» Forums » Freelancers » Top Rated Plus Freelancer with 90% success ra...
Page options
Community Member

Top Rated Plus Freelancer with 90% success rate got paid, didn't deliver. (Forced payment upfront)

Hi, we had a freelancer ask for payment upfront, then didn't deliver anything. It seems to be a scam. The strange thing is he has a 90% success rate and $80k+ earnings on the platform. He persuaded me over a series of hundreds of messages, and did a great job of selling me on his "services".  Im guessing he is using this as a loophole to prevent negative feedback. His account needs to be shut down or moderators need to look thoroughly into this.


A refund would be ideal, too.


EDIT - Thanks to support for reaching out. The contractor in question has told me he will refund my money in 10 days, after another contract comes in. I have my doubts, he has been stringing me along for months. Support have reviewed my conversation with the contractor in question and agree that this looks like suspicious activity. We will see how this develops.  (He was previously ignoring me for months)

Community Member

Will update as it develops

Hi Dan,


I'm sorry to hear about your experience. In these cases, you can request a refund from the freelancer directly and if you need Upwork to step in and help in mediating, you can do that as well.


It seems like on this contract, the payment was already released to the freelancer in October and it's at their discretion to offer a refund. 


I shared your report with our team and one of our agents will reach out to you via a support ticket to assist you further regarding this matter. You can access your support tickets here.

~ AJ

Hi Annie, thank you very much for the fast response and I am currently speaking with **Edited for Community Guidelines** of support. The freelancer in question has also reached out and wants to issue the refund, when this refund is made I will be happy to close this post. 

Community Member

Hi Dan. Sorry to hear about your experience, but no genuine freelancer would demand payment upfront.


However, you shouldn't have been out of pocket. If you hired him on an hourly contract, you would only get billed for hours actually worked. If you used a fixed price contract, the money would be in escrow, and you would have no obligation to release it to him until he completed the work. If not, you could request a refund and have it returned to you.


If you paid him directly, off-platform, then not only is that against Upwork's ToS, you also have no means of getting your money back. He shouldn't have asked for it that way, and you shouldn't have agreed to it.

Hi Mark, i did not pay him directly off the platform, we would never do such a thing. We have multiple freelancers who we pay via this service and have gladly paid the fee to Upwork for years - support have already verified this fact. He asked for payment upfront and to close the contract before starting work - this was my mistake for agreeing to this. "No genuine freelancer would demand payment upfront". This is exactly what happened with a Top Rated Plus contractor with 90% success rate and $80k earnings.


Hi Dan, I can understand why you hired him, his profile does look impressive.


Hopefully a moderator will post here and help you out (and I assume you've already reached out to Upwork support), but I think it may be possible for you to claim a refund on a closed contract if you can demonstrate that fraud was committed. Glad you kept it all on-platform, as I think that does give you a chance of getting your money back.


My knowledge of the rules surrounding such situations is limited, but I worked with a new client last month who said another freelancer had ended up billing them for 40+ hours for a small job (which I think should only have taken about 5 hours or so). I advised them to take it up with Upwork support as they might be able to get a refund for the overcharged time. My impression is that they were successful in that claim.

Ok Mark, sounds good and thanks for your fast feedback. Will return to this post if i don't have luck with support, in the hope that a moderator catches it. 

FYI: We're not allowed, here in the Forum, to name freelancers like you are doing.


Your posts will be removed or edited by moderators.

Moderators have edited to remove his name. Thanks for the advice

Community Member

"...no genuine freelancer would demand payment upfront."


I think this is an overgeneralization. There are certain projects on Upwork where I have asked for a partial payment up-front (I only use fixed-price fees). As others have said here and on other threads, this is a risk for clients to trust the freelancer to not scam them. I don't require up-front payments on Upwork often, but for me, it's my preference in some scenarios.


Outside of Upwork, I always require down payments. This is standard practice in freelancing, but it is less common on Upwork.

Community Member

Thank you Katie, very helpful information. I wasn't actually aware of that.

Community Member

Thanks Katie. Payment upfront is common practice for high end contractors who deliver top quality work, from my experience. My mistake was assuming this fact carried over to Upwork. But Upwork are doing what they can to support me and get this refund issued.  

Mark T wrote:

... no genuine freelancer would demand payment upfront.



Chiming in for emphasis: In certain circumstances I require partial payment up front in order to kick off the project. (Away from Upwork, I always bill a portion of my fee immediately upon execution of a contract.) 

Community Member

I am very sorry to hear this. I don't doubt that you are disappointed right now.


It is not Upwork's intention that clients make upfront payments.

If a client DOES make an upfront payment, they should consider that money gone forever.

No client should ever think that he can get a refund for an upfront payment, even if the freelancer does no work at all.


You made a mistake. This was your mistake, and nobody else's.

Hi Preston, let me provide some context for you because you have misunderstood a number of key points here. The freelancer in question persuaded me into releasing the payment upfront over a series of hundreds of messages. As a top rated freelancer, i trusted that this was the norm. Being new to freelancer websites, i didn't think much of it, and he did a great job of selling me on his services. I had already admitted my mistake here in a previous message, so i'm not entirely sure why you are repeating something that I already acknowledged. As for your comment "i should consider that money gone forever" - Upwork does not seem to agree with you. They have reviewed these messages from the freelancer and I, and are currently helping me with the process of getting a refund. He is now co-operating (after ignoring me for months), and the only reason why he is co operating is because of my post on this forum, and the speedy response from the Upwork support. This has restored my faith in the Upwork community and i am happy to continue to bring my business to the platform. But as to your points, they are false. Upwork seems to care deeply about my issue, and you are wrong. Thanks to Remy of support for continuing to support me.

Community Member

Do not let the freelancer string you along - you need to dispute this through the proper channels, not just communicate via messages. The longer you wait, the less chance you have of getting any money back, and the freelancer knows this. I hope that you also left this person an honest review as a warning to their future clients?

Latest Articles
Top Upvoted Members