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designdrew
Member

Unauthorised Refund

I have just recieved an email from Upwork stating that I have refunded a client the monies he paid me a few weeks ago for 30 (very long and hard) hours work. I did not authoirse this nor apparently did he. I knwo the work was well received because he asked me to present my designs to his client which featured a board of ten directors via a Zoom call. Everyone was happy. I'm more concerned that there is no way to contact Upwork about this. Why is there no direct link to a message centre to at least raise this issue - I'm down $1100 at present and I have no power over this. Does Upwork purposefully hide any way of contacting them?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION


Petra R wrote:


I think my anger is justified.

Your anger would be justified if it was directed at the party that failed to pay: Your client.

 

It seems you are still not understanding the "Your client, despite repeated attempts to charge their payment method, FAILED TO PAY FOR YOUR HOURS" part of this whole debacle?


I don't know why Upwork doesn't just say exactly that in their emails: "Your client, despite repeated attempts to charge their payment method, failed to pay for your hours" and also, "We have contacted the client and asked them to resolve this matter, but you may wish to discuss it with them as well."

 

It's no wonder people freak out when they receive an email that says, "You refunded the client," when they know that they did no such thing. If it wasn't for reading about this sort of situation in the forum all the time, I, too, would assume that Upwork made a mistake and direct my anger at them.

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37 REPLIES 37
prestonhunter
Member

I don't think you need to contact Upwork Support.

 

We can answer your questions here.

 

Was this an hourly or fixed-price contract?

Hi Preston, it was hourly. I manually fill in time sheets as my way of working is not related to mouse movements or mouse clicks. What is odd is that for two years this has worked perfectly well for both myself and the client. An Upwork emlpoyee has 'reached out' ( I hate that phrae - I'm not hanging off a cliff) to me and suggested at least five things that COULD be the issue - surely if an algorithim has picked up on soething then I can be told EXACTLY what has happened on this occasion and rectify it satisfactorally? All I need is information. Not much to ask considering how much I have paid Upwork in commission over the last two years?

812dd08c
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Drew, 

 

Thank you for reaching out to us. I'm sorry to hear about the reversal on your account. However, I have checked your account and it looks like your client's payment method was not successfully charged, as such, some of the hours you logged didnโ€™t meet payment protection. Please note that you should meet all the requirements to be eligible for Hourly Payment Protection. In your case, you need to communicate with your client about receiving a bonus payment with the amount that's been refunded.

 

Additionally, one of our team members will be reaching out soon with more information regarding your concern.

 

~ Arjay
Upwork
designdrew
Member

Thank you Arjay I will do this. I don't think that chasing $1100 lost through a community chat room represents a professional way of dealing with this issue. Upwork is quick to take its cut from any money that I earn, they should have a simpler and more straight forward way of communication with such financial matters. It woudl be professional.

Drew, don't think of it as chasing money. You asked a question mand received an answer.

 

Do you have any remaining questions? If you understand what happened, then the matter is over. But if you still have questions, you may ask them here.

Thank you Preston but money is missing and yes it is definitely chasing money.

Drew, basically, your client failed to pay. Upwork then pay you for all hours that are protected under the hourly protection out of their own pocket.

If your hours were not logged exactly according to the terms of the protection, Upwork won't pay you out of their own pocket for those hours.

 

To be protected, hours have to be tracked (not manual time), have meaningful work memos that clearly describe the work done, and decent activity levels.

Thank you Petra but I cannot track hours as the way I work is not related soley to a mouse click - I sketch and think - it's the creative process - and it's THAT which my client is paying for. Thus I can't use your Payment Protection system. This hasn't happened before and annoyingly my client has not complained and is happy with the way we are working together. I will fill out my memos in a nore bullet point way, breaking down hours within them, will that help?

re: "I will fill out my memos in a nore bullet point way, breaking down hours within them, will that help?"

 

No.

 

Memos are great. They show respect for the client. But manual time, no matter how detailed the memos, doesn't qualify for Upwork Payment Protection.

 

Sorry.


Drew H wrote:

Thank you Petra but I cannot track hours


Then you are not protected under the terms of the hourly protection and Upwork will not pay you out of their own pocket.


You may be better off with fixed-rate contracts because there is categorically no protection whatsoever at all for manual time, ever, under any circumstances.

 


it's the creative process - and it's THAT which my client is paying for.

Well, in this case, it is what the client did NOT pay for. The client didn't pay so they owe you the money, not Upwork. Take it up with the client.

 


I will fill out my memos in a nore bullet point way, breaking down hours within them, will that help?

