Thanks for the advice
The thing is what was said in the review was all completely untrue and I have been able to prove this to Upwork with copies of the emails between myself and client,
I get why people are saying I should swallow my pride and just refund the money, but the problem is that everyone has been doing that (and understandably so!) and that's why the system is still so flawed. If everyone kicked up a fuss when this happened, I feel that Upwork may have changed things by now (but maybe I'm being idealistic!)
re: "I get why people are saying I should swallow my pride and just refund the money, but the problem is that everyone has been doing that"
I have absolutely no way of knowing how common it is for clients to behave in such a way.
No offense, but I don't even know what this client did, or what this client's perceptions are.
I have to believe that not "everyone" (not every contractor) has been capitulating to clients who completely fabricate stories about a contract in order to get out of paying them, because this simply has never happened to me. I have 76 completed jobs, and I have never had a client lie about me in feedback or try to rip me off.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Upwork needs to do a better job of making sure this doesn't happen. I don't know how widespread this is.
You're really lucky to have had so many jobs and never had an experience like this.
The go-to solution seems to be just to refund the money to the client if you don't want to suffer through an unfair review on your profile. There is no other available option to freelancers in my situation. I've been back and forth with Upwork for weeks now, and they really aren't helpful. They just keep directing me to their FAQ page for Reviews and I'd imagine many freelancers just give up with these responses as they need to keep sending proposals.
If I didn't have proof from his own messages to me that he lied in his review, I would probably give up too. What's frustrating is that I CAN prove it and Upwork won't do anything because it's not their 'general policy'.
After looking at your profile, it's so very clear that this particular client was a jerk. I would keep the money and the review. It stands out among so many very good reviews that it's clearly malicious.
I vote for a Wall of Shame to be added to the UpWork community. Kind of like the transparent BBB website where you can review all the complaints againt clients, judgements, lawsuits, settlements, and whether or not the client responded to the claim etc. None of this hush-hush no-names mumbo jumbo.
LYNCH!! LYNCH!!! LYNCH!!!
Ha ha, it wouldn't definitely make me feel better about this situation if that was an option! But I guess you'd no doubt have people abusing it and posting bad reviews out of spite, just like this guy
The annoying thing is that during the first job I did for this client, he was full of praise in his messages to me and then didn't review me AT ALL! But with this disastrous second job he couldn't WAIT to tar and feather me.
Catherine, I would agree that as a client I would totally ignore that feedback if I was considering hiring you. I honestly don't think it will hurt you. It says a lot more about the client than it does you..
I still think it would have helped greatly if you had responded to the client's feedback and left your own, just for context..
I, like Petra, am wondering why you didn't respond to his review on your profile. Did you know you could do that? You could have replied with the same review that you had left on his profile...
Another thing I'm wondering about: you said that this went on for months. Was this not a fixed-price contract and didn't you get him to fund a milestone before you started the work? In which case you should have gotten your money within 2 weeks of submitting a request for approval. Did he dispute it during those 2 weeks or after them?
*Edited to add: I suggest removing your website URL from your Overview.
I wondered about these issues too, and also why you accepted a contract for a vague assignment? Don't click the "Accept" button before things are crystal clear and you are certain that you can deliver a good product. In my experience this quite often saves you from these kind of hassle situations and also often uncloaks shady clients.