I've got a fixed-price job where the client has funded half the agreed fee into escrow. I've done roughly half the work. I've told him he needs to release the first milestone and fund the second milestone before I do the second half of the work, but he's refusing and wants me to do all the work before he approves the first milestone. I've showed him this link from the documentation that shows my understanding of the workflow is correct: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211063748
Any ideas what more I can do? I fear this is going to end badly whatever I do: he might not ever release funding for even the first milestone, and he'll probably give bad feedback (although I'm not so worried about that because as a top-rated freelancer I can remove feedback from one bad client).
Is he breaching any official Upwork terms? Can an Upwork person tell him he's wrong?
I'm sorry to hear your experience about this client, Rachael. When you submit a project for a milestone with payment in escrow, your client has 14-days to review the submitted work. If your client fails to review the work in 14-days, the money in escrow will automatically be paid to your account.
I haven't checked this contract you have with thie client, but wanted to know if you've submitted the work via the milestone-submission/contract page?
You may also read this help article to know how you can file a dispute for the money in escrow.
I know I'll get the first milestone payment after 14 days *if* he does nothing, but I meant I'm worried he won't just do nothing but might disapprove the work and have the funds returned. And I don't want to take it to arbitration because the arbitration fees are more than the amount in dispute.
I'm wondering if I can salvage this and complete the contract to both of our satisfaction. He's a fairly new cilent (although he does have a handful of completed jobs) so I think he's just confused about how the system works. I was hoping sending him official Upwork documentation backing up my case would convince him, but he hasn't replied at all since I did that. He's not very communicative in general, so I can't tell what he wants to do now.
I second Melissas reply.
Send him the work for the first milestone and request the money to be released. Then grab some tea and wait.
If everything goes south just use the perk. Do not bother about things that might happen. Forget about arbitration in your case. Just follow the books and you will be fine.