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I'm Disputing an hourly contract for poor quality

Yes, I know. I was not familiar with the different dispute mechanisms associated with each of Upwork's contract types before I entered into this. However, it was granularly clear in my statement of work and contract requirements document that my payment was contigent on the completition of a task within a certain timeframe. I also made sure the contractor put this in writing. The task was not completed in the timeframe, and now the contractor wants additional payment to take the project to the finish line (I granted him a time extension which he refused).


In essence, the contractor kept telling me he never has good experiences with fixed price, and I was OK going with an hourly contract so long as he put in writing that he understood the time & completition contingencies of our contract. (I figured he wanted to boast a high hourly wage on his Upwork page, and this is why he preferred the hourly).


Mind you, this is a $4000 contract, a very significant amount. 


Am I screwed? Will Upwork's (arguably hidden) policy that Hourly contracts can not be disputed for quality supersede the written agreements we had through Upwork that payment was contigent on completition & timliness? 

Community Member

It is not really Upwork's intention that you dispute hourly contracts for quality reasons.


It is not Upwork's intention that clients dispute fixed-price contracts for quality reasons either.


If you don't like the quality of a freelancer's work, the proper thing to do is to stop working with that freelancer.


Effective clients act proactively by evaluating a freelancer's work and if the work is not of the quality they desire, the client ends the contract and works only with the better-performing members of their team. Or hires new freelancers if necessary.


Is it possible to get money back after you pay money?


Likely? No.


Best practice: Don't pay the money in the first place.


Very specific answer to your question:

Quality of work is not one of the criteria Upwork uses to reverse hourly time segments and prevent clients from paying for hourly work.


But if the work was done last week and it was MANUALLY logged, or has no memos, or has very low keyboard/mouse activity levels, or screenshots show freelancer not working on your project, then you do indeed have cause for disputing hourly work. Upwork will automatically remove hours for those reasons, for work done last week, if you request that they do so within the five-day dispute period.

Community Member

The best way to determine if you should waste your time is to look at the work diary. If they used tracker and have activity and memos and were actually working on your job, then you'll have to move on.


The best way to go about things like this is to have the contractor do a small part of the work. Ask them how long it will take, let them track hours, and then ask them to hold off until you evaluate. You can pause it too but an honest freelancer would hold off.

Community Member

The work diary has no memos and just one continuous header (the name of my platform) for all of the screenshots posted. 

Hi James,


I'm sorry to hear about the inconvenience this caused. It looks like you have an open ticket with our Dispute team about this case. Our team is looking into it and will provide an update as soon as possible. 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. We will also follow up with the team about your case.


Thank you!

~ Bojan

re: "The work diary has no memos and just one continuous header (the name of my platform) for all of the screenshots posted."


If there are no memos, you may dispute all hours done last week and Upwork will automatically determine in your favor. You won't need to pay for those time segments if you don't want to.

Community Member

James K wrote:

The work diary has no memos and just one continuous header (the name of my platform) for all of the screenshots posted. 

Sounds like the freelancer is about to learn the importance of memos.

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