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Client trying to extort 60% of fixed contract value

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Ace Contributor
Darren w Member Since: Sep 20, 2015
1 of 9

A warning to freelancers, some people are just out to rip you off!

 

Over the past week, I've had one of the worst experiences with a client in my near 18-year freelance career.

 

To begin with, the clients brief was awful, (I should have read it before accepting the job,) however, beforehand our conversations had been clear and concise. So, I had no concerns, my bad, I know!

 

The agreement was for me to write a 2,500-word article, and create a pivot table, it too required about 2,500-words. I asked questions of the brief, but the responses made my spidey senses tingle, it was as if I was now talking to someone for whom English was not their first language. 

 

So, I extrapolated what I could and did the work, assuming that I was in for trouble, which I was.

 

Although the Pivot table met his/her needs, the article did not, so I agreed to produce an almost entirely different 2nd version, so another 2,500-words. This time, after a few days of questioning, I thought I had nailed down the requirements; however, the client came back with insults and other ridiculous accusations, so I suggested the following.

 

1) He refuses to accept the milestone that I had submitted 10-days earlier, although I would challenge it.

 

2) He refuses to accept the milestone, agrees not to publish my work, and receives a refund as I would not be transferring the ownership /copyright.

 

Instead, he/she decided to request a refund for 64% of the contract value, which I have refused. However, somehow when doing so he set up another milestone and released it for the remaining 36%, how is that possible? 

It also looks like he/she has been issued the refund amount, or it is still in escrow, it's not showing?

 

I feel I've made a huge mistake dealing with this client; however, they do happen and I will learn. Although, he/she, I believe has sought to game the system since day one.

 

He/she is now trying to walk away with my work for a cut down price!

 

Your thoughts, please ...

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Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
2 of 9

You might as well dispute as you don't have much to lose. At some point, the credibility of the platform will suffer enough that they have to do something about these types of clients but I'm not seeing that happen yet.

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 9

When you dispute (I assume you disputed when you said you refused the refund request), the money is removed from the "Review" section of your reports. I assume if a dispute goes in for anything in "Pending," the same thing happens although I haven't been through a dispute with funds already released on Upwork. If it's anything like Elance, then funds are removed until the dispute is settled.

 

It sounds like he released 36% (what a weird number choice) and requested a refund of the rest, which you've refused, so it goes into mediation. Mediators can't make a decision, so the best thing to do is either

A) Decide what amount you'll settle for   OR

B) Say you want all of it or you want arbitration. If you pay arbitration and the client doesn't, you get the full amount plus arbitration fee back.

 

I usually go digging into who the client is to decide which one I'll do. If they ain't got no money, go for B.

 

eta: oh, is this the guy ?  https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Clients-brief-document-is-written-in-broken-English-and/...

 

Cuz if so, I'd go for B.

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Ace Contributor
Darren w Member Since: Sep 20, 2015
4 of 9

Thanks, for your advice, Jennifer, I will see how it goes and apply "B" if I have to.

 

As for what has happened since; the client and I have both left negative feedback. Although his/hers is dishonest (I'm going to use the Top Rated Perk,) and showing on my profile, while mine isn't on his/her recent history.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
5 of 9

I hope you have the $ to take this to arbitration, if Upwork's mediator can't help you resolve it.

 

Please come back and let us know how this is finally resolved, including whether your feedback for the client shows up on their profile if you do invoke your Top Rated perk to remove their feedback from your JSS calculation. We have been told on this board that use of that perk does not delete the freelancer's feedback for the client.

 

Good luck.

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 9

Will L wrote:

I hope you have the $ to take this to arbitration, if Upwork's mediator can't help you resolve it.

 

Please come back and let us know how this is finally resolved, including whether your feedback for the client shows up on their profile if you do invoke your Top Rated perk to remove their feedback from your JSS calculation. We have been told on this board that use of that perk does not delete the freelancer's feedback for the client.

 

Good luck.


Arbitration is only worth it if you can get a significant portion back. It's not worth the 4-8 weeks of dragging things out if, for instance, you only get like $50 if you win it all. It's better to settle if you can get more out of the client than arbitration or you get more to get rid of the headache. Arbitration is a very very longgggg process.  Remember, you're already out $300 if you go into arbitration.

 

And again like I've said a million times and what a mediator will tell you 100 times during the process, they can't make a decision. They only help mediate a settlement. That settlement could be the full amount or an agreed amount.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 9

Yes, of course the amount of money involved is a part of the decision whether to go to arbitration. That goes without saying, or at least it should.

 

In at least one recent case a freelancer claimed, "The dispute specialist of upwork just recently awarded the USD 100 in my favor."

 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/The-client-is-harassing-and-bullying-me-online/td-p/5703...

 

So, I don't believe it's true that Upwork's mediators can't make any decisions that resolve certain types of problems between freelancers and clients.

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
8 of 9

Will L wrote:

Yes, of course the amount of money involved is a part of the decision whether to go to arbitration. That goes without saying, or at least it should.

 

In at least one recent case a freelancer claimed, "The dispute specialist of upwork just recently awarded the USD 100 in my favor."

 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/The-client-is-harassing-and-bullying-me-online/td-p/5703...

 

So, I don't believe it's true that Upwork's mediators can't make any decisions that resolve certain types of problems between freelancers and clients.


I'm telling you as someone who has been through this half a dozen times, this poster is misrepresenting what happened. One of two things happened there:

 

A) client dropped out or gave in and just paid

B) Upwork decided the $100 wasn't worth the hassle and gave the freelancer $100 but also gave the client $100 credit

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
9 of 9

Darren w wrote:

Thanks, for your advice, Jennifer, I will see how it goes and apply "B" if I have to.

 

As for what has happened since; the client and I have both left negative feedback. Although his/hers is dishonest (I'm going to use the Top Rated Perk,) and showing on my profile, while mine isn't on his/her recent history.


That's the way to play it. Just use the perk. Feedback won't show for both of you, so don't even worry about that. I would play B in this scenario, remove the feedback now because it won't even hit your JSS so whatever he left doesn't matter. I also like to do it quickly to get the ball rolling on the 12 weeks and 10 contracts. I only have 3 weeks left to wait for next availability on mine. Smiley Very Happy

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