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How to dispute a contract that has ended ?

Active Member
Tamara B Member Since: Jul 27, 2019
1 of 13

I have recently had an hourly contracted ended by a client. I had not been paid as of yet but submitted hours manually and having my hours auto tracked. The manual hours had been discussed with the client and I was advised by the client to submit the hours manually. These instructions are clearly stated throughout my message history with the client. 

 

The reason I had to manually submit the hours was that I had begun the test work and continued onward but the contract was not started yet. I realised this when I went to start auto-tracking. Once I informed the client that the contract was not started. I was given the instruction to add previous work manually. 

 

My payments were in pending awaiting the date to be paid. On that date, I received an email that a refund was sent to the client and then another email from Upwork stating that Upwork has checked the manual worksheet submissions and has found fault in it. The refund was for more than 50% of my payment. There are instructions to contact the client and ask for a bonus to replace the refunded payment as it may be incorrect. 

 

I have contacted the client but there has been no response from the client. I am not sure what to do from here as there is no other way to contact the client and the contract has ended prior to being paid. There is no option to contact a support team on Upwork. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 13

Tamara B wrote:

Once I informed the client that the contract was not started. I was given the instruction to add previous work manually. 

 

My payments were in pending awaiting the date to be paid. On that date, I received an email that a refund was sent to the client and then another email from Upwork stating that Upwork has checked the manual worksheet submissions and has found fault in it. The refund was for more than 50% of my payment.


 

There is nothing to dispute.

The client failed to pay Upwork and that means Upwork have checked your work diary and have paid you out of their own pocket for the correctly tracked hours.

Manual time is not covered, so Upwork will not pay you for those out of their own pocket.

Unless the client reappears and pays you via a bonus, you won't get paid for the manual time.

 

 

Active Member
Tamara B Member Since: Jul 27, 2019
3 of 13

Thank you. I understand, its such a horrible thing to do. Now I know better and not to be so trusting. Hopefully, it gets resolved. I am wondering now how does that action impact the client?

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
4 of 13

Hi, Tamara.

 

You have no recourse to get paid on the manual hours other than the client feeling obliged to pay you. Upwork will not take any action to help you get paid.

 

If any client says they will "allow" you to book time manually, or even if they request or instruct you to do so in writing through email or Upwork messaging, they never have no obligation to ever pay you for those hours under Upwork's rules.

 

This is a major weakness in the Upwork system that trips up a lot freelancers (if the messages that are regularly posted to this board are any indication).

 

Good luck.

 

 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 13

re: "This is a major weakness in the Upwork system that trips up a lot freelancers..."

 

Is it a "major weakness"?

 

Maybe?

 

I agree that this trips up some new freelancers who aren't familiar with the system.

 

But if you understand Upwork basics, then it isn't difficult to avoid problems from this.

 

If you view it as a "major weakness", I would have to ask: What do you suggest would be the alternative?

 

Upwork is not going to just let people add manual time, based on a freelancer's say so, and get paid for it if a client's credit card can't be charged.

 

Maybe this is a major - but unavoidable - weakness.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
6 of 13

I have only used manual hours once that I can remember, so I don't know exactly what the process is in the current Upwork system.

 

If nothing else, Upwork could have a pop-up window that reminds the freelancer when adding manual hours that their client has no obligation of any kind to ever pay the freelancer for any manual hours booked, so Upwork recommends freelancers only book manual hours working for clients they know and trust.

 

I know the idea of "know and trust" will get a few knickers in a twist around here, but I'm sure Upwork could come up with better verbiage that gets the same idea across clearly.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 13

Or, rather than cryptically stating, "Manual time does not qualify for Hourly Protection," Upwork could add more specific information, such as -

 

"WARNING: A client has no obligation to actually pay you for any work hours you book manually, which means any manual time you book on a project does not qualify under Upwork's Hourly Protection procedures, regardless whether the client "approves" your use of manual time verbally or in writing."

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 13

Will L wrote:

 

"WARNING: A client has no obligation to actually pay you for any work hours you book manually,


Well, that is not strictly speaking true. Clients have just as much of an obligation to pay for manual time as tracked time. In this specific case, the client didn't pay for either and was suspended for it. It is a violation of Upwork's terms of service not to pay.

 

Clients can dispute manual time (after they have paid only) and will win the dispute, and their money back, but that is not the same as not being under any obligation to pay. Here the client WAS under obligation to pay, just failed to, and whilst the OP was protected for the tracked hours and was paid for those by Upwork out of their own pocket, the manual hours were not covered by the hourly protection, hence not paid.

 

The vast majority of situations where freelancers end up not being paid is because clients, who were obligated to pay, failed to do so (terms of service violation leading to suspension.)

 

Active Member
Tamara B Member Since: Jul 27, 2019
9 of 13

For me, if there was an option to go into an investigation phase for the dispute I think it would be a better option to prove that what I am claiming is valid, 

 

For this particular client, I have outbound call logs that include call time and dates, have my own work diary other than the Upwork tracking, emails, Upwork messages and recorded calls.

 

There should be some sort of system that can bill the client in a proven case. I have mentioned in another reply, whether there are consequences that the client has to face for non-payment?

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
10 of 13

Tamara B wrote:

For me, if there was an option to go into an investigation phase for the dispute I think it would be a better option to prove that what I am claiming is valid, 

 

For this particular client, I have outbound call logs that include call time and dates, have my own work diary other than the Upwork tracking, emails, Upwork messages and recorded calls.

 

There should be some sort of system that can bill the client in a proven case. I have mentioned in another reply, whether there are consequences that the client has to face for non-payment?


Don't work without an active contract. When a client specifically tells you to use manual time, that's when you use the tracker. The money is lost unless the client chooses to pay a bonus, but it seems like the client wasn't entirely happy so I would consider this lost money.

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