In most cases, all escrow funds are paid out over the course of the contract. If you choose to end a contract without releasing the full remaining escrow balance, your freelancer will be asked to approve or dispute the return of your escrowed funds.
Upwork Fixed-Price Protection requires disputes to enter a mediation process with an Upwork dispute specialist. Users can usually come to an agreement among themselves, but if necessary the dispute specialist will make a final recommendation according to dispute resolution policy.
To request an escrow refund:
- Go to My Jobs and click the contract name in the list
- Click the "Cancel Contract" button at the top right
- Choose to pay an amount less than the full milestone amount (or nothing) and end the contract.
Your freelancer will be notified and given the opportunity to approve or dispute the refund. If they fail to respond within seven days, the escrow funds will be released to you automatically. You will receive a refund of any payment processing fee associated with the unused escrowed deposit. If you previously released funds to your freelancer and they choose to return them, you won't receive a refund of the payment processing fee.
Escrow refunds will be returned to the billing method used for the deposit. The credit to your billing method will take up to five business days to appear. Funds held more than 60 days may instead be returned to your balance for reuse due to refund time limit restrictions (determined by your payment method vendor).