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Ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 3304
Experience:  11 years experience in Canada family law, plus criminal, civil, and employment
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I am web developer who was contracted to do work of a Web

Customer Question

I am web developer who was contracted to do work for owner of a Web Agency. I also own and operate a web business. The owner, last week by phone claims the client pulled out and so there is no money for the project. He said he need to talk to them. All week I have been ignored via emails. The Project was very near complete, and a lot of time and effort had gone into it. The web agency says he hopes I would get paid. All discussions was done via phone, with followed up Emails. Today, is the day I should have received payment - still nothing. What do I do now? I have a contract or agreement from the web agency and it says All work requested, performed, completed or otherwise would be paid. However, there is no mention if a client pulls out. This owner of web agency also claims that payment through his bank, to my bank via direct bank deposit takes 5 weeks. If time sheet is in by end of month; it is not until the 3rd Friday of the month when payment would be made. I am sure there are quicker methods. Still no money today. I have worked for 1.5 months and have no payment.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Canada Law
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Every week he schedules a phone call. So presummably if I talk to him today, he would be filled with excuses and reasons why he thinks he cannot pay. At this stage, I am not interested in any more contact, I just need payment for the work completed, and done as requested. He contracted with me, not his client.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 5 months ago.
Hello, thanks for the question. I understand.What's the harm in talking to him today? Take notes of the conversation, and ask firmly but politely when you can expect payment, since your contract is with him and not with the client.After that conversation, or if you don't have it at all, see a lawyer to send a demand letter. A letter won't cost much. If it comes from a lawyer then they will know you're serious and are more likely to respond favourably. The letter should have a copy of the contract highlighting the payment terms and reiterating that they are in breach, and reminding them that their loss of client isn't your problem.You want to get on this early. If they go out of business or bankrupt then you'll be left holding the bag. Plus, if you have your own business then those legal fees are a business expense, right?If they won't fork it over, or make an offer that is agreeable (remember that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush) then you'll have no choice other than to either eat the loss or take them to court. The former stinks and the latter takes more time and money with no guarantee of being able to collect any time soon. So frankly, if they make an offer to pay a chunk of it now I'd suggest taking that and cutting your losses.In the future, on a big project you should be getting paid in stages when you complete substantial steps of the project. You can't be working for months hoping to get paid when your customer gets paid by its customer. Does that make sense? If I've answered you I'd appreciate a positive service rating please.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi There,Thank you very much for your response. I do appreciate your help.When we first began in March, I receive a small amount of payment for work I did in March - but not until the 3rd Friday of April.What I would like to have happen now, is he pays for All work completed now - so I don't have to wait for another 5 weeks to get paid for work completed in May.April payment - should have been in today - nothing came through (3rd friday of May)
May payment - he claims should come 3rd Friday of June (I would rather have it all now)With Project A - one project had been completed; and went through to a different 'designer' who seemed to have been very nit-picky on all things - All was done -> but I am concerned he will still claim the project per designer is not done as she wished. Again, he contracted me - not with the designer. They have a paper-image mockup - and the online website version looks like a very close match. Project A is complete.Project B - he requested to have admin access - during the development; and then claimed he did not like the back-end set up, because he was not familiar with it, so it was new to him. I was then told that the client pulled out. Again, he contracted with me, not the client. Payment for Project B - has not been made yet.Emails have been ignored this week; so I am not sure why? I have done everything as per requirements and all done correct. Talking to him via phone makes me nervous, as he seems to be a sweet talker on the phone; but does something very different via paper. I believe he will make excuses why payment is not made, or why client pulled out.This is totally unacceptable, as mentioned I have a contract with him saying all work performed would be paid. I would rather not get in to any debate with excuses when talking to him; so believe things should be dealt with via email - so we have a paper copy. I am still waiting for payment.Why do you suggest? Better Business Beurer, Google Review, and Laywer. Can you please advise the best way to send him an email ?Thank you kindly. Really appreciate your help.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
typo - should say - What do you now suggest?Thank you.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 5 months ago.
That sucks, but if that's what you agreed to in the contract then it is what it is. Obviously you'd like to be paid for all your work now. You have reason to be concerned that since their client dropped the contract that you won't be paid at all. But if these are the payment terms you agreed to then you're stuck with them.Emails are usually ignored because the recipient is either away/busy or is ignoring you of course. Communicating by email is best so you have a record, of course. Do the phone call today if you can. Just be firm about what you want but be willing to compromise. Remember that even though you're right you still have to take him to court if you don't get anything out of him voluntarily. And that's a pain. It takes time, money, frustration, mental energy, and even when you win you then have to collect which is a whole other process.Don't start slagging them online. You're not a customer of theirs anyway, you're a contractor. If you do so then you could be accused of slander/libel, breaking non-disclosure clauses, and by creating ill will you're far less likely to get what you want voluntarily. I know you're annoyed and you have every right to be. Venting your spleen might feel good but it's unprofessional and it reduces your odds of getting paid.Don't take it personally. This is business. Treat it that way. Get your money, or as much as you can, and amend how you yourself do business to reduce the odds of this happening again. It's a teachable moment here, so treat is as such. That's my best recommendation.Anything else to discuss about this?
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 5 months ago.
I just sent you a reply on the other thread that was started? Maybe an accident or a glitch. We'll continue here.)
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you so much. Yes, I do agree with your comments, and it is super annoying.He will very likely ignore the phone call today, as well - and if I do eventually get him on the phone, he will very likely make excuses why Project A - the "designer" didn't like the website, or why things are not done a certain way... My belief is he is "trying to get out of paying"... this is my fear anyhow. I believe and feel very confident that I have done an exceptional job and things are done as per his requirements, and project is complete per their specifications. Again he contracted with me to do this work; not through the designer.I believe he may very well simply ignore the phone call, as he usually sends a follow up notification - again, nothing received today, since he is ignoring my emails and comments. I would like to send him an email and letter in the mail, stating my position - All payment for All work now please, otherwise other measures will be taken into action. We have signed agreement or contract stating work would be paid.For project B - again he contracted with me, and I had no contact with the client, who he claimed pulled out. It was a very funny project, something created over 8 years ago - that he wanted to rebuild into the latest version of a content management system; again, all specifications from my end were done accurately and correctly.I have run my own web business for over eleven years, and this has never happened before; and I have also done contract work with others in the past. Normally they reply to emails, thank me for my good works and make payment as agreed and stated. With Him - the complete opposite. I've invested so much time and effort into this project, knowing there was $ there, and now he is failing to respond and make payment... I have been concerned for some time with this man, but today there is still no money for the work complete.What do I do if a) he simply ignores phone call today - and - b) he continues to ignore emails?Would you be able to write a short paragraph from a lawyers point of view indicating my position, then I can send that to him - in form of a letter.Thank you kindly.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 5 months ago.
Don't try to send a demand letter yourself. I'm sure he's aware that you're owed the money, he just wants to put you off and/or not pay at all.The letter should come from a lawyer. Not because you couldn't write the same thing but because then he'll know you're not screwing around. What makes you think that an email from you, regardless of how rhetorically awesome, would yield a result when nothing has so far? Just bite the bullet and spend a little on a lawyer. I promise that a single letter won't cost much at all. I'd do it for $150 in my own practise. However, I'm not here on the site to garner business for my private practise. Find a lawyer near you who does civil law or small claims work, and pay them to get the letter out. The letter should give them 14 days or so to reply to the lawyer failing which they'll be served with a Claim without any further notice. Make sense?

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