🐈
» Forums » Freelancers » I Believe Dispute Mediator Violated Upwork TO...
Page options
78b910c1
Community Member

I Believe Dispute Mediator Violated Upwork TOS By Wrongly Suspending My Account

On Contract ID # 34229770, I disputed client's request of refunds.

 

The mediator assigned to the dispute case declared non-resolution pretty quickly.

 

The mediator told me the client had paid his part of arbitration fee before the arbitration deadline by sending me this in private chat, "We have received [client]’s payment for their portion of the arbitration fee."

 

Then the mediator changed his words in dispute group immediately after the arbitration deadline passed to "As neither party has filed for arbitration, the funds in escrow have been refunded to the client, and we’ve closed the dispute."

 

I believe the mediator said these contradicting, and otherwise, sentences to manipulate me into giving in to the arbitration route. I still didn't pay for arbitration.

 

Per violation of the TOS (https://www.upwork.com/legal#fp) section 7.1.3, my freelancer account has been severely limited by the mediator.

 

Explanation: As section 7.1.3 (b) clearly states that action will be taken on non-responding party's account when only one party pays the arbitration fee, and as section 7.1.3 (a) mentions no penalty on either party in case of both parties not paying for arbitration, a suspension or limitation of my account in any way is in violation of the Upwork TOS because according to the mediator's latest dispute group notification, neither party paid for arbitration.

 

The mediator told me that section 7.1.3 applies in this dispute's case because already released funds had been disputed by the client in this dispute.

 

Moreover, the mediator spoke in the dispute group and in the private chat, only about the penalties I, the freelancer, will get instead of speaking completely about the penalties the client would also get. He only partially and selectively explained the Upwork TOS, which he was quoting to me.

 

Also, all the messages the mediator sent in both the group and the private chat seemed like reusable templates with no real effort put into actual mediation.

 

Very unsatisfied with the whole mediation experience.

 

Please look into this and lift all limitations and/or suspensions on my account.

 

Edit: My issue is not losing the dispute or the money, I understand the dispute and arbitration process well, my issue is lifting of the suspension on my account so I can continue working with other client/s, existing or new.

10 REPLIES 10
yofazza
Community Member

**Edited for Community Guidelines** might have chosen some wrong canned responses, but basically if you refuse to go to arbitration where the client is not, then every monies will go to the client.

 

  • If only one party pays the arbitration fee by the deadline, we will return the amount in escrow to them, refund the arbitration charge, and close the case
78b910c1
Community Member

My issue is not the money going to the client or not understanding the arbitration and dispute process.

 

My issue is my profile has been suspended, completely not in accordance with the Upwork terms of service. Profile is eligible for suspension only if one party pays for arbitration and the other does not. The mediator, in front of the client i.e. in the group, said that nobody paid for arbitration so I take that statement to be the fact.

 

The last line in my original post sums it up.

 

Wrongly chosen canned responses by anyone shouldn't result in any unfair penalty for anyone anyway.

lysis10
Community Member

Agree with Radia that I think the mediator chose the wrong canned response. Lots of the process is scripted. If you did not fund arbitration within the given time then you automatically lose. I assume you agreed to arbitration? You're given three business days to pay. Did the mediator say that neither of you have come to an agreement so the only option is arbitration?

78b910c1
Community Member

I am okay with losing the dispute and the money. I am not okay with my profile being suspended as it is not in accordance to the Upwork terms of service.

 

I understand the dispute and arbitration process for fixed price contracts.

 

My issue is my profile has been suspended, completely not in accordance with the Upwork terms of service.

 

A profile, freelancer's or client's, is eligible for suspension only if one party pays for arbitration and the other does not, and only when released funds have been disputed by the client. The mediator, in front of the client i.e. in the group, said that nobody paid for arbitration so I take that statement to be the fact.

 

Wrongly chosen canned responses by anyone shouldn't result in any unfair penalty for anyone anyway.

 

I never said to the mediator that I will pay for arbitration.

 

As mentioned in the original post, the mediator gave a verdict of non-resolution leaving arbitration as the only option pretty early on.

