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jenmitchell20
Community Member

Client wants an approved milestone refunded

Client gave specifications for an article. Work was submitted based on specifications. A few minor corrections were made when specifications changed and the milestone was approved and paid. Now a week later he has new changes and wants me to complete them or refund the payment. Am I under any obligation to do so? Do I have protection if I refuse and he leaves nasty feedback? I've worked hard on my 95 percent rating and don't want it tanked.
26 REPLIES 26
michael_skaggs
Community Member

I'm assuming a staff member will weigh in with an official response at some point, but if my understanding is correct, releasing the funds for a milestone constitutes approval of the work as submitted. If they require changes after that, they should be creating and funding a new milestone for those changes after discussing your fee for said changes.

 

The 14 day review period is there for a reason. If they didn't use it wisely, that's on them. It's not like it takes that for them to read over your article and make sure it's what they wanted.

 

Going forward, I would be sure to include some text in all future contracts you start that if they release payment for a project or milestone, they are acknowledging that the work was completed as required, and that any revisions or changes desired after acceptance will incur a separate fee for revisions.

To add to Michael's great advise I would also add, when you quote a writing project always let them know how many revisions your quote includes. 

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"
cylver1z
Community Member

Hello Jennifer,

 

Michael is correct. Please click here to learn more about Fixed-price protection for freelancers. Thank you.


Untitled

All of the above are good suggestions from money point of view, but remember if they have not closed the contract they might leave a very poor invisible feedback.  And unfortunately there is nothing you can do.  My suggestion would be (and if the revisions are minor) is to do them, but let them know you are going above and beyond in accomodating their request by working on something that they had approved before.

They are not minor revisions. They are major ones and they basically want an entirely different article.

Well still be polite and point that out to them that you did the work on original specs and they arrpoved.  You will be to work on the news specs, but since it is entirely different and would require major surgery to the original work would they be willing to start another project with you?

 

Then pray and keep your fingers crossed.

Hi Ryan C,

I'm having a similar problem than Jennifer. A client approved a milestone, he regrets a week after and is trying to get a new proposal without giving me any feedback on what to improve. It is possible for him to file a dispute?

Thanks

Hi Matias,

The client would be able to contact Upwork and request dispute assistance on the contract. Please read the Fixed-Price Escrow instructions for more detailed information about this.

~Nina

Hi Nina K.
Thanks for your answer, I assume that it would be after Upwork revier of this specific case if they allow the client to finally file a dispute?
Thanks again

petra_r
Community Member


@Matias F wrote:

Hi Nina K.
Thanks for your answer, I assume that it would be after Upwork revier of this specific case if they allow the client to finally file a dispute?
Thanks again


 If it is within 30 days of the last milestone being released, the client can file a dispute.

You will be required to participate in the dispute, or your account will be suspended.

If the client wishes to go to arbitration (which costs $ 291 for each party) and pays their arbitration fee you will be required to participate in arbitration (and pay $ 291), or refund the client, or your account will be suspended.

 

re: "Thanks for your answer, I assume that it would be after Upwork revier of this specific case if they allow the client to finally file a dispute?"

 

Matias:

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

As far as I know, if a client wants to file a dispute, Upwork lets the client file a dispute.

 

I have my doubts about how much Upwork "reviews" the merits of a specific case and decides whether or not the dispute is valid. Upwork representatives have consistently said that they do not review work files or render any kind of binding decisions. That is something done only by third parties in the "arbitration" process, if things go that far.

Is it me, or this is non-sense? A client approves a milestone, realease the payment, you get the money. Then he comes back and can get his money back only because he feels like?

I have read Michael's comment " but if my understanding is correct, releasing the funds for a milestone constitutes approval of the work as submitted" as well as a moderator response affirming that state. To be flat honest, I'm confused.

If it's any help at all, this is how my situation played out:

The client did file a dispute.

They did not review the files. They only read the messages.

When they read the messages, they sent me a message saying that it was unclear what the issue was and that I should "make things right" with my client.

I ignored the recommendation because I didn't feel there was anything to make right.

