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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    46

    Customer Trying to Wiggle out of Contract

    Hi All,

    I'm in an unfortunate situation and am curious if anyone here can confirm my beliefs regarding US law on statements of work and contract adherence regarding a web-design project.

    I own a small web development company and have, until now, been fortunate enough to not run into questionable clients. Here is my situation:

    About a year ago, I sold a website design project which was slated to be complete within 3 months. This project had very clear deliverables from the client and my contract called out that work could proceed until they provided these deliverables. The contract called out specifically what pages would be created, the content in them, and required a signature and 50% downpayment to proceed.

    The contract was signed, the 50% deposit made, and a short while later, we presented them with a second document with mockups of the template and a description of how things worked. This document (in addition to the original contract) stipulated that any thing beyond CONTENT changes would have to occur via a change request, which would likely involve added funds.

    Once that was signed, the manager on their end who owned this project quit and as such, it bounced around as a pet project for 7 or so months with them never responding to any contacts.

    A few weeks ago, they finally got a new guy in there who is responsive. We've worked together and have completed the site per the original statement of work and signed design form. Per the contract, I've reached out for final payment and have confirmed I'll publish the site once final payment is made.

    The owner is now plugging himself into the project and saying he wants to change the design, change the price, etc. While being polite, I've stipulated that the signed contract clearly defines our SOW and the site's design, which THEY approved.

    This is now starting to get into a tug-of-war game where he's demanding a redesign and I'm holding my ground as that we're all ready extremely over hours on this with their delays as it is. As a sign of good faith, I've even offered to give him special pricing on a 2nd project if he so wishes to do so.

    Basically, my question is this. If he refuses to make payment, am I correct in assuming I'm completely legally justified to go after the final 50%, whether he wants the website or not? Considering I have a signed contract plus a signed design approval form, am I covered?

    Anything else I should be aware from a legal since? This guy has proven he's not the best to work with and want to be prepared for any negative tactics.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    99
    I am no lawyer, but it sounds like you have legal grounds to seek the rest of your payment; however, you should factor in the time and cost of taking legal action. More often then not, legal action can be expensive. Sadly, if the pending balance is a small amount, you may be better off to write it off and never do business with them again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    46
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyro_ View Post
    I am no lawyer, but it sounds like you have legal grounds to seek the rest of your payment; however, you should factor in the time and cost of taking legal action. More often then not, legal action can be expensive. Sadly, if the pending balance is a small amount, you may be better off to write it off and never do business with them again.
    The balance is large enough, definitely not something to sneeze at. The amount is still small enough where it would likely go to small claims court, I believe. If that is the case, how does that work if you're in a different state?

    This guy is proving to be so low it wouldn't surprised me if he tried to get his 50% downpayment back. Am I safe to assume that with the documentation I have and the fact that the project is complete per the statement of work, that he has no footing here?

    I'd really appreciate opinions from others in the business who have been through something similar.

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