I don't blame you for being annoyed by this.
But it is sort of a "scam" and sort of also "freelancers not understanding how to use Upwork properly."
It is not a scam that works on any freelancer who understands a very important, very basic concept:
"Only work on fully funded milestones."
If you have fallen for this trick once, don't take it personally or be too hard on yourself. LOTS of freelancers have fallen for this trick. The important thing is that you don't fall for it again.
If you submitted the work via the Request Payment button, then wait 14 days and you'll get paid. Don't hit the button again, it'll restart the clock. But the amount in escrow is all you're going to get.
Elizabeth D wrote:
I completed a German to English translation for a client, the total price being $110. The client funded $55 of escrow and has not responded to my request for payment. I have searched his name on the internet and apparently he is a serial offender for not paying translators and has also pulled this trick on Upwork.
Is there any way of getting paid or do I chalk this one up to bitter experience?
The way to handle this to simply complete the work that corresponds to the funded amount. So if the whole job is 1100 words for $ 110 and only $ 55 is funded, for example, then you send the 550 words and tell the client that you look forward to doing the remaining 550 words when the second milestone is funded.
As has been mentioned, you get the $ 55 14 days after the last time you clicked on "submit for payment" and can then close the contract leaving appropriate feedback.