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wlyonsatl
Member

JSS Effect of Negative Feedback from Client Upwork Knows is Unreasonable

Yesterday I left very negative feedback for a client who, not surprisingly, had left very negative feedback for me.


The client was a very young fellow with no significant business experience. We agreed I would help him write a “professional business plan” (how he described his Upwork project), so he could raise funds from investors for his new business idea in his home country in Africa. We agreed my work would be done over the course of about 24 to 30 hours of my billed time in total with me not working more than 5 hours per week. (The client apparently had a very tight budget and we agreed he should do as much of the work as he could, keeping my billings down.)

 

After about four weeks into the project I got a notice out of the blue from Upwork that this client was disputing the 4 hours of work I had submitted for the most recent week. Prior to filing this dispute he had said nothing to me about these hours. We were only at 14 billed hours when he filed his dispute with Upwork - not even close to the 24 to 30 hour range we originally agreed on. I told him after he filed the dispute that we were not going to exceed the originally allotted billed work hours limit and I would not agree with his request for a refund of the legitimate hours billed for work completed. He ignored my assurances and my offer to complete the project as originally agreed. At any rate, Upwork reviewed and rejected his claim that I had improperly billed hours on his project.

Now he has filed another disputed saying the “quality” of the work I did was insufficient. I don’t do poor quality work and he’s obviously just hoping he has found a way to get around Upwork’s first denial of his request for a refund.

 

The only problems with this project were the client’s unprofessionalism, impatience, unjustified concern that his small budget would be exceeded and complete unwillingness to simply communicate with me to address any concerns he had prior to filing his “disputes.” As of today his second claim of a dispute remains open.

 

I’ll be interested to see how the second dispute is treated by Upwork and how this peculiar client's feedback affects my JSS when it is re-calculated on August 6th. (I don't know when he filed his feedback. It's effect may already be reflected in my JSS calculation of last Sunday.)

33 REPLIES 33
vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Will,

 

I'm sorry about the bad experience you had with this client. Please make sure to respond to the second dispute your client filed and our team will close it.

 

 

~ Vladimir
Upwork

Hi, Vladimir.

 

I haven't heard anything back from dispute resolution on this second dispute regarding my work's "quality."

petra_r
Member

If the client ended the contract they left the feedback while ending the contract.

Good news & bad news here. Good news is, quality of work cannot be disputed on an hourly job, so the client has 0 chance of winning the dispute. The bad news is, the client feedback will stand, and since OP is not top rated, it can't be removed, so JSS will take a hit, unless OP is willing to refund all payment, in which case there's no public feedback, but private feedback would still have a negative effect.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

Well, I guess for the powers that be at Upwork that's what passes for fair.

 

Since the client closed the project and left his bogus feedback for me on July 12th, long before my JSS was re-calculated on July 23, any effect of this clown's feedback - public and private - is already cooked into my current JSS?

 

Thanks.


@Will L wrote:

Well, I guess for the powers that be at Upwork that's what passes for fair.

 

Since the client closed the project and left his bogus feedback for me on July 12th, long before my JSS was re-calculated on July 23, any effect of this clown's feedback - public and private - is already cooked into my current JSS?

 

Thanks.


 Did you rate him before the update? I think from my experience that effects don't happen until both sides have rated each other. 

No, I didn't. I was waiting for Upwork to turn down his second bite at the dispute apple, but once it got to the 14 day deadline I went ahead and left feedback while I still could.

John, it appears a client can dispute quality of work on an hourly job. This morning I got notice from Upwork "support" saying they had awarded this client a small refund. The "support" person's logic was as follows:

 

"As you admitted to not having completed the project due to client's early termination of the contract, are you willing to negotiate a refund amount with the (sic) him, in order to end this dispute?"

 

George Orwell would be proud of this question. The client halted the project without consulting me and now I should give him a refund because the project wasn't completed? Hmmmm.

 

I was not aware of the most recent communication from Upwork "support" and didn't reply to their most recent note on the Resolution Center message board, so they granted him a refund. (The refund amount will buy this young fellow a couple of lunches at McDonalds, so the amount of money "support" has told me I should refund is not important.)

 

But, taking a second bite at the "refund" apple after his first dispute in regards to this same project was flatly turned down by Upwork "support" has worked for this particular client. This reinforces my impression from the very few disputes I have ever had with Upwork clients that Upwork tries to throw them a bone in any dispute with a freelancer.

