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Inactive contract: who pays the refund?

Maybe this seems like an obvious question, but I just want to make sure. I am in a contract that my client has been silent on for possibly months. Then I got this message:


Hi Michael ,We recently contacted your client, Kristy B. about children's book, which has been idle for over 75 days.Per the escrow instructions for fixed-price contracts and for your security, we notified your client that they need to take action on this contract in the next 14 days in order for it to remain open.If no new milestone updates, payments, or refunds are made in the next 2 weeks, this contract will be closed. You'll then receive a refund request for $110.00 (the funds still in escrow).If you feel the refund isn't warranted, you will have 7 days to dispute it once you receive the request.If you feel this contract should remain open, please contact your client. Should the contract be closed due to inactivity, your client will be notified about the option to leave feedback.

The Upwork Team



If I am being given a refund request, does that mean I am paying? Or is this something I give to the client?

Community Member

They're going to give the escrow money back to your client.  Did you do any work? If so, you may want to dispute the refund and go from there.

We're on to the last of three milestones, where I have already done most of the work.

Community Member

If you have done work for the milestone, use the submit for pay option. 

If no work has been done yet, accepting the refund request simply means you're allowing the money in escrow to be transferred back to the client.


The awkward wording makes it seem like you're giving additional refund. That's not the case here. 

I've already been paid for two milestones, and i've done a fair bit of work the last one. So, I still get to keep the payment for the first two milestones, right?

Yes. But milestone 3 will be canceled and escrow refunded.

I just changed the due date on the contract, and I am awaiting approval from my client. Will that be sufficient action to stop or move ahead the closing of the account?

It depends on your client's response. If they take no action to continue the project, then contract will get closed.


You can request for partial release of the third milestone for the work done on the last day of the 14 days deadline. 


Again, the client has to approve the milestone release request.


If this fails to elicit a response,  you can then choose to dispute the refund process, but there is a risk that the client may suddenly turns up, close the contract and give negative feedback. 


Request part payment and see how your client responds to it. Add the equivalent amount from the final milestone when you use the submit for pay option. 


Due dates don't matter.


By waiting approval, you mean you click The Submit Work button, right? Its purpose is to politely tell the client to either respond, or release the payment in 14 days, without having to say a word.


You can be fair by requesting only part of the money in the last milestone, as you said you only did 'a fair amount of work' on that one.

I mean waiting for the client to approve the changed due date I proposed.

So you didn't click the Submit Work button yet? You should click it.

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