After logging more than 2 hours on a job using the time tracker app, and emailing a completed draft of the work to a client, I received a message from Upwork telling me not to work on the job because the client's account had been suspended. The client emailed me right away to explain that his credit card had expired and he'd already updated the payment method, so it's not a big deal in this case. I've also been told that even if the client hadn't updated his payment info, payment would have been guaranteed for the time that was logged prior to notification, so that's good to know in the future.
But...this does raise another question. Many of the jobs I work are for a fixed price rather than hourly. What happens if a client's account is suspended after work has begun on a fixed price job, whether for expired payment methods or other reasons? Are freelancers screwed if the situation isn't remedied? I'm hoping that there is some measure of protection, but I don't know what that would be. Has anyone had this happen?
Unfortunately yes and this is why lots of people here prefer hourly.
All these rules that people complain about are there to protect the freelancer and Upwork with escrow, but just like any other escrow system, sometimes things happen. We've seen people lose the money on here, so yeah it's a risk.
Risks are a part of any business though and should be factored into your prices. Of course, you can write off the loss too.
I was hoping that wasn't the answer, but at the same time, I was expecting it. I'm glad that it was a theoretical inquiry, and I'm crossing my fingers that it never becomes a real concern for me.
I'm pretty good at seeing flags. The only time someone I believe tried to scam me was a guy claiming to be in the US. He did an hourly job with me and it wasn't until I was into the job that I realized he wasn't in the US. Luckily, I used the tracker (hourly job) and got paid my $1200. I lost on the manual time though for Skype chats and such. That sucked. But only lost about $150 there. He tried to get me to continue working after his payment failed, but I told him no.
I've never been scammed with escrow though. If I am at all suspicious (and I've only just recently had flags but this is the first time since I started here in August), I will hold off doing the work for several days to see if something happens. I tell people 1 week for an article, so that gives me at least 5 days to hold off.
With escrow, one good rule of thumb is to stay away from the urgent projects.
I run the time tracker when I'm on Skype. Is there a reason you don't, Jennifer? You're usually spot-on in your logic, reasoning, and advice, so I'm curious to know why you log it manually when there's a greater likelihood of not being paid. (In other words: I'm wondering if I should be manually logging it, too.)
My Skypes are usually phone calls so there is no typing.
I don't use the tracker because I have 3 monitors with 2 email accounts, a skype account, the upwork message center, Netflix, probably 3 Word docs with different projects, and gchat for my personal account. I jump around all of these during the day and don't want to bother turning the tracker on and off every few minutes. I also don't want to listen to some schmoe grill me over screenshots. Screw that. I tell people how much I'm going to charge them, so they know what they are being charged.
My hourly gigs are usually only like 5-10 hours for each contract. If I was doing 1 contract for 30 hours in the week, I'd probably reduce my risk and use the tracker. At this point, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I got screwed. I'd make sure the guy heard from me though. Hell hath no fury like me not getting my cash moneys.
I had such a case. The most annoying part was how it seemed to languish in review for a week or more after my client had assured me he had done everything Upwork required of him. When a tangentially related question came up in the forum, I took the occasion to mention the stall to one of the forum fairies, and lo, she apparently waved her wand and we were able to resume. Three guesses which one.
Yes, it is annoying. I recently had a job and when I was at the end of it they told me that contract was suspended (on hold). You work the whole day long and then suddenly this thing happens. I imagine working on hourly contracts with many hours agreed. I can imagine the frustration which comes with it. But as it is, there is always risk out there. I would be glad if everyone was honest and with a pure and divine soul but obviously it can't be. Everyone decides what to do.
Sometimes there are issues with clients' accounts and the contract is temporary put on hold. Once the issue is resolved, the contract is resumed and the payment is processed as usual. It looks like that's what happened with the contract you are referring to.