Reply
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Client requests an Escrow Refund

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
11 of 29

Thanks for jumping in with your own experience, Jennifer M.

 

Touch wood, after 259 projects I have had only three disputes, two of which I "won" outright and one of which we agreed to split the difference involving a small amount of money at stake. None went to arbitration. 

 

My dirth of disputes may be partly due to the fact I very rarely do fixed rate projects and disputes under hourly contracts appear to be more cut-and-dried with less judgment needed from an Upwork mediator.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
12 of 29

Will L wrote:

Thanks for jumping in with your own experience, Jennifer M.

 

Touch wood, after 259 projects I have had only three disputes, two of which I "won" outright and one of which we agreed to split the difference involving a small amount of money at stake. None went to arbitration. 

 

My dirth of disputes may be partly due to the fact I very rarely do fixed rate projects and disputes under hourly contracts appear to be more cut-and-dried with less judgment needed from an Upwork mediator.


I might be jinxing myself, but I have never had someone dispute my hours. Not that it would matter since I use Tracker, but still you have to go through the hassle of someone analyzing your work diary. 

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
13 of 29

The only time I remember my TimeTracker-tracked hours being disputed was when a client's credit card stopped working and Upwork reviewed my hours to see if they could claw back some payments Upwork had made to me that would not be funded by the client.

 

The resulting (relatively small) "disputed" amount of some of the time I had booked on the project was taken out of my account without warning and I was subsequently told by Upwork that no detailed accounting of the "disputed" work time would be provided to me, In other words, there really was no "dispute" - Upwork made its decision and that was that.

 

Oddly, the client subsequently replaced the credit card with an approved new method of payment but Upwork never charged that new method for the "disputed" time booked that the client never disputed. 

 

(S)he who has the gold makes the rules.

 

 

researchediting
Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
14 of 29

Will L wrote:

 

My dirth of disputes may be partly due to the fact I very rarely do fixed rate projects and disputes under hourly contracts appear to be more cut-and-dried with less judgment needed from an Upwork mediator.


Upwork mediators are never required to exercise "judgment" about the substance of a dispute; as employees and representatives of an escrow agent, they are legally prohibited from judging anything beyond the narrow scope of verifying that both buyer and seller have agreed that the terms of escrow have been met. 

[edited for clarity:] Your earlier reference to the "Upwork mediator or arbitrator" is, perhaps inadvertently, misleading. Upwork has no arbitrators, nor can it. Arbitration is provided by a third-party service, which is why it costs money, a third of which is fronted by Upwork.

gilbert-phyllis
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
15 of 29

Will L wrote:

Thanks for jumping in with your own experience, Jennifer M.

 

Touch wood, after 259 projects I have had only three disputes, two of which I "won" outright and one of which we agreed to split the difference involving a small amount of money at stake. None went to arbitration. 

 

My dirth of disputes may be partly due to the fact I very rarely do fixed rate projects and disputes under hourly contracts appear to be more cut-and-dried with less judgment needed from an Upwork mediator.


This is why it puzzles me so that you seem to feel so comfortable advising other FLs who encounter disputes and potential disputes on fixed-rate projects. Your understanding that UW mediators deploy judgement in these matters is ample evidence that you are not familiar with the process. 

 

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
16 of 29

Sorry if anything I said is puzzling for you, Phyllis.

 

That was not my intention.

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
17 of 29

And, Petra, you will have no doubt noticed Upwork's own description of the escrow refund process...

 

https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211062058-Get-an-Escrow-Refund

 

...begins with, "If you are ending a fixed-price contract and there are remaining funds in escrow that are no longer required for the project..."

 

It is a lot easier for a client to claim escrowed funds "are no longer required" if the freelancer has not requested their release due to the agreed work product being formally submitted to the client.

 

Freelancers should sometimes submit work via the "Submit" button once a miltestone's work is substantially complete, noting to the client what minor elements remain to be completed. If a freelancer submits a completed milestone without using the "Submit" button, I expect (but have no way to know in every case) it will be easier for the client to close the project and successfully request a refund of amounts still in escrow.

 

 

 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
18 of 29

Will L wrote:

And, Petra, you will have no doubt noticed Upwork's own description of the escrow refund process


I am familiar with it.

 


Will L wrote:

It is a lot easier for a client to claim escrowed funds "are no longer required" if the freelancer has not requested their release due to the agreed work product being formally submitted to the client.


As Upwork mediation doesn't decide the dispute, it makes no difference. 

 

As for the idea of requesting payment without the milestone being done in full, maybe that works for you, I would never request payment for work that isn't complete because it gives the client a surefire reason to click on "Request Changes" and would look very odd in a dispute or arbitration. The "request funds" function is there to hand over everything for that milestone in order to get paid in full for that milestone.

 


Will L wrote:

I expect (but have no way to know in every case) it will be easier for the client to close the project and successfully request a refund of amounts still in escrow.


It wouldn't. Any dispute (and arbitration, should it come to that) would focus on whether the work was done according to spec or not.

A client's ability to request a return of escrow funds successfully is always dependant on the freelancer agreeing to the request (or ignoring it.) If the freelancer denies the request, the dispute process is the same.

 

Coming back to Victoria's case, it would have been the client who closed the (indisputably closed) contract, as there would not be a request for the return of the escrow funds had Victoria closed it (when the freelancer closes a contract, any funds left in escrow are automatically sent back to the client. No request to return them is generated)

 

So we're back to the question of whether she feels she is owed the $ 60 or not, which will determine what she should do next. That's really all that matters.



wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
19 of 29

Each freelancer must decide on how they will approach some of those issues, so opinions will no doubt vary without more guidance from Upwork on how its policies are applied.

 

I think it is easier for a client to claim escrowed funds are no longer needed when the freelancer has not formally submitted work under the milestone related to those funds, but there are no doubt other considerations the Upwork mediator or abitrator could take into account.

 

Now, as one of the board's experts on Upwork's policies, how is a dispute resolved if the client and/or the freelancer do not agree to the Upwork mediator's recommended resolution and neither client nor freelancer agrees to pay for arbitration?

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
20 of 29

Victoria T.

 

Have you formally submitted work to request release of the remaining $60 in escrow to you?

 

Have you or the client subsequently closed the project?

 

TOP KUDOED MEMBERS