UpWork favoring client in dispute

I've been doing UpWork, and before that oDesk and Elance for 5+ years and never had this problem. 

 

I have a client who hired me for a flat-rate job, almost 2 months ago.  He was unresponsive between every draft, then gave vague feedback of "I just don't like it", and I would ask for specific instructions or how he'd like it different but go nothing.  After 4 drafts, while I was again waiting for him to give an opinion after he said he'd look at it, he suddenly filed a dispute. 

 

Naturally, I rejected it.  After I rejected it, he emailed back and said he re-read draft #4 and he likes it a lot better, but there's still some "small things" that need changing.  Again - with no specific direction. He said he would close the dispute and pay me.  

 

But now UpWork is giving me the option of picking his terms.  

 

a) The job is closed and he "reopens another" so we can keep working becuase a job can't continue after it has been closed and disputed

b) The job is closed and he doesn't reopen another

 

What kind of options are these???  He's not going to re-open the job!  And he has 4 of my drafts so now he can still use them!  I should at minimum get 50% of the escrow payment, and to my mind, I should get 100%.  

 

AND, if the job is closed and payment returned to him then my Job Success Score is also dinged.  I get screwed out of payment for 2 months of this crap AND I get penalized?  And he gets 4 free press releases???

What is the point of having an escrow service if UpWork doesn't even defend the freelancer?  

 

 

ACCEPTED SOLUTION


@Matt K wrote:

1) Petra - there's no way to enforce that, aside from hiring a copyright attorney outside of UpWork.  

 

2) Did I misread something - it seems you do NOT get the $291 arbitration fee back. 


 1) Oh there is. A simple takedown notice everywhere you find your stuff. No lawyer needed.

 

2) IF the client goes to arbitration (pays the fee) you don't get the arbitration fee back. If the client chooses not to go forward you get the funds in Escrow and the arbitration fee back (as arbitration never happened)

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14 REPLIES 14
prestonhunter
Member

Disputes are no guarantee of fairness. Don't get into disputes.

 

 

I didn't get into the dispute, he initiated.  I was waiting for notes on Draft #4.

 

It seems that clients can get free work if they simply file a dispute.  

I don't think there is any way to get around this fact:

 

There ARE loopholes in the fixed-price contract system that clients CAN exploit if they choose to.

 

I do not believe that Upwork's dispute system is designed to "decide upon a fair outcome."

 

I do not believe that there are effective ways for a freelancer to successfully "win" a dispute with a client.

 

Which is why my personal policy is to avoid the whole concept entirely. I tell my fixed-price clients that when I turn in work, they can choose to pay for it and they will own it. Or don't pay for it, and I will retain ownership.

 

I simply give them a very, very simple choice to make. Disputes are not not an option.

There's no way to enforce your "retaining ownership".  

 

I can say that all I want, he can put out the press release I wrote, and that's it.  

 

This is my first time ever having this problem.  And I wouldn't care too much, but I cleared out a bunch of old jobs that were still "active" some 2+ years old, which then created a string of jobs without feedback, which then dropped my JSS from 93% to 89%.  Now, if this job is cancelled, it's going to go even lower.  

 

While I was above 90% I had too many job offers out of the blue to keep up with, now my views have declined 300%, all becuase of the JSS system.  

I should also mention that because it had been WEEKS since I heard from him, that I had clicked on end contract and request payment.  So to avoid paying me - he filed a dispute.... 

 

 


@Matt K wrote:

I didn't get into the dispute, he initiated.  I was waiting for notes on Draft #4.

 

It seems that clients can get free work if they simply file a dispute.  


 Nope.

 

Anything that wasn't paid for you own. The client can not use it.

 

You are free to carry on with the dispute which will involve Upwork making suggestions as to how to amicably resolve this. You do NOT have to accept those suggestions, as under Escrow rules Upwork can not make any legally binding decision either way.

 

If no solution can be found you can opt to go to arbitration, which will cost you, the client, and Upwork $ 291 each. This is only refundable if the client decides not to proceeed (in which case you get the arbitration fee back and all the funds in Escrow.)

 

Whatever damage this contract did, or did not do to your JSS is already done.

Petra - there's no way to enforce that, aside from hiring a copyright attorney outside of UpWork.  

 

Did I misread something - it seems you do NOT get the $291 arbitration fee back. 


@Matt K wrote:

1) Petra - there's no way to enforce that, aside from hiring a copyright attorney outside of UpWork.  

 

2) Did I misread something - it seems you do NOT get the $291 arbitration fee back. 


 1) Oh there is. A simple takedown notice everywhere you find your stuff. No lawyer needed.

 

2) IF the client goes to arbitration (pays the fee) you don't get the arbitration fee back. If the client chooses not to go forward you get the funds in Escrow and the arbitration fee back (as arbitration never happened)

lysis10
Member

How much money are we talking about? Arbitration will cost the guy $300 + headaches, so you should easily be able to get at least $300 payout.

Ah - interesting.... yeah, it's only $75, so filing arbitration might be the way I have to go, certainly no way he would pay $291 to save $75...


@Matt K wrote:

Ah - interesting.... yeah, it's only $75, so filing arbitration might be the way I have to go, certainly no way he would pay $291 to save $75...


 Exactly. The question here is whether it is worth your while to spend $ XX?? worth of time to win $ 75.

 

If it is the principle of it all- go ahead.

 

Petra - 

 

Maybe I'm missing something again.... Is this accurate - 

 

* If I file arbitration, then I pay the non-refundable $291 upfront.  

* Then he needs to pay a non-refundable $291.  

 

* If he does not pay, then I get my $291 back, plus the $75 in dispute. 

 

* If he does pay it, then we are both out $291 for the arbitration, with $75 being decided by the arbiter (actually $60, minus UpWork fees)

 

So the goal now is I need to be the first person to file arbitration?  

 

 


@Matt K wrote:

Petra - 

 

Maybe I'm missing something again.... Is this accurate - 

 

* If I file arbitration, then I pay the non-refundable $291 upfront.  

* Then he needs to pay a non-refundable $291.  

 

* If he does not pay, then I get my $291 back, plus the $75 in dispute. 

 

* If he does pay it, then we are both out $291 for the arbitration, with $75 being decided by the arbiter (actually $60, minus UpWork fees)

 

So the goal now is I need to be the first person to file arbitration?  

 

 


 Yes.

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Matt,

 

I've followed up with the team that's assisting you with the dispute and they'll update you via the ticket as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your patience.

~ Valeria
Upwork