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No hourly payment guarantee if you don't record memos!! don't make my mistake!

Community Leader
Joëlle O Member Since: Jan 25, 2013
1 of 10

I know that I was "wrong" for not recording my memos.. so please don't lecture me on that. I'm just here to warn other freelancers to make sure they don't make the same mistake I made... so that they are guaranteed payment on their hourly contracts.


I'm not going to go on an on because I've already wasted a considerable amount of time on this.. but basically, I was cheated out of 6 hours of work because I didn't adequately record memos in my work diary even though the screenshots clearly show that I was VERY actively working on the project.


Even though she was thrilled with my work, the client didn't say a word to me about my work diary until the end of the billing cycle. On Monday, she opened up a dispute basically calling me a thief and saying I had worked "an excess amount of hours" for the project.. even though the weekly limit was set to 40 hours and I tracked 8hours and 40 minutes... she decided that the project should have only taken 3 hours. So obviously, upwork refunded her the hours she disputed based on the fact that I hadn't recorded memos.... so don't make the same mistake I made!!! Take the time to record your memos!!!


A very UNHAPPY freelancer. Smiley Sad




Community Leader
Joëlle O Member Since: Jan 25, 2013
2 of 10

I would like to add something to this as the dispute is still unresolved at this time. This is UNBELIEVABLE and I'm hoping Upwork will consider what I'm saying when updating their site rules in the future.


After the client "won" the dispute based on my lack of memos... this scammer woman actually had the NERVE to file another dispute for the remaining hours for lack of deliverables when I proved to the moderator in charge of our case that I did in fact send her several deliverables in PDF format. However, this was not enough for the client, she wanted the source files which I was reluctant to send her (understandably, seeing as she ripped me off by 5:40 hours).


After speaking to customer service and according to the Upwork rules, I found out that freelancers are OBLIGATED to deliver source files even if it's not mentioned in the job post. (This wasn't a fixed rate job, but an hourly job so don't the rules differ for this?) If freelancer don't comply, they get in trouble. So of course, I am forced to send her the source files for fear of losing my account.



I'm really disappointed with the way Upwork handled my case. I feel like they didn't take enough time to look at the message transcript between myself and the client and they automatically take the clients side based on the fact that I simply didn't record memos (even though, my activity levels were high, my screenshots were legit - I'm a top rated freelancer, have NEVER had problems in the past with clients and have 100% JSS) - but they don't seem to care about any of that and I find this completely unreasonable. 


Again, RECORD YOUR MEMOS GUYS!!!! If I had done this, I wouldn't be where I am at the moment! I'm mad at myself but also extremely disappointed at how unprotected and vulnerable us freelancers can be on this platform if we don't follow the rules to a T.


From this experience, I feel like I have been used and scammed out of many hours of work and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it... because the rules are obviously flawed in the clients favor -- I find it absolutely unfair.



Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 10

I'm sorry about what happened to you.


Unfortunately, the fact that the client did a very bad thing by not paying you for your work....does not negate the fact that she played by the rules.


Fortunately, now that you know the rules, you won't be tricked like this again.

Community Leader
Joëlle O Member Since: Jan 25, 2013
4 of 10

Thanks Preston... I know she did and that's what infuriates me. She found a loophole in the system and is using it to her advantage. This issue has caused me a lot of grief. You have no idea how disrespectful she was to me. It has come to the point where I don't want to communicate with her directly anymore (I blocked her from message center) yet she is still harassing me through Modria (the dispute platform).


I just hate feeling like I've been used but I always say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" -- and trust me, I will NEVER forget this lesson.


Thanks for the support.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 10

This client's behavior strikes me as a bit bizarre. Fortunately most Upwork clients are like that.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 10

that's interesting, considering that hourly is paid for time not the product, so how can you demand product when not only did she dispute several hours of time but also demanded source files, which in lots of industries is the final product.


I guess this is the downside of hourly. At least with escrow you can fight and make them pay $300 to dispute it. 

Community Leader
Joëlle O Member Since: Jan 25, 2013
7 of 10

Hi Jennifer,


Thanks for your input. That's precisely what I was thinking as well. I still haven't supplied the source files since I'm still looking into it -- It was indeed an hourly job and not a fixed rate job.


From what I understand on their legal page, it mentions something about being paid "IN FULL" but I didn't get paid in full since she disputed 2/3rds of my hours.... so why would I be obligated to provide her with source files in this case...?


I wish an upwork moderator would intervene here and show me precisely where it says that I need to provide source files for hourly contracts.

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
8 of 10

Hi Joelle,


We are reviewing your case and discussing with our dispute team. In general source code is only transferred on full payment, and we advise freelancers and clients to seek their own advisors when situations differ.  Someone will be updating you via your ticket soon. 

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
9 of 10

It will cost you the last bit of profit from the gig, but you could refund in full and keep the entire project. The client will probably still leave negative private feedback though. : (


I agree that the memo issue isn't made clear enough to freelancers. But in your case, it sounds like the client is a major problem.

Ace Contributor
Cesar G Member Since: Feb 11, 2015
10 of 10

As far as I understand, we "work for hire", sources & deliverables belong to the client as soon as the project is "paid in full". To avoid ambiguity, if the project & payment is under dispute, it might be better to just refund the full amount, keep the sources, and let the client know the deliverables are not theirs.