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Utterly bemusing client message

beno27
Active Member
Ben J Member Since: Jan 20, 2019
1 of 9

I have a longish term client who suddenly sent me a message with the following gist:

 

  • They're suspicious I'm outsourcing my writing to India (I am not, and never would)
  • They couldn't read past the intro due to low quality.
  • They won't pay me for the content.
  • They want to cancel the contract.

This seems so odd. Obviously, I can expect some negative feedback. This will be the first negative feedback I've ever received in years of writing here on Upwork.

 

The content had an error in the intro, but no opportunity to rectify, the client has just decided I'm no longer up to scratch based on one simple mistake. They said they didn't even read the full article.

 

Is this just a volatile client, or are they trying to manipulate and get out of paying/find an excuse to cancel the contract?

 

Obviously, the allegations of me outsourcing the content are serious, and unfounded. Do I need any form of dispute resolution for this?

 

I've offered to try and edit and improve the article, but no response.

 

I'm looking for advice if anyone has had similar experiences. What steps can I take?

 

Thanks in advance.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 9

Here is my response:

 

"Sheldon:

Thank you for your note. I am a strong supporter of the flexibility Upwork allows to clients on its platform. Clients may end contracts at any time. I would never want to tie up any client in a contract that he doesn't want to be in. Upwork allows every client the ability to close a contract at any time, without asking anybody for permission. If you would like to close the contract currently in place, then please feel free to do so. Otherwise, I will continue to work on the project as you requested. This is your choice. I will go along with whatever you decide."

robin_hyman
Community Guru
Robin H Member Since: May 28, 2019
3 of 9

At first I thought the client just doesn't want to pay you, but if it is a longish term client that wouldn't be the case.  Perhaps they don't think you're content is good anymore or matches their needs.  Whatever the case, if they aren't satisfied and you've already offered the revision, thank them for the work to date and part ways.  You want to end this as nicely as possible.  

beno27
Active Member
Ben J Member Since: Jan 20, 2019
4 of 9

Thanks, I've only been working with them for about 6 weeks but the idea was long term collaboration. Maybe I should have specified.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 9

There is a certain level of ignorance demonstrated by someone who sees a single mistake and thinks it means a writer is outsourcing their work to low-paid, low-quality freelancers in another country.

 

Anyone who is a native English speaker with average intelligence can discern between the type of writing that the original poster provides and the type of writing that one would obtain from such out-sourcing.

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
6 of 9

Ben J wrote:

Thanks, I've only been working with them for about 6 weeks but the idea was long term collaboration. Maybe I should have specified.


The only way to be assured of a long-term collaboration when freelancing is to create a contract that states the terms of that collaboration and imposes penalties for its early cancellation. And, even in that case, the collaboration could be ended at any time because you can't force someone to work with you-- the wronged party would just receive the contractual compensation for its conclusion. 

The client may be trying to come up with an excuse not to pay for the last piece or they may genuinely believe that you are not performing at the same level of skill as when you first began the contract. Your exit should be graceful and strategic. Your goal now is less about maintaining a collaboration (and getting paid for one article) and more about ensuring that the client doesn't protest payment for all of your work and leave a review accusing you of delivering poor work. 

 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 9

Ben J wrote:

This will be the first negative feedback I've ever received in years of writing here on Upwork.

 


.... the first since the client who described your work as "messy, hard to read, american English and British English throughout, spelling mistakes, bad grammar," last year you mean?

 

beno27
Active Member
Ben J Member Since: Jan 20, 2019
8 of 9

Yeah, that message last year was feedback shared to me in a message rather than left on a contract which I felt was odd.

 

The client did not give me any indication of wanting changes and did not leave it as public feedback. My public feedback was just that I turned the work in quickly.

 

I shared that here at the time to try and find a solution then.

 

So, this will/would be my first public feedback that is particularly low. In case that clarification helps. I wasn't trying to deceive anyone by saying that...

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 9

Ben J wrote:

 

So, this will/would be my first public feedback that is particularly low. In case that clarification helps. 


Are you sure the client will leave poor feedback? Maybe he had a toothache or a migraine or a bad weekend and let it out on you? Clients are human too

 

Talk to him, it might all be resolvable... Are you top rated and if so, do you still have your perk available to zap a poor feedback if needed?

 

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