Danielle W wrote:
1) Please clarify: Is a client permitted to hire you privately and then ask you to go through Upwork?
2) And are they permitted to hire you and then withdraw the offer after you have worked for them?
If you never accepted the contract, which WAS offered and likely just expired, there is nothing the platform can do. It's not as if you weren't offered a contract. You simply failed to accept it. For the sake of a mouseclick this could all have been avoided.
Danielle W wrote:
Please clarify: Is a client permitted to hire you privately and then ask you to go through Upwork?
And are they permitted to hire you and then withdraw the offer after you have worked for them?
If you are hired through Upwork, then you have to be paid through Upwork.
If a client sets up a formal contract either as an hourly tracked contract or as a fixed-rate contract, you will receive a message both on your message page in your Upwork account and a private email, informing you that your contract has started.
If you use the tracked hourly method of paying correctly, the client has to pay you for the hours you have worked, but can close the contract at any time. The same applies to the fixed-price method, where the client deposits the amount agreed into escrow, which will be released when he or she has reviewed your work. If the client closes a fixed-price contract before the money has been released to the freelancer, it will automatically go to the freelancer and a client may or may not dispute.
Another hourly method (also a formal contract) is when you manually enter the hours worked per week, but it is not advisable to begin with as you are not protected.
If you did not have any formal contract in place, Upwork can't help you, although you can report the client.
Unless you read everything there is to read about Upwork and how it operates, you are going to have a tough time getting started.
I'm sorry to learn about your experience with this client. Please know that before you start working on any project on Upwork, we recommend that you make sure that an offer was sent, you have accepted it, and it's showing as an active contract on your My Jobs page, and the client's payment method is verified.
I would recommend that you read up on these freelancer resources and these tips for avoiding questionable jobs, for help getting started, and for more information about working safely through Upwork. Hopefully this will help you work safely on Upwork.