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First Contract: Independent Arbitrator - EXCITING!!

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Active Member
David F Member Since: May 19, 2020
1 of 25

Well, how exciting is this!?

I take my first website/wordpress job from a client.

 

The contract is split into three milestones:

  • Coming soon page
  • Draft
  • Sign-off and deploy to live server

Out of trust (and because this is such a simple job that I can do quickly) I decide to work directly on the client server. The job is completed extremely quickly and I provide some additional support in the form of dashboard mockups for devices, etc. There is very little feedback from the client. We're now practically at the sign-off stage without the second or final milestone being funded.

Two weeks pass with me constantly asking for the second milestone to be funded. I get nothing but silence from the client.

FINALLY. The second milestone is funded. I'm then asked to carry out some minor changes before we can sign off. I ask for the third milestone to be funded before I carry out these FINAL changes. Guess what? These changes are then carried out by SOMEBODY ELSE.

This sends alarm bells ringing at my end. I immediately migrate the site to a sub-domain of my website and again request that the final milestone be funded so that we can proceed with the sign-off and deployment over to his live domain EXACTLY as outlined on the final milestone.

The client then opens a dispute with Upwork, requesting for his site back as well as a refund on the second milestone. Surprisingly the Upwork rep is taking the side of the client, saying that I should give him back the draft as was agreed. I'm sorry - but looking at the milestones that was never what was agreed.

I've decided to call their bluff. They can either fund the final $125 and get their site back immediately or we can all do the arbitration dance for around $300 each. This is chump change for me, I'm only in this currently to build my profile. I'm actually willing to burn thousands over this as I will not work for free or be taken advantage of by anyone on any platform.

From out of nowhere the client is now saying that he has lots of changes and amendments to make, after a silence of over two weeks. He's claiming that I've flipped images upside down and other wild things, when clearly I haven't. I can obviously prove everything with my auditing/footprints.

I'm just looking for some moral support as it feels like I'm wrongly being pushed into a corner by both the client and the Upwork rep. Thanks.

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Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
2 of 25

Hi David,

 

I`m sorry to hear about the bad experience you had. 
Just to clarify that the dispute specialist may provide a non-binding recommendation. If the recommendation is rejected, the client and freelancer may choose to proceed to arbitration for a fee.
To learn more about our Dispute process you can check out this Thread

 

Regarding working on multiple milestones, I would recommend working only on the tasks for which you have an active milestone. Please keep in mind that our Fixed price payment protection does not cover promised funds or unfunded milestones. To learn more about how you`re protected on fixed price contracts, check out this Help Article. Thank you.


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Active Member
David F Member Since: May 19, 2020
3 of 25

Thanks for the support, Goran.

 

My main mistake was accepting a 'draft' as a milestone. It is highly subjective as to what defines a draft and what consititutes as a completed body of work.

 

What ISN'T subjective is sign-off and deployment. Once things are signed off I can deploy. The client still has access to the draft. It hasn't been 'stolen' or deleted. Hopefully he can fund the final milestone and we can proceed with finishing the job.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 25

David F wrote:

I immediately migrate the site to a sub-domain of my website 


Holding a client's website hostage is never a good idea.

 


David F wrote:

This is chump change for me, I'm only in this currently to build my profile. 


Well, that's gone spectacularly wrong, hasn't it? 

 


David F wrote:

I'm just looking for some moral support as it feels like I'm wrongly being pushed into a corner by both the client and the Upwork rep.


The mediation rep should not be pushing you into a corner. They should be neutral. 

The client has a decent history with no real red flags. It's unfortunate that this played out like this, but the client currently doesn't have what they paid for, this could get "interesting" when it goes to arbitration, and your taking the website down (including the work someone else has done?) won't do you any favours in arbitration I don't think.

 

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
5 of 25

Good luck with this, David F.

 

No good deed goes unpunished, but it really is important to follow Upwork's protocols precisely to assure payments from clients. 

 

Don't work on (or at least don't submit the work for) a milestone until it has been funded and the client has released fumded escrow on all previous milestones.

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Active Member
David F Member Since: May 19, 2020
6 of 25

Thanks Will,

 

The client just keeps digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself, totally contradicting what was stated in his dialogue with me prior to the dispute being raised.

 

I've demanded that this now be pushed to an independent arbitrator as it's clear that he's trolling.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 25

Please come back to this thread and let us know how this process works out for you, David.

 

Good luck!

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
8 of 25
Go get 'em, David!
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Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
9 of 25

I'm actually willing to burn thousands over this as I will not work for free or be taken advantage of by anyone on any platform.

 

I got stuck on this remark - no offense, but you need to wrestle your ego down a bit in order to not make stupid decisions. Let me remind you that you are here to earn money (I presume) and not engage in fights. Let reason prevail. Ask yourself - what would Ekkart Tolle say?

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
10 of 25

Yep, you messed up with the milestones. Shoulda gotten full escrow. You left yourself open to not be paid.

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