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Contracted developer demands obscene hours payment

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kitkat9933, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    While I am going to get some proper legal advice tomorrow on this, I wondered if anyone had dealt with something similar.

    I contracted a former colleague to do some work developing an application for me and someone else, on a per hour basis.

    The developer firstly claimed an obscene amount of hours worked at 425 for something that barely exists or works. The app doesn't is buggy, doesn't work, is built against best practices and has a chrome plugin that does not even work.

    Then all of a sudden he decided to walk away from the project and demanded £2,000 to hand over the code of the project. It took us a while to respond due one of us having a new baby and the other one moving house/job, but now he has sought legal advice and is requesting £2,650 payment.

    His original request did not provide a period of time to respond before further action taken and just the day before the email from this tin-pot legal firm, he asked any further update to which that we would provide a respond by tomorrow.

    While we we're happy to pay the £2,000 just to end all this civilly even though we dispute the amount, the fact he has got a tin pot legal firm with no prior warning and demanding extra money has put a few bees in our bonnet.

    Now that he has this 'legal advice', is it too late to send a letter of dispute over the work carried out now that we have seen the actual output of the work, even if we did, would it get us anywhere as it's based upon the reliability of his word?
     
  2. memyselfandi

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 10, 2005

    Posts: 8,639

    Location: Nottingham

    A lot of this will be down to what did your contract with him actually say.
     
  3. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    We have no contract, it was all done via word of mouth, probably should have mentioned this. The only thing I can see in writing is we agreed to pay him X per hour.
     
  4. Mynight

    Soldato

    Joined: Jun 16, 2013

    Posts: 5,440

    If there's no contract it's going to be hard for him to go after you.

    From my experience he should be able to account for the hours spent. Seems a rather large amount of hours for such a low amount demanded, even to make it "go away".

    Legal advice is the only real solution.
     
  5. Jokester

    Don

    Joined: Aug 7, 2003

    Posts: 39,561

    Location: Aberdeenshire

    Sounds like you've written a blank cheque, by not having documented requirements or an estimate/quote for the job.
     
  6. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    It's part of the feeling I have now, as it was all 'mates rates etc', but the fact he has no written evidence of hours, does that leave us anything there?
     
  7. Dis86

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 23, 2011

    Posts: 22,586

    Location: Northern England

    If he has no written evidence of hours he may struggle. However you've equally shot yourself in the foot.
     
  8. kindai

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 9, 2013

    Posts: 6,677

    Location: Bromsgrove

    Above advise wrong.

    Actually quite easy for you to argue this in your favor as even though you have agreed to pay him a set amount per hour, no court will accept that you hired him to provide a non-functioning product. As long as it is as crap as you say it is and doesnt work then he has failed to provide work of an acceptable standard.

    Go back and say that you'll agree to his £XXXX fee as long as the work is completed, working and bug free within X timeframe (whatever seems appropriate).
     
  9. tom_e

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 26, 2003

    Posts: 26,656

    Location: West mids

    Surely if what he's produced is complete rubbish then just call his bluff "keep your code we won't be paying you".
     
  10. Dis86

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 23, 2011

    Posts: 22,586

    Location: Northern England

    The problem is that the guy doesn't seem to be claiming the app is complete. So at this point - if he can prove the hours spent so far then he can demand payment for work completed to date.
     
  11. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    He has this tin-pot lawyer demanding payment either way now.
     
  12. Mynight

    Soldato

    Joined: Jun 16, 2013

    Posts: 5,440

    How long is “a while to respond”?
     
  13. stockhausen

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 30, 2006

    Posts: 10,403

    No message.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  14. Maccapacca

    Tea

    Joined: Apr 13, 2010

    Posts: 16,695

    Location: Sunny Sussex

    How long between his invoice and now?
     
  15. kindai

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 9, 2013

    Posts: 6,677

    Location: Bromsgrove

    Nope. He has a duty to provide a standard of work, if that standard has not been met he should be allowed to rectify it, but if he doesnt then you have a very strong legal standing not to pay:

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1982/29

    In fact, it is quite the opposite, if the code is buggy and non-functional you could sue him to have his crap code corrected if they buy it and have to have it fixed!!!
     
  16. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    I accept it's our fault for paying per hour not for a set deliverable, so lesson learnt on that front. The tin pot lawyer is demanding the payment anyway now for the hours worked, I assume the increase is to cover his fee.

    He has never sent an invoice, he sent an email demanding £2000 payment to hand over the code since he was going to stop working on the project. Never an actual demand to pay for the hours.

    6 weeks which is a long time I know, but one of us had a new born with complications and I was moving job and house so had my mind elsewhere.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2019
  17. stockhausen

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 30, 2006

    Posts: 10,403

    No message.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  18. Dis86

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 23, 2011

    Posts: 22,586

    Location: Northern England

    But there's no contract formed ergo no agreed scope. Without an agreed scope or defined end-product how can you say something doesn't do what it's supposed to do? All he has to do is argue that it is part of ongoing works that seemingly the OP doesn't wish to pay for.
     
  19. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    Well he's delivered functionality that doesn't work, i.e. a chrome plugin that doesn't do anything.
     
  20. Jokester

    Don

    Joined: Aug 7, 2003

    Posts: 39,561

    Location: Aberdeenshire

    What was the reason for him walking away?