Not for manual time, no.

 

Every time you add manual time, you are advised that there is no protection. That is the case because there is no protection with manual time.

 


This hasn't happened before

Yes, that tends to be the case with everything that is inherently risky. Nothing goes wrong until it does.

 


my client has not complained and is happy with the way we are working together.

Well, ask that happy client to bloody well pay what they owe you already! If they are that thrilled, why have they refused to pay despite many attempts to charge their payment method and emails from Upwork chasing the payment for you?

That was helpful Petra. The client was as surpised as I was that he was refunded, and yes he will now pay me as a bonus. Upwork is the problem here. This has caused issues of mistrust on both sides in this client/supplier relationship - thanks Upwork.


Drew H wrote:

The client was as surpised as I was that he was refunded,


For the last time: The client WAS NOT refunded. The client never paid in the first place. Their payment method refused the charges repeatedly. THAT is why the transaction was reversed. The client KNOWS they never paid. They KNOW because they had notifications of the failed charge over and over again until the contract and their account was suspended.

 

There was no "refund" even though it looks like it - it was a reversal of a transaction that never happened because your client's payment method repeatedly declined to pay.



Thanks Petra, maybe Upwork should rephrase their email then?

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

โ€ƒ


Drew H wrote:

Thanks Petra, maybe Upwork should rephrase their email then?

 


They very much should.

That doesn't change the facts though.

I hope they pay you well for your support.


Drew H wrote:

I hope they pay you well for your support.


Wow, really?

They don't pay me at all. What a truly nasty thing to say.

Petra you misunderstand me. I genuinely thought that Upwork supply help through these communities and thus were paying for this support, and the time you were putting in was at least justified - seriously you should get payment. As you're not then I'm not quite understanding why you are so vitriolic in your undying support for a system that clearly isn't working for me and I'm simply asking for help.


Drew H wrote:

As you're not then I'm not quite understanding


And that has been the problem all along. You are not understanding.

I am not quite sure in which other way "Client never paid for your hours" could possibly be put.

The problem is that I was following the official tone of the email from Upwork - that stated that I had refunded a client money for a job. The repsonses from your good self are from a community forum, so not such a trusted source as the official email PLUS my client has stated that he did nothing in this process. Please see it from my perspective and understand that I can only deal with the information given. Interestingly my client is now evading me, but rather urgently needs a job sorting so it will be interesting to see how this pans out . . .


Drew H wrote:

The problem is that I was following the official tone of the email from Upwork - that stated that I had refunded a client money for a job. . . .


I get that. It is incredibly awkwardly handled. They should send an email explaining before you get the "you have refunded" email.

That said, early in this thread, an Upwork employee has also confirmed earlier in this thread that your client didn't pay for your hours.

 


Interestingly my client is now evading me

Funny, that... They know fully well that they have never paid. I am not surprised they are now being evasive. They will have been getting increasingly urgent emails from Upwork every day after the payments failed. And their account will have been suspended on Friday.

Screenshot 2022-04-20 at 09.46.24.png

โ€ƒ

As has now been explained to you over and over and over and over again, that is is poorly worded. It is the standard email that is triggered when either a transaction has been refunded or reversed. It's a stupid system limitation.


You should also have received or will receive a notification that your client failed to pay for your work and that is the reason for the reversal.


There was no refund.

 

Your client didn't pay for your work.


Ask them why they didn't pay you, maybe?

Just done, thanks for the advice

**Edited for Community Guidelines** Why on earth does Upwork allow us to register our hours manualy if it puts us at risk of not being paid? Not once did I receive a message saying that it might be a problem logging my hours manualy. The tracking app makes my laptop overheat so I chose the available manual way instead. I worked on many platforms, there is always someone to refer to in case of a dispute, there is a conversation, at least, why is it not the case here? And why have we to expose our problems out there on that forum?  What is the use of this platform and their 20% commission when they don't even try and do something about hit-and-runs? There should be a proper customer service and there isn't. I'm in a similar case as Drew, the amount of work I produced is easy to quantify, I delivered it on this platform and the client disappeared with it. I opened a dispute, it has been shut without even a discussion with an agent!

Then Upwork needs to remove manual time from there site and fix a way of protecting freelancers there hard earn money before starting a job lik an escrow. This issue just happened to me yesterday and I'm mad about it

designdrew
Member

Thanks Preston - can Payment Protection only happen if I allow my mouse to be tracked?


Drew H wrote:

Thanks Preston - can Payment Protection only happen if I allow my mouse to be tracked?


