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6ce99b03
Community Member

Client cancelled in the middle of the project and didn't pay anything

I hadn't clocked in the one measly allocated hour because we were still in sketching phase, but my client ended the contract after a couple days of silence. I had already passed the hour in our contract but I figured to finish the work before punching it in, which I think anyone would have done in this situation. It would make no sense to be asked for payment in the middle of an active contract in which they only give me an hour.

 

I believe the client still owes me compensation for the work I did. Also, I don't see any option anywhere to report a client or have any staff review the job. Everything here seems so closed off. The fact that a client can so easily pull the rug out is ridiculous. We should have some protection against people like this.

10 REPLIES 10
prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "Client cancelled in the middle of the project"

 

That is fine.

A client may cancel a contract at any time.

A freelancer may end a contract at any time.

 

re: "Client cancelled in the middle of the project and didn't pay anything"


It seems unlikely that a client didn't pay you anything. Unless you did something wrong. Let's dive in to the details...

 

re: "I hadn't clocked in the one measly allocated hour because we were still in sketching phase, but my client ended the contract after a couple days of silence."

 

A client may end a contract at any time.

A client does not need to provide advance notice before they close a contract.

It is a freelancer's responsibility to log their hours.

If a freelancer doesn't log their hours, a client doesn't have to pay for those hours.

 

I have hired dozens of artists on Upwork, including artists for whom preliminary sketches are an important part of their work. As far as I know, they always log those hours. Most of them do their preliminary sketches on a computer using a tablet, such as a Wacom tablet. They usually log their hours using the desktop time-tracker application. But I allow artists to log time manually. If they use manual time, then the log their time immediately after every work session.

 

re: "but my client ended the contract after a couple days of silence."

 

There is nothing wrong with a client being "silent" or a few days. Clients are not required to communiate with freelancers. I get paid the same amount of money whether or not clients communicate with me. I have worked for clients for months without hearing from the client.

 

re: "I had already passed the hour in our contract but I figured to finish the work before punching it in"

 

This was a tactical error on your part.

 

re: "which I think anyone would have done in this situation."

 

I have hired dozens of artists on Upwork. As far as I know, none of them have taken that approach. I have observed their work diaries. Nearly all of the artists I have hired use the desktop time-tracker to track their work. And for the artists who don't use it (including artists who work in purely physical/non-digital media), they log their hours promptly after every work session.

 

Moreover: Even if 99% of artists work the way that you described, it doesn't mean that it is a tactically sound strategy. You should work in a way that protects yourself, even if you suppose other people work in a way that doesn't.

 

re: "It would make no sense to be asked for payment in the middle of an active contract in which they only give me an hour."

 

On the other hand, some people might say that it make sense to log your time, because this is an hourly contract. If you were planning all along to do the work no matter how long it took, and only log one hour of time, then that is your choice. That is not how Upwork intends for their system to be used. But you won't get in trouble with Upwork for doing that. But you could still log an hour of time after working for an hour, and then you could continue working until you finished the project.

 

re: "I believe the client still owes me compensation for the work I did."

 

You are welcome to retain that belief.

However Upwork does not share that belief.

And Upwork will not do anything to support you in your belief.

 

re: "I don't see any option anywhere to report a client or have any staff review the job."

 

There is no option to report this client for what happened. Because the client has done nothing wrong.

 

There is no option to have an Upwork staff member review this job.

 

re: "Everything here seems so closed off."

The Upwork Community Forum is open 24 hours a day is populated by a large number of regular Forum participants who answer questions around the clock.

 

re: "The fact that a client can so easily pull the rug out is ridiculous."

 

That is your opinion. I really am sorry that you had a disappointing experience. But your behavior may strike some people as ridiculous. What would you say to somebody who said that you didn't show respect to the client because you failed to log your time promptly. What would you say to a person who observed that your behavior was "ridiculous" because it resulted in you not getting paid for your work?

 

The good news is that we are only talking about ONE HOUR of work.

You didn't get paid for ONE HOUR OF WORK. You can learn from your mistakes here with very little penalty. Yesterday I read a post from a freelancer who worked for seven days straight and didn't get paid for his work. One hour is not that big a deal.

 

re: "We should have some protection against people like this."

We do have protection against people like this. All we need to do is log our time using the desktop time-tracker, or log our manual time promptly after every work session.

Sure, are you staff? I can just give you the contract ID.

