This was my first job on a freelancer site. The client approved my invoice for 750 GBP. I was working all day and night long and managed to complete it in time. He said it was good. Now he is not answering my messages.

What can I do in this scenario?

  • 1
    I'm unfamiliar with the safety precautions used by these freelance sites, and whether or not you've used them. But as a note for the future, never provide the finished product before payment, you MUST ensure that the desire to pay you is mutual. The client has no reason for interest in paying you if they have the product, regardless of how moral they are. Paying you is not a business priority for them as they have everything they need and can take as long as they want tying up the loose ends for all they care.
    – lewis
    Feb 23 '17 at 17:15
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    @lewis Some of the freelance sites require you to turn in the finished product before payment, and anyone the client asks for advice is going to tell him 'never pay the freelancer until you have the finished product'. The best solution is to use escrow.
    – user45623
    Feb 23 '17 at 21:08
  • The freelancer sites I worked with have a safety feature for exactly this: if you deliver then after X amount of time without reply from the client the funds will be released / transferred. Feb 24 '17 at 7:09
  • @user45623 I wasn't aware of that but will keep that in mind when dealing with freelance websites in the future. However payment before product is always the safest of the two transactions (escrow's better than both) as it is much less likely that a freelancer is going to run with the money after doing the work. that isn't an ideal scam, to perform all the work then take the money and trash the work? where as it's much more profitable to lead a freelancer into providing work without paying for it. but yea, as you said an escrow is the best for both parties
    – lewis
    Feb 24 '17 at 9:15
  • @lewis Payment before product is not any safer than product before payment, it just reverses the risk. What if the freelancer just lies and says they have completed the work when they actually haven't? How could the client possibly know for sure that the work is completed if the freelancer hasn't delivered the final version yet?
    – user45623
    Feb 24 '17 at 21:27

If you are working on upwork, once you've completed the desired job you should have some of the evidences like contract details, interviews or message screen-shots that is required to prove that you are legit. Having all in your hand, you should refer to upwork report your client section.

From there you will be able to select your question category in your case select work, feedback, and disputes. Then you have to select another option, Unresponsive Client will be best suitable in your case. Having that selected, attach your evidences in a zipped folder and fill other relevant informations (email, description about your problem) and submit. Upwork report your client

Note that, by any chance, if you've contacted with the client outside of the upwork network about the contract or payment, upwork authority will not be liable for this scenario or even you could've been get blocked instead because of violating upwork freelancer rules. But if you haven't done that, in most cases, upwork solves these type of issues within one or two weeks.

In case if you are not working on upwork, most freelancing websites like freelancer.com, peoplesperhour.com or fiverr.com has a support section from there you will be able to submit a query or open a support ticket. You just need to follow the same rules as showing them the screen-shots and relevant files and information to get paid.


Depending on how long the client has been unresponsive, you must now escalate matters by using more formal language. Don't merely repeat what you have already said and don't ask for payment; state that payment is due!

First of all, if you have any sort of leverage, now is the time to use it - and ensure that you continue to have it. Example: If you can take the work back (like a website), do it now. Do not warn the client, giving them an opportunity to revoke your access. In fact, if possible - revoke their access.

If you have no real leverage and basically are at the mercy of the client, all you can do is threaten legal action. In a Danish context, if the client has acknowledged receiving the invoice, you may hand it over to a debt collector. In your location, perhaps there is a small claims court.

If the client still ignores you, all you can do is hope they come back for additional work or fixes to what you have already delivered. Should this happen, you obviously demand immediate payment in full and take your precautions to ensure future payment.


First of all, check that your payment isn't just "processing" within the site. Upwork payments can take up to a week to clear.

Next, escalate within the site. Most have safeguards to protect both parties. Use them.

Harrassing the client is only going to impact your rating, increase your blood pressure and delay the process.

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