glossyjuice
Member

closing a contract with a client?

I've looked for other answers about that but they were quite old and I'm not sure if the rules have changed.
I have a problem with a client and it's the first time in this platform that it happens: I'm working on the retouch of an image and no matter how many modifications I make, the client is never happy and continues to changes his mind (something that was ok three days ago is not ok today)
I'm thinking about closing the contract without payment/giving refound (it's a fixed price so I guess money is in escrow). Will it impact negatively my profile? Do we both have to leave a reference if I close the contract without payment? 
I'll try to discuss with the client but I'd rather do that than end the contract, unfortunately. 

13 REPLIES 13


@Serena T wrote:

I've looked for other answers about that but they were quite old and I'm not sure if the rules have changed.
I have a problem with a client and it's the first time in this platform that it happens: I'm working on the retouch of an image and no matter how many modifications I make, the client is never happy and continues to changes his mind (something that was ok three days ago is not ok today)
I'm thinking about closing the contract without payment/giving refound (it's a fixed price so I guess money is in escrow). Will it impact negatively my profile? Do we both have to leave a reference if I close the contract without payment? 
I'll try to discuss with the client but I'd rather do that than end the contract, unfortunately. 


 You can just select "My jobs" and check if the money is in escrow.

 

You can offer the client one more modification for the agreed price. If he requests further work, ask him to start an hourly contract.

 

Ignore the JSS. If you take a hit, it is only temporary. He can leave a private feedback if no money is paid. Depending on the amount you might want to ristk a negative public feedback. Keep in mind that you own all your work until the client paid for it.

prestonhunter
Member

Serena:

This is what I have referred to in the past as the "fixed-price loophole."

 

You are CORRECT if you sense that there is  a potential problem here.

 

It takes thought, wisdom and practice to know how to avoid getting into situations like this, or how to know what to do if you face a client like this.

 

For the record, it is NOT appropriate for a client to have in this manner. But there is a "loophole" in the sense that Upwork's user interface allows clients to ask for revisions as many times as they want.

 

I can NOT tell you what to do. I will tell you what I do personally: I let clients know ahead of time that when I turn in a fixed-price contract, they will be allowed to pay for it and receive ownership of the work, or not pay, and I will retain ownership of the work.

 

I simply don't let clients pay the "endless revision" game.

 

I have been fortunate in that I have not had a client do that since I learned my lesson a long time ago on one of my first projects.

Thank you everyone for the  answers!
The client just answered back and he's still not happy, in 4 years of activity as a retoucher is the first time that happens 😞


@prestonhunter

This is what I have referred to in the past as the "fixed-price loophole."

 

You are CORRECT if you sense that there is  a potential problem here.

 

It takes thought, wisdom and practice to know how to avoid getting into situations like this, or how to know what to do if you face a client like this.

 

For the record, it is NOT appropriate for a client to have in this manner. But there is a "loophole" in the sense that Upwork's user interface allows clients to ask for revisions as many times as they want.

 

I can NOT tell you what to do. I will tell you what I do personally: I let clients know ahead of time that when I turn in a fixed-price contract, they will be allowed to pay for it and receive ownership of the work, or not pay, and I will retain ownership of the work.

 

I simply don't let clients pay the "endless revision" game.

 

I have been fortunate in that I have not had a client do that since I learned my lesson a long time ago on one of my first projects.


He has created a contract with a price a little bit higher of what I initially asked, so maybe he feels entitled to change his mind everyday? 

 


Serena T wrote: 

He has created a contract with a price a little bit higher of what I initially asked, so maybe he feels entitled to change his mind everyday?  


What a client "feels" is none of your concern. Your concern is whether clients live up to their responsibilities under a contract when you live up to yours.

kat303
Member

First of all, in any future contracts, make sure you specify how many revisions/modifications you will make. Also include " any work above and beyond what's specified will incur additional charges."

 

At this point, I don't think you need to refund what's in escrow. You worked and you should be paid for it. This client is trying to get free work from you. He's hoping that you'll do exactly what you said you feel like doing which is refunding what's in escrow. He's hoping you'll get so tired and disgusted with all the endless modifications that you'll just give up. Clients like this have done this to other freelancers and has gotten away with it. That's exactly why he is doing this to you.

 

At this point YOU need to take charge, Not by refunding any  money but by letting him know that endless modifications will NOT be put up with. You can message him saying something like

 

Hi XXX. I will finish this last edit that you sent to me.. If you have any more revisions you can open a new hourly contract and I'll be more then happy to start working as soon as that's done.


@Kathy T wrote:

First of all, in any future contracts, make sure you specify how many revisions/modifications you will make. Also include " any work above and beyond what's specified will incur additional charges."

 

At this point, I don't think you need to refund what's in escrow. You worked and you should be paid for it. This client is trying to get free work from you. He's hoping that you'll do exactly what you said you feel like doing which is refunding what's in escrow. He's hoping you'll get so tired and disgusted with all the endless modifications that you'll just give up. Clients like this have done this to other freelancers and has gotten away with it. That's exactly why he is doing this to you.

 

At this point YOU need to take charge, Not by refunding any  money but by letting him know that endless modifications will NOT be put up with. You can message him saying something like

 

Hi XXX. I will finish this last edit that you sent to me.. If you have any more revisions you can open a new hourly contract and I'll be more then happy to start working as soon as that's done.


