I'm a freelance programmer from Belgium and I have developed an application for an American client. We agreed on 800USD for the completed project. I finished the application and met all his requirements. We only had a verbal agreement about the project and we discussed payment dates for the project. I received 4 200USD payments over the course of two months, after which I sent him the completed product.

After I sent him the finished product everything seemed good. However after some days he said that it was unusable because switching between pages was "too slow". He demanded a refund because he said that he was unable to use it. In my opinion it was fine and I didn't see what was wrong with it.

Now he's threatening me with 'legal action' if I don't refund him the full amount, but legally speaking what can he actually do. Can he even sue me, since I'm 17 and live in a different country? And is it likely that he would be successful, since we never made any form of contract?

Any help is very appreciated, thanks!

  • 1
    Get all your contracts in writing. ALL. Even a chat history is writing. – Trish Jan 20 at 11:20
  • Just want to throw out that anyone can sue you for almost any reason. There is no filter on who can sue and who can't. The real question is whether they are likely to prevail. – JohnFx Jan 20 at 17:54

Since you are 17 years old, any contract that you sign is according to US law voidable by you or your guardian until some time after you are 18.

So if he tries to sue you, you can just void the contract and he has no leg to stand on. The money he paid you is just bad luck for him. He won’t have any copyright or license to use your code in that case.

BTW. You have a verbal contract which is quite valid. With no other evidence, any court would assume that the contract was that you delivered what you delivered, that he has a license to use the code, and he paid the money that he paid. If you void the contract, he has nothing.

  • Ah, that's good to know, but how would I go about voiding a contract? Should I address a contract termination letter to the client? I have absolutely no experience with situations like this. – sniffingpickle Jan 20 at 12:03
  • 3
    Is there a reason why this would end all OPs obligations but they would still have the right to leep the payment? – Studoku Jan 20 at 14:10
  • You are making a big assumption that US law applies to the contract - Belgian law is just as likely to apply. – Dale M Jan 20 at 20:59
  • 1
    This is an escalation and may not be the best approach with this kind of person. Since the requirements have been met, deliverable provided, and money paid contract is done. Playing this void business is resorting to their level. If they persue or get nasty, you have a lawyer put this approach in writing, assuming it applies. – crasic Jan 20 at 21:06

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