 

They cancelled after seeing work, and they didn't pay. I'm not sure how many more details are needed because it's as simple as that. Just wondering what other people do when a client scams them after doing work for a one who is completely protected by this site.

 

edit- I didn't see the rest of your post. 

 

I'm not sure if you yourself have ever done a project for someone, or if you're simply here to hire. Like I said in my original post, I wasn't going to log in my one hour yet because we were still in the middle of the project. They had allocated me one hour and snatching it in the middle of the project sounds like bad practice to me. Sounds like they would have just cancelled at that point anyways, but to a poor feedback. 

 

The fact is, I did work for them and I wasn't paid. The site technicalities are what they are, but I hadn't logged in my hour before the contract was suddenly cancelled. My point, Preston Community Guru, is that there needs to be protection in a case like this. This is my second client, so I'm not going to pinch them after the first sketch out of fear of them running. That makes zero sense whatsoever. There needs to be a way for me to report this client so I can file a dispute. The help sections mention everything but how to do this, and there's no easy to see option anywhere about filing disputes over contracts, which seems insane to me, because contracts are sort of what this site is all about.

No, Preston is not an upwork employee. He is a freelancer like yourself. 

Upwork has a lot of safeguards and rules in place to make sure that you get paid for the work you do. It sounds like this would have been better done using a fixed price contract. 

In any case, upwork does not play referee between parties. They provide a framework. Most freelancers who are the victim of a scam have either violated the ToS themselves or not used the framework that upwork provides properly. That can be used as a learning what to do differently next time. 

Justin:
Every feeling you have about this situation is correct and valid.

Everything you said about this situation is true.

 

I don't blame you for feeling frustrated by what happened.

 

Moving forward, you can:

a) ask additional questions about how the Upwork platform works

b) ask additional questions about what you should do next

c) advocate for changes to the platform which you think would make it better

 

You can do those things in this thread. Or in other threads.

 

Just keep in mind that we always want to differentiate between "How can I use Upwork effectively right now, despite its flaws?" versus "What changes would I like to see made in the future?"

 

Because we can't apply future hoped-for changes to the way Upwork operates now.

It's the principle of it Preston. It's not ridiculous for me to seek an avenue of protection for when a client runs during a contract. It's ridiculous that you'd say that to be honest. Sure it was one hour, but it's the idea that a client can call it quits and there's no way to file a dispute that bothers me. "Taking it as a learning experience" is unacceptable. You sound brainwashed by the site's policies. Enjoy your day Guru.

On the Upwork platform, clients may end a contract at any time.

Freelancers may end a contract at any time.

 

re: "Taking it as a learning experience is unacceptable"

 

You are not required to accept this as a learning experience.

I mean, there's a lot of things I'm not required to do. I'm on upwork under my own free will, and yelling into a feedback void on my own free will. It's frustrating to do work, no matter how big or small, and for it to come out as completely unrecognized and discarded. And to a fact that there's nothing I can do about it and merely accept it as a learning experience because of an arbitrary technicality on a website. It is what it is. At least it wasn't seven days.


Justin K wrote:

And to a fact that there's nothing I can do about it and merely accept it as a learning experience because of an arbitrary technicality on a website.


There are two ways to learn on Upwork. Either you read all the terms and conditions and learn about how payment protection works, or you plunge ahead, make mistakes, and learn the hard way. You selected the second method. There's no third option in which you make mistakes and Upwork pays you anyway.

There's nothing in writing whatsoever about freelancer protections as far as hourly wages, only what the standard procedure is for logging hours.

 

There's nothing in writing whatsoever about what to do when a client terminates a contract early on an hourly wage plan.

 

I get it now; working hourly needs to be diligently logged after sending work over. I can't imagine that going well with all the people lowballing prices and hour forecasts in their proposals. But that's not Upwork's fault. 

 

In general, the help section is vague, and doesn't address my issue at all. It's a "learn as you go, use at your own risk" type of thing, but for me to expect a modicum of protection isn't nearly as outlandish as you guys are insinuating. I did a little work and wasn't compensated. That's the crux of the issue. There's absolutely no two ways around that.

 

I appreciate the time to look at the post, but echoing of Preston and Martina isn't helpful at all.

 

Enjoy your day.


Justin K wrote:

There's nothing in writing whatsoever about freelancer protections as far as hourly wages


There most certainly is. It took me all of two seconds to Google it: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211068288-Hourly-Protection

 

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