Thank you, I think I'll do that, next revision I'll use the button "submit work for payment".
Will I eventually still be able to close the contract without payment if he refuses? 

Serena - You can close a contract any time you want. Doing that, as I understand, will affect your JSS score. So will negative feedback. But, it's how you reply to negative feedback that will hurt you more then the actual feedback. Make replies short, sweet and professional. Clients understand that one or 2 bad reviews happen. If you could get the client to close the contrat and open a new hourly one, that would be in your best interest as you will do as many modifications as he wants because you'll be payed hourly for doing that. Just make sure, if that happens, you use the Tracker and annotate the screen shots it takes. 

sergio-soria
Member

I'd try to discuss with the client but explaining every single reason why things should be like this and not like that, etc. Have you been saving the different versions? If so, make a table with them and use it to explain. Maybe you can even make a Camtasia video explaining things to the client. Sometimes it's just a matter of the client not understanding some technical stuff, so when you explain things carefully clients really appreciate it. This way the job will end in good terms. I like to take time to do it this way but that's just me.

 

As for closing the contract and refunding... as far as I know a contract without earnings will definitely impact on your JSS, maybe lightly but it will. You can take the blow, yes, because you have done many jobs already and have good reputation, so it's not that you will never recover. Eventually you'll get the top-rated status and will be able to delete the bad feedback.

 

I'll take the first option. If he is a reasonable guy he will understand. If you think it's a dead end road then go for the second option. That's my opinion.

 

I hope he is not trying to leave you unpaid. Have you check his history?


As for closing the contract and refunding... as far as I know a contract without earnings will definitely impact on your JSS, maybe lightly but it will.


 But isn't it worse if I ask for payment and the client leave a bad public feedback?

 


I hope he is not trying to leave you unpaid. Have you check his history?

 I feel that it's what he's trying to do but history is perfect: 10 reviews of 5 stars each so I really felt it was a good client.

So in my case, if he's trying to have his work done and leaving me unpaid,  if I close the contract unpaid, my JSS will be negatively impacted. If I ask him to pay for the work I've done till now he can pay and leave a very bad review which will impact my JSS negatively AND I'll have a public bad review. So I have no protection from upwork?

You can always reply to a public feedback. Just keep it short and polite.

 

Whether you want to get paid always depends on the amount. How bad do you need the money? If you feel you deserve it, take it. You had a not so perfect feedback before and are doing fine now. Other clients will see that one client out of many left a negative feedback. Most of us had this experience at one point and every freelancer feels it is unfair but life isn't always fair.


@Jennifer R wrote:

You can always reply to a public feedback. Just keep it short and polite.

 

Whether you want to get paid always depends on the amount. How bad do you need the money? If you feel you deserve it, take it. You had a not so perfect feedback before and are doing fine now. Other clients will see that one client out of many left a negative feedback. Most of us had this experience at one point and every freelancer feels it is unfair but life isn't always fair.


I don't really need the money, it's a very small contract (just one image) and I'd rather finish now for free than fight for that. I just feel bad because I feel that's exactly what the client is trying to achieve >.< 

I've written it in another comment: maybe I can just try to send the next edit with the button "submit work for payment" and if he's still not happy I'll close the contract and refound. Is it a possible option? 


@Serena T wrote:

@Jennifer R wrote:

You can always reply to a public feedback. Just keep it short and polite.

 

Whether you want to get paid always depends on the amount. How bad do you need the money? If you feel you deserve it, take it. You had a not so perfect feedback before and are doing fine now. Other clients will see that one client out of many left a negative feedback. Most of us had this experience at one point and every freelancer feels it is unfair but life isn't always fair.


I don't really need the money, it's a very small contract (just one image) and I'd rather finish now for free than fight for that. I just feel bad because I feel that's exactly what the client is trying to achieve >.< 

I've written it in another comment: maybe I can just try to send the next edit with the button "submit work for payment" and if he's still not happy I'll close the contract and refound. Is it a possible option? 


 Yes, you can close a contract at any time. Keep in mind without payment you still own your work.

So in my case, if he's trying to have his work done and leaving me unpaid,  if I close the contract unpaid, my JSS will be negatively impacted. If I ask him to pay for the work I've done till now he can pay and leave a very bad review which will impact my JSS negatively AND I'll have a public bad review. So I have no protection from upwork?



It's an uneasy situation. Isn't it? It looks like you lose either way. Protection from Upwork takes place only when there is money on the table. If you close the job and refund that client the system will assume that contract was "unsuccessful", even if you already spent time and did your best. If you close the job that way Upwork take it as you did nothing good, essentially because you were unpaid and they cannot deduct their fee. Instead if you are paid Upwork will protect you letting you reply if the client leaves a bad review, just like Jennifer said, and that reply will appear in your profile, so other prospective clients will be able to read your justification and see that the problem wasn't at your end (2 or 3 revisions are way more than enough for most people). The money at least will pay for your stress and eventually if in the future you get the top-rated status you can delete that bad feedback. That would be protection too. Upwork will may protect you as well in case of a dispute, if the client wants his money back. I guess the recorded chat with your client will help you (maybe) as a proof showing that you did work and was in a neverending circle. But again, that only will happen if you are paid.