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Should I refund the client

moneerba
Ace Contributor

Hi,

 

The most recent client I worked with provided a very unfair feedback in my view. The client asked for lots of reworks for work that was already according to standards. I do not see the feedback as objective. I did give him good feedback although he did not deserve it.

 

I did communicate with the client regarding this but although he admitted it nothing has changed, although I enabled him to change it.

 

Upwork is an extremely friendly environment for clients and an unfair environment for freelancers where even open contracts (left open based on an agreement with the client) can lower your score. 

 

At some point, it becomes exhausting and drains you of positive energy.

 

I am currently contemplating refunding the client to remove the feedback. I prefer to not have a low score on my profile. Money can be compensated. I know refunding will affect my JSS, but it will be temporary, and I won't have low stars on my profile.

 

What is your opinion on this?

 

 

 

 

 

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bobafett999
Community Guru

Well only you can decide if you should refund the money or just suck it up and move on.  Of course, amount of money and how much work you put in also comes in play.  I agree with you that Upwork is most friendly to buyers.

 

On the other hand the shrewd buyers have learned the 'ins and out' of getting free stuff.  If you were to refund the money you are basically encouraging that behavior. 

 

As I mentioned before, you only can decide how much you rely on getting jobs through upwork to supplement your other income.  I had a situation and I refused to 'compromise', but I do have the luxury of relying zero income from Upwork.

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39 REPLIES 39
melaniekhenson
Community Guru

...oops, sorry, edited; I read the post incorrectly....

Melanie,

 

I did not ask him if he could remove the feedback if I refunded him. I am not sure you understand my post correctly.

 

I asked the client about why he left bad feedback. He admitted that he did, but then he did not change it, although I enabled him to.

 

If I refund him, the feedback will disappear automatically.  I am not desperate. The client was completely unfair in his feedback.

 

I just do not like low scores on my profile, especially since I delivered the job as requested.

bobafett999
Community Guru

Well only you can decide if you should refund the money or just suck it up and move on.  Of course, amount of money and how much work you put in also comes in play.  I agree with you that Upwork is most friendly to buyers.

 

On the other hand the shrewd buyers have learned the 'ins and out' of getting free stuff.  If you were to refund the money you are basically encouraging that behavior. 

 

As I mentioned before, you only can decide how much you rely on getting jobs through upwork to supplement your other income.  I had a situation and I refused to 'compromise', but I do have the luxury of relying zero income from Upwork.


@Prashant P wrote:

 

On the other hand the shrewd buyers have learned the 'ins and out' of getting free stuff.  If you were to refund the money you are basically encouraging that behavior. 

 

 


I feel the same way about encouraging the behavior (although I don't think most clients are like this). OP, your profile is set to private so we can't see this, but how badly will the negative stars impact you? Are you otherwise (wait for it) stellar? Have you replied, politely and factually, to the client's negative FB? 

I am not actually that stellar.

 

But my JSS has taken a hit recently because I left some contracts open based on agreements with clients (but god forbid you do that on this land!). And now this client provided a 3.6/5 feedback, which I thought to be unfair (almost all of my feedbacks are 5s), Because I did provide good work as requested and did many rounds of unnecessary rework just to please the client (who did not turn out to be as grateful as I thought)

 

As for not encouraging the behavior,  well, to be honest, my concern now is my reputation. I have given up on fixing the world long ago.

 

Thank you two for your contributions. They're helpful.

 

 

 

 

By the way, I tried to make my profile public but it did not work.

I'm sorry, but you want to talk about being "fair" to freelancers. How is it "fair" to freelancers that you admitted the client deserved a low feedback and you rated him high anyway. 

 

That is the whole problem of why people don't trust the feedback system. 

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"

@Katrina B wrote:

I'm sorry, but you want to talk about being "fair" to freelancers. How is it "fair" to freelancers that you admitted the client deserved a low feedback and you rated him high anyway. 

