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liupriscilla
Member

Freelancer Not Responding To My Refund Request

Hi, hope I can get some help on this because I'm in a tough spot.

 

It's been two weeks (8th Jun, precisely) since I requested my freelance for a refund. I released the milestone payment and a bonus in good faith since he always completed my projects before. Suddenly, he became unresponsive and promised to deliver the work but never did. I ended the contract, gave him a good rating, but now I need complete closure on this case.

 

Upwork has initiated my refund request but there's no follow-up. How do I resolve this so I can move on? Thanks.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION


Priscilla L wrote:

$90, and the bonus is just $5.


If you got an email from Upwork that a return of the escrow funds has been approved, then that money should have been processed back to your payment method already.

 

Forget about the $5.

 

I'll flag this thread so a moderator can look into where your escrow refund has gone.

View solution in original post

34 REPLIES 34
2a05aa63
Member

Payment that was confirmed by you is refunded only if the freelancer agrees to do so.

Don't pay people before they finish the job. You don't gain anything from it but most likely it will delay the work. Money is a motivator for work. 

It says that Upwork approved my escrow return request on Jun 8th but I don't know what to do next. How do I take things from here?


Priscilla L wrote:

It says that Upwork approved my escrow return request on Jun 8th but I don't know what to do next. How do I take things from here?


That means you got the money in escrow back already. It would have gone onto your payment method. So if you paid by credit card for example, the money will have gone back to the credit card balance within around 5 days.

 

The bonus is gone if paid 30 or more days ago.

 

You originally said you PAID ("I released the milestone payment and a bonus") rather than funded... If you had released the milestone payment there could not have been an escrow refund request.

 

At any rate, anything paid to the freelancer (NOT into escrow) more than 30 days ago is gone.

 

How much money are we talking about?

I'm not sure how this works, but it's been two weeks precisely, and I haven't gotten anything in my bank yet. That's why I was verifying.

 

$90, and the bonus is just $5.


Priscilla L wrote:

$90, and the bonus is just $5.


If you got an email from Upwork that a return of the escrow funds has been approved, then that money should have been processed back to your payment method already.

 

Forget about the $5.

 

I'll flag this thread so a moderator can look into where your escrow refund has gone.

That sounds like a plan. Thank you.

Oh no... I'm in the same boat as you, but I spent $3000. I'm hoping Upwork can help me retrieve my funds. This freelancer said he needed me to release my milestone 'in advance' to pay his team to deliver the work. I believed him.

Hi Priscilla,

 

I can see that one of our agents already assisted you with your concern. If you need further assistance, please feel free to update the ticket, and our team will be happy to assist you further. 

~ Joanne
Upwork

Hi Joanne,
I checked and did not receive the amount yet. Either I have to wait more or need the Mediation Specialist to intervene.

Could you please have your team look into this?

Thanks.

Hi Priscilla,

 

I can see that your concern has been forwarded to the appropriate team already. You will be updated directly on your open ticket. We appreciate your patience. 

~ Joanne
Upwork

As a client and freelancer my self I confirm this ๐Ÿ˜‰ However a small amount upfront is a very important motivation 

petra_r
Member

If you released the milestone more than 30 days ago, it is too late to dispute. 

 

If you released the funds less than 30 days ago, you can dispute. 

 

"Asking for a refund" is just that. It's a "Hey, would you refund?" and does absolutely nothing. Freelancers are free to ignore it forever. It doesn't trigger anything. Only a dispute would actually "do something".

prestonhunter
Member

Refund thinking hurts clients.

 

Decide now that you will never again ask a freelancer for a refund.

 

That way, you will save time and money.

 

And this would resolve your current problem: a freelancer not acquiescing to your refund request.

 

Read more about this here:

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Clients/Dispute-process/m-p/930037


Preston H wrote:

Refund thinking hurts clients.

 

Decide now that you will never again ask a freelancer for a refund.

 

That way, you will save time and money.

 

And this would resolve your current problem: a freelancer not acquiescing to your refund request.

 


Preston, maybe give it a rest? The vast majority of people don't like paying for a service that they haven't received - it isn't right or fair. 

What isn't right or fair is when clients lose time and money paying freelancers for work that they never receive or can't use.

 

Pointing out some simple, proactive techniques that will help save clients from heartache and loss is something we can all do. All Upwork users - freelancers and clients alike - benefit when clients have a better experience on the platform.


Preston H wrote:

Pointing out some simple techniques that will help save clients from heartache and loss is something we can all do.


That's not what you're doing. No clienthas ever been "saved from heartache and loss" by someone endlessly pontificating that nobody must ever seek a refund rather than stating what can and/or can't be done now things have already gone wrong. 

 

I find it utterly bizzare that you seriously believe a client whose freelancer vanished shouldn't request a refund. 

The posts are here in the Forum, for everyone to read. Refund thinking hurts clients. We see it over and over again: clients who mistakenly believed that they could get a refund if things go wrong. Only to find out that they spent hundreds or thousands of dollars that they can't get back.

