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I have finished some work for a client, he paid 50% for the work done. After the work was finished and delivered he failed to pay the rest 50%.

Legally there isn't much to do with it, it will end up being a waste of time because the amount was not so significant (400$).

The project was solving his homework for a school related project. It is academic dishonesty for him and punishable by his university, possibly with warning or he will get expelled.

The client is not reachable by any means and ignores all forms of communication. There was no contract signed.

However my client happens to be a student and I thought of turning him in to the teacher. My issue is, will I have any consequences and is it even worth it if I turn him in?

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    Did you have a contract? What type of product or project was it? Was it a school-related project? Have you talked to the client and asked why they won't pay? Is it something you can take back until it's been paid? Too little information to go on, and this risks being closed as Too Broad, as is. – Canadian Luke REINSTATE MONICA Jul 4 '14 at 18:01
  • The client will not respond and is unreachable. It was school work, basically I solved all his homework assignments. – user4303 Jul 4 '14 at 21:15
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    What you did is also unethical. You are literally facilitating fraud. I wouldn't hire you knowing that you took this solicitation to help commit fraud. – daaxix Jul 5 '14 at 4:40
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    Hello, I edited this to incorporate the edits into the question so it flows better. I also removed the plea for advice. As a Q&A site, our format works much better for specific questions. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Jul 6 '14 at 16:12
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    "My cocaine dealer sold me baking powder. Should I contact the police?" Seriously, if involved in nefarious ventures you take what you get. Be happy he paid you anything. – Scott Jul 9 '14 at 23:52
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Given that your client is ignoring all forms of communication with you, it seems like you only have three options:

1. Do Nothing

Be grateful that you received 50% of your fee and forgive the balance.

One disadvantage (especially if your client talks about this to others) might be that you get a reputation as a "push over".

2. Final communication attempt (ultimatum)

With no contract, the only leverage you seem to have to motivate your client to pay is to threaten contacting the teacher.

This might achieve your final payment or it might not.

The disadvantage with this option is that you are breaking an implied client confidence. This might be perceived as not being very professional but other potential clients will probably understand this is a reasonable course of action given the circumstances.

It might be the case that your client just doesn't have the money to pay you right now. If you can establish communication, and your client is having financial difficulties, you might consider offering payment terms so you do get paid eventually.

3. Contact the teacher

If you're not prepared to forgive the debt and Option 2 is unsuccessful, then your only other course of action is to contact the teacher. It's unlikely this will result in being paid the final 50% but it will send a message to other clients and potential clients that you are not someone who can easily be taken advantage of.

  • Thanks for the answer. It really sums up my thoughts. However do you think it is worth to report him, could it worth any negative consequences for me? Such as potentially no more clients or that the university tries to move against me legally? – user4303 Jul 5 '14 at 6:53
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OMG! If you contact the school, you might be on the hook for helping him cheat.

However, you could threaten to contact the school, for some leverage -- but again, ACTUALLY doing so may land you in hot water.

If the client is ignoring contacts, threatening to contact the school is certainly one way to get his attention.

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Academic dishonesty isn't exactly illegal, unless someone is stealing intellectual property. That doesn't mean an large, wealthy entity like an academic institution with coercive power to protect isn't going to fight to the death. I wouldn't test your luck. You shouldn't have taken on the job in the first place.

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