My client wants a refund for stopping services

I am a web designer that advertises on Craigslist. A person contacted me asking for my services to build him a website per his instructions and direction. I offered 2,500 for forty pages paid upfront. After 2 months of work he is now requesting for money back because he did a head-to-head test between me and a designer in india. ‘basically, he got to where you finished off in 15 hours over 3 days.’ There was no written contract other than an email and verbal agreement. Cancellations/refunds were never discussed. Do I have to return the 2,500? He only gave me instructions for 4 pages.

Asked on May 5, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you don't need to return the money if he cancels the contract (even an oral contract) or arrangement, so long as you did not breach, or violate, what you agreed to do: when party A does or has been doing (until stopped by the other party) what party A was supposed to do but party B decides to stop the project or working with party A, party A is under no obligation to return B's money because in this case, it is B who breached the contract, by either not giving you enough material to work with and/or by pulling the plug. Since the other party made the job imposible (not enough pages or material) and/or decided to cancel but you were doing what you'd agree, they can't get their money back.

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