First off, I want to apologize on starting a new thread on this topic (and the title), but the search results were either not recent or relevant enough to address this as a reply to an existing thread. I would also like to bring this topic into light over here at the community as I have not received a response from the support team for over a week.
My experience with Upwork has been so far all positive: No shady clients or jobs, always got paid etc. apart from some clients going unresponsive at times. On Monday, May 23, it changed. A client of mine had filed a dispute on an hourly contract – literally to cover his own ass – but forgot to mention anything about it to me.
Here's the story:
After about 20 hours of working on the project, I receive an email saying that the contract has been paused by the client and upon logging onto Upwork website, there is a notification saying:
"Financial transactions for Jay L (xxxxxxxx) have been limited. Please check your email for additional information or contact customer support."
The interesting thing is that there was no additional information in my email, no disputes on my account, or any other clues what would have been the reason for this.The client kept rushing me to go forth with the project, so I shrugged the whole thing off as a mistake and decided to continue on the project for free so I can keep my client happy and protect my feedback score because keeping up a good reputation is more important for me in the long run.
Days passed by and finally on Friday, May 27, I receive a notification about a dispute with a Contract ID that does not exist in my account and a totally wrong amount ($3,000) being requested to be refunded. I was baffled and wrote a reply to the support ticket, to which to my surprise I received a response within a day. The case was moved over to Dispute Resolution Center and I posted all the details I had, while my client was being unresponsive – until June 2, when the negotiation time was already up. Even then, he admitted that he filed the dispute for his own security.
I ended up working two weeks for free until I was confident enough that the client can handle it on their own, as I wanted to avoid any more trouble with further disputes and having my account frozen for extended periods of time. (Later I learned it could be possible to get that contract removed from affecting the job success score, but in my life situation I really cannot take the risk.)
Soon after, the case was closed and marked as SOLVED, so I thought that's it and my account's limitations would finally be lifted. But nothing. One week and nothing happened, so I add a reply to the ticket with my concern. The status changes from SOLVED to AWAITING YOUR REPLY. Yeah, right. The support team probably won't even be notified about the ticket because it's always my turn to reply.
Now I don't mind waiting and I'm definitely not one the first person to complain, but the thing is that 24 days and counting is unreasonable no matter which way you look at it from (especially when the case is considered solved for two weeks). I have not been able to work with confidence or apply to larger projects for a good while already, resulting in big losses. Upwork is my only source of income and not being able to receive my payments for almost two months is starting to do some damage, especially to my ability to continue working when the necessary bills cannot be paid on time.
To anyone who's relying on Upwork as the only source of income: PLEASE DON'T. One bad client experience can literally screw your life over and there's only so much you can do about it. Diversify your income sources whenever possible, just to be secure. I do not wish this to happen to anyone but it is entirely possible, even if everything looks good on the outside.
To Upwork: Seeing wrong numbers in contract IDs and requested refund amounts is really confusing. Please fix the bugs and glitches affecting the support system and improve the process of serving your clients and freelancers alike. We come from different circumstances and I know for a fact that there are individuals who will suffer greatly if this kind of things continue to occur on a regular basis. The freelancer should not be punished because of what their clients choose to do.
To Your Success,
– Jay L.
Upwork's support is very slow. Transaction issues should be resolved as soon as possible. I had a similar situation this month. They need to change some things in their system. Freelancers get randomly punished, which just lowers their reputation.
@Levon G wrote:
I didn't get, why the client filled the dispute ?
Not sure if that information is relevant so I did not include it in the OP.. The background is that I was having some internet connection issues over the previous weekend, thus being unable to respond client's inquiries in a timely manner. I instructed the client to email me with important concerns instead of messaging me over Skype and compensated this by working over the weekend for free. After that, the client filed a refund request (quality concerns), but after being unresponsive during the mediation process, they admitted to filing it to "protect themselves" (I can no longer access the case to quote the exact words) and gave the green light to end the dispute with no further action required. Two weeks from that, my account still stands limited and the actual request ticket created for this case has not been answered ever since.