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  1. #1

    Unhappy Never ending contract

    Hi! I really hope someone here can help me.

    Last March I agreed with a local IT consulting firm to do some Web development work for a local business. We agreed via txt message to develop a system worth 50 hours worth of work. It sounded like a great way to make a bit of extra cash in my spare time, but I soon found the consultants didn't really have a clue what they were going.

    I received a 'spec' via email, about 10 requirements, each requirement about a sentence long. After doing the work, the local company came back with loads of issues, where the real nuance of the application had failed to be captured in the short requirements.

    I'm a textbook people pleaser and I've been working most evenings and weekends for just over a year now and everytime I think I'm close to getting out of this hole I've dug myself, they keep coming back with reasons why it isn't right. The local business is not technical in any sense and very difficult to communicate in any detail with, and the IT consultants have had very little involvement at all. It's ballooned massively from what the spec says and I don't know how to get out. Honestly I'm too much of a wimp to confront the agents

    My main problem is I don't know where I stand legally to get out of the 'contract' which I was stupid to agree to via txt, but honestly expected them to provide me with a contract or something to sign. It's only after a while I realised the text message WAS the agreement. Can anyone offer any advice on what I can do? I was paid a deposit, but honestly I don't even care about getting paid the rest, I just want to find a way out

    I am grateful for any advice anyone can offer.

  2. #2

    My post count is Majestic

    northernladuk's Avatar
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    In this situation I think a text response along the lines of `**** off' is quite measured and reasonable.

    I'm serious as well. They've taken the piss out of you big style and they don't have a leg to stand on. If you aren't bothered about the money just tell them to do one.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    In this situation I think a text response along the lines of `**** off' is quite measured and reasonable.

    I'm serious as well. They've taken the piss out of you big style and they don't have a leg to stand on. If you aren't bothered about the money just tell them to do one.
    Or quote them an hourly rate for all future work.
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  4. #4

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    You agreed to the original requirements.

    Check them against their reasons why they say it doesn't match.

    I bet the reasons they gave are not in the vague statements. A specific statement,about a vague statement is a change of requirements.

    Politely point this out. You need to differentiate between something that simply doesn't work ie. it crashes when they select one of the web pages, and statements to the effect of it isn't the way we thought it should be.

    All you have to do is demonstrate why your system satisfies the original vague requirements and then inform them that you have spent more than 50 hours and you are ending the project.

    Think of this as an analogy. They say they want a TV so you give them a TV and it basically works, then they say the screen is too small, and it's not the right colour. As long as the TV delivers a picture and sound, the contract is complete.

    The next time you do a contract like that, draw up some screen shots and write an acceptance test specification. A 50 hour contract will have a very short test specification that will fit on two pages.
    Last edited by BlasterBates; 19th March 2019 at 22:27.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuckInPurgatory View Post
    I was paid a deposit, but honestly I don't even care about getting paid the rest, I just want to find a way out
    Dear god, to put it bluntly, they might not have saw you coming, but once you bent over, they've been feasting ever since - what an absolute sh!t show!

    How much was the total £ for 50 hours, and how much have you been paid??

  6. #6

    More time posting than coding

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlasterBates View Post
    You agreed to the original requirements.

    Check them against their reasons why they say it doesn't match.

    I bet the reasons they gave are not in the vague statements. A specific statement,about a vague statement is a change of requirements.

    Politely point this out. You need to differentiate between something that simply doesn't work ie. it crashes when they select one of the web pages, and statements to the effect of it isn't the way we thought it should be.

    All you have to do is demonstrate why your system satisfies the original vague requirements and then inform them that you have spent more than 50 hours and you are ending the project.

    Think of this as an analogy. They say they want a TV so you give them a TV and it basically works, then they say the screen is too small, and it's not the right colour. As long as the TV delivers a picture and sound, the contract is complete.

    The next time you do a contract like that, draw up some screen shots and write an acceptance test specification. A 50 hour contract will have a very short test specification that will fit on two pages.
    Exactly this.

    If you've fulfilled the contract, then that's the end of the matter - invoice and finish up. If you haven't, then get to the stage where the requirements have been met and then invoice and finish.

    If they want to make future changes, then they need to document that and then quote accordingly (and make sure you factor in your past experience when you do that!)
    I'm not fat, I'm just fluffy.

  7. #7

    Contractor Among Contractors

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    Quote Originally Posted by StuckInPurgatory View Post
    ......
    I am grateful for any advice anyone can offer.

    I've got some work I need done. Here are the reqs

    Web App that does ....(To be decided)

    I'll give you £100 now and the rest once it's done.

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