 

I want every client to understand precisely how Upwork works, and I want them to know what their options are. The better that clients understand how the platform works, the better their experience will be.

 

The simple fact is that clients can not get their money back every time things don't go the way they expect. It is ALWAYS going to be a gamble trying to get money back from a freelancer. This is one of the most important things clients can understand about using the platform.

 

re: "I find it utterly bizzare that you seriously believe a client whose freelancer vanished shouldn't request a refund."

 

I do not believe that.

 

A client who hires a freelancer and then that freelancer vanishes SHOULD try to get a refund. If a freelancer has truly vanished without doing any work, it should be fairly simple to get a refund.

 

This does not negate the fact that refund thinking hurts clients, and this does not change the fact that clients benefit by proactively managing their contracts effectively - planning ahead of time to not ask for refunds if something goes wrong, but to instead monitor the work that freelancers do, especially early on, and end the contract on underperforming freelancers.


Preston H wrote:

 

I want every client to understand precisely how Upwork works, and I want them to know what their options are.


Upwork has a dispute/mediation process for a reason - so that clients and freelancers can resolve situations like this. THAT'S how it works. Maybe clients can't get their money back every single time that things go wrong, but it's not helpful for you to tell them that they shouldn't even try, or imply that they're being petty for wanting their money back (quite rightfully, too, in this particular case). No one would ever stay in business by telling their customers that if things go wrong and they lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, then that's just tough luck. 

 

re: "No one would ever stay in business by telling their customers that if things go wrong and they lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, then that's just tough luck."

 

Of course.

 

That is precisely what I am trying to help clients avoid.

 

I think too many freelancers get away with too many shenanigans and bad practices and poor work because they hide behind an imagined "shield" of "refunds" and "disputes" and "arbitration." And then clients learn that this "shield" isn't all that they thought that it was.

 

I want clients to know how things really work and take that shield away from freelancers to hide behind.


Preston H wrote:

I think too many freelancers get away with too many shenanigans and bad practices and poor work because they hide behind an imagined "shield" of "refunds" and "disputes" and "arbitration." And then clients learn that this "shield" isn't all that they thought that it was.

 

I want clients to know how things really work and take that shield away from freelancers to hide behind.


If clients never seek refunds, then freelancers do get away with shenanigans and bad practices.

re: "If clients never seek refunds, then freelancers do get away with shenanigans and bad practices."

 

When clients plan to not get refunds: Bad freelancers get away with less than ever, because the proactive client fires them.

 

A client planning to not get money back from freelancers is monitoring their hourly work carefully, especially early on, and fires them if they don't measure up. The freelancer gets away with very little with this client, compared to the client who simply lets a freelancer log tons of time without carefully checking the work because the client thinks that a refund is possible if things don't work out. A fixed-price freelancer gets away with vert little, because the client sets up small milestones at first, and checks the work, and only creates larger milestones after the freelancer proves herself.

 

My suggestions to clients work out well for quality freelancers but block bad freelancers from getting paid for continued bad work.

 

If you characterize "refund thinking" as what happens when clients think that if anything goes wrong, they can somehow get a refund through Upwork, then it is clear that such thinking ends up rewarding bad freelancers and outright scammers. There are hundreds of examples of this in the Forum.

 

This type of refund thinking hurts clients.

 

Appropriate use of Upwork's client-side tools, such as the ability to dispute inappropriate time segments or the ability to get a refund from fixed-price contracts when a freelancer disappears or does no work... used as Upwork intends... is fine and this does not hurt clients.


Preston H wrote:

That is precisely what I am trying to help clients avoid.


You aren't. You basically tell clients that it's their own fault and that they should not try to get a refund as some weird punishment for being really incompetent as clients. (And yes, that is exactly what you are saying, just phrased slightly less offensively). 

 

Nobody argues with the fact that clients need to learn how to manage contracts. That isn't the point.

 

That doesn't mean that clients should not seek refunds in cases where it is appropriate (only). 

The two are not mutually exclusive.

 

Page after page of what the client should have done doesn't help the client with the situation at hand. Which is "Can I get a refund and if so, how!"

 

re: "as some weird punishment for being really incompetent as clients."

 

I have no interest in punishing clients.

 

If anything, my advice only punishes freelancers. At least bad and fraudulent freelancers.

 

Clients who save time and money because of the information and advice I provide are not punished.

 

My posts are situation-specific. In many situations I don't say anything about "refund thinking hurts clients" and I only provide concise information about getting money back.

"A client who hires a freelancer and then that freelancer vanishes SHOULD try to get a refund. If a freelancer has truly vanished without doing any work, it should be fairly simple to get a refund."

Is it in fact simple to get a refund in such instances? I invested $3000 and have no work, only a handful of excuses to show for it.

Have I been scammed?


Amrit S wrote:
Is it in fact simple to get a refund in such instances? I invested $3000 and have no work, only a handful of excuses to show for it.

Amrit, when did you pay the $3000? Is there currently money in escrow?

