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Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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Contract / Work issues: Can I go to small claims? Back

Customer Question

Contract / Work for Hire issues: Can I go to small claims?
Back Story:I was laid off last year and have been on the pursuit of being my own boss. I came up with a unique business idea that would serve North America through a E-commerce site. For me to put this into action, I needed a website to be created to take orders and payment from customers. This is when I start my search for a web developer.
Web-Developer #1 (local) - After 3 months and poor results, we gradually parted ways. He was clearly not skilled or educated to the level he claimed.
Web-Developer #2 (OverSeas) - After 2 weeks and no results, developer decided that they didn't have the time to proceed with the project.
Web-Developer #3 (Ontario) - Did some amazing work, but had to bail the project due to other priorities. - I believe he was a forest Fire fighter and had to leave immediately.
Web-Developer #4 (Local) - Took on the project of continuing Web-Developer #3's work. Said he would charge $500 on completion and would be ready after a week. A week passes and at 11pm at night, admitted that he took on the project without reviewing everything (even though it was provided). He said the project would not be possible while using the previous developers work. He led me to believe that he had spent a week on it, but obviously did not. He also claimed the previous developer had developed a virus into my website (questionable-scare tactic) He said he would have to start from scratch and charge $800-$1000. I agreed. Based on this, I said i'm going to need a contract, of which he provided and signed, stating a generic scope of the work, completion date and payment schedule. Even though he signed it and sent to me, I reviewed it and it was clearly a copy and paste contract. I revised it and sent it back to him. He said he agreed to it and would have it signed off later in the evening. I never received this signed copy of my version of the contract even though he stated the work was still in progress. All of my companies material was also sent to him... logo's, databases, pricing...everything! He also said he would remain in contact on a daily basis to ensure the project was on the right path and nearing completion. This never happened.
My question is regarding the latest web-developer. The initial contract was signed by the developer. He has clearly not lived up to his end of the deal. Currently i'm going onto week three of his services with literally nothing to show. I've seen nothing from this individual, but when I do (very rarely) get a hold of him, he assures that everything is on track. I'm in a position where I understand that I should look elsewhere and terminate the work with this person. BUT... it's been three weeks of verbal "Guarantee's" and "Promises" This e-commerce site was my livelihood and at this point of being un-employed a week without revenue is killing me!
It's now been nearly 6 months from starting this project with nothing to show for! I've hired (what I thought) were trustworthy professionals to complete the work.
Question: Can I take this web-developer to small claims for anything? -Lost Revenue - Damages - Breach of contract....?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Update: I'm unable to get a hold of this Developer. I intend to call him from another phone number... He'll likely answer. What should I be asking? What Should I do moving forward?
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.
There is no reason at all why you could not take him to small claims court.You should send him a letter by registered mail and in the letter set up the facts and tell him that you demand full reimbursement of any money you paid him plus demand some figure for lost revenue and tell him that if he fails to comply you will commence legal proceedings and then will be seeking the money as demanded plus interest and your costs.You can then sue him in small claims court and self-represent. If it gets that far and you find you need some help as you go through the process you can always post on the site again and I can assist you further.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, I should have stated that I have not paid him for anything. Initially he wanted a down-payment, which Insisted to send but he said "he wasn't concerned with that" as he was confident he'd be able to provide a great product guaranteed and I'd be satisfied.Assuming I can sue for lost revenue... How shall I calculate that? I don't have any revenues as of yet, because the website is not active. Will this be based on my projections?Ultimately I'm not happy because this has been a complete waste of my time!Even though I didn't sign the first copy of the poorly written (copy/Paste) contract... is it still valid?
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.
The first contract is not valid. The second contract is not valid if he didn't sign it. But you did have an agreement.It is hard to see how you will be able to sue him successfully for lost revenue when he is the last of many people who have let you down and you cannot really prove what revenue you will have lost.To be honest, in my view and if it were me I would just cut my losses and get rid of this guy at once.

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