I had made an app for an employer on Freelancer. He just paid half the money and put the app on the Play Store. When I asked about the rest of the money, he started abusing me and didn't pay. So I complained to Google and got the app removed.

Now he is abusing me and saying he is going to complain to police and stuff.

Should I not have taken the app down? Should I put it back up? What should I say to the client in response to his threat to involve police?

  • 2
    Did you have a contract? Also, in the US, this is a civil matter, so the cops don't care...
    – daaxix
    Aug 23, 2014 at 21:46
  • IMHO this questions does not deserve downvote.
    – Peter MV
    Aug 24, 2014 at 10:25
  • @PeterMV, ideally, on questions like these we should try to get the asker to clarify the question. "What should I do" is a bit too open ended for Stack Exchange, but if we press askers, we can usually help them edit and identify something a bit more specific and that fits our Q&A model. Hope this helps.
    – jmort253
    Aug 25, 2014 at 3:28
  • @jmort253 I agree in general. Questions like What should I do are too wide indeed. But somehow, this question has clear explanation and the last question is a logical end. That is why this seem a clear question to me.
    – Peter MV
    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:22
  • @PeterMV, if you think a question is clear, and you're noticing others aren't quite getting it, another thing we can do is edit the question to make it more clear. Even if a question is perfectly clear to you, making it more clear to the wider audience just benefits our community and all the future visitors even more. Sometimes I do this on questions I come across where I know what the person is trying to ask, but it may not be very clear immediately. Hope this helps.
    – jmort253
    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:28

3 Answers 3


Are you his regular employee paid monthly or he hired you to code him this app?

If you are full-time employee, then you had no right to remove the app. You should have filed a complain to the court asking your earned money.

But I guess, he hired you via some online service to make him an app. True? In such case, you did the right thing. He can complain, he can threat, but he cannot do anything. Yes, he can leave you a bad review, but even the bad review can be voided at odesk or elance if you prove that he did it in a way to hurt your business, and so on.

I would sit tight and explain to him that you had full right to do that since he did not pay you. Be calm. Tell him that if he pays the rest of the money, you will reupload the app and send him the source code. Keep in mind that your aim is to get your money, not to get revenge with the bad client.

  • Agreed. By uploading the app to the play store, he is also essentially proving to a court that he is happy with the work you did for him. If he's happy to publish the app, then he should pay for it what you agreed. Feb 6, 2015 at 10:33
  • IMO I would only threaten to have the app removed as an absolute last resort, and I would make it known to the client before removing it without their knowledge. To some extent this gives you some bargaining power and should have at least allowed for some negotiations to take place. Many developers hand over their work and then have no way of securing payment if their client turns sour.
    – lharby
    Feb 10, 2015 at 12:20

I can't vouch for what takes place in other countries, but if your client did that here in the US, the police would probably laugh at him (after getting off the phone).

Under US law, this would be purely a civil matter, whether between an employee and employer, or contractor and client. The esteemed Mr. Peter MV's answer is spot-on. If you're not getting paid, then you have the right to do just as you did.

But what I'd like to add is that in many situations such as yours, it's pretty far-gone with the contractor-client relationship when you have to resort to such tactics. You may get your money -- you just might. But don't be expecting to do more work with this client. Peter didn't really explain it in depth, and that's okay -- when Peter mentions giving up the source code as well, I'm sure (correct me if I am wrong) he is suggesting that you get yourself far, far away from this client and that you don't look back. Don't agree to do maintenance, perform subsequent uploads, changes or anything. You are working with a bloodsucker and such a client will drain you of your morale, energy, time, and money.

Instead, figure out what you did wrong. Here's are some things to consider:

  • Always have a written contract (you haven't mentioned one) with a specific statement of work (SOW)
  • Your contract should specify deliverables
  • Be extremely careful of giving any work product to a new client if you're not sure how well the client pays his/her bills. In your case, I wouldn't have uploaded anything to an app store without making the client pay for the product you've developed.
  • Often the client will try to induce you to believe that it's a better deal for you to wait until income starts flowing from the product, but if you think about it, when the product's ready for that stage you've already done your work, so how does it benefit you to wait further??? It DOESN'T. Don't fall for this. The client-contractor relationship becomes muddy with these kinds of deals because you change into a de facto business partner, and assume more risk that way, and are less likely to be paid.

These things apply no matter where you are.

Finally, come back to this site and post whenever you can. Make an effort to contribute, and you'll learn a lot in the process.

Best regards.


Looks like, you are from India. The best way to handle this situation is to file a complaint against him in police station and Keep a copy of an FIR. Believe me, this is not a tough task, this will be helpful to you even if does anything against you in future.

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