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Website develpment project 5 Month over deadline

3:27 pm on Mar 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Hello - I have a website development company that is creating a site for me, timeline was 3 Month, deadline was 26 Nov. 2013, still not finished, what can I do and is there a way to get my money back or the third payment reduced if they finish.

What would you do and this is not USA :)
4:03 pm on Mar 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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The obvious question- what does your contract say?

In our contracts we include well-defined deadlines and late penalties. We make sure the developer/contractee clearly understands that being late can affect us business-wise and that we need to be compensated in the case of the developer's fault. Deadlines/penalties apply to major milestones, not just the finished project. As the penalties may get to the point where the developer is not going to get any more money even if he does finish the project, include a termination clause so you can go on with your life instead of having it drag on for months and months.

The penalty needs to be severe enough so that they don't treat it as a joke. In our case, a project's 1st milestone was way overdue and it looked like he couldn't even complete it before the entire project was supposed to be finished. We ended up invoking the termination for cause clause of the contract and disputed the deposit that we paid with AMEX. When AMEX asked for documentation regarding the dispute, we sent a copy of the signed contract, highlighting the reasons for our cancelling the project that were the fault of the developer. AMEX had no problem with it and refunded the full amount.

This was basically a lose-lose situation- the developer was out his time plus the money he paid to a sub-contractor; we had to start over from scratch with a new developer, over 2 months behind our original schedule. (The contract also allows for us to pursue additional penalties against the developer, but we decided to just move on and put it behind us instead of spending any more of our time on the issue.)

Secondly, when possible, try to have the development done in module form, with usable deliverables at each milestone. That way, if the first 80% of the project is done before things fall apart, at least you have somethign more than 0%. Also, if the first deliverable goes behind schedule, it's a good indication that the rest of the project will fare likewise, and you can think about getting out early and finding someone else to compelte the project.

Going back to your OP, if you don't have a contract, then a lot is going to depend on your local laws. If you paid with a credit card, you *may* be able to dispute the charge(s) already made, but I'm guessing you are probably past the deadline to dispute.

Does it look like it will ever be finished in your lifetime? At this point, is any of it usable? Do you want to continue to work with the developer, or just cut your losses?
6:05 pm on Mar 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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votes: 73

Another point may be, have they provided you with a reason as to the delay. I have had developers run over schedule, and this is generally ok with me, as long as they keep me in the loop. Delays do happen. If they hit an issue that requires more time, I would rather they ran a little late as opposed to a buggy project.

3 months does sound a little over the top though. I hope you have some form of redress through your contract.


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