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chillynguyen
Community Member

Share experiences about dispute

So recently, I'm disputing with a client and I'd like to share some experiences about it.

 

Reason of disputing:

- First, I send the files (scenes and characters) for the client to check, so that we could continue working on making the whole video. The client said that they were ok to proceed.

- Then, after sending the whole video, the clients claims that the scenes and characters are bad, so that I must make the revision.

- I fixed the characters and resend him multiple times. He still say that it's bad.

- I filed a dispute.

 

In dispute:

  1. Phase 1:

- The dispute agent manage to bring us to an agreement: I sent the source files, he send partial payment.

- I sent the source files.

 

  1. 2. Phase 2:

- The client refuse to pay and claimed that there's no artist who accepts to work with him at that price, so that I must work on the revisions and send him in order to get paid.

- The agent asked if I could work on the reivsions again. I said "No."

 

  1. Phase 3:

- I told the client:

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

- The client said:

"Revision is on the Upwork Fixed contract terms. It is not written into the contract. You can ask [Upwork's agent's name] to show you Upwork fixed contract terms or to explain.

Also the Arbitrator option is used - if you accepted to make a revision and after you have completed the revisions that you accepted to make, the client still does not pay you, then you can go to arbitration. "

**Edited for Community Guidelines**


I believe that what he stated is wrong, but I'm still waiting for the agent to reply.

 

Conclusion:

I'll update the situation in the comments when there's something new.

Disputing drains your spirit and consumes time from you. After experimenting, I wished I've set the milestone smaller, or working as an hourly job instead. 

 

You can find the details about the reason of disputing in my previous post here:

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Dispute-with-a-client/m-p/1045205#M660807

 

 

 

 

17 REPLIES 17
feed_my_eyes
Community Member

Sorry, that sounds awful. At this point I would just say to the mediator that you upheld your side of the agreement and that you aren't going to do any more revisions, then ask to go to arbitration. He might back down rather than risk losing his payment and the arbitration fee. And have you reminded him that he doesn't own the work if he doesn't pay (I see that you mentioned that in your other thread, and he wasn't happy)?

 

And yes, he's correct in that clients can request revisions, which is why it's important for you to specify how many rounds of revisions are included when you quote on a fixed price project (I state this in my proposals). However, he can't just keep hitting that button as a way to avoid paying you, especially after he agreed to the moderator's suggestion that you'd do one more round and then get a partial payment. 

Hi,

Thank you for your reply. Currently, I'm asking to go to arbitration. However, somehow he is quite sure that he will win in arbitration since I didn't do all the revisions (or he was acting like he was sure, I don't know). These are the messages he sent before I sent the source files:

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

 

I kept the option "he doesn't own the work if he doesn't pay" as a backup plan. (I hold the source files in my hands and he can't edit)

But since the agent managed suggesting him to pay for the source files, I believed that he won't change his mind in front of the mediation's face, so I sent him the source files. So, the backup plan doesn't work anymore, since I can't be sure that he won't use the files I send to do more copies and edits...

And somehow he's quite sure that I must accept to make all revisions. He said that it's Upwork's fixed priced terms.

Very sorry to hear that you are facing this.

 

You already know that this client is wrong, that Upwork doesn't say that having a fixed-price contract entitles a client to unlimited revisions.

 

But the Upwork user interface DOES INDEED allow a client to do that.

 

That is why freelancers must work smart. And think proactively. Which is what you said you plan to do for your next contract. Start small. If the client asks for revisions, then close the contract yourself and tell the client his only option to get the work done is through an hourly contract. Or hire someone else.

Thank you again Preston. I've learnt a lot from you and other forum members. Surely in the future, I won't make this mistake again.

I think that other freelancers might need to know what it is like during a dispute and how bad it could be, so I added this topic.


Nhu Nhu N wrote:

And somehow he's quite sure that I must accept to make all revisions. He said that it's Upwork's fixed priced terms.


Well, that depends - is he just changing his mind, or is something that you did actually incorrect? If it's the former, only a totally irrational person would expect you to make unlimited revisions for free. It IS in Upwork's ToS that clients aren't allowed to ask for free work.

Well, in his view, maybe he thinks that what I did is uncorrect. 

But in my point of view, when you've already approved the character designs and the backgrounds, saying that they're ok to carry on, then after the designer brings you the final animation clip, you said that the character designs and the backgrounds are too bad, it's a bad behavior.

