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Re: Contract Closed Due to Inactivity Despite Constant Exchange of Messages

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Active Member
Michael W Member Since: Aug 14, 2018
1 of 15

So,

 

I woke up and saw a 'refund' request from my client. I went ahead and disputed it while leaving a 1-star feedback to the client (cause I was unhappy!).

 

Turns out the client never sent a refund request and it was sent automatically due to inactivity. The email did not mention so.

 

It was a big milestone (to run for weeks) and we were negotiating to add more articles to the job.

 

I've been told there's no way to reinstate a contract and to dispute the job. It doesn't make much sense to me, why should we suffer?

 

If I wasn't active these days and hadn't disputed the contract, the funds would've gone back to the client. I did not receive a single warning regarding inactivity. I assumed messaging, sending files was considered engagement.

 

Moreover, this may affect my rating as well. Isn't the system faulty? It should send a warning or have the option to reinstate contracts?

 

Has this happened to anyone else?

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Moderator
Nikola S Moderator Member Since: Jul 2, 2020
2 of 15

Hi Michael,

 

I am sorry to hear about this. It looks like you have an open ticket with our Dispute team about this dispute. Please consider following up on your open ticket and kindly communicate with our team through that ticket if you have any questions, in order to keep all the information in one place.

 

Thank you,

~ Nikola

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 15

Michael W wrote:

It was a big milestone (to run for weeks) and we were negotiating to add more articles to the job.


It must have been months rather than weeks, as this happens when there is no activiry on a contract for 90 days. You need to make sure you arrange milestones which don't sit there with not a single Dollar paid for 3 months.

 

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
4 of 15

It's pretty risky to work for months without seeing any payments; it's better to break down the contract into smaller milestones. But in this case, you can ask your client to pay you for the work done so far as a bonus payment - they can still do this even after the job is closed - otherwise a "nothing paid" contract may affect your JSS. Then they can start a new project for you.

 

You should also send your client instructions that will enable you to change your bad feedback: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211062208-Enable-Freelancers-to-Change-Feedback

 

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
5 of 15

Michael W.,

 

Upwork should let freelancer and client work at whatever pace they agree to.

 

If Upwork decides to take the sort of action you describe, Upwork should at the very least give both freelancer and client notification well ahead of time and tell both what their options are to continue to keep the project active on Upwork's system.

 

Upwork too often doesn't communicate well when it comes to its own policies and procedures.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 15

Will L wrote:

Upwork should let freelancer and client work at whatever pace they agree to.

 

If Upwork decides to take the sort of action you describe, Upwork should at the very least give both freelancer and client notification well ahead of time and tell both what their options are to continue to keep the project active on Upwork's system.


Because of restrictions related to the escrow licence, funds can not be held in escrow indefinately, generally a message is sent automatically to both client and freelancer before the milestone becomes dormant, first to the client, then to the freelancer. Maybe that/those message(s) landed in trash or spam?

 

 

 

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 15

Maybe, Petra, but only the client, freelancer and Upwork can know for sure.

 

What is the exact verbiage sent by Upwork in these circumstances and how far ahead of the automatic refund date are the client and freelancer informed?

 

And why are the client or freelancer forced to leave feedback when Upwork unilaterally closes their project?

 

And why did Upwork tell the freelancer that the client had submitted a refund request? There was no reason to throw the client under the bus for action Upwork had taken on its own.

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Active Member
Jure L Member Since: May 3, 2019
8 of 15

Agree, also has happened to me and I am still resolving this. The client didn't ask for it, although the message said so. There were countless messages front and back between the client and me just because of misleading text in the message. Waste of time.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 15

Will L wrote:

Maybe, Petra, but only the client, freelancer and Upwork can know for sure.


True. Upwork notifications have not been the most reliable.

 


Will L wrote:

What is the exact verbiage sent by Upwork in these circumstances and how far ahead of the automatic refund date are the client and freelancer informed?


"We recently contacted your client, XXXXXX about XXXXXXX, which has been idle for over 76 days. Per the escrow instructions for fixed-price contracts and for your security, we notified your client that they need to take action on this contract in order for it to remain open. If no new milestone updates, payments or refunds are made in the next 2 weeks, this contract will be closed on Upwork. If the contract is closed, you will receive a refund request for $XXX.XX (the funds still in escrow). You will have 7 days to dispute this request. 

If you feel this contract should remain open, please contact your client. Should the contract be closed due to inactivity, your client will still be notified in product of the option to leave feedback."

 

Those notifications are sent 14 and 7 days before it closes.

 


Will L wrote:

And why are the client or freelancer forced to leave feedback when Upwork unilaterally closes their project?


They are not forced to.

 


Will L wrote:

And why did Upwork tell the freelancer that the client had submitted a refund request?


Very true. Poorly impremented automated notifications. That is because it forces an automated job close and escrow-refund request, which sends out the same notification as when the client requests an escrow refund, which is obviously very poor. It's the same as when a client doesn't pay and non-qualifying hours are reversed, freelancers are sent a message saying they have refunded... (admittedly followed some hours later by another notification that explains it)

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Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
10 of 15

You should not end contracts yourself constantly, this is not good for your rating. Always let the client to it! (Not related to your original question, just a remark after looking at your profile). 

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