 

And Upwork "support's" latest decision really had nothing to do with the "quality" of my work.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Will,

 

Please note Upwork won't make any decisions and you were able to decline the suggestion our agent shared as part of the mediation process. I'll reiterate that both parties are treated equally and our team can make suggestions based on the information shared on the dispute ticket and by both parties privately with the agent, and propose possible solutions for the misunderstanding.

~ Vladimir
Upwork

Thank you for the prompt note, Vladimir.

 

I see no reason to reward this impatient, uncommunicative client with a refund of any kind.

 

If I refuse to follow this "suggestion" from dispute mediation, what next?

 

And why was the same dispute rejected by Upwork when first filed then accomodated, if only to a minor extent, when the same dispute was filed again?

 

I really don't understand how Upwork's dispute resolution and mediation "services" work any more.

Will,

 

I followed up with our Dispute team and they will reply and provide more information about your case. Please, continue to stay in touch with the team to resolve the issue.

 

Thanks.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Thank you, Valeria.

 

 

I got confirmation from the Upwork Upwork Resolution Center that this second dispute filed by the client has been closed with no change from the original dispute resolution - the client closed the project without contacting me and can't expect a refund because I didn't complete the project.

 

Thank you to Valeria and Vladimir for your help on this.

lysis10
Member

that sucks dude

I've found that a lot of good ratings can dilute a somewhat bad rating.

It's just part of the deal as a freelancer at Upwork.

 

I imagine a lot of the better and busier freelancers have learned not to rely solely on Upwork to find quality clients. My own life and work, including engagements here on Upwork, won't really be affected. (Whenever a prospective client asks me why my JSS isn't even higher, I ask them if they know how the JSS is calculated. I have yet to have even one claim that they do.)

 

But a conscientious new freelancer who had this kind of client as an early introduction to working on Upwork would probably think twice about freelancing here over the long term. Smart ones would wonder whether the effort they'd have to make to eventually achieve the elusive 90+ JSS was worthwhile.

 

 


@Will L wrote:

It's just part of the deal as a freelancer at Upwork.

 

It's part of the deal as a freelancer anywhere--or any other kind of business owner.  A bad client can leave negative reviews all over rating sites online, can post to rip-off report and similar sites, can give you bad word of mouth, etc. Comes with the territory.

 

I imagine a lot of the better and busier freelancers have learned not to rely solely on Upwork to find quality clients.

 

I would hope that every intelligent businessperson knows better than to rely on one source for his/her whole livelihood.

 


 

I see, Tiffany.

 

So Upwork shouldn't worry about whether its rating systems serve both freelancers and clients with balanced and realistic ratings because there are other rating systems in the world that don't provide reliable ratings either.

 

OK. Then I guess we're all set. Upwork has no room for improvement in this regard.

 

 


@Will L wrote:

I see, Tiffany.

 

So Upwork shouldn't worry about whether its rating systems serve both freelancers and clients with balanced and realistic ratings because there are other rating systems in the world that don't provide reliable ratings either.

 

Upwork should not in any way attempt to determine whether ratings are "balanced" or "realistic," just as no other system should. They are CLIENT ratings, not Upwork's ratings, and the moment you try to insert a third-party assessment into the subjective rating of an experience, you render it entirely useless for everyone. 

 

OK. Then I guess we're all set. Upwork has no room for improvement in this regard.

 

With regard to allowing both clients and freelancers to decide for themselves how to rate those they work with? Agreed. That's the only system in which ratings have any meaning whatsoever and cannot be improved upon.

 

 




@Will L wrote:

I see, Tiffany.

 

So Upwork shouldn't worry about whether its rating systems serve both freelancers and clients with balanced and realistic ratings because there are other rating systems in the world that don't provide reliable ratings either.

 

OK. Then I guess we're all set. Upwork has no room for improvement in this regard.

 

 


 

So, Tiffany, "...Upwork should not in any way attempt to determine whether ratings are "balanced" or "realistic," just as no other system should."

 

Try telling that to one of the most successful companies on the planet, whose primary expertise is ratings.

