I've been on the upwork platform as a freelancer for a while now. I managed to get a top rated status fairly quick and in general I love the platform, compared to other freelancing portals.
Today, I got suprised with a request for a return of escrow funds. I have a client who ordered a project from me. We arranged details and even had a skype chat to talk things over. He seemed like a straight up guy. Anyway, I delivered what was arranged. After that, I didn't hear back from my client for about two weeks. I sent a reminder and asked if he has any questions or needs some help.
After about 5 days he messaged me that he needs to cancel the whole project, because he stumbled on some setbacks and sent in a request for a return of funds.
Of course I'm not ok with this. It's a $300 project and I did my job. I believe I should be paid for my work. It's not my problem his project got cancelled.
I never had such a problem before on upwork. I did a lot of work on another freelancing platform in the past and in cases like this clients have the option of leaving negative feedback if I decide to not to approve his request. Does the same hold here? Will he be able to leave a negative review for the job?
What happens if I decline the request? Who decides what happens? CS? What should I expect?
Do you have any tips for me?
Please make sure to communicate with your client, discuss their request and respond to the pending refund request. In case you're not satisfied with the feedback you receive, you can use the feedback removal perk and remove it from your Job Success Score calculation and also your profile.
First, you have to dispute the request. There's a time limit on that, so don't let it wait while you go back and forth with the client or wait for a response from him.
Once you're in the dispute process, an Upwork mediator will try to get the two of you to come to an agreement. The mediator can't make a ruling, though--just facilitate negotiations between the two of you.
If negotiations fail, you will have to decide whether it is worth going to arbitration. You have to pay $291 to initiate arbitration (otherwise, in the absence of an agreement, the client gets the funds back). If the client also pays for arbitration (it's $291 for him, too, and Upwork kicks in $291), then you're kind of in a no-win situation, because you don't get the arbitration fee back. So, you may win the $300, but at a cost of $291.
However, if the client doesn't pay for arbitration (which he may not, because of the math above and because it sounds like you've clearly done the work and are likely to win), then you get your $291 back plus the funds in escrow.