What happens if my client disputes my hours?

After you receive a notification from Upwork of your client’s dispute, follow the link to respond. You are required to respond, regardless of whether you are accepting or rejecting the dispute. When a client files a dispute, that contract’s weekly limit is set to zero until either you accept the dispute, the parties resolve the dispute with Upwork’s assistance, or an Upwork representative concludes that the hours comply or do not comply with Upwork Hourly Protection.

To respond to a dispute:

  1. Click the My Jobs tab and select Contracts. Select the Ended Contracts checkbox, if necessary.
  2. Find the job with the dispute from the list. Click its title.
  3. Go to the Hours Worked pane and click your weekly hour total to see its details.
  4. Fill out the form and submit.

If you accept the dispute:

  • All of your disputed hours are refunded.

If you reject the dispute:

  • Upwork will review your Work Diary to evaluate the disputed hours against the criteria of the Upwork Hourly Protection within four business days.
  • If all disputed hours are found to meet the criteria of Upwork Hourly Protection:
  • If any of the disputed hours do not meet the criteria of Upwork Hourly Protection:
    • Upwork will refund the non-compliant hours.

If you fail to respond to the dispute:

  • Upwork will refund all of the disputed hours.
  • Your account will be suspended.
  • You will need to speak with a dispute resolution specialist to reactive your account.

If the client chooses to cancel the dispute:

  • All hours will be billed and paid according to the usual weekly schedule.

Important—This dispute process pertains only to hourly contracts, so the primary consideration in resolving disputes is evaluating the Work Diary against the criteria of the Upwork Hourly Protection. However, Upwork retains the right to withhold payment on any contract if a user is in violation of the Upwork Terms of Service.

If you’re in an agency and the client files a dispute against you, both you and your agency manager will be notified and able to respond to the dispute. Regardless of who responds initially, the agency manager will be required to participate in the consultation with an Upwork dispute specialist. Excessive disputes against an agency's freelancers may result in suspension of the agency as a whole.


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