 

If Google took your attitude to heart, they wouldn't spend so much time and money constantly trying to accurately rate how well any particular Web site or page suits the needs of a person who uses their search service. (And what is Upwork if not a search service that helps reliable freelancers and clients find one another?)

 

If Google didn't care how well their rating system worked, they wouldn't punish Web sites that try to game their system with black hat SEO tactics or other information or activity that would make Google's rating system inaccurate.

 

Allowing inaccurate client ratings that Upwork knows are inaccurate to adversely affect freelancers' JSS is something Upwork could easily deal with. For example, if a client loses Upwork mediation on a particular project, that client's "feedback" should be removed from public view and play no role in calculating the freelancer's JSS.


@Will L wrote:

So, Tiffany, "...Upwork should not in any way attempt to determine whether ratings are "balanced" or "realistic," just as no other system should."

 

Try telling that to one of the most successful companies on the planet, whose primary expertise is ratings.

 

If Google took your attitude to heart, they wouldn't spend so much time and money constantly trying to accurately rate how well any particular Web site or page suits the needs of a person who uses their search service. (And what is Upwork if not a search service that helps reliable freelancers and clients find one another?)

 

As I'm sure you well know, this isn't comparable at all--it's absurd. What you are suggesting for Upwork would be the equivalent of Google reviewing customer ratings of businesses on Google Maps and changing the ones they didn't agree with.

 

You missed my point completely, Tiffany, so I won't even try explaining it to you.

I should have qualified my assertion that JSS would take a hit -- it will eventually take a hit, but since the displayed JSS is the maximum of the 6, 12, and 24 month average JSS, the intial effect may not be as pronounced as one might fear.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

I suspect that the way to repair JSS after a hit is to take several very small jobs that you can easily do perfectly.

That might work for freelancers who do certain types of work, Mary, but not for me.

 

For me, the smaller the job the more likely the client is young and inexperienced with a very limited budget. All of my (blessedly few) most difficult clients have come from this group and I try to avoid them. 

So to hear this Will.

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Stephen

 

 


@Stephen R wrote:

So to hear this Will.

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

Stephen

 

 


 The client is lying about his location too and says he's in the US. Would have avoided this one too cuz he's lying about his location for a reason and it's likely to trick people in the US to give him the time of day. He has no money an that's why he's giving this guy a hard time. 

No, Jennifer, the client did not lie to me about his physical location.

 

He lives in Los Angeles but is from Tanzania, which is where he wanted to build his new business.


@Will L wrote:

No, Jennifer, the client did not lie to me about his physical location.

 

He lives in Los Angeles but is from Tanzania, which is where he wanted to build his new business.


 lol I dunno about that but ok.

Hi, Stephen.

 

I only remember being ripped off by three Upwork clients, 2 from Israel and 1 from California.

 

I just completed a project for a great client from Somalia, of all places, so you really never know where good projects and clients will come from.

I worked in the journalism for 25 years and base my work on

previous business relationships and decades of job experience.

 

Being censored on Upwork is nothing new. But i find it appalling and misleading.

I was edited because i don't take jobs from Developing Nations.

Recently many job scams have found there way to me on Upwork. Maybe if you focus on Scammers and not censoring valued freelancers we could get more work done and stop wasting time with job proposals that are a shady deal.

 

Again Will sorry for your interaction with a scammer not a professional.

Good luck with your JSS score. 

The JSS score is another tangled mess that rears its ugly head from week to week.

Fun wasting time on disputes from clients who disappear or want to cheat you.

 

Have an awesome day everybody!

 

Yeah, I get it.

 

I think this particular guy wasn't so much a scam artist as an immature, impatient, unprofessional young person who was in over his head.

I usually avoid people who think their idea is where all the money and effort is. Some of these people here think that an idea is really worth something. We won't even get into the losers who think they have the next facebook or google. lol

 

I bet he was one of those people. I can usually pick up on it when they want to sell me on their product or service and it's really not for me to judge any of it. I'm just there to write. I can completely hate the product and still put a bunch of bs on the screen. lol

Stephen,

 

Our intention is not to censor but to foster a professional and productive Community. To do that, we expect all users to follow Community Guidelines. According to the Guidelines posting deliberately disruptive and negative statements about Upwork as well as content determined to be inappropriate or overly negative isn't allowed.

 

Thank you for your understanding.

~ Valeria
Upwork