Can we get a refund from a web designer who did not their complete work?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can we get a refund from a web designer who did not their complete work?

We hired an agency to work on both a website and marketing and branding
package. The designer sent us four separate SOW and no SOW was ever signed
or fully agreed upon. We’ve approached her several times about her lack of ability
and time to complete deliverables. We terminated her and are asking for a refund.
She has now sent over more invoices for hourly work though her SOW proposes a
monthly retainer. We’ve paid her for two months and a deposit for a web site.
Can we get a refund?

Asked on June 22, 2016 under Business Law, District of Columbia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unless she actually breached her contract or agreement, then you are not entitled to a refund and may have to pay her for other work she did, but which you did not yet pay for: if she wasn't in breach of some material, or significant, obligation, deliverable, deadline, etc., then even if you had qualms about her work, she was entitled to be paid (e.g. on an hourly basis) for the work she actually did or time she actully spent--when someone does work for you which you requested, then even if you opt to terminate working with her, you still owe her for what she did.
Only if you can show her breach of a material contractual obligation might you be entitled to a refund (or to not pay for as-yet unpaid work which she did), though if she does not agree with your assessment, you'd likely end up in court, having to prove the breach.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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