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Questioning client refund request

jackiepeeler
Community Guru
Jacqueline P Member Since: Dec 28, 2015
1 of 8

Two days ago I got a message from Upwork that a client requested returnn of funds in escrow. I have to take action no later than today if I want to challenge that. I have done some work on this project, so if I don't do anyting I'll lose out. There is some pertinent history on this, sorry it's probably tedious to read but thanks very much if you're willing. 

 

This project has several components, some I've gotten paid for working on at earlier stages. This part was waiting on critical missing info since the client wanted to change his work affiliaition and needed to do that first so he could give me his correct contact info for all the pieces.

 

Finalizing his new work situation has taken him months and during that time I've gotten notices from Upwork on cancellation due to inactivity, and the client then extended the contract. 

 

Last week the client finally gave me his new contact info to add to all the components, thanking me for my patience.  Right after that I had emails about the return of funds from escrow and messaged the client about it. The client said (twice) he would fix it as he had before, so I proceeded with the work and didn't think about it again. 

 

That takes it to the latest UW warning two days ago, which clearly says that the client requested the return. Would it say that if the action was just due to inactivity, or does it mean unequivocally the client did make that request? In which case he could be stringing me along. We've had a good relationship so far, so it's hard to believe but anything's possible.

 

Question is: should I challenge the return of funds or do nothing? Does that mean we enter into a dispute, I understand there is a fee for that which is close to the amount in escrow, so might make no sense to do so.

 

Or call the client to see if I can find out what's up and possibly work things out with him or at least try to save the relationship for the future?  We've had good phone rapport so far. 

 

I don't think he's evil or anything. At times he's said he's been ill in a way that affects mental clarity and would put off working on things then, don't know if that could be a factor now. 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
BEST ANSWER
2 of 8

Has the milestone been funded close to 3 months ago? That is as long as it can stay open. After that Upwork autocloses it.

 

Speak to the client! It doesn't sound like there is malice.

 

There is NO fee for a dispute, ONLY if it went to arbitration after failing to come to an agreement. Only very few disputes go that far.

 

Depending on the sum involved I'd speak to the client first and then decide whether to dispute or let it time out (The funds go back to the client if you let it time out.)

 

View solution in original post

nkocendova
Community Guru
Nina K Member Since: Nov 29, 2017
3 of 8

Hi Jacqueline,

Petra is correct, Fixed-prite contracts with money in escrow will begin a process of being auto-closed after a period of inactivity, so in these cases the client has not requested the refund. Please note your client can still leave feedback within a period of two weeks if Upwork closes the contract.

~Nina
jackiepeeler
Community Guru
Jacqueline P Member Since: Dec 28, 2015
4 of 8

So, since there is work remaining to be done to finalize the pieces, does that mean he will have to start a new contract and fund that? Could he stop the auto close process if he got to it today?

 

I will call him, just would like to know what to advise him.

 

 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 8

@Jacqueline P wrote:

So, since there is work remaining to be done to finalize the pieces, does that mean he will have to start a new contract and fund that? Could he stop the auto close process if he got to it today?

 


 Get him to release some of it today, even if it is just part of the milestone.

That'll reset the clock so no need for a new contract.

jackiepeeler
Community Guru
Jacqueline P Member Since: Dec 28, 2015
6 of 8

Nina, I need more help on this. I contacted client but the contract had been closed by the time he reached out to CS. He is asking me to file a dispute on this and it sounds like I should have gotten an escrow refund notice of closure that would have a link to do this, but I did not, only the warning that this would happen that I received Tuesday night. The client thinks from this response that is the only way to open this contract, rehire me and complete our work. What is the best course of action now? 

 

CS response to client:  

...as much as we want, currently when a contract is ended, there's no option to reopen it. If you want to release the escrow for this contract, the freelancer needs to choose 'file a dispute' on the escrow refund notice she received, then you will see 'Resolve a dispute' and be able to release funds. If she forgot to file a dispute within 7 days after the contract is ended, the escrow will be refunded to your payment method. You can just send payment as bonus. Click the 3 dots besides Rehire on the contract page, then click Give Bonus. You can rehire her to continue the contract.

 

 

 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 8

If you got the email on Tuesday you would have 7 days to react to it. If you go to the actual contract there should be a link to approve or dispute.

 

Personally I would say the easiest and quickest option is to approve the refund or let it time out, the client to issue a bonus for the work done, and the client to rehire you when they need more work.

 

 

aocumen
Moderator
Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
8 of 8

Hi Jacqueline, 

I checked your contract and it looks like the system has already refunded the amount in escrow to your client's payment method. Your client should be able to pay you by issuing you a bonus instead, by following the steps on the email sent to your client. 


~ Avery
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