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yanbrun
Community Member

Client wants me to reduce my worked time

Hello, I need some guidance please. It's been 2 years since I have had an active contract with Upwork and I have just re-started my Upwork career a week ago. I accepted a contract with a client who asked me to transcribe an audio file. Our understanding was I will just transcribe one (1) file for the week. Upon my acceptance, he sent me 3 files that he wanted me to finish within the week and 1 file within  48 hours. I checked and each file was under 3 hours worth of audio and it was about an FGD of Chinese speakers conversing in English. I advised him that I won't be able to finish the 1st file in 48 hours because the speaker's in the file were super thick and they speak so fast I have to keep reveiwing the audio file to make sure I transcribe it correctly. I asked my client if I should continue or just stop completely since I know I won't be able to finish the job on time and I don't want him to overpay as well. My client gave me the green signal to proceed and so I did. After the 3rd night I told him I won't be able to meet his deadline and submitted the transcription of where I was able to finish for the day, which I was doing everyday for the last 3 days I worked for him to keep him updated of my progress. After a day he then asked me to reduce the time I have worked because he can't afford it. I have had a client before where we didn't finish our project but I was paid for the time I have worked for. And this was not different from that contract. I was well within the 40 hour/week contract, I only worked 24 hours for last week. And I worked hard for every penny and submitted  85% of the work he required. I don't think I should give him a refund since I worked hard for the time I've spent on the job. And my work diary would prove that as well. Do I have to refund him even if I feel that I don't have to? And will it affect my good standing with Upwork? Please advise.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
tlbp
Community Member

Hourly contract? (This is what I'm assuming)
Hours recorded using Time Tracker with memo field completed?
(If you didn't complete the memo field and still have access to do so, fill it out now.)

Fixed price contracts can be disputed
Hourly contracts are essentially decided based on what the Time Tracker says. 

 

Do a quick search for "hourly contract dispute" and see what other freelancers' experiences have looked like. 

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13 REPLIES 13
tlbp
Community Member

Hourly contract? (This is what I'm assuming)
Hours recorded using Time Tracker with memo field completed?
(If you didn't complete the memo field and still have access to do so, fill it out now.)

Fixed price contracts can be disputed
Hourly contracts are essentially decided based on what the Time Tracker says. 

 

Do a quick search for "hourly contract dispute" and see what other freelancers' experiences have looked like. 

yanbrun
Community Member

Yes it's an hourly contract. What should I say on the memo? Please advise. 

petra_r
Community Member


Diane M wrote:

Yes it's an hourly contract. What should I say on the memo? Please advise. 


Whatever you were doing. "Transcribing file (name of file)" for example.

 

Add the memos now as you will not be able to do so after tomorrow noon UTC or if the client closes the contract

yanbrun
Community Member

What if I was the one that ended the contract because of my unpleasant experience with this client?

 

petra_r
Community Member


Diane M wrote:

What if I was the one that ended the contract because of my unpleasant experience with this client?

 


Did you? If you did and the client disputes, you will lose all hours that do not have a meaningful work memo. If the client fails to pay, you would lose (not get paid for) all hours that do not have a memo.


You also can't access the work diary anymore once a contract was closed. So even if you would have wanted to, you could not remove any hours.

 

How many hours of audio did you actually transcribe?

yanbrun
Community Member

Out of the 2 hours 47 audio file he gave me, I transcribed 1 hour 50 minutes and 20 seconds. It was a very difficult one with five (5) chinese mom on an FGD for marketing research. I had to keep replaying it because their accents and pronunciations were quite difficult. And there were a lof of times when the FGD leader read some advertisement where she reads very fast and I could hardly understand so I keep replaying the audio file. I updated my client of my progress every day after my work hours by sending him the file of my transcription. I wasn't able to put any memo notes on it. Is there any way that I can still go back and put my notes on it?

re: "I wasn't able to put any memo notes on it."

