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Surprise chargeback, NO HELP yet from UpWork

Ace Contributor
Thomas K Member Since: Apr 18, 2016
1 of 27

I've been happy with Elance and UpWork so far and had not encountered a problem with a client who refuses to pay for work, UNTIL LAST WEEK. I'm hoping that you guys can recommend a course of action, inside and outside UpWork, to get paid.

 

Here's what happened:

1) Client was very happy with my work but then abruptly ended our contract and disputed 5 hours of my 10 hours last week. I've never used the UpWork Team App with any client and this client was ok with my hours being manual until this dispute.

 

2) At the same time while in dispute, the client initiated a chargeback for the full 10 hours via their bank/credit card/PayPal. This is in direct violation of UpWork's Terms of Service section 6.6 which states no chargebacks for any reasons whatsoever.

 

3) UpWork deducted the full amount of 10 hours (not just of the 5 disputed hours) from my account. Why would UpWork deduct the full 10 hours and not just the 5 disputed hours?

 

4) The dispute was ruled in my favor.

 

Now the client has both my work and money. The client is using my work for FREE. This is in violation of UpWork's free work policy. I gave UpWork proof that the client is indeed currently using my work and because of the chargeback they haven't paid me for my work.

 

Since I've already spent the time to complete the work, I would like to be paid as opposed to undoing the work and not getting paid. In fact, it's not possible for me to undo most of the work. For example, I researched and created a work-around for the client to a problem they were having. Now that the client has knowledge of the work-around, I'm not able to undo that knowledge.

 

It's been a week and UpWork has really only given me copy-paste answers.

 

I'd would really appreciate your comments and suggestions. Thanks!

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 27

If the client did a chargeback Upwork lost the money.

 

If you did not use the tracker and logged your time correctly you were not covered by the guarantee, so Upwork did not have to pay you out of their own pocket.

 

Had you tracked your time correctly and according to the terms you would have been protected and Upwork would have paid you out of their own pocket.

 

I am not sure why you expected Upwork to foot the bill for your client's actions when you willingly decided not to work according to the terms that would have afforded you protection against this happening.

 

If Upwork do not get paid, you are ONLY protected if you have used the tracker according to the terms.

 

As you decided not to take advantage of the protection it offers you, all you can do is request the client's contact details and try to get your money the legal route (which is probably futile as cost is prohibitive)

 

You DO own the work so if the client uses it you may be able to take action (again whether it is worth your while depends on the sum involved and the nature of the work you did.)

 

In future log time correctly with the tracker if you want to be protected, or take the consequences of not doing so on the chin if it goes wrong.

 

 

Community Guru
Ela K Member Since: Feb 9, 2015
3 of 27

While the implications of logging manual time are as described by Petra (no protection), I really don't like the "had you done stuff correctly and according to the terms you would be fine" stance.

 

It sounds as if logging manual time was some shady and objectionable practice. It is not. And it is compliant with the terms as well.

But it is risky.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 27

 


@Ela K wrote:

While the implications of logging manual time are as described by Petra (no protection), I really don't like the "had you done stuff correctly and according to the terms you would be fine" stance.

 

It sounds as if logging manual time was some shady and objectionable practice. It is not.

But it is risky.


 I understand, and NO, of course manual time with the client's permission is not shady, it just means that you have no protection should the client dispute or pull a chargeback stunt.

 

I meant "correctly" as in "in accordance to the hourly protection rules" meaning:

  • meaningful work memo
  • not manual time
  • diary showing sufficient activity
  • diary showing task related activity

Of course a chargeback is against the terms of service, and the client's account will get suspended until it is sorted out, but that does not magic the lost funds back ....

 

Ace Contributor
Thomas K Member Since: Apr 18, 2016
5 of 27

Thanks for your reply Ela and Petra.

 

I know there's some risk with not using the UpWork Team App, but in my line of work it's just not practical or advisable since (1) I do a good amount of work offline and (2) the app would reveal my trade secrets. If a client doesn't want to pay, I'm sure they'll find an excuse even if I use the app.

 

Petra's response makes it sound like UpWork is saying "Hey, this your problem and not ours. We do not care about your problem with the client. We do not have your back. There's really no benefit to working with clients through UpWork. We only want whatever money you can make for us." I hope this is not the case.

 

Please note that the dispute was ruled IN MY FAVOR and that the client violated UpWork's terms of service and free work policy and yet I've lost all the funds and no action to my knowledge has been taken on their account.

 

By doing the chargeback while the dispute was in progress, the client also violated UpWork's dispute resolution process and should immediately lose the dispute and not be eligible for any refunds. That's why I fully expected UpWork to fight the chargeback and not assessed my account for the chargeback.

 

Again, I would appreciate your suggestions on what to do to get my money back.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 27

Time to start doing things the Internet way. Upwork won't help you. I don't use the app either because it's too much junk to deal with. You get people in the client section complaining about screenshots and I'm not closing my email and messages for 5-6 hours during the day so some schmoe doesn't complain about the 2 minutes it takes me to answer email.

 

Anyway, I would do things outside of Upwork since they aren't going to help.

 

Ripoffreport

Consumerreport

Social media

 

If he's a business, he's gonna hate that stuff ranking for his brand.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
7 of 27

Even though Upwork can't help the OP with the money, I nevertheless wonder if the client, who violated policy, has gone unpunished to inflict the same sort of deal on other freelancers.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
8 of 27

I think they suspend the client too. He would know. The contract will show as suspended. The client that tried to stiff me $50 I believe blocked the last charge to her card. Upwork suspended her account and she just basically said "I'm done. I'm not fixing it." She did eventually pay me but she wasn't interested in fixing the issue with her account since she got what she wanted.

Ace Contributor
Thomas K Member Since: Apr 18, 2016
9 of 27

Thanks Jennifer. I completely agree about the app not being useful for any real protection. That's pretty sad to hear that UpWork may not help. I may resort to shaming the client publicly.

 

Have you or anyone else had any success with using a collections agency or small claims court? I know it's only 10 hours of work, but to me it's a matter of principle.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 27

I think you are missing an important point here:

 

Upwork do not have the money for this project because the client filed a chargeback. This means the only financial help would be for them to pay you what the client owes you themselves, out of their own pocket.

 

They would do this had you used the tracker according to the terms of the policy. You did not.

The End.

 

That has nothing to do with "not having your back."

You were offered the opportunity to get paid even in such cases. You chose not to.

 

The client absolutely will already be suspended, but that will not get you your money.

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