I am having a bit of a situation with one of my clients.
I recently designed a report for a client and had set up milestones so that I received an initial payment of $200 after I delivered the first few pages and then a final $500 once the complete report was delivered.
The client was happy with the first few pages and released the $200 and funded the $500. Then I delivered the completed report to him and he wanted a few revisions, but seemed happy enough. I agreed to the revisions, but I had a few questions about them as some things were unclear so I sent him a message asking him to clarify.
Two weeks went by without any word from the client. Upwork then automatically released the remaining milestone after 14 days.
The client then abruptly closed the contract and messaged me saying he wasn't happy with the work and that I wasn't professional etc. etc. It was totally out of left field! He left me bad feedback (which I have had removed as I am top rated) and I thought I had heard the last of him. Then today he messaged me saying that he had initiated a refund request through Upwork and that I should do the "professional" thing and grant him the refund.
I am just wondering if anyone knows what the procedure will be in this case? I definitely do not feel that I owe him a refund as I completed the report and I also agreed to revisions, but then the client just disappeared and then closed the contract after 2 weeks. The funds have already been released to me.
Can anyone advise on this? Thanks so much!!!
Do not even CONSIDER any accommodation at all (let alone a full refund) until and unless the client (who is already himself behaving unprofessionally, for reasons you have articulated) does the following:
(1) clearly explains the specific way[s] in which the final delivered work is unsatisfactory (this presupposes that the explanation/opinion is reasonable, based on the scope of the job as set out initially);
and (2) allows you the opportunity to correct the aspect[s] of the work that is (are) unsatisfactory (this presupposes that such corrections are readily and easily achievable and do not require additional milestones under normal circumstances -- see above re: initial scope of the job).
Otherwise, you owe the client nothing, and I scoff at the attempt to hit a weak spot with the low-blow adjective "unprofessional."
ETA -- (3) An explanation and apology for his "radio silence" would also be nice.
Thanks so much for your reply Janean
I definitely offered revisions and the client's response was "What you delivered by way of first draft was nothing better than some routine and boring corporate collateral. Neither did I see the flexibility in you to make revisions in order to help us out". So he pretty much snuffed out that possibility
What I am thinking is that this client didn't realize that amounts in escrow would be released to the freelancer after 14 days of inactivity. I think he was trying to get off by only paying $200 and it came back to bite him in the butt.
I will not issue the refund, but I am just worried as I have heard that Upwork tends to favor the client in these situations.
@Jen S wrote:
Thanks so much for your response. My concern is primarily the refund as I have already had the feedback removed
Is it in dispute? If feedback was given then the contract is closed, right? I thought the money was already released to you.
eta: oh i see he said he issued a refund request. Did you get notice from upwork? I would blow it off until I see an official request for refund from Upwork.
Upwork released the money in escrow to me after 14 days of silence on the client's part. Then a few days after that, the client ended the contract and left me feedback.
Today (several days later) he is saying he wants a refund for the $500 and that he has initiated a request (not sure if that is true). But I have already received the money and the contract is closed. That is why I am wondering if he can still do anything about it...
Thanks so much!
ok so he just said it. Yeah I'd ignore him until I actually got notice from Upwork. The contract is closed and feedback has been removed so meh. I would do nothing and wouldn't respond to him at all unless I got a notice from Upwork.
@ Jen S. --
I have never been through a dispute or arbitration, although I have had one client who I believe was a "farmer"/scammer, and one who (in my view) did not behave in a stable, rational manner. It is my understanding, however, that Upwork will encourage you to compromise/come to an agreement with the client. (Jen M. can tell you more about this.) Not sure how much leverage the client has in a case such as yours, however.
You are almost certainly correct: the client quite likely thought that he would be required to approve a final release of funds, and he was probably sitting back (one imagines a self-satisfied, smug demeanor), content to say and do nothing, believing that you would be forever in limbo -- as he had determined that you did not "deserve" more than 71% of the agreed-upon payment. Yup. Nope. Don't work like that. As you say: "Bit him in the butt."
I would say that this client's window for working with you/compromise/accommodation has closed. And too bad -- your own attitude and your feedback, as well as your Top Rating and 100% JSS, are all strong evidence that you would certainly have tried to make him happy, had that been possible.
Not sure what may happen, but in your position, I would stand my ground firmly, until such time as I were forced to move. And I mean FORCED.
Let us know what happens!