 

That is not true.

You were able to record meaningful memos in your work diary.

You chose not to do so.

 

re: "Is there any way that I can still go back and put my notes on it?"

 

No.

"You were able to record meaningful memos in your work diary. You chose not to do so."

 

I didn't choose not to do so. I didn't know that I had to. I thought only the client was allowed to put a memo in the work diary. Again, this is ONLY my third contract and my last one here was 2 years ago and I didn't have this unpleasant experience with my previous employers also. I am still a noob as a freelancer as they say. I need advise not some sarcastic quip, thank you very much. 


Diane M wrote:

"You were able to record meaningful memos in your work diary. You chose not to do so."

 

I didn't choose not to do so. I didn't know that I had to. I thought only the client was allowed to put a memo in the work diary. Again, this is ONLY my third contract and my last one here was 2 years ago and I didn't have this unpleasant experience with my previous employers also. I am still a noob as a freelancer as they say. I need advise not some sarcastic quip, thank you very much. 


I really don't believe that Preston's remark was meant to be sarcastic. It is simply pointing out that it's unwise to use a platform before knowing all that you need to do to get paid, so in all fairness, after your clarification, it would have been better to say that you chose not to educate yourself on how it all works. 

tlbp
Community Member


Diane M wrote:

"You were able to record meaningful memos in your work diary. You chose not to do so."

 

I didn't choose not to do so. I didn't know that I had to. I thought only the client was allowed to put a memo in the work diary. Again, this is ONLY my third contract and my last one here was 2 years ago and I didn't have this unpleasant experience with my previous employers also. I am still a noob as a freelancer as they say. I need advise not some sarcastic quip, thank you very much. 


But when you say, "I wasn't able to" that create a false narrative that others read and believe. The fact is, there was nothing preventing you from entering a memo. You misunderstood how the Time Tracker app works and chose not to enter a memo. 

The very unfortunate and harsh reality is that if a client disputes your hours and you don't have memos entered, you lose. Not knowing this rule sucks, but it is not the same as "was not able" to comply with this rule. 

Ending the contract was the fatal blow as it closes off your access to the work diary. 

Your hours are sealed now. The client will have an opportunity to review them. If the client asks, you can honestly tell him that you cannot remove hours from the total because they have already been submitted and you are closed out of the work diary. Maybe you will get lucky and the client won't realize their full power and choose to pay. Keep your head down and hope for the best. 

petra_r
Community Member


Diane M wrote:

Out of the 2 hours 47 audio file he gave me, I transcribed 1 hour 50 minutes and 20 seconds. 


24 billed hours for less than 2 hours of audio is a LOT. Over 12 hours charged per audio hour? I am not surprised the client is shocked about the cost.

 

Didn't you listen to the audio before you accepted it? I also don't see anything on your profile saying that you are a transcriptionist. Are you?

 


Diane M wrote:

 Is there any way that I can still go back and put my notes on it?


Not if you closed the contract, no

 

 

franks_tim
Community Member

Taking the attention away from the condescension; I've been working on Upwork for a couple of years now and for the first year and a bit didn't regularly change the memos either. I knew they existed, but I didn't think they were so important until Upwork directly emailed me about them (a year and a half into working on the platform). So don't feel bad about not grasping their importance when you're so fresh back in the game.

Regarding your contract, if you were clear with your communication and kept the client informed, that's great, but as others have mentioned, by closing the contract you shot yourself in the foot. 

Take this as a learning experience. During my first week freelancing online, I was taken for a $500 ride, where I didn't get paid for loads of stuff I did. It taught me some very valuable (literal and metaphorical) lessons.  Keep strong and carry on. There's always a silver lining at the end of the tunnel.

Yes, I was clear with the client and always updated him with my progress and limitations. I guess I did shoot myself in the foot for closing the contract first before updating the memo. And yes I will take this as a learning experience. Thank you for the kind and uplifting words.

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