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My first horrible client experience. What should I do?

Active Member
Wendy D Member Since: Mar 16, 2019
1 of 19

Client invited me to modify current .ai file of a jar label design to a box design for 2 packages at a very low price ($25). I accepted because I hadn't done any work here on here in awhile (like a month) and just wanted a quicky to get back in the groove.

Well his resource art files were .ai files that had been saved as non-editable pdf then resaved as .ai to render them impossible to work with. To boot the files were a disaster of free download art masked to insanity by the file conversions (see attached screenshot of vector preview). He never gave a specific deadline, it was Friday evening. He started complaining he wanted them same night and couldn't believe it was taking so long. I told him there were problems with the files and it was not well structured and that it would take much longer because of that.

He refused to take a call on Upwork to explain the issues (he claimed it didn't work but I'd chatted with him before using it), he insisted we chat on Skype instead. I said ok because I just wanted to speak to him to resolve it. He would not take a call to speak directly. He then had me chat 3-way with the previous freelancer who created the files to explain the problems with the now I'm basically telling the other freelancer his art is a mess (ex: 21 different fonts on a 2x4" label design?!). Of course he's going to deny this to the client. Anyway...I was diplomatic as possible and just wanted to get on with it.

Finished the project Sunday (on my birthday weekend) sent him (low res bitmap compressed) final pdf previews through Upwork chat asking final approval to deliver the final art files. Now he's not responding at all to my messages to let me know how he wants to proceed...after riding my back all weekend to rush rush rush.

Now what do I do? I have a 100% satisfaction rating until this disaster and I'm afraid he'll leave bad feedback blaming me for the issues or close the contract without paying. I don't want the money, I want this gone. Can I just end the contract? Should I dispute or report? I just don't want a bad review/rating from this guy after doing all I could to complete it and make him happy.

I don't care about the money, I care about my reputation and putting this bad experience behind me. Please help! Thank you for any advise! Smiley Sad


**Edited for community guidelines**

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
2 of 19

Sounds like a nightmare, but it's only Tuesday; I'd give him a little longer to respond before you hit the panic button. (Clients who are supposedly in a huge rush but then take their time responding after you deliver the files... that's nothing new, unfortunately.)


I assume that the payment is in escrow? If he doesn't respond by the end of the week, then I'd just submit the final files for payment. 


Community Guru
Elba A Member Since: Feb 28, 2017
3 of 19

I would not wait and submit work for payment if he does not answer you get paid automatically, if he does well... let's wait then


If you don't want any money you can end the contract at any given time and refund the money to your client, but remember a "0" contract can lower you JSS, not sure if you're Top Rated, if you are you can use the perk and remove it from your calculations, even if he decides to leaves a bad feedback.

Community Leader
Alexander B Member Since: Mar 30, 2017
4 of 19

I don't think using the top rated perk removes it from the calculations, just from public view. 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
5 of 19

Alexander B wrote:

I don't think using the top rated perk removes it from the calculations, just from public view. 

You think wrong.



"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Active Member
Wendy D Member Since: Mar 16, 2019
6 of 19

Thanks for replying Rene! Much appreciated! Smiley Happy

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 19



Invoking the Top-Rated perk removes the client's feedback from the calculation of the freelancer's Job Success Score (if the inclusiong of the feedback would have hurt the freelancer's JSS), but there is a choice to be made by the freelancer:


Active Member
Wendy D Member Since: Mar 16, 2019
8 of 19

Thank you for your response Will. I'm not Top Rated in any case. I only just started. Working on it! Smiley Happy
I have read the section you cited to better inform myself.

Many thanks!

Active Member
Wendy D Member Since: Mar 16, 2019
9 of 19

Thanks Alexander! It seems there are options to negotiate a bad experience. I'm just hoping it doesn't get any worse moving forward! Smiley Happy

Active Member
Wendy D Member Since: Mar 16, 2019
10 of 19

Thank you for your response Elba. I wasn't sure how to proceed. Very helpful! Cheers!!!