I have agreed for a mobile Application project where everything has to be managed by me only as development and programming designing concern. The only Designing part has been given to another freelancer.

We had a minimum of 10 calls in 3 months of period asking or discussion of the project and designing backend making Client understand the imaginary design and flow of the project. after all this discussion they have given me a small amount of payment.

Now all of the sudden getting calls from the client to refund the payment as things are not moving forward.

How can I handle the situation and make them understand refund is not possible and I'm also finding it extremely difficult to refund the payment.

The client makes fake promises to come back with new project etc etc.. but if they are planning for a second idea they will not ask for a refund.

There were no agreements signed, we just had word of mouth.

  • Was there any discussion or agreement surrounding the refund of payment at any time? Was the word "deposit" ever used? Or terms such as "payment for work thus far"? Basically what grounds can you, as the worker, see they client may interpret which would allow them to believe they are entitled to a refund? Especially if any of your time was used regarding their project. Some (bad) clients do not seem to grasp they are paying for your time, not for an end product.
    – Scott
    Aug 1, 2018 at 21:05
  • Have you signed a contract or other form of agreement? If so, what does that say regarding payment?
    – morsor
    Aug 3, 2018 at 6:23
  • No agreements signed. Just had telephone discussions, as they are not moving forward they need the money back. Aug 4, 2018 at 8:39

2 Answers 2


Did you and client execute a written contract? If not, it's a "he-said vs he-said." If they desire and have the financial resources to retain an attorney then written contract or not, their attorney can send you a Notice of Demand via Certified Mail - Return Receipt Requested. These are written to either just frighten you into issuing the refund or serve you notice required prior to actually filing a lawsuit against you. But before a suit is filed, they must consider your assets or lack thereof.

I've had this happen and it stopped when I paid my attorney $125 to respond to their CM-RRR threat letter.

My advice and I am NOT an attorney, don't let it worry you, hold your head high and see what happens. And if their phone calls are a hassle, the next time they call tell them you have no intention of refunding any money and you want them to stop calling you because you consider it harassment.

The vast majority, but by no means all such people, end up taking no legal action beyond paying an attorney to send the scare letter.

Finally, remember that if they do sue you, your attorney will advise you to let him file a countersuit. We've been down that road too. When they realized we were going to file countersuit, we never heard from them again.

I'm sorry you're having to go through this. The stress can be horrible if you let it.



From my experience freelancing, it sounds like a typical case of both you and the client lacking a full and transparent understanding of the scope of the project. Because if this, you’re probably going to find yourself doing a ton of extra work for no extra pay.

In order to resolve this current issue, I’d recommend speaking to them on the phone and addressing what needs to be done to resolve the issue. Let them know that a refund is not possible, but you’d be happy to deliver whatever it is they think they aren’t getting from you.

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