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Unread 21st November 2013, 10:31 PM   #1
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Default Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

Hi,

I recently was in the mockup stage with a client (with whom I didn't enter any contract or anything) and provided him mockups of designs. He continue to be so fussy about every mockup I sent and was always demanding big big changes. So I continued to be patient listen to him and deliver him mockups. He also continued to be like öne last chance I am giving you or else you are wasting my time. And that he is a busy person.

Then one day it just went beyond my patience and I decided to quit this work. I asked him to pay at least something for over 6-8 mockups that I sent him. But he hesitated and it made me so angry that I sent him an email infuriated and told him to stop being so uncooperative, fussy and arrogant with future freelancers.

Somewhere I remember mentioning that he was stupid that he didn't appoint anyone else to talk about the project when he was so busy. Because he was never clear about what he wanted and even on asking him, he was confused or hesitating to reply.

So in reply to that email he threatened me that he will take legal action if I misbehave like this. Seriously, after all the efforts wasted and he paid me nothing, he wants to take legal action against me?

Can he really take legal action against me? And will he? On what grounds?

Thanks

Niladri Das | Professional Web UI / UX Designer
Website: iniladri.com
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Unread 22nd November 2013, 12:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

I am unsure on what grounds he plans to take legal action, harassment?

This just goes to show spec work (ie: creating free mockups) is amateur hour. Don't do a minute of work until you have a signed work order/contract and a deposit. The minute you started doing work for free, that is exactly how he valued you... as nothing. Perceived value is a strong factor in any business relationship.

And wow, I can't believe you emailed him and called him stupid. That's extremely unprofessional. He probably just threatened to sue so you would leave him alone, so leave him alone and I think you will be fine.

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"You shouldn't come here and set yourself up as the resident wizard of oz."
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Unread 22nd November 2013, 12:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

I know I should not have called him stupid I also feel bad for that. It was unprofessional but that made me so angry.

Harassment, I am not sure when I harassed him.

Well later he also said that he is ready to pay me money as gift for the time wasted but keeping this in mind that I also wasted his time. I didn't take any money telling that since he wasn't satisfied with work I won't accept the money. So in return he said "thank you best wishes"

So I guess everything is settled?
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Unread 22nd November 2013, 12:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

Put yourself in the Judges shoes. Are you going to punish a man who did uncontracted work without pay, or the guy who sat and complained about a man working his ass off for him? I'd put my hammer on look at the client and say, Get a life! I think you'll be fine man. Calling someone stupid never got anyone locked up.
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Unread 22nd November 2013, 01:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

I don't think that he can take any legal action against you. But one thing why you worked for him without taking any initial payment . You wasted your precious time working for a stupid client and now he is saying that he will take legal action against you . Ask him on what ground you are going to take LEGAL ACTION against me .

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Unread 22nd November 2013, 03:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

Just forget him and move on. You learned a lesson that you shouldn't spend so much time without a clear agreement on compensation, without an agreement you have little basis for asking to be compensated, and in that case you are depending on the prospective client's graciousness to give you something. The chance of that went out the window when you called him stupid.

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Unread 22nd November 2013, 07:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

Can he sue me for defamation? I haven't done anything like though I think...

Although there has been no reply from him for past 2 days so I guess it is cool? He offered me money as gift for the time invested in the end, with understanding that I also wasted his time...

But I didn't take the money and also apologized for wasting his time, (not because I felt I was wrong, but because I thought it is not a good idea to proceed further with this fight which was unnecessary). In reply he said thank you and best wishes.

Didn't hear from him for 2 days since then. So it means everything is cool now right?

Niladri Das | Professional Web UI / UX Designer
Website: iniladri.com
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Unread 22nd November 2013, 11:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

That is not even close to what defamation is. Now, if you were trying to damage this person's reputation publicly (ie if you took out a national TV ad campaign and said a bunch of bad things about him in the ad), then he might have a defamation case against you... provided he could prove that what you said wasn't true.

But if the worst thing that you did is call someone stupid via email, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about from a legal perspective. If the guy threatened you with legal action for that, then he is just trying to scare you.

Just cut your ties with this person and move on. In the future, always have a detailed work agreement in place before any work is started (that is, unless you like working for free! ). And don't ever resort to saying anything unprofessional about any of your clients/prospects to them. BEFORE things get that heated, simply tell them "I'm sorry, but I don't feel that I can be of any further help to you"... then simply drop them and move on.

That said... you will come across clients who are total jerks from time to time. The best thing you can do is drop them at the very first sign of any disrespect towards you. Clients like that are NEVER worth it. There are more than enough clients out there who will respect and appreciate what you do, and will pay you well for it (providing, of course, that you do quality work, and are a pleasant person to work with).

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Unread 22nd November 2013, 12:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Client threatening to take legal action. Help!

Please, find the thread started by the owner of this forum ("admin") where he said:
Do NOT ask legal questions in a public international forum. Period.


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