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Payment dispute

I was approached by a client that failed to layout the details of the project payment and milestone payments and hired me right away. The contract has a budget of 60 USD and the client has just verified the first milestone payment of 35 USD after a bit of back and fourth. I reached out twice and asked that they explain the finer details of the payment arrangement and when they didn't respond immediately I politely informed them that I was going to propose a change in the second milestone payment of the missing 25 USD (that was originally 10 USD).It turns out the 35.00 is to cover the price of the product I had to order myself.  The client has just told me (after half a day of waiting) that there was an error and that they meant to only offer the total of 45 for the budget.  


I feel like they mislead me and figured I wouldn't dispute the payment, checking their profile I found that they had already paid out over 20k to 373-odd Freelancers for an average of about 55 USD per freelancer (but Im not sure if that math is right). It seems to me that disputing this would be the appropriate call here but I feel like I could benefit from anyone with the experience to assist..


Community Member

As business owners, freelancers should set the payment terms they are willing to accept and accept offers accordingly. Disputing for details a client did not provide or for which there was no agreement is in my opinion a waste of time. There is nothing to dispute if the offer was accepted as proposed.

It's not a simple matter of their failing to omit details, but they admitted to making a mistake in the contract after I accepted and completed the work for the first milestone. 

That "mistake" said I should expect to be paid a total of 60 USD, which was misleading on their part. 

I may not have pressed them on ALL of the details but in a rational mind, if you write up a contract that says "Im going to pay you 60 USD for the completion of this contract" and wait until after the freelancer completes the first milestone and say "woops, my bad your only getting about 45.00 total 🙂 " that's usually something that's not going to fly. 


Maybe I'm just a little slow on the draw here, but I'm really confused about how your coming up with this answer.

Your response indicates that there was no expectation of payment at all and that there was no agreement.. If I wasn't being clear about the fact that a contract was signed that said "I will make a purchase and receive a reimburstment in addition to recieving payments up to the amount of 60 Dollars" then I apologize. 


By the way thanks for responding Sophia 🙂 

Hi Michael,

My comment was meant to be general as situations are usually more complex than what they appear to be. My mention of «no agreement» was referring to situations when expectations do not meet the reality. It seemed to be the case with the details I had at that moment.


Of course if the client mentionned a payment of 60 USD, that is different.


The problem is that a promise of payment is not a contract. A funded milestone is a contract.


I am not a big fan of «purchases» for clients, but since I am not sure of Upwork's position about that, I'll just leave it at that. The «commission» should have been funded with the cost of the purchase for the total of 60 USD to protect you and make it clear to both party and because the commission cannot really be separated from the purchase.

Community Member

Two important things:

You never should buy anything for client. What product you say for 35, you have purchaced something?

Total 60 mean nothing until funded. Client funded milestone 1 for 35? You should do only this part of work. Other 25 may be never funded, it is not required. Client able to close contract after 1st milestone. Noone can force him to pay whole 60.

Thanks Mykola, that's something I wasn't entirely sure about.

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