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My Client is Blackmailing me and asking for free work?

My client asked me to add six pages at the end of about 200 MS Word files. It was a complex job consisting of files in 18 different languages and full-paged ungrouped charts. He provided the files through Dropbox. We agreed on it for $150/-. When I delivered the work, the client blamed me that I have used the wrong files. I was astonished. Then I realized from his words that he has changed the original files at Dropbox. 

To keep my repo and good relation with the client, I redone all the job with new files within the next 12 hrs. But again he was not happy.

I provided him with the screenshots and told him my work is flawless. Then he realized that his provided files have some extra pages in between. 

 

Now he wants from me to remove all extra pages from 200 files for free and he is calling it "Changes".

I told him that removing pages was not part of our agreement. You have to assign a new milestone for that.

 

But he warned me that if I will not do this extra work (Which he is calling changes now) he will not release the funds.

 

So, What should I do? Any idea?

15 REPLIES 15
kat303
Community Guru

It sounds like you went Way above and beyond the scope of work that was originally agreed on. (especially if the files were changed After you worked on them.) 

 

IMO he has, such as you have, every right to open a dispute. Perhaps it should be you that opens the dispute first. Be prepared to take it all the way to arbitration as that may be the only way a binding, final decision will be made. Note - each of you, if you decide to go that route, must pay an arbitration fee of $291. That fee will bot be returned to you no matter what decision is made. The only way you get that fee back is if the other party, in this case the client, doesn't pay that fee. Then you get both what's in escrow and the $291 fee back.

 

wlyonsatl
Community Guru

If you think you have fulfilled the work you agreed to do, immediately submit it to your client via the green Submit button on the project page to get the ball rolling on getting paid within 14 days.

 

He sounds pretty disorganized. If he claims the work as submitted doesn't fulfill your agreement, ask him why,

 

If he's right, do what it takes to complete the work. The 14-day clock for your payment keeps ticking.

 

If he's wrong, make sure you understand what else he now wants done and tell him how much it will take you and what his cost will be under a new, fully-funded milestone.

 

Don't let pandering to the JSS system stand in the way of doing what's right for you and what's fair to the client.

On top of everything else, it doesn't require any technical skill whatsoever to delete a page from a Word doc. The client is too lazy to do it himself 200 times so he expects you to do it for free. That's absurd, when it was his mistake putting the extra page there in the first place.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
It's not that simple in complex word documents cosisting of dozen of text boxes and graphics. Deleting six pages from the middle of a document ruins all the formatting of remaining pages. The document will become a mess.

This is probably not related to the original poster's problem...

 

But a programmer would tell you:

Any time you need to do the same thing 200 times, you shouldn't be using Microsoft Word.


Preston H wrote:

This is probably not related to the original poster's problem...

 

But a programmer would tell you:

Any time you need to do the same thing 200 times, you shouldn't be using Microsoft Word.


I spend two years fixing word documents written by programmers. People either know how to format in Word or they don't.

Years ago I spent several months programming Word to format chemical data (text files) into tables for publication (Springer-Verlag). But then I had previously worked full-time as a Production Editor with Academic Press, so I knew a little something about formatting tables, chemical formulas, numbers, breaking tables across pages, etc.

 

I was actually surprised at what it was possible to get Word to do - between crashes that is, had to keep the file sizes down.

 

I used Word in a later job to format whole directories of text files. It would load each file in turn, do the formating, saving as a .doc to another directory. I would launch the program and walk away, leaving the computer screen flashing and doing all the work.

 


Preston H wrote:

This is probably not related to the original poster's problem...

 

But a programmer would tell you:

Any time you need to do the same thing 200 times, you shouldn't be using Microsoft Word.


A Word expert can perhaps create a macro to automate the process, but I'm no Word expert so that's probably an over-simplification. 

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

Shahid M wrote:
It's not that simple in complex word documents cosisting of dozen of text boxes and graphics. Deleting six pages from the middle of a document ruins all the formatting of remaining pages. The document will become a mess.

That is when the formatting wasn't done properly to start with.

Yes, I have submitted work formally and then after all hard chat, the client requested changes formally.

