While the vast majority of work done on Upwork goes smoothly for both parties, disputes can occasionally arise. Upwork Payment Protection is structured to help protect freelancers and agencies from clients who fail to pay for work delivered, as well as protecting clients from freelancers and agencies that do not deliver work.
When work is submitted towards a milestone, you have 14 days to review and approve the release of funds, or request changes. If you do not take action, we consider that to be approval and automatically release the funds. Freelancers and agencies can also file a dispute if you fail to release a payment from escrow despite delivery of the agreed upon milestone, or if you end a fixed-price contract without releasing the full escrow balance. If a dispute is filed we will notify you by email and give you the chance to accept or reject the dispute.
If a dispute is filed you must respond within 5 business days or we will release the funds held in escrow to the freelancer.
To respond to a dispute
- Log into your Upwork account
- Go to My Jobs and choose View All Contracts
- Find the contract and select See Dispute
You can select the discussion buttons to read and respond to any messages sent regarding the dispute.
If you accept the dispute
We will release the funds held in escrow to the freelancer or agency.
If you reject the dispute
The next step is mediation. We’ll bring you and your freelancer together in Upwork Messages to discuss the issue together for full transparency. In most cases, both parties reach a resolution quickly.
The mediation period can take up to 21 days. If you and your freelancer are unable to reach an agreement, during that time our mediation specialist may make a non-binding recommendation.
If you or your freelancer reject that recommendation, we will send you a Notice of Non-Resolution. The final option – should you choose to pursue it – is to proceed to arbitration, where a decision will be made by the arbitration service provider, Brief, a neutral third-party organization.
Learn more about arbitration here, or see the Upwork Fixed Price Escrow Instructions for more details.