 

He left negative feedback. I responded to the feedback with my side of the story.

My Upwork rating dropped 14 points over the next few weeks because I was busy with other things and not taking as many contracts. Because the only feedback I received during that time was negative, it impacted my scoring.

I am now finding most of my freelance work OFF of Upwork because this one experience has created such an unfortunate situation with the Upwork scoring system that I can no longer obtain quality clients through here. I have one long standing client I continue to work with on Upwork. The rest I have had to find independently. 

Meanwhile, I have been informed that the client who did this to me has a habit of pulling similar tricks, yet he has suffered no hits to his account. It really is disheartening.

Hi Jennifer,

Many thanks for your sharing your experience and I'm sorry how things ended in your case.

In this case, the client already left me positive feedback, now he regrets EVERYTHING and wants me to re-do all the work without his participation.

Not sure how it's still possible that the client can file a dispute and make any harm.


If he's already accepted and left positive feedback, I don't think he can do anything. In my case, they wouldn't let him take it further than a dispute because he had approved the milestone, but he used the negative feedback as a means to punish me anyway. In your case, I think you'll be okay. Even if he files a dispute, I'm not thinking it will get him anywhere.

Hi Jennifer, I think he would be able to call for arbitration, in that cae I'll have to pay 291, and perhaps even refund him. May I aks how do you know that Upwork didn't let your client to call an arbitrator? Perhaps he was just unwilling to not to waste money on it.

I suppose that's entirely possible, as well. I never received any kind of notice from Upwork concerning arbitration. When they reviewed our case, they basically said that I should make my client happy, but that they didn't understand what the issue was, either. I just assume that's where they left it with him, too. It was sort of a "good luck, but we don't know, either.."

Even though I have made some good money on Upwork I believe that is not a fair Marketplace. I may move on to other alternatives (which I'm alredy using).

Hi again Jennifer, was your contract ended by the client at the moment he files a dispute?

Yes. It had been ended for a while, but he had not yet left any feedback. I had already left him good feedback, though, which was disappointing. I think he withheld feedback on purpose because he had hoped to get more work out of me later. He basically wanted me to complete re-write the article in another format. I think he was trying to get two articles for one price.

re: "Is it me, or this is non-sense?"

 

No, it is not just you.

 

You are correct in your... incredulity about this.

 

As a practical matter, the Upwork system DOES ALLOW a great deal of leeway for clients.

 

The system only works at all because most clients are good, honest people who do not abuse the system.

 

If a client chooses to be a jerk about this and use the system just to try to get money back, then you are correct, it messes things up.

Hi Presto H,

Thanks for your answer. Do you think that he would be able to call an arbitrator considering that:

1. Approved the milestone
2. Ended the contract
3. Left me 5 stars

This sound like a non-sense situation, a mad client seeking for who knos what.

petra_r
Community Member


@Matias F wrote:


Thanks for your answer. Do you think that he would be able to call an arbitrator considering that:

1. Approved the milestone
2. Ended the contract
3. Left me 5 stars


 If it is less than 30 days since the last milestone was released, the client can file a dispute.

 

yitwail
Community Member

Petra, after reading the OP's experience, I have a question for you. Do you think Upwork should consider excluding from JSS calculations any contract where either party filed a dispute? Seems to me that in such cases there's a significant chance negative feedback will be left out of spite.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
petra_r
Community Member


@John K wrote:

Petra, after reading the OP's experience, I have a question for you. Do you think Upwork should consider excluding from JSS calculations any contract where either party filed a dispute? Seems to me that in such cases there's a significant chance negative feedback will be left out of spite.


 Feedback will have been left already at the time of the dispute.

 

To be honest I am on the fence about it. In an ideal world I think the fairest solution would be if the winner's feedback to the loser would stick and the loser's feedback to the winner would not. However, that would only work with disputes that went to arbitration though (as there is no winner and loser in dispute mediation) and with the vast majority of disputes never going that far it would not make a huge difference.

 

I don't think all contracts where a dispute happened should be excluded, No. People could mess up dramatically time and time again and bounce about happily with a 100% JSS.

 

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