First let me give you some background on the job and the client's behavior. I submitted a high quality article to the client in question, meeting all the specifications she gave me. She responded to me with a request to make a large number of edits, which I happily and promptly did. I re-submitted the article. The next day, she sent me the file again, this time with more comments added and changes made by her, and said that as she had supposedly spent an hour making the changes, she wanted me to refund all of the money in escrow. The changes she made, however, were unnecessary and in many cases lessened the quality of the article (made the writing more awkward, and even introduced errors). Accordingly, I submitted a dispute against her refund request.
I was contacted by email by a dispute resolution specialist yesterday. I promptly sent her detailed information on the job, and attached all of my work and the feedback the client gave me. Everything was set out extremely clearly, and I assumed that the dispute resolution specialist would read my work and make a decision. However, when I heard back from her today, she said that as a dispute resolution specialist, she cannot "take sides." If that is the case, I do not understand what the dispute specialist's purpose is. The client's response showed that she has no interest in coming to any kind of agreement, and is determined to pay nothing. I had offered to take a partial payment, and she dimissed this out of hand. I realized that Upwork is not going to protect my rights (as they can't "take sides"), and that the client would give me a spitefully dishonest review in revenge for asking for my money. As a result, I felt I had no choice but to withdraw my dispute.
Any opinions on this? To say I'm disappointed is a bit of an understatement. Just wanted to vent, and ask if anyone else has gone through a similar experience.
The *existence* of the dispute process is an important marketing tool. But, honestly, I don't think Upwork actually wants anybody to use its dispute process.
I would never use the dispute process.
I would have insisted on payment only because she's going to rate you poorly anyway. Make sure you take a couple sentences from the article and create a Google Alerts notification to make sure she doesn't use your stuff. File a DMCA with Bing and Google if she does.
How much money are we talking? Personally, I'm kinda a beast and I'll pay the $300 for arbitration just to be a jackass if someone pulled this on me.
She won't even take partial? This is kinda why I stick to people with money. People with money will just pay you to make the problem go away. It sounds like this lady is dumping her life's savings in this one article so whatever she was paying was a lot to her. I've had people not really like my stuff but paid me anyway and we both went on our merry way.
If you withdraw the dispute, there isn't much you can do but give her money back. Just set up Google Alerts to make sure she doesn't use it. And if she does and the content shows up on the home page of her blog or site (like in a blog style format when the first paragraph shows up on the home page), file the DMCA on the home page cuz nothing gets people more than when their home page is pulled from search. She'll think about playing that game again.
I had an instance where I could have filed a dispute. I was right, client was wrong. Simple case. But, I didn't file a dispute precisely because of what Preston said. The process exists, but it's not a great tool. I've never heard of it turning out in the freelancer's favor and there are ways that it negatively affects your JSS (private feedback from a disgruntled client makes scores nosedive). Honestly, and I hate to say this, but I'd have refunded, eaten crow, and left an honest and professional response in my client feedback. Not getting paid feels awful, but the dispute process usually feels worse.
I don't want people to take this the wrong way, and I don't think what I do should be compared to what other people do, because there are many differences...
But I'm just not interested in working with a client if they don't want my work, and I'm not interested in billing a client if they don't want what I have made for them.
When I do fixed-price contracts, I tell clients before the contract even begins that when I turn it in, they can choose to pay for it and keep it, or not pay anything and I'll keep it.
If I ever had a client try to avoid paying for work that I did, then I wouldn't dispute it. I would just keep it and make it into a portfolio item. As things stand, the kind of work I do tends to be things that are not good to share and disseminate as portfolio items, so my portfolio doesn't really include work I did for Upwork clients.
But like I said, please don't compare this directly to writing. I don't do writing jobs, so it's not the same thing.
I am sorry to hear you haven't been able to come to an amicable agreement with your client. Upwork dispute team will continue assisting you and your client with communicating and can propose a non-binding resolution. You can learn more about the process in the article 5 of Fixed-Price Escrow Instructions and communicate with the team via the open ticket.
I sent all of the files involved and explained the situation in detail, assuming that this material and information would be read by the dispute specialist, and that she would use this as a basis for a decision. Instead, she told me that she would be unable to "take sides." This made me realize that the dispute proces was a waste of time (at least in this case), and I withdrew the dispute.
@Samantha L wrote:
I sent all of the files involved and explained the situation in detail, assuming that this material and information would be read by the dispute specialist, and that she would use this as a basis for a decision. Instead, she told me that she would be unable to "take sides."
That's correct. The dispute specialist will look just on the materials that are provided and make a decision based on that. They won't favor the client because they are a client, nor will they favor a contractor just because they are a contractor.
This made me realize that the dispute proces was a waste of time (at least in this case), and I withdrew the dispute.
I don't think the dispute process is a waste of time, but that's my opinion. There are clients on here who know how to get away with it. Just keep marking an article with endless edits and then demand their money back. They will continue to use this tatic because they get away with it. If you did everything that you specified and fullfilled the terms of the contract then you should get paid for it.
You should have continued with the dispute process. When you pulled out, and refunded the clients money that just reinforced the concept that they can continue to pull this "trick" on other contractors.
"When you pulled out, and refunded the clients money that just reinforced the concept that they can continue to pull this 'trick' on other contractors."
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