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termen
Community Member

The client wants to return the funds after a month

Hi! I'm as usual with the story 🙂

How can I protect myself?

In mid-October, I wrote about how I exceeded the work for free several times. The client did not leave a review, saying that I did not do the job. I replied that I did, but I will help you. Two weeks later I refused.

On October 1, I had a contract with this client to transfer the site. The client made it hourly. I noticed it when I did the job.

The client accepted the job. Instead of a report on the transfer of the site, I asked to edit the data table. It's all in the correspondence.
The client gave five stars for the work.

More than a month has passed. On November 8, the client demands a refund and has all the nuances to get it - hourly payment in manual mode.

How can I protect myself? Does it play a role that the client accepted the job, approved it in the upwork correspondence? Is the client unpunished in this situation?
ACCEPTED SOLUTION
petra_r
Community Member


Uladzimir K wrote:
Messages usually arrive late at night according to my local time (for example, at 3 am on the night from Friday to Saturday). I try to answer right away and sometimes I don't get an answer for more than a day, and vice versa, I can get a second question if I didn't answer the first question right away.

Don't worry about any of that. You have days, not hours to respond. 

Ultimately this whole thing is just a ridiculous waste of everyone's time. You can't be made to refund via any Upwork process, so just respond as and when you can, saying as much as neccessary but as little as possible. 

 

Ultimately the whole nonsense will be ended without you having to refund a thing as far as Upwork are concerned. There is no need to try to respond at silly o'clock in the morning.

 

Look closely at all the details of the terms of service regarding hourly contract disputes and don't allow yourself to be misled or coerced. Stay calm, stay professional, and most of all, do NOT give in.  The process you are involved in is ***NON-BINDING*** so you don't have to agree to anything whatsoever at all.

 

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12 REPLIES 12
prestonhunter
Community Member

re: “More than a month has passed. On November 8, the client demands a refund and has all the nuances to get it - hourly payment in manual mode.”

 

You are wrong.

 

The client does not have any nuances.

 

The time for a client to dispute hourly time is during the five days after the work week ends.

 

Not a month later.

 

The contract is already closed. The client can not change your feedback.

 

No matter what, you must communicate in a polite and professional manner.

 

But you don’t need to give this client any money.

 

The only thing that a client can do is request mediation assistance, which is a toothless gesture. And the client has only a month during which he can even do that. After a contract has closed, with each passing days it becomes even more impossible for the client to do anything, even “asking Upwork for help.”

 

Read more here: 

https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211062158-Dispute-an-Agency-or-Freelancer-s-Hours

 

I recommend that you don’t argue with the client. Don’t defend yourself. Don’t tell the client that you will give him a refund. Don’t tell the client that you won’t give him a refund. Say very little. Ask a few benign questions. “Can you tell me more?” And respond vaguely. “Thank you for your note. I will get back to you by the end of the week.” You don’t owe this client anything.

 

As it has now been more than 30 days since payment was made, the time during which a client may request toothless “mediation assistance” has now passed. The only route left for the client is a credit card chargeback, which is a violation of Upwork TOS, and would result in the client losing his Upwork account. So it highly unlikely, but it remains a possibility. You never want to drive a client toward such a drastic option. But even if that wasn’t a possibility, you should still be respectful of all clients, no matter what.

Thanks a lot for the tips! I try very hard to forgive myself and forget about the client. But every few days they send me through support:

a claim? no!
data analysis? no!
a set of words? yes!

Just imagine, the client "feels" that the goal of the project was not completed. How to parry it? How to answer? Dancing in a dream?

 

Contract 28309461 was completed on October 5. From 22:00 on November 8, "Freelancer Private Conversation for Contract ID 28309461" burst into my life. Is it even legal? When will it be considered hunting?

 

And seriously, how to protect yourself from such communication?

tlbp
Community Member


Uladzimir K wrote:

Thanks a lot for the tips! I try very hard to forgive myself and forget about the client. But every few days they send me through support:

a claim? no!
data analysis? no!
a set of words? yes!

Just imagine, the client "feels" that the goal of the project was not completed. How to parry it? How to answer? Dancing in a dream?

 

Contract 28309461 was completed on October 5. From 22:00 on November 8, "Freelancer Private Conversation for Contract ID 28309461" burst into my life. Is it even legal? When will it be considered hunting?

