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Escrow Funds



I'm in a bit of a pickle here. I recently worked on a fixed-price project for a client. They've been horrible to work with and I do not want to continue working with them, but they want to continue working with me. They approved the original milestones for this project and the escrow funds have been released, but they are in the Upwork processing phase that takes like, 5 days before I can move the funds into my bank account. 


My concern is that, if I ask to end the contract with the client, can they stop the funds from being processed even though they approved the milestones and released the funds? I don't want to keep talking with them to try and wait out the Upwork processing timeframe, but I also don't want to ask to end the contract if they can take the funds back. 


So to clarify because I don't know if what I wrote is fully clear:

Milestones in the project have been approved by the client

All funds in escrow have been released

The funds are now in that weird limbo state where UpWork is processing them 

I would have to wait until March 12th before I can send the funds to my bank, but I don't want to push off telling the client I do not wish to move forward with them. 



Community Member

Hello Hannah,


No, the client can't stop the funds from being processed.


However, the client can dispute the project and ask for their money back (you don't have to agree) and they can leave a Bad Review both private to Upwork and on your public profile for everyone to see. Those are the risks.

At this point, I may just eat the potential bad review from them vs. being so stressed out by how rude they've been. 


So I don't have to worry about them stopping the funds that they've approved already? The only option would be that they would have to request a refund, which I don't have to agree to?

Hi Hannah,


The client can leave private feedback while closing the contract, and it will be counted for your JSS. However, if the client request refund, you can dispute it, and the matter goes before Upwork Mediation, who will try to sort things between the two and suggest a non-binding solution. If both parties disagree, then the matter goes to the American Arbitration Association, which involves a fee divided among Upwork, the client, and the freelancer equally, and each costs approximately $337.


You can withdraw the money, but still the client can ask for a refund. You can go through the link below to understand more. 



That is correct that can't stop the payment of your funds.


That is correct that can request a refund and you can say no.


If they bring you to dispute resolution, they can ask for a refund and again you can say no.


The risk is the bad private and public review.


Also they may do absolutely nothing and move on.


How have they acted rude? Condescending or?

Well, it's a bit of a long story. 


Essentially, I applied for the project, which was writing 3 blog posts/articles per month. They are a marketing agency with a client who needed that blog project. I initially talked with a person from the agency in Upwork regarding scope, deadlines, brand voice, etc. He mentioned that I would mainly be working directly with their COO via slack on the project, which all sounded pretty standard. So, once everything looked good, I signed the contract and got on to slack. 


Their COO then sends me project details for a 3,000-word Landing Page, not blogs. It needed to be SEO/Keyword rich, and they needed it to be completed within 2 days. I immediately expressed my confusion because never once in my initial conversations did the guy whom I spoke to mention anything about landing pages, which are much more technical writing and much longer. They said it was just a misunderstanding, but I was firm in saying that we would need to up the price if they wanted me to do a landing page, especially that large and with such a short turnaround time. They agreed and updated the contract in Upwork, and since they seemed understanding and were willing to pay me more for the landing page I got to work. 


They gave me very little in terms of a branding document/goals/target audience, and with such a quick turnaround, I did the very best I could, but they were NOT happy with it. They essentially blamed me for not being a good writer, told me I wasn't worth my price, said I was "a 4 out of 10" in skills, and that true talent is shown by how quickly writers can knock a project out without any guidance. They spoke to me condescendingly and rudely and threw most of the blame on me. Then, today, I asked them if I would start writing the articles now that the landing page was done and sent to the client. They said they had 2 more landing pages they wanted me to work on,  but "We could easily get 6 writers who are better at writing landing pages, but we want you to tell us why we should still have you write the landing pages after such inadequate work." 


I was NOT about to essentially beg for work that I never even applied for, to begin with. They were not shy throughout the whole experience to remind me that I'm not good at writing landing pages (which I have quite a bit of experience and have never had clients not like my finished work) and that they could easily find better writers. The ironic thing about it though, was after their COO reviewed and edited my work, I went back through and found SO many spelling mistakes in her edits that she made, not me. 


Overall, it's been just an awful experience. I feel like I'm walking a very fine line and want to make sure I get paid for the work that I do before telling them I don't want to move forward working with them. 

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