margyti
Member

Customer after Milestone 2 decided that he didn't like the Project Methodology

Community, I would like your thoughts on the following issue I am dealing with. The customer assigned a project to be based on the proposal I provided with specific milestones and pricing per milestones. The project is about expanding into Greek Market. The customer created the contract on Upwork a Fixed-Price Project, defined the total amount of the project and the first milestone. This is how I accepted the project. When I finished the first Milestone, I started working on Milestone 2, only when the Milestone was funded. In the process I realized that the customer has changed the Milestones, instead of 6 Milestones he created 4, changed the Milestone descriptions and corresponding pricing. I tried resolving the situation with the customer, initially accepted the situation and that he would alter the Milestones and pricing per fund. I enclose customer's response: "But that will have to be split over the course of the 5 milestones or do three milestones of the x amount and the last can be a double milestone.  I contacted Upwork support team to report a malpractice. Customers cannot change freelancer project terms all the way of a project. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM SUCH INCIDENTS LEVERAGING UPWORK POLICIES. CAN YOU SUGGEST WHAT TO DO?

9 REPLIES 9
g_vasilevski
Member

Hi Maria,

I`m sorry about the disagreement you had, you need to pay attention when accepting an offer to be structured and covered under the milestones. Unfortunately we can`t do anything for our end, please talk to your client and try to resolve it. If you can`t find a mutual agreement you can always close the contract from your end.

~ Goran
Upwork


@Goran V wrote:

Hi Maria,

I`m sorry about the disagreement you had, you need to pay attention when accepting an offer to be structured and covered under the milestones. 


The client changed the milestones AFTER the contract started.... No amount of „paying attention“ when accepting an offer can prevent that.... 

 

Petra is correct - mostly. If the first milestone was completed and paid per the agreement, there is no problem - so far. If the client changed the description and price of a milestone while it was underway, that's not allowed.

 

If he wishes to change future milestones, I have no idea what Upwork's policy is, but it's probably irrelevant. The client can simply end the contract after the first milestone, and open a new job for the future milestones. What Maria described has the same effect as ending contract one and opening contract two. She didn't agree to the change, so the client needs to end the first contract and negotiate a second one with her.


@Bill H wrote:

Petra is correct - mostly.


 Really? Which part is wrong?

 


@Bill H wrote:

If the client changed the description and price of a milestone while it was underway, that's not allowed.

 


Where in the ToS does it say so?

 


@Bill H wrote:

 What Maria described has the same effect as ending contract one and opening contract two. She didn't agree to the change, so the client needs to end the first contract and negotiate a second one with her.


 No it does not have the same effect at all, and nothing can force the client to end the the first contract and negotiate a second one.

That is the whole point...

 

In an ideal world milestones on a contract should not be able to be changed unilaterally by only one party (the client) without the other party's approval.

Does Upwork at least keep a permanent record of the original contract, and make it available to the arbitrator in case of a dispute?

Petra Hi,

Thank you very much for your response. Comment on:

"In an ideal world milestones on a contract should not be able to be changed unilaterally by only one party (the client) without the other party's approval."

If Upwork doesn't protect the Freelancer from customer's changing Milestones and Pricing on its own terms, then Upwork risks maximizing its revenue but also losing top performing freelancers. It is not about "ideal world" it is about keeping up with minimum business standards. In the real business world, if the parties want to change the contractual terms then they would have to sign an amendment to capture the new contractual terms. For no reason, one party can change on its own the terms without the agreement of the other party.

Otherwise, Upwork accepts that the Customer can dictate/enforce the project terms he desires to the Freelancers with or without their consent according to the phrase: 

@Bill H wrote:

 What Maria described has the same effect as ending contract one and opening contract two. She didn't agree to the change, so the client needs to end the first contract and negotiate a second one with her.

 "No it does not have the same effect at all, and nothing can force the client to end the the first contract and negotiate a second one."

If this is the point, why the Freelancers submit proposals for specific projects? It is totally unnecessary. 

Perhaps, Upwork should revisit its strategy on this issue. I know that this is not a common customer practice but you should have a process in place that will discourage the customers' from taking advantage of the GAPs of ToS.

 

Petra Hi,

 

It is funny that the customer is allowed to update, at any phase of the Project, the Milestones but the Freelancer cannot. Even at the point of accepting a contract, Freelancer has the right only to accept or not the contract the way that the customer has set it up. In this case, Customer set up the contract according to Project Description, Total Amount of the Project and first Milestone Description and Milestone Price. This is how I accepted the contract. In the process, the Customer changed the Milestone Descriptions, Price per Milestone and Number of Milestones. In short, the customer actually created a different contract according to his desire without consulting with me at all. How can you predict this behavior? No matter how cautious you are!

Hi Maria,

Thank you for your feedback, I will share this with our team.

~ Goran
Upwork

Thank you Goran. I really appreciate it.