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Refund Request After 14 Days due to Project Cancellation

Active Member
Xavier C Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
1 of 11



I completed a milestone and my client didn't respond in 14 days. 10 days later, I got a request for a refund because the project was canceled. 


I reminded the client about the 14 days rule before the funds were automatically released and (even) after that. But I've been ignored for some weeks. 


When looking into the details of the refund request, I only see the option for "Give fund". 


I don't want to simply ignore the client and I really wish to act properly, but I don't know if a project cancellation is a reason strong enough for a refund under Upwork's policies. 


In this sense, can somebody explain to me further this 30-days dispute policy? Particularly, how can my client activate it? 


I'd like to solve this issue directly with my client, but I need to be prepared for any case scenario. 


Many thanks in advance, 

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
2 of 11

If you did the work as agreed, Xavier, you should be paid as agreed.


Unfortunately, if I understand, correctly you and the client will have to come to an agreement on whether and how much you will be paid if he files a request for a refund. If you cannot come to an agreement, the full amount of the payment(s) to you will be refunded unless you take the matter to arbitration.


Arbitration will cost you, the client and Upwork $291 each, so it probably isn't worthwhile for low-priced projects.


Of course, this is completely unfair to the freelancer who has performed the work as agreed, and it's the reason many new freelancers have ended up having to do what amounts to free work for certain types of unsavory clients.


Good luck!

Active Member
Xavier C Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
3 of 11

Thanks for your answer, Will!


Actually, this is a $200 project so my lucky guess is that the client would find arbitration pointless. 


The issue is that unlike other refund requests I've faced before (which had an agreed ending), I can't file a dispute myself and I'm not sure if the client can. Furthermore, I don't see the 7 days policy in the refund details; in which if I don't take action the refund is given to the client automatically. 


As I said, my desire is to finish the issue in the best possible way. I'd only like to have an insight into how my cards look atm. 


Thanks again, 



Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 11

It's like the project manager who took his team out to eat at Chili's, along with the client and representatives from the partnering companies.


About 15 people in total. This was a business lunch. A lot of planning was done. Introductions were made. Assignments were made.


Three weeks later, the client cancelled the project.


The project manager went back to the restaurant and demanded that they give him a refund for the bill. He also tracked down the waitress and forced her to return the tip that was left for the meal.


What an @#&@*%

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 11

Xavier, the client can only dispute if:


1. there is money currently in Escrow.


2. it has been less than 30 days since the last milestone was funded.


It sounds like it's been long than that, so basically there will be no dispute and there will be no need for or possibility of arbitration.


I'd just write a final, polite, but firm message that you're sorry the project was cancelled, but that you delivered what was agreed and therefor there is no basis for a refund from your side.


A refund request, unlike a dispute, has no teeth by itself. Don't totally ignore the client, but don't worry about it either.



View solution in original post

Active Member
Xavier C Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
6 of 11

Thanks a lot Petra for the comprehensive answer. 


Indeed, I'll follow your advice. 

Active Member
Luciana S Member Since: May 4, 2020
7 of 11

I'm curious how this worked out for you, Xavier? 

Active Member
Xavier C Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
8 of 11

Hi Luciana, 


Well, the client wasn't amused that I politely rejected his request. 


Although he acknowledged that it wasn't my fault the project was canceled, he expected me to return the money without further hesitation. Because the ongoing economic situation affects nobody but him, apparently. 


Long story short, he left me a 2-star rating. My JSS went from 97% to 83% and I'm not top-rated anymore. In the last couple of weeks, I've contacted other clients with whom I've not done much work lately in order to close the contracts and get feedback. I got six 5-star ratings, but I haven't been able to get my JSS over 86% for now. 


Tbh, I've now three very good clients I've met in Upwork. I'm considering moving out of Upwork, taking these clients with me. 


We'll see what happens. 

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
9 of 11



Good for you standing up to such an unjustified request from a client. I wish you had a defense against the effects of such biased feedback. (Upwork should require that a client provide feedback for a freelancer before the freelancer has to decide whether to make a refund to the client.)


I think you can recover from this unfair feedback, but be sure you follow these guidelines if you move work away from Upwork:

Active Member
Xavier C Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
10 of 11

Hi Will, 


I hope too that I can recover. 


I know Upwork's algorithm is top-secret and there's no way to fully understand how JSS works. 


But it blows my mind how a 2-star review can amount 14% of my JSS and six 5-star reviews amount only 3% of it - from which two are x2 and one x5 the value of the 2-star review. 


Anyhow, let's hope for the best.