Blackmail by the client

Hello Community, I have been blackmailed by the client in such a clear way: Fixed price job were agreed for 40-40-20% milestones. The first 40% is a standalone, working layout, Second 40% is standalone back-end codding with WP-based site on output, and the third is live-server jobs. The fact that i did first 40%, successfully receive payment (40% from total amount), everyone happy. Then, due to a personal issues i have to postpone the project with client and he agreed for that, literally "i'm not hurrying, take your time". Few weeks ago client, through odesk support banned my financial account with all income. After non-professional work of Odesk support I've receive a response (withing 5(!!!!) days) that client reports me and i must contact him. By contacting the client he respond me with: ###### ... Now.. I will offer you 2 solutions: - you complete the job in 2 weeks - you refund the first milestone and keep your files, because this project is a complete failure due to your unprofessional management since the start ... ###### Wait a minute. Deadlines were not set, job were done and payed accordingly. This is a pure blackmail! I can also be that client, pay for a milestone, receive standalone job and refund money back. Profit! But if he didn't like my management he could easily switch to other guys considering first milestone completely done. Please advice what can i do. How can i deal with that client to prevent my 5-star account from becoming unattractive. Thank you!

Is this the job you started in April? That is the only fixed price job I see in your profile. If it is, I'd say the client has been pretty patient as it is now September. You do not say how long you have been leaving him hanging while you deal with your personal issues. If it is that long, I think you should have told him to hire someone else as you cannot get to it anymore. Did you tell him just how long you would be on hiatus? If not, you should have. Just my thoughts, without having the timelines, and only having one side of the story.

I don't want to sound judgmental but I think that client was more than fair in giving you these options, I mean either to refund and keep the right to your work or to finish the job within a certain time-frame. It is one thing when someone tells you 'I am flexible,' but I mean if it is this April job-come on-it is six months! Waiting for someone six months is not flexibility-it is a complete nonsense! This is not blackmailing-I think that client was more than considerate, based on the details you provided here.

I agree with Natasa M and Margareth P, it seems the client has waited long enough. I can understand things may sometimes hinder a freelancer from working but 6 months to completion is plain unacceptable (unless the client said its okay to take your time for 6 months). I actually have the same issue with some people I hired from certain areas of the world before. When I allow them to not deliver on deadline, they go MIA for weeks or months and won't reply to emails and yet expect that its okay. For me, when someone says they need time to fix personal stuff, I'm thinking several days up to a week. Maybe a month if they are getting surgery or there was death of a family member but 6 months is plain wow. I'm surprised the client is still giving you options. I don't mean to side with your client but from your narration it looks like you are at fault here.

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How long have you kept him waiting? You have 2 options, pick one.

Did you think, because the client didn't give you a specific deadline you could really go months and not finish? It seems you still aren't ready to resume the job, based on your own statement. Why should your client have any more patience with you? You're completely at fault here. It was your obligation to your client to let him or her know exactly how long you were going to be delayed. Personally, I suggest you refund the money if you're so worried about your 5 star feedback being damaged. However, I really think it would be better for the client to leave you the feedback you deserve. Maybe it will teach you to be more responsible. There is no logical excuse.

When you realized that it would be a long time before you could get back to working on the project, you should have explained this to the client and given them an idea of when you thought you would get back to work. You should have given the client the option to close the contract (you could have received good feedback based on the fact that the part of the job you did went well) and hire someone else to finish the job, or leave the contract paused till you were ready to get back to work. The choice would depend on the client's deadline.