Understanding our approach to negative client feedback

Trust and safety is a top priority for Upwork, and our goal is to help clients find trusted freelancers who can get their projects done, while providing you with a safe and trusted marketplace to find work.

One of the ways we build and maintain our trusted marketplace is by providing freelancers and clients ways to rate and review each other at the end of a project, so you both can share positive and negative experiences you had over the course of the contract. If you receive multiple instances of negative feedback from various clients, we may place a temporary hold on your Upwork account.

Frequently Asked Questions

What counts as negative feedback?

Contracts where clients reported negative feedback about your stated skills, experience, availability, or performance during the contract period are counted as negative feedback.

What happens if I receive multiple instances of negative feedback?

If multiple clients express dissatisfaction with your performance on their contracts, a 14-day hold will be placed on your Upwork account. During the hold, you will not be able to accept new contracts, submit proposals, and you won’t appear in search results. This hold doesn’t impact existing contracts. You can and should continue to fulfill existing commitments.

What is the threshold of negative feedback?

Account holds are only placed after multiple clients have indicated that your skills, experience, or availability didn’t end up matching their expectations. This outcome is rare and impacts less than 1% of freelancers working on Upwork.

I only see positive feedback on my account. Why did you put a temporary hold on my account for negative feedback?

Sometimes, clients choose to only share negative feedback about their freelancers with us privately. The feedback form allows them to leave both a public review and a private one.

What can I do if my account has been suspended due to client feedback?

We’ll automatically restore the ability to submit proposals after 14 days. You can unlock that option sooner by completing the “Working with Clients” course in Upwork Academy. This course shares best practices on how successful freelancers have enhanced their working relationships and communication with their clients. Once completed, please contact us with proof of completion to see if early reinstatement is possible.

We also encourage you to update your profile, skills, and availability based on the feedback you’ve received, helping ensure alignment with future client expectations.

What if I disagree with feedback I’ve received from a client that led to my account hold?

Feeling respected and appreciated for your work is important, and open communication with your clients about expectations and deadlines is critical throughout your working relationship. We have some tips for Approaching Clients About Feedback and how to Enable Your Client to Change Their Feedback. We also encourage freelancers to take our “Working with Clients” course in Upwork Academy for more best practices on how to communicate with clients.

If you are unable to come to an agreement with your client, you also have options to leave a public response that will appear alongside the feedback on your profile. If you believe your client has misused or manipulated the feedback system, report it to us. Learn more about responding to or reporting feedback.

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