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The client is harassing and bullying me online

Active Member
Melvin M Member Since: Sep 27, 2015
1 of 71

I have reported a client last week and filed a dispute to upwork to settle things out. I've got a contract for 100 USD for a 12-page research proposal which I submitted, revised based on the comments and re-submitted to him. After I submitted the revised draft, he canceled/terminated the contract and offered me to pay 10 USD in PayPal instead. I did not agree and instead filed a dispute and reported the client to upwork. The upwork specialist said that the client has committed circumvention but refuse to provide further details on the outcome of the investigation. Now, the client is harassing me online, threatening to call the police here in the country where I'm staying right now and even threatened to call my university where I am taking my Ph.D.  While these are empty threats and I know that he can't move forward with it, I found these legitimate forms of harassment. I'm just a bit frustrated with upwork for failure to protect the freelancers from these kinds of intimidation. Those messages were sent on the "dispute" dialogue box, yet no one has intervened. Days before the contract was terminated by the client, I have already contacted upwork and reported the client but they again failed to act. I'm not sure what to do with this, but clearly, the client is intimidating and harassing me to back down from the dispute and get his money back. Hope someone can help me in identifying further actions I can take to stop the client from harassing me. 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 71
You are correct: these are empty threats. Block this person. Block him in the Upwork messenger tool and block him in your email tool, and any other way he can communicate with you. Stop wasting your time with him. Do not respond to him, because that is what he wants. The worst thing you can do to him is to not even see his threats or rantings, and that is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Active Member
Melvin M Member Since: Sep 27, 2015
3 of 71
Thanks so much preston! That’s what I did in my message box, the problem however is in the chat box for payment dispute. That is where the client sends those threats, I could not block the client in that portal since the dispute process is ongoing. I thought the dispute portal is to be moderated by someone from upwork, sadly, no one moderates the discussion there.
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 71

Melvin M wrote:
Thanks so much preston! That’s what I did in my message box, the problem however is in the chat box for payment dispute. That is where the client sends those threats, I could not block the client in that portal since the dispute process is ongoing. I thought the dispute portal is to be moderated by someone from upwork, sadly, no one moderates the discussion there.

Just let him behave as badly as possible so he looks as bad as possible. This is good for you Smiley Wink

You may have to take this all the way to arbitration as Upwork can not make a final, legally binding decision on a dispute when no agreement can be reached. Stay calm, say nothing unless directed to do so by the mediator, and keep saying you will go to arbitration (which will cost you $ 291, but you get that back if the client bottles out at this stage, which he will do)

 

Active Member
Melvin M Member Since: Sep 27, 2015
5 of 71
That’s so reassuring! Thanks so much Petra.. will take note of your advice. I will now check on the process of arbitration so I can prepare.

Best,
Melvin
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 71

Melvin M wrote:
That’s so reassuring! Thanks so much Petra.. will take note of your advice. I will now check on the process of arbitration so I can prepare.

It will not go to arbitration. The client is not going to pay $ 291 to lose at arbitration OR to win a possible $ 100 ... (Remember that you have to pay $ 291 to force the client to do so, and if the client DOES you do not get the $ 291 back... But if the client does not, you get the the $ 291 back and the funds in Escrow Smiley Wink  )

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 71

If Upwork does have clear proof in its own messaging system that this is such an abusive client, Upwork will have failed you if they force you to go all the way to even threatening this client with arbitration in order to get paid.

 

Good luck.

 

 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 71

Will L wrote:

If Upwork does have clear proof in its own messaging system that this is such an abusive client, Upwork will have failed you if they force you to go all the way to even threatening this client with arbitration in order to get paid.


legally Upwork can not decide over Escrow funds.

 

They can, and probably already have, suspend the client's account, but that does not touch the fact that funds in Escrow are governed by legal restrictions.

 

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
9 of 71

How do you know that Upwork cannot legally release escrowed funds if the client doesn't provide a reasonable reason for not releasing them, Petra?

 

I'm not saying it is legal, but how do you know it is against the law for them to do so?

 

And what law is applicable here - US law, the law of the country where the client is located, the country where the freelancer is located, other?

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 71

Will L wrote:

1) How do you know that Upwork cannot legally release escrowed funds if the client doesn't provide a reasonable reason for not releasing them, Petra?

2) And what law is applicable here - US law, the law of the country where the client is located, the country where the freelancer is located, other?


1) I know it because it was confirmed years ago when Escrow was first brought in with the acquisition of Elance.

Escrow is super strictly legislated, this is the reason why Upwork can not make a decision over Escrow funds, only an independent arbitrator can. Otherwise there would never be any need for arbitration, would there? Mediators can only suggest solutions, never decide.

 

2) The applicable law would be (this part I assume because I have no time to check and only vaguely remember) the laws governing the Escrow Agent (Upwork Escrow Inc.) 

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