If I paid a company to develop a website but they never finished it, how canI get my money back?

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If I paid a company to develop a website but they never finished it, how canI get my money back?

I’m a web designer and I hired a web developer to program a website for my client. It has now been over 4 months and the website is still not finished. He keeps breaking deadline after deadline. I’m in charge of quality control but every time he says the site is finished, I see multiple upon multiple mistakes. Now my client wants to sue me for not finishing the project. I’m basically the middle man. What can I do? This guy will not respond to any of my e-mails. He won’t finish the website and I  don’t have the electronic contract to read over because I never downloaded it. I’ve paid him $800.

Asked on August 31, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the web developer for breach of contract.  The breach of contract would be based on not complying with the deadlines for completion of the website and the multiple mistakes in the work that has been done.  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be the contract price (the amount you paid).  If you hire someone else to complete the website, you can recover that expense in your lawsuit.  You will need to mitigate damages which means that if you hire someone else to finish the project, they should be charging an amount comparable to what your original developer was to be paid.  In order to mitigate damages under those circumstances, the person you hire as a replacement could not be charging an exorbitant amount when compared to the previous developer.  If the second developer is charging an exorbitant amount, your damages would be reduced accordingly.

If your website is so unique that only the original developer can do the work, then not hiring someone to finish the work would not be required to mitigate damages.

If you are sued by your client, you can recover that amount in your lawsuit for breach of contract against the website developer.


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