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The client refuses to accept work and pay for it

Hello Upwork and Community.


I have a client with whom we have discussed the work that I will do for him. He sent me the layout of the main page. We discussed how his site will look when you go to the page with the ad. We discussed a bunch of things and he hired me.

When I finished with the work - he told me that I should add functionality that we did not talk about before. I thought that I could do it as a sign of goodwill. I fulfilled his request. When I told him that I had finished - he also added a couple of changes to the site - and I also completed this. After I wrote to him about the completion of other requirements and that I had finished everything - he began to tell me that I should make the site exactly like his other (he sent me a link to the site). I told him that I would not do that, because we discussed everything with him and what he now requires will take more time and money (because I would have to do everything again).

I offered him to find a middle ground and that he pay me for a fully finished website (which we talked about before signing the contract) at least half the amount. He told me that he did not want to spend more time on me so that I would make corrections on the site (but I did everything as we said before the contract!!)


I do not know what to do with this bad and difficult situation.

I really do not want to quarrel with anyone. I want to solve all this peacefully.  But the client does not want to pay for the work done and close the contract.


He has 3 open jobs. I believe that other works could get into the same nuisance as me. But I can neither confirm nor deny.



Sincerely, Maxim.

Community Member

Contract: Fixed Price
Budget: $350
Milestone: # 1. $5 (other milestone - no. I noticed that when we signed the contract. I was hoping that he would be honest)


If the client posted a budget of $350, and funded an escrow payment of $5.00, then:


The most you MIGHT be able to get out of the client is $5.00

...unless he wants to pay you more. Out of the goodness of his heart.


The client can pay you $350. The client can pay you $1000. Or however much more he wants to. If he decides to.


If he doesn't want to pay you more, than there is nothing you can do about it.


If $5.00 is all the money that is funded in escrow, then that is all the money that can be disputed, if you choose to file a dispute.


At this time you will need to choose among these options:

- file a dispute in order to get $5.00


- ask the client to release payment of $5.00, and close the contract, and in return you will let him use all the work that you did for him.


- ask the client to pay you a larger amount (for example: $350), and tell the client that if he does not pay that amount, you will cancel the contract, which will refund the $5.00 back to him, and you will retain ownership of the work that you did. You may tell him that you would LIKE TO cancel the contract, because you want to keep the work for yourself so that you can use it in your portfolio.

re: "I do not know what to do with this bad and difficult situation."

The most important thing for you to do is to learn from your mistakes and not make the same mistakes again.


You were using Upwork incorrectly. Specifically you were using the fixed-price contract model incorrectly. The client was asking you to do things, and you were doing them for free.


That is not how this is supposed to work. In the future, don't work for free.

Community Member

Maxim B wrote:

Contract: Fixed Price
Budget: $350
Milestone: # 1. $5 (other milestone - no. I noticed that when we signed the contract. I was hoping that he would be honest)

"hope" does not pay bills.

You can't even dispute now. The most you could dispute is $ 5.


Community Member



You want to think the best of people, but that is a luxury you cannot afford in online freelancing. Your best bet for success on Upwork is to understand how the system works and don't work with clients who don't understand the system or don't want to follow its rules.


I very rarely do fixed price contracts, but when I do I have a clear agreement within the Upwork system showing each milestone with the value of all milestones adding up to the total budget.


Never start work on a milestone before a) it is fully funded by the client and b) all previous milestones have been released by the client for payment to you.


Submit your work via the green "Submit" button if that is still available to you. Do not refund any money to the client and leave professional, accurate feedback for this client so other freelancers will understand what type of person they will be dealing with.


Others here might have ideas about options you have to minimize the effect on your Job Success Score from possible/likely negative feedback from this client.


Good luck with your future projects.

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