And again I resubmitted the payment request with following message

 

"100% work already submitted.
Requested changes do not belong to the work that I have performed.
It is additional work and as per upWork policy "no free work".
You have to create a new milestone for that."


Shahid M wrote:

Yes, I have submitted work formally and then after all hard chat, the client requested changes formally.

And again I resubmitted the payment request with following message

 

"100% work already submitted.
Requested changes do not belong to the work that I have performed.
It is additional work and as per upWork policy "no free work".
You have to create a new milestone for that."


You could have worded this is little better. You don't want to come across as unfriendly, but rather helpful. So skip the class on what upwork thinks. 

Next time, try this:

Dear John, I see that you require additional work to be done that was not part of our original agreement. My estimate is that it will take me 2,5 hours to perform the task. Kindly create a new milestone for xyz dollar amount. 

 

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru

Shahid M wrote:

My client asked me to add six pages at the end of about 200 MS Word files. It was a complex job consisting of files in 18 different languages and full-paged ungrouped charts. He provided the files through Dropbox. We agreed on it for $150/-.


Shahid - You've already received good advice about your current problem, but in the future, I would advise you not to agree to format 200 documents for $150 in the first place. How many hours have you spent on this already? Clients who expect you to work for so little money are NOT going to end up being good clients!

 

Take a look at any of the problems in the forum - you hardly ever see freelancers saying, "My client hired me for $50/hour and now they're being demanding and unreasonable." No, it's always the clients who pay 50 cents an hour who end up being jerks. Can you not see the connection?

 

 


Christine A wrote:

Shahid M wrote:

My client asked me to add six pages at the end of about 200 MS Word files. It was a complex job consisting of files in 18 different languages and full-paged ungrouped charts. He provided the files through Dropbox. We agreed on it for $150/-.


Shahid - You've already received good advice about your current problem, but in the future, I would advise you not to agree to format 200 documents for $150 in the first place. How many hours have you spent on this already? Clients who expect you to work for so little money are NOT going to end up being good clients!

 

Take a look at any of the problems in the forum - you hardly ever see freelancers saying, "My client hired me for $50/hour and now they're being demanding and unreasonable." No, it's always the clients who pay 50 cents an hour who end up being jerks. Can you not see the connection?


I do not think it is your place to critizise the rate for this job. Depending on where you are living. I guess if I would still be at university I might have said yes to the job. People on this platform have different rates and adding 6 pages to 200 documents is not the hardest job to start with, it is only frustrating if the formatting is messed up.


Jennifer R wrote:


I do not think it is your place to critizise the rate for this job. Depending on where you are living. I guess if I would still be at university I might have said yes to the job. People on this platform have different rates and adding 6 pages to 200 documents is not the hardest job to start with, it is only frustrating if the formatting is messed up.


I understand that not everyone works for the same rates. I was giving advice on how to avoid bad clients, and I stand by this advice. 



Christine A wrote:

Jennifer R wrote:


I do not think it is your place to critizise the rate for this job. Depending on where you are living. I guess if I would still be at university I might have said yes to the job. People on this platform have different rates and adding 6 pages to 200 documents is not the hardest job to start with, it is only frustrating if the formatting is messed up.


I understand that not everyone works for the same rates. I was giving advice on how to avoid bad clients, and I stand by this advice. 


I am just not sure that the rate offered was that bad. The OP needed 12h for the 200 files. That's $12,5/h which is more than the minimum wage in Germany.

The problem is that the client made a mistake when he delivered the files. I can imagine 3 scenarios:
1. The client is the business owner and wanted the job done quickly, messed it up and tries to have his mistake fixed for free.

2. The client is an employee with the permission to hand the task to a freelancer and then made a mess sending the wrong files several times. Afraid of loosing his own job he tries to have his mistake fixed for free.

3. Said employee farmed out the work and then made a mess sending the wrong files several times. Afraid of loosing his own job he tries to have his mistake fixed for free.

 

In any case the OP has very good chances to win arbitration if the client is even willing to spend $291 just for the chance to get his $150. The JSS will suffer I think a polite and short reply to whatever feedback will be given is the only think the OP can do. I would not agree to more work without a milestone being funded or even an hourly contract.

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