Misunderstandings and disagreements happen all the time, whether you are working from home as a freelancer or as an employee at an actual workplace. However, people tend to be more suspicious about freelance work, because it involves remote work between two strangers and you have no idea whether you pick a decent freelancer or a charlatan. Despite common misconceptions, clients do have means to fight back in case they are left with work that has much to be desired, while freelancers can do the same should they run into an untrustworthy buyer. Here are some tips on what do if you run into such a situation:
Maintain the Communication
It may sound ridiculous at first, but the source of most mismanagement or unsatisfying results is the lack of proper communication between buyer and seller. Often they exchange an email/chat message, discussing the project in large, but then the freelancer is left without instructions regarding the following steps. Your worker does need proper directions about which font type should be used, how long the written copy should be, what kind of feeling the logo should express etc. In other words, you simply cannot leave the freelancer without a compass. As for remote workers, they also want to turn to their employers in case they have a problem, so maintaining a fluid communication and regularly checking on the ongoing work eradicates lots of problems that could turn into something worse.
Request a Refund or Leave a Bad Rating
Money back guarantees are most common at contest websites, but they are at your service at certain project sites as well, like Toptal. The point of the money back guarantee is that if you are unsatisfied with the results and feel they don’t live up to your expectations, you can just ask for a refund. There are some limitations regarding the money back guarantee, though, not to mention you rarely get a full refund, since the site keeps the service fee.
Aside from the refund, marketplaces and project sites offer clients the option to warn others about the poor service provided by a freelancer by giving him/her low ratings, or straight up expressing your displeasure in the comment feed. Before resorting to such radical actions (which could seriously damage the freelancer’s reputation), take into consideration whether the “defendant” truly deserves berating or you just want to vent your frustration at the poor soul.
Despite all efforts to resolve a problem on your own, sometimes there is no other way than asking the staff to help you settle a disagreement. This is why dispute resolution teams/centers are essential parts of every freelance website: their job is to quickly assess the situation, review the submitted evidences and then make a verdict. However, keep in mind that such actions are only available if you conduct your business through the site’s private payment system. This is important, because asking the staff’s help to resolve a dispute requires a temporary payment from the employer and the employee alike; however, the winning party will be refunded after the disagreement is successfully settled.
Remember that this step should only be a last resort, so if you want to turn to the center, always make sure to have solid evidence, otherwise you could end up damaging your own reputation and not the underperforming party’s.
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