Yes, its client who believes that work is not completed and its not the mediation. Mediation only said that client says work is not complete and so he wants his money back.

I have solid grounds that I have done what we have agreed before he hired me. Whatever I was doing After the hiring was merely in a good faith and NOT really to cover the costs he is paying. I believe arbitration will take it in consideration that its always BEFORE the hiring what we agreed to do in a specific price. If client starts making clues once the work is done and payment request is sent, I dont think this should be acceptable.

I have given him an option to pay me 80% and hold the 20% for the remaining task (Again, this was something we have not agreed for the project but I am still doing it). I am waiting for his response and will keep you posted whatever is going. 

Thanks for your previous advice and your time to read and reply my messages.

riz80
Community Member

Hi Christine,

 

 

I hope you are good. 

 

My situation with this dispute is changed now. 

 

We have not reached to a resolution in Mediation and I have asked client to come to Arbitration. The client stopped responding since then and funds are auto released from Escrow being 14 days of submission of milestone. 

 

Technically speaking my issue is resolved. 

 

what do you suggest me now? I think I can withdraw the dispute. Do you think yes ? 

 

If I withdraw my dispute, what are pros and cons for me? 

 

 

Best Regards,

Rizwan

petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

We have not reached to a resolution in Mediation and I have asked client to come to Arbitration. The client stopped responding since then and funds are auto released from Escrow being 14 days of submission of milestone. 


Have the funds already been released? The "14 days from submission" deadline actually stops while a dispute is mediated.

 

Do not close or withdraw the dispute. Do absolutely nothing unless you asked to. Wait. If the client stays unresponsive, the dispute will eventually close in your favour.

riz80
Community Member

 
riz80
Community Member

I was also in the same thought that funds will not be released but these have been released after 14 days. (Auto released by Upwork) . 

 

I have another question. I think if he goes to Arbitration, I will also ask him to pay me for my time replying his long emails during mediation+the arbitration fee. What do you think? 

 

 

Also, should I close the job or leave it open? 

 

 

 

petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

I have another question. I think if he goes to Arbitration, I will also ask him to pay me for my time replying his long emails during mediation+the arbitration fee. What do you think? 


If you go to arbitration, only the funds from the contract are decided, not "time replying" or the arbitration fee. You'd have to take him to court privately, at your own cost, which obviously only works if you are in the same jurisdiction.


Don't withdraw those funds until the dispute is officially over

 

I think you should leave the contract alone and do absolutely nothing that could prompt the client to reappear.

riz80
Community Member

Right. Makes sense. 

 

I am not doing anything but Upwork is reaching him to pay Arbitration fee. Deadline for that is 5th April. I have asked Upwork to deduct the Arbitration fee from my Available balance but my available balance will include a part of the payment released from the same contract as I have lesser balance in my Upwork account. 

petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

I am not doing anything but Upwork is reaching him to pay Arbitration fee. Deadline for that is 5th April.  


OK, well, if the client does not pay by the end of the 5th, you should win the dispute. It would be insane to close the dispute, because then the client wins by default.

riz80
Community Member

I suppose as it was me who filed adispute against him and I have no concerns now as the milestone is already paid so I can close the dispute. 

 

If it was client who started dispute, I should not able to ask close of dispute as then it was on his discretion.

petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

I suppose as it was me who filed adispute against him and I have no concerns now as the milestone is already paid so I can close the dispute. 


No, you can't. If you close the dispute, the other side wins. Upwork will take the money from you. Once there is a dispute, who disputed does not matter. 

 

Please. Just. Wait.

riz80
Community Member

Hi All,


Its 5th April today and it was deadline to pay Arbitration fee. Mediation told me that I will know once the client has paid the Arbitration fee.


As of now, neither I have heard from anyone stating that client has paid Arbitration fee and nor Upwork deducted it from my Upwork balance. 

Does it mean that client has not paid the Arbirtation fee and his Upwork account must be blocked? Should I able to withdraw funds from my Upwork balance now?

And how does it work now? I suppose client can still ask to get his money returned? Or he will not have this option now due to failure of paying Arbitration fee?


Best Regards,
Rizwan


petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:


As of now, neither I have heard from anyone stating that client has paid Arbitration fee and nor Upwork deducted it from my Upwork balance. 


It's still the 5th. It's also Easter and a holiday in lots of countries. Be patient.

 


Rizwan M wrote:

Does it mean that client has not paid the Arbirtation fee and his Upwork account must be blocked? Should I able to withdraw funds from my Upwork balance now?


No, it means you haven't heard anything and it is Easter and the 5th isn't anywhere near over yet. The client's account also wouldn't be blocked for not paying the arbitration fee, What on earth gave you that idea.  Do not do ANYTHING until you have been officially told the dispute is closed.