 

That is the whole problem of why people don't trust the feedback system. 


 

This is a good question - OP, why DID you give the client good feedback?

 

It can't be because you wanted good feedback in return since you can't see one another's feedback until you've both posted it or the appropriate time has gone by, and if it is because you didn't really have as much of a problem with all this until you saw he didn't give you good feedback, then that's not very honest either.

 

I don't want to pre-judge...maybe there's some other reason...I just can't think that it might be. So I'm curious. And Katrina's first point is a good one, IMO. If this really was so problematic, with multiple revisions and so on, and you haven't warned other freelancers of this in an honest way via the FB system, well...yeah.

 

 

The truth is I should not have given him that feedback. I honestly do not usually give very low feedback unless it was very serious. 

Also, to be very honest, clients could not care less about feedback. Unless they have many 1 star ratings with lots of negative reviews, they would still be able to hire people easily. 

 

Since we are talking about fair, why don't clients have JSS? isn't it fair that they have that just as well? Why should freelancers shoulder the responsibility alone if there is a refund? Why would I choose willingly to give back my hard earned money unless I am afraid it will come at a much higher cost?

 

The thing is, clients have lots of bargaining power, but freelancers don't.

 

I admit I am at fault for not putting in more effort into giving him a very accurate feedback. I did not give him that feedback to get good FB in return since like Melanie mentioned, it does not make any sense.

 

Even if I give him accurate feedback, I would lower 1 or 2 stars in 1 or 2 cateogories. It won't be dramatic. My feedback to him is not the issue here. 

 

Furthermore, if I refund him then my feedback will also be removed.  I hope this resolves your concern about giving him accurate feedback.

 

I did provide good work which is why I was shocked with the feedback.


@Moneer B wrote:

 

As for not encouraging the behavior,  well, to be honest, my concern now is my reputation. I have given up on fixing the world long ago.


 Well in that case you already know the answer about what you need to do.

tlbp
Community Guru

Remember that removing the visible feedback won't remove the score from your JSS calculation. So it will only affect what people see in the itemized reviews. Also, I believe a history of giving refunds can negatively affect your JSS, so you may want to consider removal a last resort. 

@OP

Never argue with a client on feedback, no matter how unfair you think it - and never debase yourself by asking a client to reconsider. It is unprofessional and marks one down as a whiner. Leave a brief professional reply as to why you disagree with the feedback, but otherwise move on.

 

If you are top-rated you could use the perk to get it completely removed. Sometimes though, a lower than stellar feedback is a wake-up call for a freelancer. Delivery times? communication? Quality? The first two - one knows what to do. But If one gets dinged on quality, then it is time to get a second opinion from a peer about one's work. 


@Nichola L wrote:

@OP

Never argue with a client on feedback, no matter how unfair you think it - and never debase yourself by asking a client to reconsider. It is unprofessional and marks one down as a whiner. Leave a brief professional reply as to why you disagree with the feedback, but otherwise move on.

 

If you are top-rated you could use the perk to get it completely removed. Sometimes though, a lower than stellar feedback is a wake-up call for a freelancer. Delivery times? communication? Quality? The first two - one knows what to do. But If one gets dinged on quality, then it is time to get a second opinion from a peer about one's work. 


 

He did ask the client to remove FB but has dropped that (sorry...edited...typed fast previously), and based on what he said he definitely isn't TR.

 

OP, I'm agreeing with Prashant on this one - if you're just trying to save the sinking ship, then yes, go ahead and remove, I suppose. Although you will still have the calculation included, at least potential clients won't see the low JSS plus abrasive FB. Save the ship and try to get a few small, fast jobs and KICK REAR on them, truly go all out, to start picking things back up.


@Melanie H wrote:

@Nichola L wrote:

@OP

Never argue with a client on feedback, no matter how unfair you think it - and never debase yourself by asking a client to reconsider. It is unprofessional and marks one down as a whiner. Leave a brief professional reply as to why you disagree with the feedback, but otherwise move on.

