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My first horrible client experience. What should I do?

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

Christine,

Thank you for replying Smiley Happy

Yes the funds are in escrow but once I deliver final files, is he obliged to pay? What is the policy? I'm really worried he's just going to give me a bad review and use the designs. I'm pretty new here and never had a problem like this before.

Thank you very much for the great advice! I try to learn from the experience. I kind of should have known he'd be a difficult client. Now I do Smiley Happy

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
BEST ANSWER
12 of 19

Wendy:

You finished the task as it was originally explained to you, correct?

 

If you finished the task, then you should use the "Submit Work / Request Payment" button to submit the files. And then simply wait.

 

If the client DOES NOTHING, then you will be paid automatically.

 

if the client releases payment (which is what the client SHOULD DO), then that's great. You were paid.

The contract can be closed.

 

if the client clicks the client-side button to request changes, then you may need to deal with that eventuality. But do not assume that will happen.

 

I ALWAYS submit the work with the official button when I DECIDE that the work is done. I never ask the client to approve the work using messages or email or whatnot.

 

THAT IS WHAT the "Submit Work" button is for.

 

I suggest that you refrain from ASSUMING you will receive bad feedback. You don't know that you'll receive feedback. If you did the work you were asked to do, the client should leave accurate feedback, and not try to punish you.

 

If the client DOES leave feedback that you (for whatever reason) really want to remove from your public profile, you can refund the client's payment, and the feedback will be REMOVED from your public profile/work history. You can do that AFTER the contract has been closed.

 

So my basic rule is simply:

If you DID THE WORK, then you should submit it and get paid.

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

Hi Preston,
Thank you so much for the information. Yes the work was completed as requested. I usually send low res/quality previews through the chat window for design approval, as there usually are revisions of some kind, then once they say it's as they wish I deliver final art files for payment via the SUBMIT WORK. It would be nice if there was a SUBMIT PREVIEW option perhaps? I figure I'm safe of everything goes through Upwork interface.

I don't like to assume the worst about the review, you're right, I should not. He just complained so much about delays that weren't my fault I'm worried. It's good to know there is some recourse in case things go more sideways than they already have.

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

Wendy D wrote:

I usually send low res/quality previews through the chat window for design approval, as there usually are revisions of some kind, then once they say it's as they wish I deliver final art files for payment via the SUBMIT WORK. It would be nice if there was a SUBMIT PREVIEW option perhaps? I figure I'm safe of everything goes through Upwork interface.


I do the same thing that you do, i.e. submit the first draft via the message board and ask the client what they think (unless there's a separate milestone set up for the first draft); I don't like to just assume that the work is finished until the client says so. If you've had no problems with this method before (I certainly haven't), then there's no reason to change the way that you work.

 

It's true that you can give a refund and have negative feedback and the star rating removed; however, a contract with no money paid will still affect your JSS. It's only if you're top-rated that you can use the removal perk (sparingly) to completely undo the damage. So it's best to try to sort things out with the client and only do that as a last resort.

 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
15 of 19

I have no idea what your current client will do with regards to feedback.

 

But I can say that you would be surprised at the amount of complaints I have received from clients on various projects, yet ended up receiving positive feedback, both written and stars.

 

I have had clients really upset about things, but if I stuck it out, and they ended up getting the final result they were looking for, then they're almost always very generous with feedback.

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

Funny thing is, I hardly ever use the submit payment button.

 

My clients are happy to pay me lol, I always make sure they're satisfied.

 

The only time I use the submit payment button is when I'm working with a busy CEO or executive at a "larger" company.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
17 of 19

Alexander B wrote:

Funny thing is, I hardly ever use the submit payment button.

 

My clients are happy to pay me lol, I always make sure they're satisfied.

 

The only time I use the submit payment button is when I'm working with a busy CEO or executive at a "larger" company.


That will continue to work fine for you, until the day that it doesn't.

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
18 of 19

Wendy D wrote:

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 file...so 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**


My thoughts, 

 

  • Calls by whatever method are a hassle and should be avoided unless a client insists. 
  • Upwork call's reliability is sporadic, there's no reason to force a client to use it.
  • The other freelancer knew exactly what they had done and why they did it. 
  • The client probably used you to attempt to shame the other freelancer. You should have backed out of insisting on a call long before it came to that point.
  • No one cares if it is your birthday when you are a freelancer. (Actually, they don't care when you are an employee either.)
  • A project that requires a three-party Skype call to complete should cost way more than $25.

I hope your next client is more patient and has files that are in better shape. Smiley Wink

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
19 of 19

Wendy, In the future, you shouldn't accept a contract until and unless you can view the files/materials that you would be working with. Doing this saves so much time and avoids problems and situations like this. 

 

At this point, if you have finished the requirements of the job/milestones, submit the finished work via the Submit Work/Request Payment button. Then just wait. If the client doesn't respond to that (by requesting changes) then in 14 days all funds in escrow will be automatically released to you. Unless something has happened to the client it's probably a good thing he isn't responding. That probably means he's happy with the results. A lot of clients, when they get their work disappear and never release funds, request changes, don't close the contract, stop all communication and literally disappear. 

 

If changes are required you will be notified of that during the 14 day review period. And at this point you have no idea what the feedback, if any, will be. If it's negative, how you reply to it will affect you more then the feedback itself. Reply professionally, short and sweet, NOT in the heat of the moment, no whinning, no ranting and no long detailed explanation.

 

As to the part about returning the funds. A job will no money earned will affect your JSS So, IMO if you did the work, put in the time and effort why not get paid for it?  

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