 


Rizwan M wrote:

And how does it work now? I suppose client can still ask to get his money returned? 


*IF* the client does not pay the arbitration fee by the deadline (which is usually a "within x business days" rather than a date, as such) and the mediator isn't giving the client more time (because of Easter, for example), the dispute is over. You get to keep your money, the client can "ask" for money back, but not do anything to force any money back.

riz80
Community Member

"In the event that one party pays for arbitration and the other does not, we may suspend the Upwork account of the party that does not pay. "

This is what Arbitration said. 

And I have just seen my tickets in the dispute. Client is asking how the Escrow can be auto released once the process is in dispute. Have no reply on this from Mediation as yet.

"If you wish to proceed with arbitration, you must pay your portion of the arbitration fee (this initiates the arbitration process) by April 5, 2021." This is what Mediation said about deadline. Nothing mentioned of public holidays or something. This was sent on Friday 02nd April so I suppose everyone was aware of the holidays so they are not taking public holidays as a grace period.



Client is asking for 50% concession and I have just cleared him my point of view that I am already in loss with your project so this is not acceptable. He is again mentioning that I should have some concession and I have mentioned that you only held my payment to enjoy some concessions from me as you believe this is too expensive. As you believe this is too expensive you should have checked the market before hiring me. This is absolutely my skills. Someone may be doing the same work in $5 for what I do ask $100. No one can stop me and no one can stop you hiring someone at $5.

petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

"In the event that one party pays for arbitration and the other does not, we may suspend the Upwork account of the party that does not pay. ".


It says "may" and that's only in cases where funds have to be secured. In practice, the client would never be suspended because the client's money is already in escrow or with the freelancer. Freelancers would be suspended if the money the client wants back is already released to or withdrawn by them.

 


Rizwan M wrote:

"If you wish to proceed with arbitration, you must pay your portion of the arbitration fee (this initiates the arbitration process) by April 5, 2021." .


Have you paid for arbitration? Also (again) the 5th is not over and Upwork usually give extra time for holidays and weekends etc.

 

Just wait until the mediator gets back to you. Don't do anything, don't communicate with the client, don't. do. anything. at. all!

riz80
Community Member

ok. I am not sending the reply in dispute ticket replying client and will wait for mediation to reach me. I agree with your statement that lets mediation gets back on his question that how the Escrow was released once the resolution was not reached.

Lets wait and watch what happens. I will not reply to client but only to Mediation.

Do you think I can withdraw fund leaving $291 in my Upwork account (Arbitration fee in case thats needed) or should I wait with that as well?


Thanks for your all help so far. You are really helpful and have good understanding of the process. I really appreciate this.

petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan M wrote:

you think I can withdraw fund leaving $291 in my Upwork account (Arbitration fee in case thats needed) or should I wait with that as well?


How would you pay the client if you were to lose arbitration or if Upwork decide the funds should not have been released? Usually funds in escrow are frozen once a dispute starts.

 

I've now said "Don't do anything" a number of times. If you want to withdraw that money, withdraw it, but personally I would wait! 

riz80
Community Member

Hi All,

This ticket is closed today. I have offered client a concession of $170 which Mediation team asked me to refund and they have communicated to client that this ticket is being closed as client did not pay Arbitration fee. He was asking for $200 though which I have declined. 

I have saved Arbitration fee of $291. Even if I were paying Arbitration fee and winning the case, I would be losing $291 so I had planned to offer him $170 which was ultimately accepted. 

I have closed the job and had also left feedback for him to make sure all future professionals can work with peace of mind with such clients. I had smelled that his main issue was to get some concession and thats all. I knew I will win the case if this goes to Arbitration but I had to lose $291 in that case. 

Mediation said they will terminate the job. What does it mean? Does it mean that they will close the ticket or it means something else?

In the end, I am very much thankful to all of you as this was my ever first experience going to such mediation and I have learned a lot from your precious advices.



Rizwan

petra_r
Community Member


Rizwan wrote:

I have saved Arbitration fee of $291.

 

I don't think you saved $291. A client who goes that far over $200 will NOT spend $291...


Had you paid the arbitration fee, the client would not have done, you'd have gotten your arbitration fee back and that would have been the end.


That said, at least the whole thing is now over!

 


Mediation said they will terminate the job. What does it mean? Does it mean that they will close the ticket or it means something else?

They will close the contract.

riz80
Community Member

You are right Peter. But I am just seeing the other side. If in case, he would had paid the Arbitration, I would be losing at least $291. He was asking for $500 back so I thought he may go to Arbitration. 

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