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Contracted developer demands obscene hours payment

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

  1. mrbell1984

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 9, 2008

    Posts: 23,454

    why wasn’t it wrote up in a contract? This could get messy.
     
  2. BusError

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 8, 2008

    Posts: 1,434

    Location: Berks+Powys

    I've worked by the hour many times, but for 10 times that. I keep a spreadsheet with day:hours:What I've done and email it every week. I invoice at regular intervals.

    There is no 'guarantee of work' that's the whole point, some clients have no idea what they want, and some clients wants something that'll never work in the first place, who am I to tell them about it? Once such contract paid a sizeable part of my mortgage, for a project that was ultimately cancelled -- definitely not my fault, I knew from start that it was a basket case.

    The only time I have problems getting paid is when you agreed a 'goalpost' and the clients keep changing it, or re-imagining it -- despite years and years of experience, it still happens. So for 'by the hour' contracts, I give them all the code, all the time, while for 'goalpost' contracts, I don't give them the code until near the end, when they've paid a significant part of the money.
     
  3. touch

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 28, 2006

    Posts: 11,378

    Location: Sufferlandria

    How can it be buggy AND not work?
     
  4. Screeeech

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 29, 2014

    Posts: 3,399

    Location: Dublin / LA

    My totally worthless, layman's opinion of this based on what I know, combined with 10 minutes of googling and what's been written is as follows;

    Although there was no written contract which both parties signed, there was a verbal agreement - which as far as I can tell is a contract, and can it some circumstances be upheld in court.

    https://londonlawpractice.com/how-to-enforce-a-verbal-contract/

    To me, even though it was verbal there must be some evidence that this agreement was undertaken, presumably the website / code he wrote exists somewhere, and that could be produced in court.

    So from the court's view. on one side, you have the claimant, who wants his money for the job, on the other side you have the defendant who presumably didn't pay, because the work was not up to standard, and he's potentially not liable because the work completed was essentially not completed / satisfactory.

    As much as I believe you when you say this guy produced a pile of nonsense - I actually think he might win the case against you. Simply because; you agreed to pay him 8.50 an hour but didn't.

    Even though he did some poor quality work for you, in weighing up the balance of probabilities - he still did produce work, and I think a judge would award him some cash for that..

    Either way if I were you I'd get a professional opinion pretty quickly, or just pay the money - otherwise it could get a lot more expensive.
     
  5. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    Here is my professional opinion.

    Verbal contracts can exist in law, however the complainant must show that it was obvious what the scale and scope of the job was, i.e if a builder builds an entire house then it's obvious the works were substantial, requiring outlay and would take an extended period of time. If a graphic designer uses software to design a small monochrome logo then tried to claim it took him 53 entire days to complete, then that's obviously false.

    Anyone working off a verbal contract with no agreed final price on a delivered product would then be responsible for accurately logging the hourly work.

    The final point in law is the issue of payment for unsatisfactory work in a verbal contract, or simplified to the restaurant meal example. If I walk into a restaurant there is an applied contract that I will pay for the meal I order. If I believe the meal is sub par I can then pay what I believe the meal is worth and the onus is on the proprietor to pursue me for that money.

    In cases of the above the court will always side with the customer, especially if good faith has been shown and an offer of money has been made for works incomplete. Especially when the court has no solid foundation to base a judgement on (no written contract or examples of previously completed similar projects)

    What is being described by the OP is akin to the old tarmac your drive scam. An inflated price for a sub par product with threats attached to the invoice.
     
  6. Screeeech

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 29, 2014

    Posts: 3,399

    Location: Dublin / LA

    Fair enough - that seems reasonable.
     
  7. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    Just to add to this as I've posted a few times, I'm happy to pay the original amount he quoted, regardless to the fact I believe the work sub-par, what I have issue is him demanding another £700 without any basis or warning, with him pulling a figure out of the air. The problem I have now is if as a gesture of goodwill I pay £2000 as this tin pot lawyer is involved, they will chase for the £700 out of air for his fee.
     
