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Hello ranters, I'm looking for advice in regards to a freelancing job which I haven't been paid.
In summary, I got a freelancing job in like March 2018, I had to do a simple platform with an administrator section, simple but "long", it had to be fully customizable, so I did it. I then got another project, which I also finished, both by December. I added some functionality not on the requirements and also some other asked by them, I also deployed both of them, tasks not included on the "contract". The problem is that I didn't sign a contract (my fault), it was all verbal. Since I was "friends" with them, I asked them to pay me with a motorbike (of around 2300 USD) and they agreed. Then they gave me another project which started wrong, they asked me to finish it within two weeks with a language I didn't know and other tools I also didn't know, I told them about this and agreed that could be a delay, besides, the requirements weren't totally clear and they were clarified three days after the project "started". After this, we had a discussion about how I later realized I was totally underpriced, that I hadn't been paid yet and how the dude that was like my main contact for the project told me that "my code was all nice and cool but was useless" because he clearly thought that an excel could be used as a database and din't know that I had to parse it and upload it to Firebase, which in total were about 4 million documents and this obviously took time. To not make it longer, I delivered the project 1 week later and they told me that they had to "assign" a full team of 7 members to do it from zero because I didn't deliver it on time and because when he asked me to "help them" I laughed. I first delivered like the 90%~95% of the project and he was been condescendent, he also blocked me from everywhere (hangouts, slack) and told me to "deliver what I had" to at least have something to prove that I did work. His team of "7 members" was stupid enough to not be able to at least run an npm install and npm run, they were also stupid enought to not understand what a GET request was an all and when he realized this, he asked me for the database dump and for the 100% of the project, so I also delivered it. We agreed that we were not going to work together anymore, so I asked him to pay me at least what had to be paid of the other two projects and he agreed, he also purchased a computer for me which I was paying him and was going to be discounted from the total payment. In the end, I was going to be paid 1430 USD. He asked me for my bank account and like my tax ID, for whatever he needed it. Since then, almost two weeks, he hasn't paid me, replied or even seen my messages. He also had a "partner" which was also "my friend", the huge motherfucker isn't even replying my mails or anything, so, since it was all verbal and they are being such motherfuckers, I don't know what to do. They are being such motherfuckers and I think I can't proceed legally, since there is no written contract. So what should I do? I was planning on going tomorrow but I pretty sure they won't even open the door or will tell me to wait or whatever. I seriously wanna cry, I don't get how people can be such dicks and unfair fuckers. I believe in karma but I don't think karma will give me that money and time back. :(

Comments
  • 0
    Do you still have access to your production code/database of current and previous project?
  • 2
    @Floydian I do, I think. One of them for sure, the other one i lost it when I formatted my pc. Why?
  • 3
    @bennythecat96 Nuke it.

    Or even better:

    Replace all images with a static path..

    Static path should lead to your server.

    Let them use it for a while as it. And once they forget about all the fuss, change the URL of those images to dick pics via static path.
  • 2
    All ways have a contract
  • 2
    If you have the money or an legal expenses insurance I would contact a lawyer. At least to discuss this case with someone who knows the laws in your country. If the lawyer thinks you can win in court I would sue this guys. At least in Germany the term verbal contract exist and you can refer to such a contract in court.
  • 1
    As you still have the source code, it might be enough to proof you have done something for your client. As people don't work for free, you might have a better position to claim money.

    Verbal contracts are legally binding but not easy to enforce.
  • 3
    Imho dirty people call for dirty methods, a legal case will take ages, if it will even have any success.
  • 4
    Where I live we have these specialized collection agencies that you can hire to collect your money if a customer doesn't pay. You are already on wrong foot with them so I suggest you write them a formal letter, providing an overview of the work you did and give them a couple of days to pay, demand to be payed!

    If you still don't hear anything,.get a lawyer, go see if you can sue them for violation of copyright. YOU created the software, you own the copyright. If they don't pay, they are not entitled to use your software for free. Don't know how the law is back there but I would make them bleed in a lawful way.

