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Help! Client dispute over M2 project

Help! Client dispute over M2 project

Hi Community,


Hoping someone can help here, I have a dispute with a client who is trying to get out of paying of some or all of a pending invoice I have with them. Without going into too much detail the project has been fraught with big M2 delays, everything from early versions crashing, extensions not being available, incompatibilities, 3rd party themes not being ready or buggy. A whole host of issues which caused both myself and the client to wish in hindsight we had stuck with M1.9 the more mature platform. Lessons learnt for sure!!.


Anyway my dispute is the client has decided to call it a day when I'm many hours into our phase 2 development of the site and potentially doesn't want to pay my full invoice. We are now just about to go into phase 3 the final testing phase ready for launch. Literally so close.


His reason is that his new developer has claimed "they want to start from scratch and said its too hard to try and pick up where you'd left off, and try to learn your style" therefore he should be able to not pay me the full amount because he has to start again from scratch.


What I dispute is that the above statement is false and would like some backup from the experts here, we have specifically conformed to all Magento 2 development strict guidelines and what we have done has been fairly straightforward. For example:


  • We have used the Ultimo base theme and extended it using a child theme using Magento 2's guidelines
  • We have used extensions only from certified Magento developers, and extended those also using the child theme
  • At present there has been no bespoke extensions written. Everything I have developed has been part of the child theme extending quality 3rd party themes and extensions we purchased

The way we have worked above has always been explained to the client, so he understood the fact that working like this has economical benefits by using 3rd party extensions and the way you extend them is universal and certainly prevents "developer lock-in" and would easily be able to be worked on my a new Magento 2 developer that was worth his salt.


Too add insult to injury I have already written off and offered not to invoice for all the Magento 2 related early issues which have been put down to learning experiences with the new platform. So even though I have literally 230+ outstanding hours on the project, yet still trying to keep honest to estimates and only invoice 60 hours for this phase loosing a fortune in lost time.


I believe the client may have jumped ship and going to use the older M1.9 platform instead, which could explain why no code from the current project could be used. I will be able to establish that eventually when the new site appears. 


However the client and I came to a joint decision to use M2, so I do not feel that reason is justified to not pay for whats outstanding if he decides to change at a later date and if he did stick with M2 the work that has been done could definitely be used.


I have plans on how to recover the costs, so do not need business advice. Just would like some feedback from experts that the statement that the project would have to be started from scratch when it fully conforms to Magento 2 development guidelines is completely false.


Thanks & Happy Christmas! Carl






Re: Help! Client dispute over M2 project

Hey Carl - sorry to hear about that man - that's brutal.  I know you said that you aren't looking for business advice, but I'm not sure there's a way to answer the question in purely technical terms.


I'm sure it's possible that the client could have gotten the advice from another consultant that they should start over on the project if it isn't going well and you've run into lots of M2 bugs.  If you don't know whether or not they're going with another platform, it's even more impossible to know whether they're doing this for business reasons or purely technical reasons.


Little bit of self-promotion here but one of the things that I've considered doing is trying to help mediate situations like this through Commerce Hero.  Not mediating in a strictly legal sense, but just in the sense of having an independent 3rd party that is deeply familiar with Magento and the ecosystem come in and give an objective opinion, and also let both parties know that if they're doing something unfair, unethical, or unprofessional, there will be consequences to their public reputation.


I hear about these types of situations where a client does something super shady and it's really sad.  And of course I'm sure they have their own side of the story - so it's not always black and white.


If that's something you'd like help with, let me know.  Not exactly sure what it would look like but open to exploring it and if nothing else bouncing ideas back and forth on how to best address this.


Best of luck!

Re: Help! Client dispute over M2 project



your situation is commonplace. Do you have a contract? Contract is a must-have in your business.

What I am doing with projects bigger that $5k is that I pay $300 for a lawyer to compose me and a client a good contract. Contact should include every detail.



Re: Help! Client dispute over M2 project

I empathize with your situation regarding the M2 project dispute. Your adherence to Magento 2 guidelines and use of certified extensions speaks to the professionalism of your work. The client's claim of starting from scratch due to unfamiliarity seems unfounded, given your standardized approach. Your offer to waive charges for early issues displays your commitment. Since the decision to use M2 was mutual, payment for the remaining work appears justified. Even if the client switches to M1.9, your work's quality remains. Wishing you a swift and fair resolution.