What can be done if there was no contract, client asks for full refund, even though work has been done? 2 Answers as of February 13, 2014

I started a website redesign project for a client after we agreed on price, and she paid a 50% deposit. There was no formal contract, there are policies and procedures page on my website that states deposits are nonrefundable. I wanted to continue my excellent customer service, I offered a refund minus a prorated fee based on the work done so far. She refused and is now contacting her financial institution for the full amount. How do I proceed? I offered a fair solution (I thought) and just want to be paid for the work done so far.

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Law Office of Richard Southard
Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
This is not a criminal question. Since there is no contract, it's unclear what the terms were with respect to early termination or dissatisfied customer. If you want to keep your excellent customer service rating, give the full refund and always use contracts in the future.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/13/2014
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Without a formal contract, the client can demand a refund if the client is not satisfied with your work. Your mistake here is operating without a contract. Your website policies do not create a contract unless your client accepts them in writing. You are making a big mistake by operating without clear written contracts drafted by legal counsel. If you performed work that benefits this client, you can require payment of the value of the work. But if the client believes your work is inadequate and decides to replace you with another web designer, then you may be liable not only for the deposit, but also for the cost of replacing you and damages resulting from delays in completing the job. Indeed, you might be lucky if all the culver wants is a refund of the deposit. Also, think about how this affects your reputation. You need to have a reputation for integrity and in a situation like this most smart business persons conclude that "the customer is always right". Next time, get a lawyer to draft an agreement that protects you.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/13/2014
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