He thinks what I did is "wrong", since the product is "bad" in his point of view.

I think he's wrong, since he did approved the footage before.

It sounds to me like you'd have a good case if his prior approval is documented. Does this client have any bad feedback from other freelancers? And did he give you any specific feedback about what he wanted you to fix? (With creative projects, clients who don't like things or just say that they're "bad", are impossible to work with. You'd have to be a mind reader.)

Well, the total score doesn't look bad: 4.69 of 251 reviews.

At least 2 freelancers faced this problem with him before. One even stated that the client bended the truth in his feedback after forcing the freelancer to cut his salary off; and one said she had to use her own money in order to finish the job. Some freelancers said "He is great." but gave him low star.

However, he also has a lot of 5 star feedback. I don't know if there're more than one person using his account, since his behaviour is not normal at all. 


And did he give you any specific feedback about what he wanted you to fix? (With creative projects, clients who don't like things or just say that they're "bad", are impossible to work with. You'd have to be a mind reader.)

Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. His feedback varies from "The characters don't look like the other video's characters.";"Why is this worse than your previous video", "He doesn't look good.", "He is too alike the other video's characters." to a full document of A4 paper.

And the last time, after I've fixed every characters (only 1 character in blue clothing that I didn't fix, since he said that he looks quite fine) based on his A4 document, he said that they still look bad and I have to fix all of them again, including the blue clothing character.

 

I even think that he might have color blindness, since he once said that I musn't use the same color for a character's hair and eyes, so I have to fix (His eyes are bright green and his hair is dark brown at that time).
And another time, he said that I used only one color for all characters eyes, and I must make them different. At that time, the characters' eyes are light green, hazel, blue, brown and grey.

Another time, he ordered that I must use only 1 color for the eyes in order to make them more appealing.

Wow, he sounds like a total nightmare. I see that you're top-rated, so will you be able to use your feedback removal perk to get rid of any bad feedback? Clients like this are why we need it!

 

Well, I wish you luck, and please keep us posted about what happens next.

Thank you, and yes, I could use my Top Rated Perk. Upwork did a right thing offering that perk, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚
Currently I've submited my abritation fee and waiting for the client to submit it too. I will update once anything new happens.

chillynguyen
Community Member

Update: The client remained silent, so the mediator claimed that the case was closed and the funds in escrow for [xxx] (partial payment) have been released to the freelancer; and Upwork had also refunded me the $291 and it would be credited to my Upwork account in 2-3 business days.

The client immediately shown up and claimed that he was ready for arbritation. 

A few hours later, I received a payment notification of the partial payment and a notification of the job being closed by Upwork.

I'm still waiting if the mediator would reopen the case for the client to ask for AAA or not. I read in a few threads that some clients still have this perk.

chillynguyen
Community Member

In short: Upwork sent me 3/4 of the fund and gave the client the same amount. I'm concerning who would own the files in this case, and I found some parts in the Term of use that may be violated.

 

Update:

 Another Upwork agent was sent to our dispute room and said the following:


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

I replied:

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

 

 

 

The true meaning of this effects both sides: if the client haven't paid anything, the work belongs to the freelancer. If the client pays, the work belongs to the client.

I'd love to hear about this since this is really confusing. I want to know which term was applied in this case, so that both of us would know how to deal with the files.

The link which I captured from: https://www.upwork.com/legal#fp "

 

I'm still waiting for what happens next.
 

Send the files that were paid for by the client to the client and the files that were paid for by Upwork to Upwork, let them decide what to do with them.


They do not belong to you if you have been paid for them.

No files were paid for by the client, since he hasn't spent any money, and I've already sent the files through the dispute room. I'm waiting for an answer by Upwork's agent but there's none.

 

 

chillynguyen
Community Member

My comment has been edited for Community Guidelines, so I rewrite it in another way here:

 

Another Upwork agent was sent to our dispute room and said the following:

The client has agreed on moving to arbitration in time, but Upwork agent made a mistake by sending the money to me before the deadline passed. So, Upwork will be giving him back his money by Upwork's own fund.

 

 

I replied:

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

 
The true meaning of this effects both sides: if the client haven't paid anything, the work belongs to the freelancer. If the client pays, the work belongs to the client. In this case, did the client pay?
 

The link which I took the TOS from: https://www.upwork.com/legal#fp "

I'm still waiting for what happens next.
 

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