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I issued a refund a client didn't ask for. The work is done and the contract is idle. What to do?

Hello Upwork community,


Two months ago, I preemptively issued a client a refund (bad idea) on a small fixed-price contract ($65) after I learned they weren't wholly satisfied. They said they didn't want a refund and that I still deserved to be paid, but it was too late, and there's been no communication since. The client had originally kept the contract open because they don't like leaving mediocre reviews, and so was trying to do me a favor. The problem is, now the contract has sat idle and has become a zero-earnings contract, which I think is negatively impacting my JSS, or else, soon will.


Should I just close the contract and brace myself for mediocre private feedback and get it over with? None of the "exit" reasons for the freelancer closing the contract without earnings is quite accurate to the situation, but I guess the final option about being 'unable to meet the job requirements' is the *most* accurate. The client was satisfied/decent enough to pay, and I messed up by issuing the refund. What would you do? Thanks for the advice.


Hi Spencer,


Thank you for your message. Your idle or open contracts are not included in the JSS calculation until they are closed and ratings are left on them. It is recommended to notify your client first before you end the contract. Feel free to message us if you need further assistance.


Thank you,


Community Member

 I had a situation where the client didn't tell me what the deadline was (although I told him when I expected to deliver the work and he didn't object) and then suddenly ended the contract before I had delivered any work, saying he was worried about the deadlines, but sent me $20 I didn't ask for, for "time you already spent." He then gave me bad feedback that did affect my JSS. I read though that if you refund a contract completely, the job and the feedback won't appear and so I just went ahead and refunded the $20 and my JSS bounced back to 100%. If you are a top rated freelancer and you don't refund the money, you still might be able to remove the feedback. But by refunding it you don't have to request a removal, it simply IS removed by default. Reviews don't count if you aren't paid anything for the work.


So in your case, even if he did give you bad feedback, it's not going to appear on the front end if you refunded him. You will still see it on the backend, but no one else will, and it won't affect your JSS. In fact, if you close the contract now, it simply won't show up at all anywhere on your profile to anyone else.

Community Member

Thanks for your reply. Since I haven't closed the contract and already received bad feedback, I'm not sure the refund will "undo" anything that will affect my JSS. In your case, the contract had first been closed before you issued the refund, right? I've just read that closing no-earnings contracts (which includes zero earnings because of a refund) is still bad for JSS, but your experience sounds plausible. The timing is just a bit different.

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