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Was hired for a commercial book review, but decided I'm not comfortable with it; can I cancel?

apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
1 of 18

I thought I would be okay with doing a paid book review and accepted the offer when it was made to me, but after some additional thinking (and some research about FTC regulations and the stigma around paid reviews pretty much everywhere) I've decided that I'm not comfortable with the job after all. I want to cancel the contract. 

But I'm worried about offending/upsetting the client; so much of the freelance industry is dependent upon good reviews and word of mouth, and I'm concerned that canceling the contract right after I accepted it might cause bad blood that impacts me in the future.

I also need to cancel because something came up with another work commitment and I no longer have the time to read the book anyway, but my issue remains the same: canceling the contract in this way, so suddenly, feels like a good way to get the client mad at me. I do have an apology message prepared that I can send to them first, but even so I could really use some advice about this situation. 

apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
2 of 18

Okay, just a quick update: I've decided to message the client one more time and let them know my position (that I can't do the job both due to personal reservations about it and a prior work commitment needing my focus) and hopefully they'll be understanding about it and we can cancel the contract with no hard feelings. 

 

I'm still very curious to get other peoples' opinions on this, though, because I can't be the only person who's decided to cancel a contract right after acccepting it. So if anyone out there would like to share their own experiences or advice, I'd still like to hear it. 

iamchunchunchun
Community Guru
Hiu Chun L Member Since: Jul 27, 2017
3 of 18

@Alison P wrote:

I also need to cancel because something came up with another work commitment and I no longer have the time to read the book anyway 


This sounds really horrible, at least for me. It appears to me that you started to consider whether you want / have time to do the job AFTER you accepted the offer...

 

 

apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
4 of 18

I did originally want to do the job (and honestly I still do a little) but increasingly strict FTC regulations about paid book reviews along with the fact that the client wants me to post on sites that explicitly forbid paid reviews makes me uncomfortable. Also, just so you're aware, I do consider my available work time and obligations very carefully before accepting any job; the only reason I no longer have time for it is because of a last-minute issue that cropped up with a prior commitment; it's not like I planned for a sudden minor emergency, life happens. These are, for me, two very valid reasons for canceling. I'm sorry if you don't agree or sympathize with my decision, but I do appreciate your perspective on the issue. 

g_vasilevski
Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
5 of 18

Hi Alison,

Please send me a PM with the job posting link and more details about the project, our team will review it further for any violations. Thank you.


Untitled
iamchunchunchun
Community Guru
Hiu Chun L Member Since: Jul 27, 2017
6 of 18
In this case, Upwork will probably do something to the client, and this contract may or may not negatively affect you.

But in general contract with no money paid would usually seriously affect your job success score, whether or not the client is angry or dissatisfied.
apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
7 of 18
But in general contract with no money paid would usually seriously affect your job success score, whether or not the client is angry or dissatisfied.

Yeah, I figured as much. That's why I'm usually very particular about what jobs I take and what the specific requirements are (I'm still pretty new to the freelance world in the grand scheme of things so my success score and any potential reviews are critical). I try to be careful but this job offer I took at face value, which is my mistake. I'll need to be more diligent in the future, I guess. Oh, well. 

I am grateful for the advice I've gotten from you here, and for the quick response from Upwork. Thank you both!

jr-translation
Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
8 of 18

I am wondering what the contract says. If it says, you get paid for reading a book and to leave you honest opinion on some pages it might be a bit bias. You will not leave a paid review but get paid for reading a book and share you opinion. Paid opinions usually have to be positive by default.

 

If the contract requests you to do something illegal it might get cancelled by UW and the client banned. On the other hand the client might just be looking for some reviews to push his sales and did not consider the problem of paid reviews. I think the best way is for the two of you to find a solution together.

craiggabriel
Community Leader
Craig G Member Since: Jun 20, 2017
9 of 18

It sounds like you're in a tough spot. I understand your concern that you'll take a hit by changing your mind, but I respect that you're inclined to do so anyway due to ethical concerns. Certainly one could say, "Yeah, but she should have thought of that before accepting the offer," but even if the stand you're taking isn't ideal, I'd say it's better than going through with something you're not comfortable with.

 

I hope you can work something out with the client, like maybe offer that you'll read the book after your present situation is passed and you have time, and you'll write an honest review that isn't guaranteed to be favorable. The client might respect that, or even if, more likely, that isn't good enough for him because he really does want to buy a favorable review specifically, at least you took a shot.

 

And if it does turn out that he specifies that, no, it has to be a positive review, and it has to be posted on sites that explicitly don't allow paid reviews, Upwork may solve the problem for you by finding him in violation of the rules. I believe if a job is deemed a violation like that, it means you won't suffer the damage that you otherwise would for ending a contract prematurely with no exchange of work and pay, and/or provoking a client to give negative feedback.

apetitt
Active Member
Alison P Member Since: Mar 3, 2017
10 of 18

It sounds like you're in a tough spot. I understand your concern that you'll take a hit by changing your mind, but I respect that you're inclined to do so anyway due to ethical concerns. Certainly one could say, "Yeah, but she should have thought of that before accepting the offer," but even if the stand you're taking isn't ideal, I'd say it's better than going through with something you're not comfortable with.

 


 Thank you so much! It means a lot to me to hear that, I really appreciate it. This whole thing made me pretty anxious, so any support goes a long way. Smiley Very Happy

 

And I did try to contact the client again to let them know that I was uncomfortable with their suggested arrangement and asked if there was any sort of alternative they might consider (I admittedly never specified, but I would have been content to simply read the story and review it free of charge with a disclaimer, similar to how Advanced Reader Copies work) but I never heard back from them before Upwork intervened.

 

But if I do hear from them in the future and it turns out that they just want an honest review and didn't understand the issues with paying for it and putting it on certain sites, I'll certainly offer to review their story honestly free of charge, because I do love to read and I still feel a bit guilty about the whole mess. 

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