 

Neither the client nor I were keen on paying for arbitration.

lysis10
Community Member

Did the mediator not contact you to fund arbitration? Usually, the freelancer pays first so this is a first for me to hear that the client needed to pay. Did the mediator not inform you that no agreement has been made so you need to fund arbitration? Usually, they tell you to fund if you insist first, but if neither come to an agreement then you are both asked to fund at the same time. The clock starts at the same time, but maybe the client demanded first. It would make sense then that the client would fund first, but did the mediator not communicate that arbitration is happening? IME, when they tell you arbitration is happening, you are told to fund in 3 business days.

 

How did that play out? I see that the mediator said that nobody funded in public, but did they tell you to fund too? Did you say that you would fund or did you say that you had to fold and give up the escrow?

78b910c1
Community Member

The mediator gave me and the client the notice of payment for arbitration at the same time in the group chat in a single message.

 

As mentioned in the original post, the mediator conculded non-resolution (i.e. no agreement between me and the client so that we may proceed to arbitration) almost right away.

Neither me nor the client were told to fund the arbitration neccessarily first before the other.

 

The client and me were given a period of 7 days instead of 3 to fund arbitration. We both didn't fund it.

 

I never told the mediator that I am going to fund my share of arbitration.

 

He clearly stated that if I do not fund it and the client funds it, only then my profile will be taken action on.

 

But as the client didn't fund it either, my profile is not eligible for any action according to the Upwork TOS which you can read here https://www.upwork.com/legal#fp

 

If you have an argument opposing my original post, which is totally okay, please quote the specific part/s of https://www.upwork.com/legal#fp supporting your argument. Thank you.

 

I have been fighting for something so basic and simple since a month and even have agreed to lose the $1000 in escrow just to finish up with this dispute even though I think I am in the right.

If Upwork wants me and several of my friends to get fed up and discontinue working on their platform, please let me know.

yofazza
Community Member

I never told the mediator that I am going to fund my share of arbitration. He clearly stated that if I do not fund it and the client funds it, only then my profile will be taken action on.

I think **Edited for Community Guidelines** wasn't taking her job very seriously and clicked the wrong canned response multiple times.

 

But in any case the system will refund the money if you don't pay:

 

If neither party pays the arbitration fee by the deadline, we will close the case and return the amount in escrow to the client

 

You can't have the money, but you should be able to report or something to have **Edited for Community Guidelines** sanctioned or something, and have the limitation lifted.

78b910c1
Community Member

Can you tell me what is the proper channel to quickly have the limitation lifted considering my case? I thought making this community post was the proper channel.

 

I have already given up on the money so that is not a problem at all. I just want to continue work as normal with other clients and forget this whole thing for good.

 

My objective is not to punish the mediator or anything, that is for Upwork to do and choose if they see it fit.

Hi Salman, 

 

We can confirm that the information shared with you through the ticket between you and the Mediation Team is correct. As we have checked, they have also diligently reminded you through the same ticket thread that the client will be refunded if you don’t proceed with paying for your share of the arbitration. They sent these messages to make sure you are aware that once you miss paying for the arbitration fee, the client will be refunded. It looks like you were also informed that your financial transactions will be limited if you fail to do this on time.

 

We’re sorry if the verbiage used on the Group ticket was confusing. The team will be reaching out to you with more information on how to move forward from here.

~ Nikola
Upwork
78b910c1
Community Member

I am just saying that only those things can be done which are in the Upwork's terms of service and those things which are not in the TOS cannot be done, informed beforehand or otherwise. 

AND

Account limitations in case of disputed released funds when neither the client nor the freelancer has chosen arbitration (which is precisely the case here) are not a thing in the Upwork TOS.

 

The verbiage used was either in plain contradiction of itself or it was not in accordance to the terms of service I and Upwork had explicitly agreed upon. The verbiage was never confusing.

 

Please correct me if I am wrong about the point mentioned above in this reply.

 

My issue is not losing the dispute or the disputed money. I understand it and lost willingly towards the end because I was fed up at that point with the whole process of templated responses by the mediator and wanted to move forward with my Upwork career. The thing is I had better expectations from dedicated mediation professionals and seeing that they weren't being met, I chose to withdraw.

 

Besides, what about the client which was clearly manipulating at least 3 freelancers that I know of ? Why no mention of any limitiations on the client's account? I am sure double-standards are not tolerated on Upwork.

Latest Articles
Top Upvoted Members