I do design and web development and I took on a project for way less then I should have that involved logo design, multiple site creation, SEO and video creation.

I went above and beyond, hiring people to do testimonial videos for the company, creating really nice animated explanation videos and creating a small content network. But everything started like most projects do with the logo.

On this particular project, I was desperate for money and knew the people pretty well so I didn't push a contract on them and instead started working ASAP. I sent 3 logo mockups and got an approval on one, then made some slight changes and started on the rest of the project.

The project was finished in 4 months, and 3 months later (after payment), I got a message saying that the logo was misspelled and they'd just noticed the typo on their business cards. I jumped into my files and noticed that the original logo I sent was misspelled, so all print materials/social media and websites had the typo. They are demanding that I give them money back or fix everything for free.

I corrected all the issues, re-did all print materials and website content within 15 hours. I feel really bad but they signed off on the logo and the business cards and the site and should have noticed. I know I'm partly responsible, but I feel that they are more so due to giving me approval on all these items.

Has anyone had a problem like this, and what did you say to the customer?

  • 1
    Refuse refund. Ask them to go legal way. Your client had been a @ ss and you should not be paying for his neglect. Today its typos , tommorrow it will be something else. Your client has been exploiting your generosity and despreration for money. Be firm
    – alpa
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 15:11
  • 3
    Related at GD.SE graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/53386/… -- a contract doesn't matter. If you have written approval (email works) of the logo (with the typo) it's the client's fault, not yours. You are not obligated to do anything for them if they approved the art with the typo. Also see: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/55575/…
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 20:54

4 Answers 4


i was desperate for money and knew the people pretty good so i did not push a contract on them and instead started working ASAP

That is your big mistake, business is business, even with friends it's still business.

A freelancer without contract is very vulnerable.

In all my contract I make sure I put a clause where I details that there is no refund policy.

Because this is not a tangible item, it makes no sense to refund hard working hours, all you can do now is learn from your mistake and make it right the next time.


It's an unfortunate situation so I feel for both you AND the client, however, to answer your question, no, you should not return the money paid. First off yes, you made a mistake, but subsequent mistakes followed and it is their responsibility to make sure you've provided them with the product they want. In this instance (and probably for the last time) they have not put the time and/or effort into actually inspecting what has been provided.

The only real loss I can see here to the customer (other than of pride) is the printed materials are now worthless. You did not send this logo out to be printed, they did, it is their fault regardless of what mistakes were made before hand. The web/social assets can be changed and you've worked hard to get everything fixed as soon as possible. As a good will gesture you might want to offer a reduced rate for this additional work, but I personally would not want to do it for free because you were NOT solely responsible.

I've had a similar situation before, where a misunderstanding of responsibility left me having to respond to "I'll put it this way, if you don't take on responsibility of X/Y/Z, we will unfortunately have to look elsewhere".

I tossed and turned for a week with this question but in the end said "I understand" and allowed them to give notice on the contract. I provided them with the option of coming up with a new contract, but they were not interested and were quite blunt about it as well.

I felt awful about it for a couple of weeks because I felt I had done myself out of work because of pride, but with time I learnt that I did the right thing and one of the most important parts of freelancing/contract work is not selling yourself short.

They did actually come back to me a couple of months later but I had found other work and was no longer available. This was a defining moment in how I felt about the whole thing.


These are the reasons why I always demand a client's confirmation (!) that they reviewed and tested the final product before they declare it final.

In case they ever return to me (had not after I introduced this rule), no one ever returned to me complaining.

Now there are "overly busy" clients who tell me that they will test product later and still want to finalize the project. I accept but write them good 10 or more sentences why they should test and why they should not put the product in the "release mode". So if they ever return, I can tell them "I told you".

Now in this case both of you are wrong. However, I am not sure if they can sue you or something on the basis of oral agreement (I think it's valid somewhere).


As far as I would be concerned your customer saw what they were paying for, and still paid for it. All I would do is apologize, mention that you had gotten approval on the logo before releasing it, and offer to fix it. I would not refund them at all. They need to realize that your time spent is worth money, and if they mismanaged the project you are working on then that problem floats to the top. Like Peter suggested, you should set up an approval process with your clients. I'm a developer, so it may be a bit different, but most of my clients I provide a product, they asses it and either approve or deny it. If they approve something with an issue, I fix it at a charge. Human error is expected, and its known(especially in software) that there will be minor flukes which need to be ironed out. I charge all of my clients for any time spent on their projects, except initial consultation. If the company doesn't like it, they can find someone who's willing to eat mac and cheese for dinner every night.

Though I'm self employed, I am not a full blown company. I am a person, and if my client purposes that I do something that I know will effect my financial stability I will blatantly tell them that is not the terms on which I work. They will be charged for any time spent on the project, and if they don't like it they can hire someone less competent to deliver a product on-par with their ability to work with a third-party(poor).

As far a lawsuit is concerned, I personally wouldn't worry. Its likely not enough money to get a lawyer involved. And as far as I'm concerned there is no clear specification of what's expected from your service. If you have corrected the problem, then they have even less footing for a lawsuit.

Perhaps in this case I would fix the problem for free or at a reduced rate, but I would not, under any circumstance give a refund for something unless it was clearly defined from the beginning. I would also not work for free. I would firmly assert(politely) that they had approval, and that the concern is there own. It is simply insulting that they suggest that you refund them or work for free. Fix the problem for free or at a reduced rate, but anything beyond that charged them full price. They could very well be trying to exploit the fact that you are not a "business man".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.