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Who screwed who?

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    Who screwed who?

    This is a long story so bare with me!

    Basically I run a small web design and development company in which I design and build websites and I hire freelancers to help me handle overflow design work and complete website that are beyond my development skills.

    I recently hired a contractor from the US via elance and we completed a few jobs in this manner using that website before moving the relationship offline and onto skype. So there was not a physical contract between us I just described upcoming jobs to him and he gave me a price and then do the job and I would pay him via paypal once he had done his bit.

    Everything was fine until one particular job came up in which I wanted him to modify the front end of an online league website builder to match my designs. He protested that the best way to do the job would be to build the whole thing from scratch in wordpress and that it wouldn't take much longer to do but would be much more efficient and fully realise my clients needs. I thought that he had a point although the cost of this job was 4x what I was quoted for the other job so I agreed to this and paid him a 3rd up front to get started.

    The job ran into technical difficulties almost immediately and he told me that he would be subcontracting on it in order to get round the bit that was causing him problems at no cost to me. So I thought thats all fine and good as long as it gets done.

    I continued to get little bits of work in that I needed help on and he continued to support me on those bits while assuring me that the other build was steadily ticking along in the background. At which point I was confident that it was all moving along nicely and paid him another 3rd of the job for his efforts.

    A few weeks passed after that and although we communicated regularly I heard little about the original website and so I pushed to get it finalised as it was now nearly a month late on the delivery date and at this point he dropped contact for 3 days. (highly unusual behaviour for him)

    I heard back again and spoke to him about another small job and he said that he didn't have the time to do it and that I should use one of his subcontractors and put me in touch with via skype.

    A while back I had said that if he was subcontracting I didn't mind and that he could handle his own contractors anyway he liked but in this particular instance there was no discussion of rates or who was paying who what.

    So when I finally spoke with said contractor he asked me did (anon) tell you my rates? so I said no and he proceeded to tell me what he would be charging me for the project. At which point I assumed this was something that had been cleared with (anon) so we continued and he completed the work to a cost that I was happy with.

    When (anon) got back in touch he told me that there was yet another setback with the original website and he needed at least another week to complete which I agreed to and then proceeded to ask me for 3x the money that I agreed with his subcontractor.

    I never agreed to pay anyone that amount of money for anything and had I been quoted that by his contractor I would have looked elsewhere. As far as I am aware I made no agreement to pay a markup for 3x whatever that contractor pitched me so I thought that was taking the micky a little bit considering (anon) had not actually come anywhere near finishing the original job that he had been paid most of for.

    I did however feel that he had a right to some kind of fee as the introducer and I said that I would be happy to call it a mistake. Pay him a finders fee of 20% of the job price from his contractor and then negotiate sub rates with him on anything else moving forward.

    However he was having none of it. He got very angry with me at this point and started to accuse me of being an unethical business person and have no moral fibre etc. (personal statements that I dont much care for) he said that I must have been fully aware of what I was doing in discussing money with his subcontractor and that if anyone was to blame it was to be me. He also tried to say that he was doing me a favour by not asking for extra money on the original job even though "the scope had been changed on him" which it never was,

    he had all the facts and was the one who proposed the lengthyer more difficult build in the first place so I dont see how it is me who can be responsible for it being more complicated than he had first thought.

    So I reminded him that:

    a.) there was no original agreement that said I would pay him that kind of money for the sub

    b.) he hadn't delivered on the previous job

    c.) he proposed the original solution so the scope was always in his hands

    d.) he had been paid upfront and it didnt look like much had been done for weeks

    So he pulled the website from the server, sent me a backup file copy of the site (which turns out to be a skeleton at best) and a half finished html email he was meant to be working on and told me that he would be emailing any of his subs that had spoken to me during our time working together and then sent me a bill for the rest of the site and the email.

    (I haven't paid this bill)

    I asked the subcontractor to whom I was refferred by (anon) if he was interested in finishing any of this work via email as I was left in a bit of a bind and I got a reply saying

    I only work for (anon) Good day!

    So who knows what he has said to that guy but it obviously wasnt anything complimentry.

    I honestly don't think that I have done anything other than be fair and honest throughout this process but he seems to be convinced that I have screwed him over in some way (that's obviously the way he has framed it to his subs)

    Is the way in which I handled this unethical? Does he have the right to be so angry with me?
    I did offer him a finders fee out of fairness but I refused to go any higher than 20% as its not like he was actually doing anything at all other than handling over a skype address.

