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Community Member

[I got blackmailed by a client] and I lost

This was a real case of mine that happened a few days ago.


This client offered me a translation job that should be done within 48 hours.


It was over 10,000 words that I needed to translate within 48 hours.


Since his offer met my work rate expectation and I did not want to let him down, I accepted it and spent almost all nights to finish that job on time.


He checked my work and was satisfied with it. After that, he ended this contract leaving 5 stars on my feedback.


However, a few days later, he suddenly asked for my skype ID.


I gave him my skype ID.


Through skype message, he asked me if I could give him 200 USD.


I told him that I wouldn't be able to provide it.


Since then, he started blackmailing like he would cancel my payment and open a dispute not to pay me.


He even continued blackmailing me through Upwork chat.


Finally, he actually opened a dispute with the statement that my work was very bad quality, late submission, rude, etc.


None of it is true, obviously.


I was very furious about his attitude and actions.


I talked to the customer agents in Upwork and they said that they would take care of this and hand this over to the dispute team so I wouldn't get any disadvantages of that.


I was waiting for the result.


Guess What.


Half of my payment automatically got refunded to this client's bank account.


Does anyone think it makes sense?


Is there "Justice" in Upwork dispute team?


I am attaching those pieces of evidence here. Please check on them and leave comments here what you think about this situation.


I've been committed to Upwork for more than a year with 20K income, 1000 work hours, 100 jobs.


This client has no history with other freelancers.


What is going on here? Please, Upwork Freelancers, help me out with this.

**Edited for community guidelines**


Community Member

I can only see one of the screenshots and I don't see evidence of "blackmailing". How did he blackmail you and why did you continue to engage with this client?


If I accepted to do a job within a given time period, did the job, the client gives good feedback, and then asks for the money, I would just say no. I did the job. You were satisfied. End of story.


Or perhaps the client wasn't satisfied?

Community Member

I can't make any sense of this conversation, sorry. 

Community Member

I am not a lawyer, so they may have a different explanation, but blackmail is typically defined as extortion - demanding money in a threatening way. For example: If you do not give me this money, I will report you to the police for the law you broke. If you do not give me this money, your family will be in danger, etc. 


It sounds more like this client is saying "I was disatisfied with your service. Give me this money". Which is more of a complaint and demand for a refund, rather than blackmail. This is probably how the client approached it with Upwork support, which is why they refunded his money. However, when the client approached you via Skype, it seemed like they were trying to trick you into giving them money without UpWork knowing about it. It's unfortunately quite a common strategy for certain people on here.  


It's great that you have so much experience on UpWork. It's definittely worth it if you can stick with it. Unfortunately, this kind of situation is just another one of those experiences that you will need to learn from.


Just some tips for the future, gleaned from my own experience:


1. Any time you communicate with an Upwork client outside of UpWork, you put yourself in a vulnerable position, since Upwork will not consider any information that comes from outside of their servers in disputes. I know that many freelancers on here have mentioned doing that without a problem, but I personally choose not to. It's just too big of a risk for me. 


2. I am always wary of any new client, just in case, especially if they are new to UpWork. Many times, scammers will continue to open new accounts under different names to try and get money or free work from freelancers.


3. If a client accepts your work, gives you a five-star review, and later changes their mind, it usually has to do with the money, not with you. Be sure to stand your ground and point out to the UpWork help team that this client left a positive review and provide screenshots of positive messages from them indicating that they were happy with your service. This may help you come out on top of future disputes. 


4. Don't let these kinds of people get you down. Considering your track record on here, you are doing a great job. No matter how great you do, there will always be 'haters' out there. Just let it roll of your back and keep making that money. 🙂

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi JaeHong,


I'm sorry to hear about your experience with this client. It looks like you have an open ticket with our Dispute team about this case. Please consider following up on your open ticket and kindly communicate with our team through that ticket if you have any questions, in order to keep all the information in one place.


Thank you!

~ Bojan
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