  8. R.C.Anderson

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 20, 2009

    Posts: 1,830

    Location: Loughborough

    If it was me, I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay the £2000 to "keep things civil", as you've mentioned in the past. This has gone past that, as soon as you get lawyers involved (especially with no warning), you generally forfeit any civil ways to resolve it.

    When did this guy start doing this work? Does he do other work as well? 425 hours is >10 "standard" work weeks. If he's not been going at this project for long, and/or has other work, I think it's unlikely he's actually done that many hours.

    In my opinion, he's probably decided he either cannot actually do the job he was contracted to do, or has lost interest in it, so is trying to cashout.
     
  9. wolfie138

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 8, 2013

    Posts: 3,400

    it doesn't work cos it has bugs, how is that a hard concept to grasp? why do you think they're mutually exclusive?
     
  10. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    The lawyer part is purely fabricated. No solicitor would get out of bed for that kind of money and I would charge on a per letter basis in order to "mediate". I would also I would also expect my client to have made more than one attempt to collect monies owed as that shows an element of good faith on the claimant. Any threatening letters you receive at this stage I would hazard a guess are from wannabe solicitors who have googled a legal letter template and are to be ignored.
     
  11. bloodiedathame

    Sgarrista

    Joined: May 11, 2007

    Posts: 7,616

    Location: Surrey

    I'd be asking for evidence of hours worked.
     
  12. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    I am thinking around the same opinion. There was only the original request, no chase further than that. The tin pot lawyer has had several complaints logged by the solicitors association and is a conveyancer by trade. I am guessing a (family-)friend of the developer or someone in need of work and getting paid to send a few emails.
     
  13. morbid42

    Gangster

    Joined: Mar 24, 2011

    Posts: 296

    Location: Sherwood Forest

    Ive read this whole post twice and just cant get over the 8.50 an hour, although to be fair companies outsource the same type of work to india for 20p an hour, with similar results, so maybe youve hypothetically paid too mich
     
  14. mmj_uk

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 26, 2003

    Posts: 23,650

    If you were happy to pay the £2k then why not just do it (please god not cash) apologise for the 6 week delay and tell him to go away? will he really want to chase/dispute the other £650?
     
  15. Seearbe

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 31, 2019

    Posts: 310

    Not a lawyer...

    An interesting point is that he has increased the amount he's charging, presumably without spending any more time on the development. There doesn't appear to be any basis in him being able to charge you that, legally speaking, even if it were determined there was a contract in effect.

    I think the points around whether the app works or not and his requirement to fix are a bit of a misleading point. You agreed to pay him per hour rather than a set rate to deliver a working app. Of course you'd then have to figure out what the expectations were around time taken, quality of what he produced etc but doesn't seem that you'll reach that answer between yourselves.

    If you're willing to accept the £2,000 fee, perhaps just point the above out, explain the delay and that you are happy just to settle but are not making any statement as to the number of hours he has delivered etc. You could also add that if he wants to pursue the larger amount, you will take advice on this including whether you are obliged to pay the £2,000. He'll not want to risk losing everything presumably.
     
  16. kitkat9933

    Mobster

    Joined: Aug 26, 2012

    Posts: 3,247

    Location: Manchester

    Yes, the tin pot lawyer wants his £650.
     
  17. Seearbe

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 31, 2019

    Posts: 310

    That cost is absolutely nothing to do with you. There is nothing requiring you to pay his legal costs.
     
  18. [FnG]magnolia

    Pancake

    Joined: Aug 29, 2007

    Posts: 26,298

    Location: Bees.

    That would appear to be an unusual preface to your comments. I'm sure you meant "in your considered opinion", didn't you?
     
  19. DarrenM343

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2008

    Posts: 4,910

    In fairness, I think OP mentioned they would have part ownership or an entitlement to profits.
    I'd work for a much lower rate than I would normally expect if I thought something I was helping out on might be big. However, I'd want this in a contract.
     
  20. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    No, that would be when I have considered two sides of an argument.