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In the past I have had little to no issues with receiving payments through PayPal for my web design or development services. For some reason, I have had close to 10 recent transactions involving a service (design or development), and each one of them are now within disputes.

I have not had any bad interactions with these individuals. They have contacted me, purchased a pre-created site, or design. I assisted with everything from getting the site online to small bug fixes (usually server plugins, etc.), then I wake up and the PayPal payment is disputed message, and the client removes and blocks me from Skype and emails.

To top it off apparently PayPal does not cover service related transactions - I should have read their terms. I am now left with $4,250 worth of disputes. I always make it a point to withdraw the funds from PayPal once I receive them, so my PayPal balance is currently in a negative state. My questions are as follows:

Has anyone else experienced something similar? What was the solution? I have Contracts from each of the client they are signed via Adobe Echosign. I also have the backups of the final deliverables for each client.

What options do I have to have this cleared and force responsibility of payment onto my clients. It would be a nightmare to have to pay for legal fees, PayPal and the other fees that come into play.

migrated from workplace.stackexchange.com Dec 10 '14 at 4:49

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  • What country(ies) are you operating in, and your clients? – Canadian Luke Dec 10 '14 at 4:57
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Depending on the country you and the client are in, it is possible that you could take them to small claims court. You generally don't need a lawyer there and the individual amounts look small enough. I would take the paperwork you described above, a printout of whatever informed you the payment was disputed and a screenshot of the active website (and a way if possible to pull up the active website). Make sure you note what fees if any you are being charged by PayPal for the disputed amounts.

Of concern to me is that suddenly you have multiple clients doing this. Have you checked to see if their sites are actually working? Perhaps something has changed and they all broke.

  • None of the sites are dependent on a API or anything like that. Both sites are completely fine up and running. If there was a bug or broken feature i include a lifetime bug fix within the contract assuming the code was not altered by another dev. Also does not explain why they would just cease communication after receiving the product, launching their sites, then disputing. – ICJ Dec 9 '14 at 22:08
  • THat's why it seems so odd that several at once did this when you haven't had problems before. – HLGEM Dec 9 '14 at 22:10

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