Hi all, please be gentle with me as it's my first foray into proper freelancing and I've encountered a problem I need some advice on please
I was commissioned to build an e-commerce website from someone I was friendly with (not proper friends, but had chatted quite a few times online) so this and the fact that I wanted to add a website to my portfolio and gain experience, I gave them a very good price.
I was sent a document with the brief on, so with this in mind I designed the website mainly in full, but with content placeholders on other pages. I then gave the customer the link who said they were very happy with it and agreed to pay a deposit up front, then the balance when the website was ready to upload.
In my ignorance I didn't draw up a contract, I must admit to getting carried away with the excitement of designing a website involving a hobby I enjoy. The person in question is a business owner so fully aware of the pitfalls of not having a contract, but because the website was mainly done and just content to add, I thought all was well and quoted a quick turnaround.
Then the delays started. Mainly for images, but then with content. The customer then asked for something which required a redesign, and when I told them I had not factored this into the quote, so it would cost extra, things turned nasty with them telling me I gave them a quote for a fully customisable website so should do exactly what they want, when they want. I said fully customisable meant that the website was expandable and adaptable to the future business needs, but the initial design had been agreed upon so major changes cost more, bar the usual tweaking which was factored in.
Things turned a bit heated and the customer said they wanted their deposit back to go to someone who could do what they wanted, and that the website I had done for them was not good enough. Despite all the glowing praise received before.
I then learned that the client had not bothered to check the other pages were live when agreeing the design, so there was some confusion here as they wanted the layout of these pages changed, even though I had said all I'd add in was the content and images once supplied.
We have now reached a point where I am waiting for further content I said I would add, but been waiting for this now for about a month. I have told the client it is easy to add at a later date and if they pay the balance now, I will upload the website and they will be able to edit it to add the content when they are ready.
I feel I am being messed about a lot here as an initial project meant to take a month has now ended up spreading over 3-4months. The website is ready and waiting to be uploaded.
I am wondering what to do now? I am thinking I need to give them a deadline as I work part time, and they keep missing my days off, so it keeps rolling over.
The no contract bit was thrown back in my face so they did take advantage of my naivety, which has been a big learning curve, but surely this works both ways and if I do not receive the balance by the deadline, am I within my rights to delete the work entirely?
Appreciate any help on this please, but do be gentle as I realise I messed up by a) giving them too cheap a price and b) no contract
If you didn't sign a contract either, then you can throw it back in their face just as much. Granted, it wouldn't be professional, but it sounds like it's already passed that point.
If it were me, I'd probably just tell them I'd refund their money but they don't have any rights to the design. (And I'd draft up an agreement and make them sign off on it.) I'd then just try to sell the design on a forum (removing their name and logos, of-course).