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greysarah49
Community Member

Unfair Behaviour from Client

I wonder if anyone can advise me on what to do here or should I just "let it go" ?

Yesterday, I heard back from a client about a translation job I applied to in mid-December. He seemed interested in hiring me and asked me to quote a price. He later said that he had "added me" to the job and I thanked him and said I'd get on with the work asap. A little while later a couple of questions regarding the formatting and payment rates occurred to me as they were both left unclear. I heard nothing all day and asked the 2 questions again in the evening in a more concise form, still nothing. The client is in a part of the world several hours in front of where I live and this has caused the problem. The next morning at 5am my time, I had the answers back, but I missed the message and by 9.20am my time, the client had already given the work to another freelancer. I was rather annoyed when I discovered this later and told the client so politely. My question really is to ask whether I have any recourse for official complaint given that no contracts were accepted and it was merely a written agreement. I find it extremely unfair that due to time differences a client can not answer my questions which would have enabled me to start work earlier and then when I don't answer his post which arrives very early in the morning to give away the job within 4 hours. I may be being unreasonable here, but I wanted some advice. I also do not want unfavourable feedback for standing up for myself in (what I consider) an unfair situation. Sorry for the long post.

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holymell
Community Member

I understand your frustration. I do.

But if the client found someone better suited for the job, or needed work started asap, then he didn't do anything wrong.

It's happened to me several times where I've interviewed and discussed details to death only to not get the job. I had no contract so no right to it in the first place.

It will happen to you again, most likely. Try to let it go.

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12 REPLIES 12
holymell
Community Member

I understand your frustration. I do.

But if the client found someone better suited for the job, or needed work started asap, then he didn't do anything wrong.

It's happened to me several times where I've interviewed and discussed details to death only to not get the job. I had no contract so no right to it in the first place.

It will happen to you again, most likely. Try to let it go.

Thanks Melissa, great response. I just wanted to get people's opinions on this to see if I was being too precious about it. Of course I was annoyed as it hasn't happened to me before on here.

mtngigi
Community Member

You weren't hired, there won't be any feedback. There's no "unfair" here. Recourse for what? Clients have every right to hire whomever they choose. You should not even have communicated that you were "annoyed" with them (politely or not).

 

If there's no contract, there's no job. What is discussed during the interview process is not a written agreement, a contract is. Discussing the job in the interview stage is just that, a discussion. Move on.

OK Virginia, harsh but fair! Maybe I shouldn't have communicated my annoyance to the client but it did strike me as unreasonable behaviour from the guy especially as his post was from December so he didn't seem in a much of a hurry to hire. I suppose I need to toughen up on here. Thanks for reply.

Working with clients/freelancers in different time zones, can have its pros and cons.

You can look at it where a client can give instructions to a freelancer before the client goes to bed, and when the client gets up in the morning, their work is completed.

Or, a client can give instructions to a freelancer before the client goes to bed. The freelancer encounters problems, needs more information or has questions and can not continue until those problems/info/questions are taken care of. The client gets up in the morning and his work isn't finished but the client has to wait several hours before the freelancer can get back to work.

 

"Your" client, for whatever reason they had, chose another freelancer. It's done. there was no reason to communicate your annoyance. That's being unprofessional. They are not obligated to hire you just because they interviewed you, 

Thanks Kathy, I realise that now, but it hasn't happened to me before in 4 months on Upwork and it was a knee-jerk reaction. I have apologised to the client for my response to try and mitigate the situation. All these responses are really helpful, thanks!

gilbert-phyllis
Community Member

What Melissa, Virginia and Kathy said. Also, it's worth thinking specifically about how flexible you are prepared to be accommodating wide time zone ranges and hair-trigger client schedules. Either one or the other is often not a problem at all but when they converge unexpectedly, it can be unnerving. It's not unusual for clients to exhibit wait-and-hurry-up pacing. Sometimes they've been cooling their heels waiting for some internal logjam to clear and when it does, they charge out of the gate, guns blazing. (I have a bet with myself about cramming metaphors into sentences.) Sometimes they're just disorganized.

 

If you want to maximize your opportunities no matter what, then you have to be sure you see all incoming messages promptly and are prepared to respond without delay.And you have to do it all the time, or it's not worth it. If that isn't how you roll, then figure out what your boundaries are re. how fast you respond, what kind of reponse time you need from clients, and more broadly, how you block and plan your time each day, each week, each month. I've passed on several attractive projects in recent months because they had--or smelled like they had--breakneck timelines and I didn't want to create fire drills for myself and risk undermining teh quality of work I already had in hand.

 

If you were running a brick and mortar business with employees, you'd have to decide what hours to be open and how to allocate staff resources. Just do the same process with your freelance business. At least you know your employee won't give you any backtalk.

Thanks for your useful and sensible post, Phyllis! I usually work through the night which is great for clients in the US and Canada who are behind the UK's time zone, but I was caught out with the client in question as he is several hours in front. I also sometime miss deadlines in Europe as I am still in bed! I need to think about it all carefully. 

I feel you. I am in the Eastern U.S. and my most unhappy times are when I am dealing w/ clients in Europe and US west coast at the same time. Or any time that I'm dealing w/ vendors in India because they never close!

Sarah, I would say what you call unfair behavior is really impolite behavior.

 

A few times clients I was in discussion with told me "sorry, I just gave the job to someone else" and I was able to tell them that it was not the end of the world. It hurts for a minute of two, but life goes on.

Thanks for your comments, Luce. Actually, I just received a reply and the guy was very apologetic and agreed it was unfair, but said his PM had decided to get someone to do the work asap. So, I do feel a bit better now!

Adding to my own post here - when I say I miss deadlines I mean that I have an invitation to a job and the work is needed back very quickly but I miss it because of my odd sleeping patterns. I don't mean that I miss an established deadline with work I have been hired to do. We do kind of need to be "on call" 24/7 in this game!
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