Payment protection requires screenshots and adequate activity levels (mouse and/or keyboard).

designdrew
Member

So in conclusion I think it's fair to say that the Payment Protection offering from Upwork doesn't fit with the Creative Process. Upwork has been hailed as the 'go to' website for creative services, but many of these services don't actually involve using a mouse or a keypad. The way forward in my particular case will be to cost out jobs accurately and ask the client to raise individual jobs each time. This will deter some clients, and makes the work process far less flexible on both sides but I see no alternative. Because of this ongoing issue I can't count the number of times clients have asked me to leave Upwork and work for them directly but aside form the contractual issue I feel morally obligated to Upwork, as in fairness it is they who facilitated these relationships in the first place. Misplaced loyalty perhaps?

petra_r
Member

It is rather interesting how you are (mis)directing your anger at the Upwork rather than at the party who wronged you by failing to pay for your work.

Petra they didn't fail to pay me! They are as confused as I am, Upwork (or an algorithim) retrospectively picked up on the manual time sheets and automatically issued the refund. I think my anger is justified. It seems rather disingenious for a company to post rationalise a business and money transaction that was instigated and approved by both client and supplier. But I appreciate your time in this nontheless.


Drew H wrote:

I think my anger is justified.


Yes, it is. 30 hours of hard work is no joke.

 

Anyways, If I was in your place, I would gently ask them if they can pay that refunded money back through a milestone (or as a bonus).


Sushant B wrote:

Anyways, If I was in your place, I would gently ask them if they can pay that refunded money back through a milestone (or as a bonus).

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

There was no refunded money because nothing was ever paid.

And there is no such thing ay a milestone in an hourly contract.


Petra R wrote:

And there is no such thing ay a milestone in an hourly contract.


I understand this, but if the client is professional, he must pay Drew the money for his hard work (30 hours), either as a bonus or by opening a new fixed-price contract (payment in a fixed price contract is not as complex as it is in an hourly one).

Thanks Sushant - I have done this. I'm not sure why Petra is being so aggresive but from my point of view I received an email from Upwork that clearly stated I had issued a refund to a client and was trying to work out whay this was and what to do about it. It's odd how Upwork themselves aren't contacting or helping me directly. And if the client is at fault (which is now looking likely) then why the hell aren't they persuing him?? I'm the innocent party here, a job has been done - the biggest selling brand of a certain product in a certain country - and is going to print in four weeks time. Is this fair?


Drew H wrote:

Petra they didn't fail to pay me!


Yes, they did "fail to pay you"

 


Drew H wrote:

Petra they didn't fail to pay me! They are as confused as I am, Upwork (or an algorithim) retrospectively picked up on the manual time sheets and automatically issued the refund.


That is abject nonsense. ONLY when a client repeatedly fails to pay, Upwork manually inspect your work diary and any hours that are not covered by the protection are reversed. Upwork pay you for any hours that are covered out of their own pocket.

 


I think my anger is justified.

Your anger would be justified if it was directed at the party that failed to pay: Your client.

 


It seems rather disingenious for a company to post rationalise a business and money transaction that was instigated and approved by both client and supplier.

It would be if that was what happened. It isn't what happened.

 

It seems you are still not understanding the "Your client, despite repeated attempts to charge their payment method, FAILED TO PAY FOR YOUR HOURS" part of this whole debacle?


Petra R wrote:


I think my anger is justified.

Your anger would be justified if it was directed at the party that failed to pay: Your client.

 

It seems you are still not understanding the "Your client, despite repeated attempts to charge their payment method, FAILED TO PAY FOR YOUR HOURS" part of this whole debacle?


I don't know why Upwork doesn't just say exactly that in their emails: "Your client, despite repeated attempts to charge their payment method, failed to pay for your hours" and also, "We have contacted the client and asked them to resolve this matter, but you may wish to discuss it with them as well."

 

It's no wonder people freak out when they receive an email that says, "You refunded the client," when they know that they did no such thing. If it wasn't for reading about this sort of situation in the forum all the time, I, too, would assume that Upwork made a mistake and direct my anger at them.

Hi Petra, thus the fault still lies with Upwork. Even you are stating that their terminology is wrong and misleading. An actual Upwork person did connect with me and stated that the fault may lie with the timesheets and has suggested the client is in no means to blame, so luckily I didnโ€™t accuse them directly. This is all pretty shoddy isnโ€™t it? Ironic that a company that highlights its specialism is in the visual and marketing communications fields, canโ€™t actually communicate themselves?
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