 

If you are top-rated you could use the perk to get it completely removed. Sometimes though, a lower than stellar feedback is a wake-up call for a freelancer. Delivery times? communication? Quality? The first two - one knows what to do. But If one gets dinged on quality, then it is time to get a second opinion from a peer about one's work. 


 

He did ask the client to remove FB but has dropped that (sorry...edited...typed fast previously), and based on what he said he definitely isn't TR.

 

OP, I'm agreeing with Prashant on this one - if you're just trying to save the sinking ship, then yes, go ahead and remove, I suppose. Although you will still have the calculation included, at least potential clients won't see the low JSS plus abrasive FB. Save the ship and try to get a few small, fast jobs and KICK REAR on them, truly go all out, to start picking things back up.


 _______________________

Melanie,

 

When I posted, the OP's profile was not visible. The feedback is not great, but it is not horrendous. I still stick to what I have said. If different clients question quality/skills, or any other of the feedback criteria  more than once, then it is time to check on how to improve on these areas.

 

I do not think the OP should refund, but reconsider how to operate.

 

Also, too many completed but 'ongoing' jobs without feedback can have a detrimental effect on one's JSS.

Hi Nicola,

 

I know the feedback is not absolutely terrible, and I would not mind the feedback if it was true. I really don't mind admitting if there was a need for improvement. Nobody is perfect including myself. Yet, the feedback is inaccurate.

 

For example, the quality of what I provided was definitely not 2/5.

So my problem with the feedback has two facets:

1- it is the first on the list and people have recency bias, so it will have a big effect

2- it is not accurate 

 

By the way, I certainly never asked the client to change the feedback. I don't do this usually.

I simply asked a question about why he provided the feedback he did. 

 

 

 

 

Moneer,

 

Don't question feedback, even if you feel that the client has been unfair. First of all, freelancing is not like a regular workplace, where you can discuss issues with a flesh and blood person. Cyber clients, unless you have a really special and ongoing rapport with them, don't like being questioned and don't like being put on the spot. Suck it up and move on.

 

Why I think you should not refund, is because it is not going to change your JSS, and eventually, when you get other jobs that are well rated, this particular score will fall off the board and become history.

Some of your dormant ongoing jobs could be pulling your JSS down too. Consider contacting those clients that you are not currently doing any work for, and asking them to close the job and to leave feedback. If not, close those jobs yourself, but not all at once.

 

 

Nicola,

 

I did not question the feedback. I asked the client about why he had given such feedback because I was shocked. I was completely oblivious about the reasons. And when we discussed it, he did not have enough reasons to justify it. So, I was right.

 

JSS changes, whereas the feedback will remain and will have an effect on new clients. As I mentioned before, people have recency bias, and it will be very difficult to get new contracts and build feedback after that.

 

 

 

 

tlbp
Community Guru

Do you miss deadlines? It looks like more than one client has marked you down for that. 

moneerba
Ace Contributor

Tonya,

Not really.

For example, you have a client who said that the job was completed on time, and then gave 4/5 on deadlines.

Does it make sense to you?

 

I know now a lot of people will try to make this look like it is my fault. It is not. I know when I have done a good job and when I have not.

 

 


@Moneer B wrote:

 

Nicola,

 

I did not question the feedback. I asked the client about why he had given such feedback because I was shocked. I was completely oblivious about the reasons. And when we discussed it, he did not have enough reasons to justify it. So, I was right.

 

JSS changes, whereas the feedback will remain and will have an effect on new clients. As I mentioned before, people have recency bias, and it will be very difficult to get new contracts and build feedback after that.

 

 _______________________

The fact that you asked the client to explain, means that you did question the feedback.

 

I am quite sure you will get more contracts and you will build up your  JSS . But perhaps you should stop being "right", and start questioning how you can improve on a few weaker areas.

 

 


 

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