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Does a full refund eliminate a bad review?

Ace Contributor
Francisco Martin M Member Since: Apr 10, 2018
1 of 28

Greetings, Upwork vets and experts!




I have the following two questions: from what I’ve read, if I fully refund a client that has closed a contract and given me a mediocre review, said review will not be visible, is that true? And do the Rules allow it?




More in detail:


  • I started my Upwork career with the right foot: got a client that was delighted by my work and gave me a 5-star review, and shortly after a second contract (still ongoing, thus far happy client).
  • Then came the third, which was not the charm: it was a writing assignment, broken in five deadlines; as I delivered (on time) the first installment, the client didn’t like what they saw and cancelled the contract on the spot, also blocking me from the Messenger (so I cannot reach out to them).
  • To their credit, they did honor the first milestone and paid that in full (I have to say I can certainly respect and appreciate that), but,
  • They gave me a 3-stars review, which I think it's a bit unfair (the client is the sole judge for quality, of course, but on other topics like Communication, Availability, meeting Deadlines, etc, I think it was too harsh), and
  • More to the point, it kicked me from Rising Star and way below a 90% rating, which I fear may make it very difficult for me to land another job.



My normal course of action in the outside-Upwork world would be to talk to the client and try to find a way out, which I cannot do here since the client blocked me from the Upwork Messenger. I could write a discharge in the Feedback, but I fear that has a risk of backfiring (client may get angry with that and even change the review for the worse), and a discharge itself won't change the Rating (basically I mean: new potential clients are not gonna bother reading my discharge if they don't even seem my profile since it's below 90%)



So, the next course of action I’m entertaining is to refund the client fully, pretty much in a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sense (I’m 100% certain they won’t use my work so this won’t be a case of “unpaid work”: it was the first milestone of several, if they actually intended to use what I sent them they would just have asked me for more), since I've read in other threads that it will eliminate the review since technically no money exchanged hands.




Which is basically what I'd really appreciate some expert to confirm or deny, if possible!




My question, as noted above, is: can I do fully refund a clinet (even the contract has already been closed), and will that make the negative review disappear (as I’ve read elsewhere that it would)? Is it allowed by the Terms of Use?




For clarity’s sake: I’m well aware that this is not a wise policy long-term, but sadly there are costs to “getting your foot on the door”, so to speak, and a lot of Upwork seems to hinge on that 90%+ rating. If I had several 5-stars jobs under my belt, I would not follow this course since a single bad review wouldn’t have that big of an impact (and, as noted above, I definitely respect the client paying the first milestone). But, right now, I think a full refund in exchange of removing a bad review is an investment I am willing to risk, above all when I think it's not fully deserved, and I have no way to reaching the client.




Thanks very much for your time, and for your insights!



Community Guru
Melissa C Member Since: Jul 22, 2017
2 of 28
Yes. The review will be gone from your profile, but it will still affect your job success score. Since the job was not successful.

Also, I never had issues applying to jobs without rising talent or a JSS. I got hired still. You will, too.

View solution in original post

Ace Contributor
Francisco Martin M Member Since: Apr 10, 2018
3 of 28



That is to say, a full refund will make a 60% review not be shown in the profile, but will still drive another 100% review down to an 80% average, correct?


Then not much point, I guess, since is that 80% that matters. Thanks for the prompt reply, and the encouragement! =)


Community Guru
Melissa C Member Since: Jul 22, 2017
4 of 28
Your score will suffer for a bit, but with so few jobs, it should be very easy to bring it back up. You'll get through this. It's discouraging, yes, but just keep doing a great job with the clients you have/get and that score will get higher very fast.
Ace Contributor
Francisco Martin M Member Since: Apr 10, 2018
5 of 28

Yeah, guess I'm worried a bit about the chicken-egg problem of needing a good rating to get jobs to raise my rating (and the cruelty of modern search engines that make a single number be so prevalent, but that's a different discussion)


All in all, though, if nothing can be done to change the existing reviews then the only way forward is, well, literally forward: as you say, get new (good!) ones! =)

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 28

You'll be fine.

It WILL affect you a little for a bit, but you'll get over it. Your profile looks great, your portfolio looks great, grit teeth, onwards and upwards Smiley Happy

Don't look back: You're not going that way (as they say...)


Ace Contributor
Francisco Martin M Member Since: Apr 10, 2018
7 of 28

Thanks for your encouragement! =)


I guess I'll have to have a chat with my Inner Perfectionist, that keeps yelling about perfect scores being ruined, but he'll understand.




I hope! Smiley Tongue


But yeah: time to look forward. =)

Active Member
Raveena B Member Since: Jun 6, 2018
8 of 28
I have refunded full amount to one client and now please confirm that client posted a bad review on that contract and now will be hide review or delete.
Ace Contributor
Bukola O Member Since: Dec 23, 2016
9 of 28

You are cheating yourself and manipulating the algorithm. Enjoy the money you worked for. I one had a JSS of 37% or 49% and I still did well and landed jobs.

Active Member
Amit N Member Since: Apr 26, 2016
10 of 28

Hi Fran, 

Yes, you can give a refund and that should help make the job invisible on your Upwork profile, but it will still affect your job success score. 


I suggest, don't worry about a bad review and focus on the next job. That way, you can improve your rating earlier than you might even imagine.