 

And seriously, how to protect yourself from such communication?


When using an hourly fee structure and recording your time manual, you cannot defend against a client who says they are unhappy. You can only hope that the time for them to obtain a refund has passed. That is why manual time is not an effective means of billing through Upwork and should only be used when you trust the client absolutely. 

Preston,

You are wrong to say, " The time for a client to dispute hourly time is during the five days after the work week ends."

As I pointed out in a previous thread, if a client files a dispute on an hourly project Upwork’s current policy is to have its own employees go back 30 days to find any problems with the freelancer's billed hours. (See bullet point five under section 7.2 Upwork Dispute Assistance here https://www.upwork.com/legal#escrow-hourly.)

 

As you can see, Upwork will only “…review the Freelancer’s work for 30 days prior to the date of the request for Dispute Assistance for compliance with Hourly Payment Protection requirements.”

 

So, this policy may not apply in Uladzimir’s case, but the five-day limit for client review is definitely irrelevant once a dispute is filed by a client.

 

And Upwork’s own review of the freelancer’s billable hours under this policy is definitely not “toothless” if it occurs within this 30-day review period.

AveryO
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Uladzimir, 

I looked into this, and while I think you're referring to the hourly contract Contract ID# 28310601, I do not see any logged hours on this contract, and no payment has been made. I'm also not seeing any refund requests. 

Could you please identify the contract you're referring to so that I can look into this further? 


~ Avery
Upwork
termen
Community Member

Hi! Thank you! 28309461. There is a dispute under this contract.
AveryO
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Uladzimir, 

Thanks for sharing the Contract ID. Our team won't be able to share detailed information about the dispute as the team is already handling it. Our dispute team will continue communicating and assisting you with the situation.


~ Avery
Upwork
termen
Community Member

Hello, Avery!

How can I prove that I have completed the work successfully?

Through private messages to Upwork Mediation Specialist, the client informs me that "feels" that I have not completed the work completely.

How can I prove that I have completed the work successfully? What measures are applied to the client for libel?
wlyonsatl
Community Member

Forget about "libel," Uladzimir. Your disagreement with the client has nothing to do with libel.

 

Just explain what you agreed to do for the client, provide proof of that agreement in your Upwork message board conversations with the client and detail what you did to fulfill that agreement.

 

And reconcile yourself to the idea the mediator may suggest a compromise that means you accept payment lower than the agreed price for your work and the client pays more than zero.

It's an hourly contract and in non-binding dispute mediation.

The client filed for mediation on the 8th of November, the contract ended on the 5th of October.

The client has long paid.

 

This dispute mediation is non-binding and both parties are free to reject any suggestion the mediator may make.

 

There are no hours that could be disputed. 

 

Uladzimir, calmly and politely answer any questions that are asked of you, and then firmly reject any suggestion that you should refund anything. As it is non-binding mediation, you can't be forced by Upwork to refund anything at all in this case. 

termen
Community Member

Thank you, Petra!

Please tell me how to coordinate correspondence with support?

Messages usually arrive late at night according to my local time (for example, at 3 am on the night from Friday to Saturday). I try to answer right away and sometimes I don't get an answer for more than a day, and vice versa, I can get a second question if I didn't answer the first question right away.

Is there any way to organize this? For example, every Tuesday, from 11 am to 12 am Moscow time.
This will help not to be distracted from work or rest.
petra_r
Community Member


Uladzimir K wrote:
Messages usually arrive late at night according to my local time (for example, at 3 am on the night from Friday to Saturday). I try to answer right away and sometimes I don't get an answer for more than a day, and vice versa, I can get a second question if I didn't answer the first question right away.

Don't worry about any of that. You have days, not hours to respond. 

Ultimately this whole thing is just a ridiculous waste of everyone's time. You can't be made to refund via any Upwork process, so just respond as and when you can, saying as much as neccessary but as little as possible. 

 

Ultimately the whole nonsense will be ended without you having to refund a thing as far as Upwork are concerned. There is no need to try to respond at silly o'clock in the morning.

 

Look closely at all the details of the terms of service regarding hourly contract disputes and don't allow yourself to be misled or coerced. Stay calm, stay professional, and most of all, do NOT give in.  The process you are involved in is ***NON-BINDING*** so you don't have to agree to anything whatsoever at all.

 

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