    I am the one afterall who now doesn't have a website to hand over to my client even tough I have paid out on it at this point and will take a massive hit getting it over the line.

    So a few questions

    1.) I don't want to pay him that final bill does he have grounds to chase me for it?

    2.) Do I have grounds to chase him for the loss he has caused me?

    3.) Have I broken some unspoken rule about talking to subcontractors (even though we don't have a contract)

    #2
    TL;DR

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by camillejb View Post
      So a few questions

      1.) I don't want to pay him that final bill does he have grounds to chase me for it?

      2.) Do I have grounds to chase him for the loss he has caused me?

      3.) Have I broken some unspoken rule about talking to subcontractors (even though we don't have a contract)
      1 He can try but I doubt he will get anywhere.

      2 You can try but I doubt you will get anywhere.

      3 If there is an unspoken rule no one has ever told me about it.
      "He's actually ripped" - Jared Padalecki

      https://youtu.be/l-PUnsCL590?list=PL...dNeCyi9a&t=615

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by camillejb View Post
        This is a long story so bare with me!

        Basically I run a small web design and development company in which I design and build websites and I hire freelancers to help me handle overflow design work and complete website that are beyond my development skills.

        I recently hired a contractor from the US via elance and we completed a few jobs in this manner using that website before moving the relationship offline and onto skype. So there was not a physical contract between us I just described upcoming jobs to him and he gave me a price and then do the job and I would pay him via paypal once he had done his bit.

        Everything was fine until one particular job came up in which I wanted him to modify the front end of an online league website builder to match my designs. He protested that the best way to do the job would be to build the whole thing from scratch in wordpress and that it wouldn't take much longer to do but would be much more efficient and fully realise my clients needs. I thought that he had a point although the cost of this job was 4x what I was quoted for the other job so I agreed to this and paid him a 3rd up front to get started.

        The job ran into technical difficulties almost immediately and he told me that he would be subcontracting on it in order to get round the bit that was causing him problems at no cost to me. So I thought thats all fine and good as long as it gets done.

        I continued to get little bits of work in that I needed help on and he continued to support me on those bits while assuring me that the other build was steadily ticking along in the background. At which point I was confident that it was all moving along nicely and paid him another 3rd of the job for his efforts.

        A few weeks passed after that and although we communicated regularly I heard little about the original website and so I pushed to get it finalised as it was now nearly a month late on the delivery date and at this point he dropped contact for 3 days. (highly unusual behaviour for him)

        I heard back again and spoke to him about another small job and he said that he didn't have the time to do it and that I should use one of his subcontractors and put me in touch with via skype.

        A while back I had said that if he was subcontracting I didn't mind and that he could handle his own contractors anyway he liked but in this particular instance there was no discussion of rates or who was paying who what.

        So when I finally spoke with said contractor he asked me did (anon) tell you my rates? so I said no and he proceeded to tell me what he would be charging me for the project. At which point I assumed this was something that had been cleared with (anon) so we continued and he completed the work to a cost that I was happy with.

        When (anon) got back in touch he told me that there was yet another setback with the original website and he needed at least another week to complete which I agreed to and then proceeded to ask me for 3x the money that I agreed with his subcontractor.

        I never agreed to pay anyone that amount of money for anything and had I been quoted that by his contractor I would have looked elsewhere. As far as I am aware I made no agreement to pay a markup for 3x whatever that contractor pitched me so I thought that was taking the micky a little bit considering (anon) had not actually come anywhere near finishing the original job that he had been paid most of for.

        I did however feel that he had a right to some kind of fee as the introducer and I said that I would be happy to call it a mistake. Pay him a finders fee of 20% of the job price from his contractor and then negotiate sub rates with him on anything else moving forward.

        However he was having none of it. He got very angry with me at this point and started to accuse me of being an unethical business person and have no moral fibre etc. (personal statements that I dont much care for) he said that I must have been fully aware of what I was doing in discussing money with his subcontractor and that if anyone was to blame it was to be me. He also tried to say that he was doing me a favour by not asking for extra money on the original job even though "the scope had been changed on him" which it never was,

        he had all the facts and was the one who proposed the lengthyer more difficult build in the first place so I dont see how it is me who can be responsible for it being more complicated than he had first thought.