    Don't hack or break it. You'll be at risk because if you intentionally break shit they might sue you and you may end up having a criminal record.
  • 1
    @CodeMasterAlex couldn't agree more. This is the way to go. @bennythecat96 don't do anything shady. As the saying goes "two wrongs don't make one right". It will only turn back on you. These guys had no scruples about throwing you under the bus... They'll do that again and deleting their prod database or injecting dick picks makes you the easiest target ever.
  • 1
    I agree with @Floydian's solution. NUKE IT.
    But do it before its too late. Neither of you have any contract to sue the other hence he would be obliged to contact you and ask for forgiveness for his mistakes.
    Sometimes "YOU HAVE TO BE" the KARMA. ;)
  • 1
    Draw a line under this event and count it towards experience and wisdom of how to do things differently next time.

    I wouldn't waste any more energy on it, as it is likely to get you nowhere but wasted time and money.

    If you take things further, you risk violence and worst against yourself (False allegations for example.), not worth the risk in my view.

    Been there myself, so passing on my wisdom !

    Good to hear your story, so we can all learn from it.
  • 0
    If money is a concern, do a crowd fund plea for assistance and I imagine some of us will throw a few dollars your way to help you out.
  • 1
    @swappy if I was that company and @bennythecat96 implemented @Floydian's solution, I'd drag him to court and tell the following sob story:
    - We were on good terms and trusted him. Also time pressure, thus no written contract
    - We had a mutual agreement, obvious due to him delivering a working product
    - Then he started making unreasonable demands, threatened us, kept the code "hostage"
    - We just did the right thing and tried to stick to the original agreement
    - Boom, dev retaliated. Abused his access codes, hurt our business badly
    - We never received the calls or emails he claims
    - His POV is very doubtful. He nuked our prod systems/injected dick pics, which is a clear sign he's irrational
    - Emails can be fabricated. Since we just established he's irrational, they probably are

    As I can afford better lawyers, I'd win, keeping code *and* money. He'd probably have to pay the legal costs and maybe damages. On top of that his reputation would be ruined.

    Revenge is so not worth it.
  • 0
    @VaderNT lol what's the proof that I wrote the code or nuked your production?
  • 0
    @Floydian Good question, depends on the setup (in every sense of the word ;)). Access logs with enough detail, probably.

    I mean, what I come up with is beginner level, because I don't scam people for a living. Not saying this company does, but professional scammers do know how to cover their ass.
  • 0
    @VaderNT so why not just replace things with dick pics? Causing no harm but damaging their identity.

    I mean what are they gonna tell the judge? 'OP change the pics to dick pics because we did not pay him?'
  • 1
    No no no. Don't do what @Floydian suggested. You'll just get dragged into court where they could claim you hacked their shit. Not good.
  • 1
    Well first of all keep code, and if they don't pay you, you should take full advantage of that code. I don't mean to put "dick pics" or anything like that. But publish code in some format (to git, blog post, etc).

    With this way you get more publicity as developer what help you to land a job, but don't exposure that you have done it for client or client company name / friend name, those just brings useless problems.

    You can ask your "friend" if he is willing to buy code from you within xxx time but if no answer will come it's your product so you're free to do with it anything.
  • 1
    > it's your product so you're free to do

    > with it anything.

    I think that is somewhat dodgy ground, they could claim it is their code because they paid for it..

    Eg. they may suddenly pay for it, or just claim they already did so. (Perhaps verbally..)

    Perhaps with a fake receipt..

    It's not necessarily a bad suggestion to publish the code, just I could see ways that could go pear shaped.
  • 0
    I'm reminded of this like for like example:

    https://dailymail.co.uk/news/...
  • 0
    @Nanos Yeah but as I said he could put line when it needs to be paid, and if they don't pay at to that time it's contract violation.

    And if they fake receipt and get caught for it, they would be in so big trouble that I don't see any logical person to do that.

    Yeah but true, all what OP can do in this situation is next to problems, so safest way to handle is ignore case and learn from it.
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