I wanted to get some processing work done so I hired a freelancer for the same

Before the contract started, I clearly mentioned 8 key things I want the code to do.

I deposited the contract amount in an escrow account. For some reason, the freelancer rejected it. He wanted me to pay him via PayPal (perhaps to reduce service charges)

He managed to do 7 of the 8 points of the contract. The last point which he did not complete was extremely critical. If that point wasn’t fixed, the project was as good as useless.

He refused to work ahead and wanted me to increase the contract amount by a substantial amount outside my budget which was a clear disagreement to the initial terms.

How to deal with such issues. It's been a quite some time we have had a chat. He isn't demanding a compensation for any work since he never delivered any code to me. I don't want to continue the project. What should I do? He isn't expecting any money for any work since there's no mail regarding any such request from his side for the payment. Is it ethical to forget about this and go ahead in life?

  • I had the same issue. The coder created something that didn't solve the problem. Quite a technical solution to a non-problem. It was useless, he was very unhappy and he DID demand payment. In the end I asked him how much he wanted and asked him to be truthful about how much work he had done. I worked out a way to find a use for the software in some other capacity. I paid him nowhere near the full amount. I asked a friend to review and he said although it was clear to me what I wanted, it was not clear to the developer, so that swayed me somewhat.
    – Eoin
    Aug 14, 2018 at 19:20
  • 1
    @Eoin: There is a saying: Weeks of Programming can save you hours of Planning - unfortunately this is quite true in a lot of cases. So when you employ remote freelancers, always make sure you you invest some time on initial planning with them, even if it seems an extra burden at first.
    – Daniel
    Sep 6, 2018 at 9:31
  • I do, I thought I had been very clear. I my example case I wanted a responsive iFrame, which I now know is impossible. But he made the width responsible. Somehow he used s tonne of JS for this. I usually achieve the same with CSS only. I'm not sure if he was deliberately shafting me but the code was pointless. His question was "should I work for free" my thinking was "what have you actually done here?" Honestly, if that was me, I would probably have accepted it was my own lack of knowledge that caused me all that work. I just deleted all his JS and did something else with the container.
    – Eoin
    Sep 6, 2018 at 9:51

3 Answers 3


Short answer: no code delivery = no payment. If he is not asking, why worry ?

From your description, the faulty is more him, making you waste time by promising a solution then "blackmailing" you.


I think it's ethical if done with good intentions. Finding a solution that benefits both sides would be ideal.

Presumably the guy would complete the work if capable.

Could you take the work to another coder to complete, and find a reasonable sum to reimburse the coder for work done? This is perhaps tricky, if for instance the critical function requires rewriting the rest.

Perhaps deducting from the fee the cost to have it completed by a third party?


Don´t just let it slide. He can still come around with demands later. Better put a clear end to it.

If possible I´d suggest you have a talk and reach an mutually acceptable solution.

First, you should try to understand where the problem lies. Don´t blame! It could be bad communication on your side, hidden complexity, inability on his side, personal circumstances etc..

The Situation is as it is, but it can help you to at least take a learning out of it.

Then see what/if something can be salvaged, and what the compensation could be. Possibly meet somewhere in the middle? Possible to hand over the project to someone else?

If the other party is not open to reach such a solution, you should at least give the an ultimatum, something like:

Please provide the contractually agreed functionality until < reasonable time frame to react > or I will consider the contract void and any obligations/payments arising out of it void.

That way you, if you don´t hear from him, you at least have made your case. IF he does not object it can kind of be counted as agreement.

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