        So I reminded him that:

        a.) there was no original agreement that said I would pay him that kind of money for the sub

        b.) he hadn't delivered on the previous job

        c.) he proposed the original solution so the scope was always in his hands

        d.) he had been paid upfront and it didnt look like much had been done for weeks

        So he pulled the website from the server, sent me a backup file copy of the site (which turns out to be a skeleton at best) and a half finished html email he was meant to be working on and told me that he would be emailing any of his subs that had spoken to me during our time working together and then sent me a bill for the rest of the site and the email.

        (I haven't paid this bill)

        I asked the subcontractor to whom I was refferred by (anon) if he was interested in finishing any of this work via email as I was left in a bit of a bind and I got a reply saying

        I only work for (anon) Good day!

        So who knows what he has said to that guy but it obviously wasnt anything complimentry.

        I honestly don't think that I have done anything other than be fair and honest throughout this process but he seems to be convinced that I have screwed him over in some way (that's obviously the way he has framed it to his subs)

        Is the way in which I handled this unethical? Does he have the right to be so angry with me?
        I did offer him a finders fee out of fairness but I refused to go any higher than 20% as its not like he was actually doing anything at all other than handling over a skype address.

        I am the one afterall who now doesn't have a website to hand over to my client even tough I have paid out on it at this point and will take a massive hit getting it over the line.

        So a few questions

        1.) I don't want to pay him that final bill does he have grounds to chase me for it?

        2.) Do I have grounds to chase him for the loss he has caused me?

        3.) Have I broken some unspoken rule about talking to subcontractors (even though we don't have a contract)
        What did the contract(s) say? Oh, you didnt have one? Ho hum.
        I couldn't give two fornicators! Yes, really!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by camillejb View Post

          So a few questions

          1.) I don't want to pay him that final bill does he have grounds to chase me for it?

          2.) Do I have grounds to chase him for the loss he has caused me?

          3.) Have I broken some unspoken rule about talking to subcontractors (even though we don't have a contract)
          Sorry too long to read.

          1. In general if someone can prove they have done the work and there is contract they can take you to court over it, if the laws the contract was done under on English law. Contracts in England don't have to be written so he may be able to prove the contract was verbal or show emails to prove a contract existed. However being an American he probably doesn't know this.

          2. I wouldn't bother and just write it off. If he does chase you, you need to show you have made a loss and state you will counter-sue if he wishes to go to court. Then if he does do.

          3. You can talk to who you like. Most people don't talk to subcontractors as it complicates things.
          "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

          Comment


            #6
            What BB said really. It's a business with money involved. You should run it as such.
            And the lord said unto John; "come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

            Comment


              #7
              If they're in a different country, working freelance, I think you are basically screwed for any chance to force them to pay. This is in fact part of the risk of working in that way - even with a contract you have very little option to enforce it. I've worked in similar ways (with and without contracts) as both the person doing the sub-contracting and the one being sub-contracted, and sometimes things just go wrong.

              This type of 'proper' freelancing, especially done fully online, is very different to to what people on this site do as contractors. It is a whole different culture with its own quirks and unwritten rules. It's WHY people use sites like elance, who offer protection and conflict resolution.

              Either work through freelancer sites and pay the fees, or be EXTRA specially careful who you work with, and try to make sure the other guy never has the only access to the work - you cannot allow several weeks' work to be locked on their PC. Aside from them doing something 'bad' they could just be taken ill. I hired a pretty good Indian coder for several months and it all went brilliantly until he just stopped answering email. It turned out he'd been admitted to hospital with no internet access. He had been trying to get his parents to contact me but they didn't speak English very well at all or use the internet!

              I suggest you might like Clients From Hell.
              Originally posted by MaryPoppins
              I'd still not breastfeed a nazi
              Originally posted by vetran
              Urine is quite nourishing

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by stek View Post
                TL;DR
                +1, especially when people quote the whole bloody thing again in a one line response.
                'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by MyUserName View Post
                  3 If there is an unspoken rule no one has ever told me about it.
                  Mopping up sprayed tea as we speak...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Looks like it went t|tts up due to a lack of paperwork / contract.

                    Going by the thread title I would say the OP bought in on themselves.
                    Polishing a turd near you!!

                    Comment

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