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Protecting yourself from escrow disputes

How would I protect myself from escrow disputes moving forward ?


Real Scenario :

- accepted job , understood fully to implement client request based on the contract details

- delivered the work to the client.

- Client did not understand that work complete actually was work complete and had some kind of unrealistic expectation comparing another piece of software to the work complete and implying that the work should be 1:1 with such (highly professional and polished) software , unexpected ignorance but how would I have known this ?

- tried to refute claims but completely dillusional client lacked education in the subject area , Client requests return funds from escrow ,

- dispute process  

-  client refuses to pay anything or compromise . 
- dispute team agrees I did make a deliverable but client refuses to accept it despite the fact it's merged to their GitHub and didn't have any issues the day it was merged ( in fact client was happy , until their unrealistic expectations came out )

- accepted 50 percent proposal from upwork dispute team, client refuses and wants to chargeback bank


so in the above scenario where did I go wrong ?


How do I improve , protect myself for next time ?


I don't see how it's my job to educate the client , but if the client is naive / doesn't understand their own job contract , that is pretty much a problem I hadn't even foreseen . 



Community Member

Break the project in little milestones. Don't work till the last .ilestone is paid

Community Member

You can't. You accept escrow contracts, then you risk a dispute unless you want to just refund without question, but anyone with a brain wants to fight for their money, even clients.


You agree to go into mediation when you accept the contract. You cannot predict the future and how someone will react, so disputes are just a part of escrow contracts. The real kick in the face is the chargeback issue.

Community Member

Probably the only thing you did wrong was not interacting enough with the client BEFORE accepting the contract to ensure that you were on the same page about exactly what was to be done and then spelling that out very clearly in the contract. 


Even then, you could find yourself in this situation. There really is no protection in an escrow job unless you are willing and able to go to arbitration (which means it's generally useless for small jobs). 

Community Member

Hey Chris, I always interview Clients and set expectations at the very beginning before accepting any Contracts. If I don't believe the Client is a good fit for ANY reason, the job isn't accepted. Of course there are a few that slip through the cracks, but that is a very rare exception. Also keep your client informed during the process. I typically use four Milestones so there is a check point four times before the completion of a project. This has been my experience after 320 Upwork Contracts. Have a great day!

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