General Question

2Polyglot's avatar

Dear freelancers, have you ever had the situation when a customer has refused to pay? Why? How did he/she explained that?

Asked by 2Polyglot (7points) May 6th, 2016

The situation is following: some client posts a job on an online freelance marketplace. You perform the task and request a payment for your work, but a customer refuses to pay or just ignores you when you’ve sent him all data.

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8 Answers

Pachy's avatar

No—I’ve done freelance for years but have made it my policy to write only for clients with whom I can meet face to face, or at least, if they live far away, I know very well. I avoid online freelance marketplaces like the plague.

I’m sorry for your situation. I’m not sure you have much recourse.

Silence04's avatar

There is not much you can do now, except learn from your mistake.

Require a percentage of payment upfront, and the remainder before submitting the final work.

I also never use those online freelance marketplaces, as it’s mostly people fishing for cost, not quality.

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

I hope you haven’t extended yourself too much for this “client”, because it doesn’t sound like you’re going to be paid, frankly.

Doing work in this manner, when you’re working at your own risk in the hope that a client will pay when you don’t already have a personal relationship of some kind – or a well-written contract that can be enforced with legal action – means that “reputation is all”.

Take this as a lesson learned, maybe several of them:
1. You have to know your client and his expectations, obviously, because no one wants to pay for incomplete, shoddy or non-compliant work, and you have to know exactly what your client wants. But in addition to knowing the client’s wants and needs, you also need to know his reputation. I would presume that this freelance site should have means to rate the reputations of clients and providers similar to the ratings systems used in many other online transaction sites. Be clear to the client that you intend to give his reputation a strong negative report based on his unresponsiveness.

2. Don’t extend yourself too far for even known clients. In the construction industry we often set up contracts to cover “progress payments”. The contractor demonstrates by his performance that certain construction milestones are met, and the contract is structured to award partial payment (based on the agreed-upon amounts or percentages that the milestones represent) when the “delivery” or accomplishment of those milestones is met. If the buyer refuses to pay, then work stops on a project that the client needs, until the payment disagreement is resolved.

Pandora's avatar

I haven’t but my daughter did computer work for some long distance relative that had agreed to an amount and then didn’t pay. She was shy about asking for money. So as a rule I started to tell family that she would no longer be doing even the slightest bit of work for free like she would occasionally do for small stuff and not be doing jobs without the money up front. When I explained why, it shamed this member and they quickly paid up and even gave her more than she originally asked. She spent two days working on his totally messed up computer and he couldn’t even pay her the lousy 50 bucks she was charging him.

But unless it is family, I can’t think of what else you would do unless you have proof that your services was provided and he /she signed a contract. Then take them to small claims court.

Seek's avatar

The freelance marketplace should have a way to settle the dispute.

Freelancer has a dispute resolution service

And so does Upwork

Were you using one of those popular freelancing marketplaces?

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve never had someone not pay, but all work I have done as a self contractor I did for a company, not an individual, even though sometimes the company was basically run by the individual alone.

I wonder if you can write it off your taxes? I think you can.

jca's avatar

There are two problems with writing it off on your taxes: 1 is the guy who got away with it still got away with it, without repercussions. 2. is the amount you get back from tax deduction is not “dollar for dollar.”

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