Client with too many excuses

OK, I'm going to admit I goofed on this one, but I'd like to know if I have any recourse at all. 


I did a ghostwriting job for a client back in December. At the start she set small milestones and I was getting paid every couple of chapters. Then after four times of small payments, she asked if she could just create a milestone for the rest of the project and pay me all at once. I agreed to that, because she was in a rush to get the project done before Christmas, she'd paid quickly, and the project would be done by the end of the week anyway. So I plunged into the writing of the thing then sent it to her, only then realizing she'd never actually set up an official milestone for the balance of the project. Because she'd said earlier that week that she'd been sick and because it was a few days before Christmas I sent her the project in a message and pointed out her error, figuring she'd just forgotten. Obviously I'm a fool here.


From that point on she's had excuses. She told me she was fighting cancer. In January she said her mother was getting a heart transplant. In Februry her sister needed help. Today she tells me her brother died and she needed to pay for the funeral and can't pay until she gets her income tax refund.


This is a fixed rate project and I can see the remaining funds in escrow.


I can see the book posted on Amazon for sale. It has been since December. 


Do I have any recourse here? I'm really frustrated and hate to chalk this one up to "lesson learned." Thoughts? I feel like she's playing me for a fool. 




If she hasn't pay you, then the book is yours, you own the content. It's pretty clear that she won't pay but at least you can prevent her to make a profit from it. Tell her you've seen the content published and that she can't do that, maybe upwork can help on notifying the client, I don't know.

Just FYI:


As you probably already know, this client is lying to you.

This client is not actually fighting cancer.

Her mother is not getting a heart transplant.

Her sister did not need help.

Her brother did not just die.


And even if all that is true...

...It was unprofessional for her to mention ANY of that to you.

...And it is inexcusable for her to NOT pay you money she owes you for any of these reasons.

Tell her she has 5 days to pay or you will report her to Amazon for having published YOUR book (it is yours until fully paid for!)

Not sure I understand entirely since you said she never set a milestone but also said the rest of the funds are in escrow. I thought escrow meant the funds had already been deposited, in which case she'd have no reason to withhold payment? Or maybe it's just a reserve on her CC and she's afraid of it getting maxed out?

At any rate I think Patricia is on the right track. Use this to complain to Amazon.

Yup, same question. How can you see escrowed funds if she never made the payment? Add: Why hasn't Upwork's auto-release kicked in 14 days after you submitted the work?

Same question re being able to see escrow funding -


and do as Petra suggested. Now.

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Community Manager

Hi Kristine,


I believe I found the contract you are referring to and it doesn't look like the client deposited any money into Escrow for the last milestone. Unfortunately, only funds in Escrow are covered by Upwork Fixed Price Protection and that's why we always encourage freelancers to make sure the milestone is funded before they start working on it.

~ Valeria

You need to do Exactly what Petra said ASAP. You need to contact Amazon and have that book taken off their site. You also need to look at other book sites (Barnes and Noble for instance) to make sure that book is not listed.


Have documentation supporting your claim. (contract, screen shots of escrow funding, messages from client about payment etc)