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Advice on cancelling a contract

Hello freelancer community! 

I'm looking for a bit of advice on whether I should cancel a contract and what kind of fallout there may be on my end or for the client that I may not have considered.

I have been working with a client for a few weeks on a new project for a fixed rate. The project was initially relatively straightforward and we agreed on the terms. I am realizing that I should have been much more specific and will use this as a learning experience (this piece is 100% on me, but I felt with good communication we should be ironed out).  Since then, the project has ballooned out with extra pieces that have been discussed recently the client wants included within the work (in addition to a large amount of background research that will be required on my part). I provided this client with an updated estimated timeline including these additional pieces of the work and asked them if they were willing to revisit the terms of the contract because the added pieces will be at least another 50-60 hours of work on my end. 

This was not well received. The client told me they were very frustrated by my suggestion to revisit the terms and that they were clear about the details from the outset. I certainly disagree with this as the communication has been very poor, they tend to cancel meetings as they are supposed to start, and they have not detailed the extent of their expectations even when asked outright (again, next time I will break down every item much more deliberately from the beginning). I've had wonderful experiences with many other clients and regularly update them once we get deep into the work, outline what is required to successfully accomplish the work, what milestones are needed for the overall project, and suggested updates to the contract if they are required. As such, I was completely thrown off when this client reacted so negatively to my suggestions as the work unfolded and the requirements became clear. 


Further, in recent meetings, the interactions have been very unfavourable and they simply seem to disagree with my approach for the work and continually underestimate the time it takes to complete portions of the work, despite my frequent updates on estimated timing. 

At this point, I am fully prepared to simply cut my losses, cancel the project, and offer the client a full refund. After a few weeks of these interactions, I feel the working relationship is quite negative and our respective interpretations of the work seem completely divergent. The client seems very inflexible and even if I complete the work (with no extra pay) the working relationship seems quite damaged. The last thing I want to do is be disrespectful to their time in any way or derail their work plans by stepping, but I am very willing to support a transition and share all my work with them even if I don't get paid. Any thoughts or experiences to share? 


Further, I currently have a 100% JSS, which I assume will be negatively impacted. Will this also impact my reviews or are reviews not given if the contract is cancelled? I have read different info when searching through the community posts, so any direct insights would be highly appreciated. 


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and leave any thoughts, perspectives, or feedback. 


Thanks all!!

Community Member

re: "Further, I currently have a 100% JSS"


Don't let that 100% JSS score turn into chains that prevent you from doing what is best for yourself.


Your primary goal here SHOULD NOT BE to maintain 100% JSS.

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