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Dispute in Escrow

I've worked on web development project. Client didn't provide any functional document, wireframe or mockup. He had only sample site.

I've worked with sample site to duplicate functionality.

We started with hourly contract, and after 2 weeks, he needed to change fixed contract.

I agreed and we moved to fixed contract. and ended hourly contract on upwork.

I really worked hardly, and completed 75% of first milestone, but he ended contract and required refund money in escrow. and all amount of hourly contract.

so I created dispute for escrow amount, and now upwork need to move third party Arbitration.

What should I do now?

Should I refund escrow? in this case, all amount of hourly contract will also be refunded?

If Arbitrator needs to refund escrow, then that will affect to my account status?

Community Member

Upwork will deeply investigate on that matters.

John L wrote:
Upwork will deeply investigate on that matters.

What are you doing stating stuff that is redundant or in this case completely untrue? Don't do that.

Community Member

re: "Should I refund escrow?"


It depends.


You should refund money for whatever you did NOT do.


For example, if there was a task with an escrow payment of $100, and you did 75% of the work, then you should be paid 75% of the escrow payment. That means you should refund $25.00.


What the client did is REQUEST a refund. This does not mean you must agree to the refund.


re: "...all amount of hourly contract will also be refunded?"


The client should not have asked for any refund for hourly work. You should not agree to refund any hourly work, if you were actually working on the client's project.

re: "Upwork will deeply investigate on that matters."


No, what are you talking about? Upwork does not "deeply investigate" these matters.


And Upwork does not decide if a freelancer or client is "right" when there is a dispute.


A dispute means that Upwork encourages the client and freelancer to come to an agreement.


If they can NOT come to an agreement, then they may choose to pay $291 each, and go to arbitration.


If the matter goes to arbitration, then an outside arbitrator will "investigate" and make a decision.


This is rarely a good idea! What if the contract is worth $100? Do you want to pay $291 to TRY to get $100?


I always advice clients and freelancers to work things out without involving outside parties, if at all possible. Sometimes it is better to compromise and get SOME fo what you want, rather than go through time-consuming, expensive processes in an effort to get ALL of what you want.

Preston, Thank you for your reply.

Escrow amount is around $2k.


if client win at arbitration, then how about my account?

that arbitration result will affect to my account status? like JSS, suspension etc?

re: "if client win at arbitration, then how about my account? that arbitration result will affect to my account status? like JSS, suspension etc?"


The result of arbitration does not affect your JSS.

Your Upwork account will not be suspended or penalized based on the results of arbitration.


The result of arbitration determines who gets the money.


I don't know the details of your situation.

But obviously a $2000 escrow payment in dispute is different from a $100 escrow payment in dispute.


It sounds like this has not gone to arbitration yet. But it HAS gone to dispute already.


If it was me personally, I would try to work things out directly with the client at this point.


I would tell him:



I'm sorry if things didn't work out for your project. Let's work together to close things out in a way that works well for both of us and doesn't cost either of us unnecessary expenses. If this goes to arbitration, that would cost both of us $291, and that amount is non-refundable. And you would probably end up not getting any of the escrow money back. If you would like me to do so, I will agree to refund 25% of the escrow money immediately. You will receive that money without guaranteed, without any additional effort or need to go to arbitration."

Hi Andrii,


I checked this for you and a member of the team has reached out to you already and is awaiting your response regarding this case. If you aren't able to see the email you should also be able to access the ticket directly here.


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!

~ Bojan
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