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Rouge client ended contract paying out only 50% - now we are disputing

Hi dear community, 


recently I have had a translation job that ended up being my worst experience with upwork.


What happened:

The client wanted his website translated in german. The price of the project was 350$, amount fully funded, fixed price project. The client made a small change in the workflow. He asked me to send every file to him as soon as I considered it finished (18 files in total). 

The subject is quite specific and tech related. Having done similar projects in the past I did my research the first 3 days, read multiple manuals to get into the terminology. First file delivered on the 4th day. By the 10th day I have had delivered all 18 files and officially submitted the work for approval. 


By the 20th day I have heard back from the client - the CEO wasn't statisfied and that they would offer me only half of the price and we part on good terms. 


Kindly I asked the client that I would do so gladly if they would actually provide me some examples what was wrong with the translation and asked for constructive feedback. He said that the incorrect terminology was used, without giving specific examples. 


As it appeared that the client doesn't want to pay up I did not want to agree on 175$ unless they can back their claims up.

A couple of days later the client responded by telling me that the translation sounds "cheap" and not suitable for B2B! I fully disagree but respect the client's oppinion. The problem: there were no such requirements or any sort of refferences/guidelines at the very start of the contract. Yet, I offered to re-do it free of charge.


I told him that I am not backing up and that I will request the full amount. Then the client said he would leave me the (I quote) "If you force us to pay the full amount, I will leave you the WORSE customer review you have ever seen 😅 So pls let's settle for half price, so we can part as good friends (and you with a 5 star review...)"


Comment reported - not sure if any action was taken. Anyways, the client ended the contract after that and paid out only 50% (as he originally intended).

I opened a dispute, where Upwork suggested a 50/50 split of the remaining money. At this point it's not about money anymore. If we go into arbitration the fees are almost the same as price of the contract, but at this point it doesn't even matter anymore.


What actually schocked me, is that Upwork doesn't seem to recognize the work of the freelancers, and the realisation that every client can abuse this system in the exact way mine did. Have you had similar issues before and is there anything freelancers can do to prevent situations like these (yes I know, hourly contracts, but are there other solutions)?


As for me - I plan to proceed with my request for the amount to be fully paid. No matter the outcome. I guarantee that the translations are correct. 

Community Member

Upwork dont care about work quality, its ok.

But why Upwork took no action where client clearly blackmailed you with feedback?!

Good question. Maybe they just issued a warning? 

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