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Cancelling a contract

Dear Gurus on Upwork,


This is the first time that it happens, so I would like to get some feedback from you on the situation.


A client, a young student from Honduras applying for the MCAT in Florida asked me to help her with her personal experience section and we agreed on an amount. She has given the Personal Statement section to another freelancer to work on it. So I proposed to her to wait until the other freelancer  has completed the task, just to fit all parts together. Then she came to me saying that the freelancer didn't do the work as she imagined. So she asked if I could help So she sent all the material to me and I worked a lot through many drafts from her and the freelancer to edit this Personal Statement. And sent it to her. 


Now the client suddenly requested to cancel the contract with me, as she wishes to do it all by herself. But I have worked for many hours already (Personal Statement) and was waiting for her to send me material about my current task (Experiences Section). 


 I feel perplexed as the client seems very confused and irritated due to the deadline. I tried to help her in talking to her and calming her down. I also offered her to work on the Experience section as a Bonus taking into account that this is a student with little budget.


What would you do in this case. I don't want to dispute over such a minor assignment, but I won't give up on my hours working for her on the ohter hand!


Waiting for some feedback.


All the best






Does she indicate why she is unhappy? Or THAT she is unhappy?  It is NOT legitimate to cancel the contract just because she wants to do it "all by herself," if you have already worked on it.


Let's say that you sewed a wedding dress for someone, and then she decided to make her own, instead, from a different pattern. Well: fine and good -- brides often change their minds. But the bride would still owe you for the dress that YOU made, even if she never wore it.


(P.S. I do a LOT of work editing applications.)

Thank you Jeanine so much for your swift reply.

She said she is unhappy because she doesn't find her voice in the written draft by the other freelancer. So she sent me another draft, that incorporates both and the freelancer's draft. But it was full of mistakes and not concise in many parts. So I took this job on me to edit it and make it error free, and of course cut out parts, that are damaging the flow of the text. So she answered, that she had recognized, that I worked A BIT on the text. But I told her, that I worked a great deal on the text, to bring it to the form that it has now. But of course non-professional will not recognize the work done immediately, as the text will feel the same, but has more flow.


But I think the main reason is, that she paid the other freelancer already, and she didn't want to pay me extra for the word done. But she told me that met her mentor, and he would help her with the experience section himself, so she said, she won't need me anymore, and offered less than half of the already very low fee that I agreed upon. So this is not acceptable for me. Am I right in my view?


All the best



Dear Janeane, Sorry for adressing your name wrongly,


There is another aspect that I am worried about. I am currently very close to get a top rated status on Upwork, so I won't try to jeapordize it with such little things, if the client decides to put a bad feedback on my profile, although she spoke enthusiastically during our chat conversations about me!


Please advise me what to do in this case.


With my warmest regards. 



@ Iman  (and: no worries about my name; the majority of people misspell it!) --


The issue of being Top-Rated does make this tricky, and may be a deciding factor, here. I see that you are tipping at 89% JSS. If we are not talking about a great deal of money, I would say: let it go.  There is no question that you have earned whatever small fee she owes you. And you are quite right when you note that amateurs often do not recognize how much work goes into making a text sound "effortless" (smooth, on-point). This is especially true for someone whose command of English is not strong, who may not notice changes made in order to correct grammar, idiom, etc.


Students can be wonderful to work with. They can also (as you doubtless know) be immature, self-centered, demanding, and very cheap. Some of them are prone to blame everyone but themselves when they are unhappy or stressed and/or when things go wrong. Much of this may be affecting you. It is not right, but it "goes with the territory."


"Top Rated" may trump "right and equitable," here. But I believe that you are definitely in the right, as you describe the situation, and she is simply justifying (to herself and you) reasons to not pay you.

Dear Janean, (I will never misspell your name again, it is such a beautiful name)


Thank you so much for your response. It helped me a lot to make a decision. Yes, it is not worth it. It is strange that I woke up this morning. And it happened once again. A client just ended the contract abruptly. He wanted me to write a story about his friend who got stranded in Argentina and got robbed out of all his money on his credit card. I asked this client for more details to craft the story uniquely and not let it sound like a phishing tool. Then he wrote this morning that he contacted his friend, and his friend finds this idea stupid. That is why he ended the contract and requested a refund. The thing is that I started to do some research and to write down some first ideas. But I believe in this case; I will have to let go one more time....In any case, I sent an email for a partial refund to compensate my time, we will see how he reacts on this.


PS. Is there a possibility to connect to you outside this forum? I looked at your profile, and I liked it very much. I need mentorship in proofreading and Grammer, and I would like to check some possibilities of collaboration or advice.


Best. Iman

Sorry that you are going through a rough patch!


You can pm me -- but don't take it personally when I tell you that I don't "do" mentoring in proofreading and grammar.  (That is what I did when I was teaching middle and high school. Taking a break from that for now.)

Iman, of course I can't speak for Janean; but I did have a thought.  She may be open to further assisting you if you'd open a Client Account for yourself, Post a Job, and "Hire" her.  


The great majority of us within this Community are Freelancers; thus Volunteers within this Community.  Frankly, it wouldn't be cost or time effective for us to privately assist others on an individual basis; and it's not a practice that can be duplicated.    

Pat, I had no other perception in my mind than a professional collaboration of course. That is why this community is great, as we can build teams and get bigger projects. But Janean was very clear about the fact, that she doesn't wish such a collaboration, no more. I will check with Janean once more in any case.


Thank you for your thoughts.



Dear Janean,


So as expected, this unfortunate amalgate of unfortunate small jobs and bad outcomes had affected my JSS dramatically. It dropped down from 89% (Almost Top Rated) to 65%. I feel so devastated. And I will have to work hard over the next months to recover this backlash.


If you have recommendations for me or any advise, please do share them with me. 


with my warmest regards