Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

My first client is threatening me

Active Member
Jean-Christophe M Member Since: Jun 16, 2016
1 of 18



tl;dr; client is crazy, threatening me, upwork support is of no help, what to do?


So I started my first job, I'm a experienced developer, building startups and working as a freelancer to get some money. It was hard to find a first job, as I can't work for really low rate, it's just not worth it. So I accepted a small job for a project (which was first fixed @5$...). I proposed him a first analysys task of 80$ to check weather the project was doable or not, as he has no idea of what he has, and he had troubles to explain it in english. 


It was a good move as the project was completely outdated (symfony based, but stuck to version2.3) on a old provider (php 5.3) and a complete badly coded administration partly functionning. We could tell from the code several low skilled developpers worked on it, and no one did anything since 2-3 years on it. 


Without moving to more stable version it was nearly impossible to get anything done, so the second task was to upgrade to symfony latest, update his administration to sonata admin, and try working on his original tasks, even tho it wasn't really clear.

The client was highly demanding, sending mail every 6 hours everyday, and in the end, turn up crazy when I told him I couldn't deploy the new version on his stupid provider (symfony need php 5.6 at least, the php version was stuck to 5.3 something...). i then decided to deploy it on another server with proper application versions, and it works greatly, but somehow he wanted is old version back and started asking for many new things, that was easy based on his understanding. I was a bit tired of this, so I just told him I would give him a zip and he would take care of the deployment as this part was not part of my proposal at first.


After a long rant against me, and several false claims, those are the last work he said to me : 



This is obviously some threats, but somehow upwork support doesn't think it is, so I'm lost and asking the community what to do. i don't want that crazy client to leave me any review, as it will be for sure bad for my future work. 

To emphasize the whole thing, we are talking about 180$ Smiley Wink so yeah, that client is about to search for me anywhere in the world for 180$ for a stupid project, that is barely maintainable.

Ace Contributor
Ramon v Member Since: Oct 28, 2015
2 of 18

If your Client is Liam Neeson you're in BIG trouble.

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
3 of 18

If you feel threatened call law enforcement. If you want to avoid bad feedback, conduct a search using the phrase "bad feedback" and then make a selection from the available advice.


Upwork may take action against a client who breaks rules. To get through customer service, you will need to clearly point out a rule that is broken and ask for the situation to be escalated. Arguing with front line CS, IMO, won't get you very far. 

Community Leader
Gabriel B Member Since: Nov 25, 2014
4 of 18

Because of the low budget, he got bad developers. Because his experience is of only developers with limited knowledge in pressing keys, he's very reluctant to "architecture changes" because he'll have greater difficulty finding cheap developers who work with the latest PHP versions or with some new framework version.


I would've stopped at the part where the client doesn't know English very well.

Active Member
Jean-Christophe M Member Since: Jun 16, 2016
5 of 18

yes, english was not that bad, just low level, and we were both french speaker, so I switched at some point, but he switched back to english, so I kept up.


Community Guru
Oreofe J Member Since: May 8, 2015
6 of 18

So what is done is done.


Sorry your first experience turned out to be sour.


With respect to feedback , dont sweat it - ensure you leave a detailed explanation of what went wrong at your own end - also let prospective clients know you are able to take a curved ball and make the best of it - i.e you apply lessons learnt from tricky projects to fresh projects and also refer to other succesful projects you have had even if it is off platform.


Secondly , you might want to talk to legal or law enforcement at your end - it might be a rant but it's the least you can do.


Lastly , now you should be able to read the signs and evade such future 'stressful prjects and clients' . The bad news is that they are still out there. The good news is one or two speed bumps can't stop you from moving on.



Active Member
Jean-Christophe M Member Since: Jun 16, 2016
7 of 18

Yes, what you say makes perfect sense. I'm doing freelancing since more than 10 years, without troubles, I have solid client who are happy to work with me, and I'm at the moment building a huge platform for a personal startup, so i'm quite confident I will find. My only target here was to have a first experience in upwork as many client ask for this at first and it could help to go out of the fog of proposals. I made several good proposal with proper details linked to the job, but I end up always having not even a answer. I know clients are spammed but I'm still trugling to get the job, even tho the job I target are the perfect match with my skills (docker/bash symfony/angular).


Anyway, here I don't really care to get the 200$, I just want to have nothing to do anymore with that crazy guy, and I don't want him to ruin my virgin reputation here.. Hope support will help. Cancelling is an option to avoid bad and offensive review ?

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
8 of 18

If you don't take any money at all (or refund it all), the client won't be able to leave you public feedback. He can still leave private feedback, which will impact your JSS score, but no stars/comments on your profile. Generally, I wouldn't recommend that for a bunch of reasons, but for a small amount of money at the very outset of building your profile, it might be worth considering.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
9 of 18

JC, if you refund any money that was paid to you, the client won’t be able to leave any public feedback. He will, however, still have the opportunity to leave a private feedback, which will impact your rating.


The take-home lesson here is that the cheapest clients are almost always the worst ones. This equation almost never fails, and when you undersell yourself dramatically to a cheapo just to get some cred, this is the kind of risks you are taking.


Chalk it up as an experience and move on.



"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
10 of 18

Ask him if he plays Internet tough guy often or if this is his first time.