In cases where you’d like money back from a freelancer, you’ll need to request a refund through Upwork within 180 days of the payment.
- Go to Jobs > My Jobs and choose on the contract
- From the Contract Room, choose the extended (…) menu under the freelancer’s name
- Select “Request a Refund”
Note on closing 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 (for example, if it's taking longer to negotiate the refund) you'll lose your ability to leave public feedback on the contract. The freelancer can enable feedback changes if you leave feedback and want to change it later.
Based on your request, your freelancer 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
- They have funds available to cover the refund
Fixed-price note: If you need to request a refund of an escrow overpayment on a fixed-price contract (funds in escrow, but not yet released to the freelancer), that’s a different process. Click here to learn more.
If the freelancer approves your refund request
The refund is automatically* credited back to your billing method immediately.
- It may take 3-5 business days for the credit to be available to you on that billing method’s account.
- You can check any refunds that you have received by going to Reports > Transaction History.
- If a refund reduces the freelancer’s earnings to $1 or less on the contract, the contract will no longer show on both your work histories and any feedback will be removed from your feedback ratings. It can take up to 12 hours for this information to update.
* Note for multiple billing methods: 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.
If the freelancer refuses your refund request or does not reply
If the freelancer declines to give a refund or you don’t hear back at all, you may still be able to dispute the charges. Timing is important here, however. You must file any dispute by Friday after a billing week closes. For example, 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, if needed. Click here 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 should work together to resolve any issues and possibly discuss your refund request.
Fixed-price contracts are paid as work is submitted and approved, therefore no dispute process is available for funds already released to the freelancer. If you need to close a job with funds remaining in escrow, you may file an escrow dispute for their return.