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Re: Is it okay to end a contract from Bad Client?

Active Member
Atanu M Member Since: Dec 24, 2015
1 of 9

Hello Upworkers,



I am looking for your suggestions and my apology for the long message ahead. I was hired by a client in December, 2015 for a fixed price transcription job (Job Title: Newbie Hindi Audio into English). I was hired after I had done a sample transcription of one audio file. Client's budget for the job was $40. Client created a milestone of $1 and gave me 17 small audio files 'TO START WITH' and insisted that I should submit those 17 files in that night itself. So, I worked for couple of hours late night and completed the files. The moment I sent the files to the client, she went offline without saying a word, not even the word 'Thanks'. When I did not hear anything for 24 hours, sent a message asking if there is more work or no, so that I know whether to keep myself available or not. When there was no answer for two days, I sent another message requesting her to close the contract if there is no more work and release that milestone of $1. She then sent a message saying she was waiting to hear from her client and released the milestone of $1. In between, I got suspicious and looked at the client's job history and realised that I was tricked to work couple of hours for $1. The average the client had spent on each hire was less than $3, so there was no more work, that 17 files were the whole job. The client is playing the upwork's fixed priced job system very very smartly and getting her work done almost for free. I also noticed that even though client's location was Belgium, her time zone was exact same as mine. So, I am guessing someone from India is projecting herself as being from a first world country, so that freelancers would think she will pay more? I still took it as a lesson and learnt that I have to look at a client's employment history before I accept a job. Recently, I sent her another message requesting to close the contract and give me a feedback, but my message was ignored.

      Now, I am considering ending the contract and writing a review for the client so that other freelancers could see it and be careful. But I am also worried how that is going to affect my credentials in upwork. Is ending a contract considered negative? Will the client write back and make me look bad? Will it affect my Job Success Score? I have 100% job success score currently. 


Please let me know what you guys think. Thank you all in advance!




Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 9

LOL @ working for $1.



Active Member
Brian G Member Since: Dec 11, 2011
3 of 9

Absolutely it is okay to end a contract from a bad client. That door swings both ways. You might also send a note detailing what you just said to the help desk or wherever.

Community Guru
Julianne G Member Since: Oct 21, 2015
4 of 9



Clearly, you should end the contract, because there is no more contract to be had.  You've been used as much as you were needed--for $1.  You will never see the rest, and I say that with near certainty. 


I see no reason to leave the contract open with the fairy tale notion that the client may return.   Your UpWork stats will get dinged to some extent, but no more so than leaving the project open indefinitely.  Cut bait and move on.


For future reference, milestones should reflect the work done.  If you have 17 files to do, the milestone should reflect payment for that segment of work. All the time, every time.  Promises of more work in the future means nothing, because promises pay ... well... nothing.


The sooner you close the contract and leave just feedback, the better for everyone, including yourself.

Active Member
Brian G Member Since: Dec 11, 2011
5 of 9

I've been told that if it is determined the client is a bad client, then their feedback won't count toward your scores. So it sounds as though you should be okay in that regard.

Community Guru
Kamaludin M Member Since: Aug 22, 2015
6 of 9

Sorry for your bad experience, I know it was a smart move by her but we all need to be smarter, I think problem is not clients job history obviously there is clients who never posted a job but can pay well, but, you should not have accepted a contract with a $1 funded milestone


Regarding JSS I heard from the support agent that ending contracts will not affect your JSS but it's not something Upwork recommends since it's bit unprofessional but circumstances like this you have no choice.


If you choose to close the contract client will also have the chance to leave a feedback for you but nobody knows what she will leave for you.

Community Guru
Scott B Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
7 of 9

Another lesson is to make sure any milestone given equals the amount of work.  Having a project for say $40 but a milestone for $1 is not legitimate.  Forget the total fixed bid as the milestone you are currently working on is all that matters.  Don't ever work beyond the value of the current milestone otherwise this is exactly what can happen.  Also ask yourself what type of person sets such a ridiculous milestone amount. 


It would be sad if your JSS takes a hit as well as getting scammed.  However, that could happen given the no-feedback that will likely result.  It may be worth it to try and report this person although I don't know if they actually violated any policy.  However, it should be clear what they are doing and that they are not a good client here.


Good luck.

Community Guru
Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
8 of 9

I haven't read OP's full post, but the $1 milestone really should have been an obvious red flag. LOL.

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
9 of 9

I don't know if you're new to freelancing in general or even if you are new, if you've been awarded some jobs. The ONLY thing you should be concering with is escrow. By that I mean, if the price you submitted was accepted for a job, NEVER EVER start typing a single letter until and unless escrow is funded either for the entire job or for each milestone as they come up - no matter what a client may tell you, promise you etc. No escrow, no work. That's it.


What you charge clients, is up to you, although it sounds like your prices for the type and amount of work is WAY too low. So, aside from that, the only advice I or anyone will tell you is in the first paragraph (above).