I was working on a project and I received a part of the payment from the client as a first payment, and did work on the project.. the client viewed the finished work but for some reasons the project is canceled... and the client is asking his money back, do I return his money or not?


  • T.b.c the amount I received was 50% of the full deal, I already returned 25%... should I return the other 25% or I keep it? May 18 '20 at 1:30
  • 1
    What's your contract state?
    – Scott
    May 18 '20 at 4:34
  • There was a receipt in those 50% that they are for the finished work May 18 '20 at 6:24
  • Did you already deliver the finished full work to the client? Please, add on your post if you did or didn't.
    – Jorge Luiz
    Sep 11 '20 at 17:58
  • @jluizsouzadev I did not give him his money back I just gave him part from the project worth what I got from him... Never work for free. Sep 11 '20 at 19:23

Since there was an upfront payment, I'm assuming there was some sort of contract or understanding at the very least. So, follow the instructions in the contract.

If there was no contract or the current situation is not addressed by the contract, it becomes less obvious whether you should refund money.

Many factors need to be considered in addition to any potential legal issues. How much do you need the money? How was your relationship with the client and do you expect more work from them? Can and might they hurt you financially in some way?

Personally, I would never give money back until the matter has been settled, as you will never get that money back. Having received money gives you leverage, which should be used fairly to get what you at least deserve considering the time spent.


So you did all the work but they did not like it. Was there a contract? If not you should do one moving forward. I would ask why they are just cancelling and what they would like changed. I would be concerned that they get the money back and they still used your finished project.

If there was a contract, did you meet the details of the contract if they were fleshed out in the contract? If so you should have a right to sue for the full amount. If they tarnish your name (leave bad reviews or something), that would be defamation of character in that case.

Like Morsor said though, is this a client you work with frequently and expect to continue working with? That is something to consider in whether you give the remaining 25%.

Keep in mind we are only general business consultants for our own clients and not lawyers; it may be a good idea to seek expert legal help by asking for a cheap or free consultation from an attorney to clarify our information


Based on the information the OP has provided, I would say the OP is entitled to full payment, unless the client has a credible reason for being dissatisfied. In general, when a project is cancelled, the contractor is entitled to be paid for billable work already done before the cancellation was announced (the details depend on how the charges are structured).

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