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Client is trying to sue me for non-agreed work. What to do?

Dear Upwork community,

My name is Stan, I am web designer based in Canada. I have got some issues with one of my clients recently that make me really upset. The client is threatening me and trying to sue me because I am not doing the work we have not agreed on. I can tell you the whole story here in order to get the full understanding of how it all began.


First of all, I signed a contract with a client named **edited for Community Guidelines** several months ago to help him to improve the project he was working on. We have agreed that I will make a logotype for him, make a re-design of his website in Photoshop (about 10 pages of design), and make a couple banners that will be included in Photoshop design, and finally, as the last milestone we had a "CSS minification and JQuery bug fixing" which means that I have to clean up the CSS coding file to make it more readable and usable for the future; and the JQuery bug fixing had to be done on one of the pages on his existing website. Those were all the milestones we've agreed on during the initial stages of the project.


After I have done all the work relative to logo design and website design in Photoshop along with banners, the client decided to take a different path. The client is now asking me to develop 10+ pages of the design I've done in Photoshop along with "CSS minification and JQuery bug fixing". The development of 10+ pages was not part of the contract as we've agreed that I will improve the design of the website and will help him with a couple issues with CSS and JQuery. That's it.


Right now, the client threatens me that he will get me to the court if I don't develop the pages we have not agreed on. I have all the messages related to the project and the messages with him telling that I will "get hurt" and that I am "acting like a fool", etc. There is a full history of messages that can tell you a whole story about this project.


Moreover, the client also decided to reorganize the milestones by himself in order to get what he wants, but the initial milestones and agreement tell a completely different story in terms of requirements.

I would like you to help me to resolve this issue as soon as it is possible as the client is trying to sue me and he is threatening me with telling me that I will "get hurt"! By the way, do you think I should end the contract or wait until we resolve this issue?


To conclude, I am ready to deliver the last milestone with "CSS minification and JQuery bug fixing" that was initially set as one of the milestones. However, I am not ready to do the work we've not agreed on.

Thank you for support,


First of all, breathe. It's highly unlikely anyone is going to sue anyone over $150. Realistically, the worst this client can do is write you a nasty review. 

I assume you've contacted Upwork support; they may or may not resolve the issue in a reasonable manner (they tend to favor the client) but since the client actually threatened you they should take some action. Best case he pays up and you never hear from him again; worst case you're out some money and never hear from him again. Even a bad review can be overcome in time. 

Also, I'm sorry this is happening to you. Awful clients can really mess with your head. The best thing to do is end the relationship as quickly and professionally as possible and forget about it (and I promise that it gets easier to do so over time). Good luck!




If I were you I would not give him nothing.  He is going to give a nasty review anyway.  You will just have to eat it.  If you have given him stuff walk away or go to to mediation then arbitration. If you believe you are right - call his bluff/  It will cost you $300.  But if he does not pay his portion you get your money back + whatever is in escrow.  You can also give your own response to his nasty feedback and hope for the best.


As Isis said, take a deep breath and relax.  He won't sue you.  Layers in Canada are expensive too.

Community Manager
Community Manager

I'm sorry to hear your experience, Stan. I checked and can see that you already have an open ticket regarding your issue, and the team has escalated your concern for it to be reviewed. I'll follow this up with the team so that they can get back to you the soonest.

~ Avery

Stan, you first wrote "We have agreed that I will make a logotype for him, make a re-design of his website in Photoshop (about 10 pages of design)"


Then you wrote "The development of 10+ pages was not part of the contract as we've agreed"


So is it 20 pages total the client wants? Or is the first statement incorrect, and you didn't agree to re-design 10 pages, or is 'development' of 10 pages not the same as 're-design' of 10 pages?

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce



Sounds like he was to make a 10 page mockups of a new site in Photoshop; now the client is asking him to develop the actual pages.


At least that's the way I read it.


End the contract. Threats are criminal in nature. If he's paid you refund his money have upwork refund the fees they charge you. Don't provide squat. Good luck with upwork they live the clients just like odesk. I had to hire a private investigator to find a company when this was odesk to get a restraining order on a client that basically wanted me to spoof ip addresses so he could automate an illegal function with classified ads. Yep got a bad review. But no big deal. Oh and that review was never removed even with all the circumstances. But I learned a ton. Good luck with upwork helping you!
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