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Deeply disturbing experience on another freelance website

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Active Member
Hira T Member Since: May 21, 2020
1 of 18

Hi guys,

 

So about 3 months ago, on Freelancer.com. I won a project. Client wanted HTML5 games. And I repeatedly asked them if they are repititive, only graphics change. They said yes very basic games just line match, colouring and drag and drop. We locked a low price as I communicated with the client that this seems like one time coding and then a simple matter of automated level generation. Everything was communicated.

 

Once the project started. The change requests started coming in, classified as "bugs". They deviated from the initial document. Sure seemingly the changes seemed minor, a design change here and there, score calculation change, visual artefacts rectified. But they were too many of them and all classified as bugs. I told the client 4 times that the scope has exceeded from what was agreed upon, and I could just sense disappointment from the other end. As if I am not good enough for their project. When I said things like "this is out of scope", "I have done too much for you already", "I need a graphics designer on my end to do what you are asking". The client replies with "Blah blah blah", "you write too long messages, maybe should write articles instead", "do you even have experience?". And I have extensive experience, but I don't have a magic wand.

 

Anyway, after the 4th attempt to quit by offering them refund for all the mileston. I again get personally attacked. Enough was enough so I said I am not cancelling the milestone payment for my time wasted on an ungrateful client. They file dispute. I flooded the dispute page with evidence of all the changes and insults. And the result: they won! The reason given: "The client is unsatisfied, minor changes asked, seller could not complete the project".

 

Has me questioning my worth over and over again. I know this is just one side of the story. The client may have their side of the story which goes like this freelancer, we gave her a chance, she kept asking for money, we only asked for minor changes, she couldn't read our minds and make the games of our dreams. But really? I don't care about winning or losing the dispute, this was more a battle of what is fair?

 

Is a freelancer's time and energy worth nothing? Are we to just bow down because a client "gave us a chance". Is Upwork policy the same?

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Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
2 of 18

 


Hira T wrote:

Hi guys,

 

We locked a low price as I communicated with the client that this seems like one time coding and then a simple matter of automated level generation. Everything was communicated.

 


This sentence stood out for me: "We locked a low price." I wonder why you would describe the price as "low" - this makes me think that there was some haggling with the client and that you weren't happy with the budget from the outset? When giving new clients a fixed price, I usually assume a worst-case scenario to include extra time while establishing what direction to take, plus at least two rounds of revisions - no matter how "easy" the project seems. I don't haggle. If the client indicates that they think my price is too high, I'd rather walk away than risk them thinking that they aren't getting good value for their money.

 

But it sounds like you know what you're doing and that you scoped the project carefully. Sometimes things just don't work out, and try as you might, it's pretty difficult to avoid EVER having a difficult client. I take great comfort from the fact that I can choose not to work with that client again (as opposed to my last bricks-and-mortar job where worked for about 20 different people - several of whom were very difficult - and I had no choice but to put up with them). 

 

I don't know how dispute resolution works on the other website, but from what I've read in the Upwork forum, when projects to go arbitration, the freelancer seldom loses. And if it was an hourly project instead of fixed-price - and you track your hours properly - Upwork will pay you out of their own pocket. I don't know how they can be more fair than that.

 

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Active Member
Hira T Member Since: May 21, 2020
3 of 18

You are right. I was starting freelancing after a very long gap and I was a bit desparate to start working again after a long gap of mommy business.

 

You've made me look at this in a different way. It actually is a lesson learnt. I can make my peace with that.

 

But the decision is disturbing: "The client is not satisfied". They wrote that a condition to be able to win the dispute is also that the work is complete for the milestone and the client approves of your work. All valid reasons, but is there no accountability of a client clearly abusing a freelancer? No warning at all? That disturbs me even after 2 weeks have passed since that happened.

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Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
4 of 18

Wait, this all took place on a different platform??

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Active Member
Hira T Member Since: May 21, 2020
5 of 18

Yes sorry for the confusion. I just don't know where else to post.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 18

Hira T wrote:

Yes sorry for the confusion. I just don't know where else to post.


No, don't worry, you even included it in the title and it's OK, we all (except for eagle eyed Mary) missed the bit that the nasty client and you locked horns elsewhere, so some of the practical points don't apply, but the overall situation ("Cheap clients are usually the ones who cause the most trouble") is still valid.

 

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Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
7 of 18

Petra R wrote:

Hira T wrote:

Yes sorry for the confusion. I just don't know where else to post.


No, don't worry, you even included it in the title and it's OK, we all (except for eagle eyed Mary) missed the bit that the nasty client and you locked horns elsewhere, so some of the practical points don't apply, but the overall situation ("Cheap clients are usually the ones who cause the most trouble") is still valid.

 


I didn't miss that this took place on a different platform. The OP asked how Upwork compares to other freelance sites, which I thought was a valid question. 

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 18

Hira T wrote:

They file dispute. I flooded the dispute page with evidence of all the changes and insults. And the result: they won!


How did the client "win" when dispute mediatio can not make a decision? Did you decline to proceed to arbitration?

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Active Member
Hira T Member Since: May 21, 2020
9 of 18

I was the first one to proceed to arbitration

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 18

wrote:

I was the first one to proceed to arbitration


So you actually lost arbitration? The proper AAA arbitration you paid $ 291 for? That is very, VERY rare.


PS - Just seen what Mary wrote- This didn't happen on Upwork at all?

 

They wrote that a condition to be able to win the dispute is also that the work is complete for the milestone and the client approves of your work

Well, obviously the milestone has to be complete (as per the original scope, not as per additional requests for extra out of scope work)

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