 

That will determine whether it is even possible to file a dispute.. 

I have submitted a dispute. But what if the Freelancer remains MIA?


Amrit S wrote:
I have submitted a dispute. But what if the Freelancer remains MIA?

Still: WHEN did you pay the money? Less than 30 days before you filed the dispute? Did you actually officially file a dispute (NOT just a refund request?)

 

If the freelancer stays unresponsive to the dispute (IF there is a proper dispute launched already, not just a refund request which doesn't mean anything) then their account will be suspended.


How much of a track record does the freelancer have on Upwork? That will determine whether they will be motivated to get their Upwork account back. But if they have withdrawn the funds, which they are able to within 5 days of you releasing payment, there is nothing Upwork can do that can get that money back if the freelancer refuses.

I paid US$3000 for a milestone and am feeling scammed now to some degree. Thank you for your input as it is hard for a startup to just 'move on' from what is such a large amount.

Is there a Customer Support Agent at Upwork that operates as a Dispute Mediator please? It would help me a great deal to speak to someone at Upwork to know where I stand in my current situation. I'm in quite a stressful and anxious state having invested $3000 and having released the entire funds as a milestone on the Freelancers advice who said that payment upfront would result in a lesser cost and early release for the milestone was required to help him 'pay his freelancers'. I think I might have been scammed. Unfortunately I didn't expect to get scammed on Upwork as I've used this platform successfully for years. But admittedly all for hourly work prior to this, not project based with milestones. Don't think I'll be doing that again... But for now, I really need that money back to get someone to fullfil the work that's outlying which is now falling behind ! Can someone like a Dispute Mediator from Upwork please contact me please? Thanks in advance.


Amrit S wrote:
Is there a Customer Support Agent at Upwork that operates as a Dispute Mediator please? It would help me a great deal to speak to someone at Upwork to know where I stand in my current situation. I'm in quite a stressful and anxious state having invested $3000 and having released the entire funds as a milestone on the Freelancers advice who said that payment upfront would result in a lesser cost and early release for the milestone was required to help him 'pay his freelancers'. I think I might have been scammed. Unfortunately I didn't expect to get scammed on Upwork as I've used this platform successfully for years. But admittedly all for hourly work prior to this, not project based with milestones. Don't think I'll be doing that again... But for now, I really need that money back to get someone to fullfil the work that's outlying which is now falling behind ! Can someone like a Dispute Mediator from Upwork please contact me please? Thanks in advance.

You still haven't answered Petra's questions. Did you pay the milestone less than 30 days ago, and did you make an official refund request (not just message your freelancer)? If you have done the latter, then a dispute mediator will get back to you; if you haven't, then what are you waiting for?

 

The problem isn't that this was a fixed price project; the problem is that you agreed to release the milestone before any work was done. There's no reason to agree to an upfront payment - let alone $3,000! - regardless of whether a project is hourly or fixed price. It's a very easy process for dishonest people - both freelancers and clients - to sign up for an Upwork account and tell whatever lies they want, so you can't just blindly trust anyone. 

 


Christine A wrote:

Did you pay the milestone less than 30 days ago, and did you make an official refund request (not just message your freelancer)? If you have done the latter, then a dispute mediator will get back to you;

Unfortunately it won't. ONLY if a "dispute" was filed. A "request for refund" does not initiate a dispute or anything at all. It is simply a formal version of "Please would you send me some money back?"

 

A dispute initiates dispute mediation. A request for a refund initiates nothing whatsoever at all.

 

The deadline for a dispute is 30 days after the payment was made, unless there is currently money in escrow.

 

The deadline for a request for a refund is 180 days, but as I mentioned, it is meaningless anyway as it doesn't trigger any process and can simply be ignored by the freelancer.

re: "invested $3000 and having released the entire funds as a milestone on the Freelancers advice who said that payment upfront would result in a lesser cost and early release for the milestone was required to help him 'pay his freelancers'. I think I might have been scammed."

 

I have no firsthand knowledge of your particular situation. But I see no reason why an Upwork freelancer would tell a client something like this unless the freelancer is actually a scammer who has no intention of doing any work for the client.

re: "I didn't expect to get scammed on Upwork as I've used this platform successfully for years. But admittedly all for hourly work prior to this, not project based with milestones."

 

I am glad that you were able to use Upwork successfully for years without problems.

 

Your experience indicates that Upwork can be a very effective tool for clients, but:

 

- there ARE dishonest people who come to the platform posing as freelancers; they are the exception, but there are some here

 

- the fixed-price contract model is significantly different from the hourly contract model: fixed-price is more complex and requires some understanding in order to use safely and effectively

 

- it is not Upwork's intention that client's release upfront payments to freelancers; the intended use of escrow payments is that freelancers do all of the work associated with a task and then deliver the complete, unlocked, non-watermarked files to the client, and then the client reviews the files and only releases the money after being satisfied that the work is complete.

**Edited for Community Guidelines** This place is a freaking JOKE

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