This article refers to requesting a refund directly from a freelancer or agency. If you need to request an escrow refund on a fixed-price contract (funds in escrow, but not yet released to the freelancer or agency), or file a dispute on an hourly contract, they are different processes from requesting a refund directly from a freelancer or agency.

You can request a refund from a freelancer or agency for payments released up to 365 days ago. If it’s within 180 days of the payment, you can reach out to your freelancer directly through the Upwork platform. It is important to note that the decision to issue a refund is at the discretion of the freelancer or agency.

For refunds on payments made more than 180 days ago, contact our support team. 

Important:

If you need a refund, your freelancer must provide it through the Upwork platform. Giving refunds outside Upwork is against our Terms of Service.

Before making your request


Check these details before requesting your refund.

  • Do you need a refund from the previously funded escrow on a fixed-price contract? This is a different process. Learn how to request an escrow refund.
  • If you are dissatisfied with an hourly contract, clients have a five-day review period that starts from Monday at noon UTC after the billing period ends, until Friday 23:59 UTC to file a dispute.
  • Please consider resolving any time-logging issues with your freelancer or agency prior to closing a contract. Your freelancer or agency cannot edit their Work Diary once the contract is closed, and logged hours for the current week cannot be refunded until you have been billed.

Request a refund from a freelancer


  1. Go to View contracts on your dashboard and select your contract
  2. Choose the (…) options menu and select Request a refund
  3. Complete the request form and select Send Request

Request a refund from an agency


If you have hired an agency and would like a refund, please contact customer support.

Refunds on closed contracts


If you close the contract while waiting for a refund, you'll still only have the usual 14 days to leave feedback. If you wait longer than that, you'll lose your ability to leave public feedback on the contract.

The freelancer or agency can enable feedback changes if you leave feedback and want to change it later.

Based on your request, your freelancer or agency can then choose to issue a full refund, a partial refund, or no refund at all. Even without a formal request, they can proactively initiate a refund through Upwork on any contract, active or ended, as long as:

  • The refund is within 180 days of the payment
  • The refund amount is not more than what they earned on the contract

Approved refund requests


If the refund is approved by the freelancer or agency, it's automatically credited back to your billing method immediately.

  • It may take 3-5 business days for the credit to be available to you.
  • You can check any refunds that you have received by going to Reports > Transaction History.
  • If a refund reduces the freelancer or agency's earnings to $1 or less on the contract, the contract will no longer show on either of your work histories. Any feedback will be removed from your ratings. It can take up to 12 hours for this information to update.

Note:

If your original payments came from multiple billing methods, we’ll automatically apply a single credit to your Upwork account that can be used to cover future invoices. Alternatively, you can contact our customer support to request that we issue split credits to all the original billing methods that you used rather than to your Upwork account balance. Funds billed to one method cannot be refunded to another.

Refused refund requests


Hourly contracts

If the freelancer or agency declines to give a refund or you don’t hear back at all, you may still be eligible to dispute the charges if it is within the review period.

You must file any dispute by Friday after a billing week closes. For example, if you receive the week’s invoice on Monday at noon UTC, you have from then until Friday at midnight UTC to review those hours and file a dispute. Learn more about disputing hours to learn more about filing an hourly dispute.

This means you can only dispute the current invoice, not past invoices. If you miss this window, you and your freelancer or agency should work together to resolve any issues and possibly discuss your refund request.

Fixed-Price contracts

Fixed-price contracts are paid as work is submitted and approved. If you need to close a job with funds remaining in escrow, you may request an escrow refund.

Upwork Dispute


Dispute assistance is available from Upwork Customer Support if the last payment on a contract was within the previous 30 days, or as long as funds are held in escrow on a fixed-price contract. Learn more about filing, reviewing, and updating dispute cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I request a refund?

To request a refund from a freelancer:

  1. Go toView contracts on your dashboard and select your contract
  2. Choose the (…) options menu and select Request a refund
  3. Complete the request form and choose Send Request
When can I get a refund?

You can request a refund on the platform within 180 days of the payment to your freelancer. It is up to the freelancer or agency’s discretion to issue a refund. If it’s been more than 180 days but less than one year, contact support for refund assistance.

Where does my refund go?

If the refund is approved by the freelancer or agency, it's automatically credited back to your billing method. It may take 3-5 business days for the credit to be available to you.

If you used multiple billing methods, we’ll automatically apply a single credit to your Upwork account that can be used to cover future invoices. If you’d rather have the refund credited to your multiple billing methods, contact us.

Can a freelancer send me a refund outside of Upwork?

No, issuing refunds outside of Upwork is against our Terms of Service. We ask that any refunds stay on Upwork because it helps prevent fraud and scams that harm you.

If a freelancer refunds my contract payment, will you also refund my contract initiation fee?

No, the once-per-contract initiation fee will not be refunded after you have made a payment to a freelancer, even if the freelancer issues you a refund.

When should I request a refund and when should I file a dispute regarding hourly contracts?

Refunds are between you and your freelancer, where the freelancer can issue funds back if you come to an agreement. You also have a longer time-period for refunds, with the ability to request a refund up to 365 days from the payment.

Disputes happen when Upwork gets involved in the process. To be eligible to file a Dispute with Upwork, you have a five-day review period that starts from Monday at noon UTC after the billing period ends, until Friday 23:59 UTC. Unless a dispute within this timeline, funds are released as scheduled to the freelancer.

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