A client attempts to evade payment from a programmer, so they decide to pursue legal means to be compensated for the work they did.
We often hear people asking others to go ahead and sue them, but people rarely take up issues legally. However, Reddit user u/Hot_Cryptographer552 was forced to take the legal route when a client refused to pay them for the work they had done. The man shared that he had a 40-hour week working as a programmer. He picked up smaller projects as a side hustle from smaller clients. They write, "At one point, I was referred to a large company that runs major stadiums and event venues around the country (one of their stadiums is relatively close to where I live)."
For the rest of the story, he refers to the company as "MARK-1." The manager at the company informed the man that they wanted a simple administration database for "employee timekeeping." They wanted it as their previous system was not working well for them. He writes, "I got details of what they wanted and drafted a set of specifications. Told them I could write the system to the specs for a $2,000 flat rate. They agreed."
The programmer got down to work and came out with a finished product along with documentation in two weeks. He then scheduled a meeting with the company to showcase the product to them. On reaching the meeting, he was requested by someone from the security department at the company to add some more features, to which he readily agreed. He further shares, "So I went back, wrote up a change request and incorporated the additional features into the platform."
He attended a second meeting with MARK-1 only to find out that there were more people in the audience and they wanted more features. He mentions, "So I left, wrote up a CR and added the features. A few days later, I met with them again. Imagine my surprise when the audience size had grown and the new attendees asked for more features." Shockingly, this was repeated for five rounds of meetings and he began to get frustrated seeing a two-week project being dragged out over many months.
Sometime later, he receives a call from the MARK-1 manager asking for many more features. He told her, "This is a complete overhaul of the original spec. I'll have to redesign and rebuild this from the ground up." Shee rudely responded that it was not her problem. The programmer refused to make changes unless he was paid for all the work that he had already done. Hearing this, the manager said, "Well, we're not going to renegotiate. You can consider this project canceled."
He reasoned that that was not how it worked and he needed the payment. She said, "No, I don't. You haven't delivered anything. Sue me." He decided that he was not going to let this go and filed a case in the small claims court to recover $2000 from MARK-1. On the day of the hearing, he was greeted by an arbitrator who inquired if there was any amount for which the individual would drop the case. The individual said, "If they'll pay me 90%, $1,800, right now, I'll drop the suit."
The manager arrogantly said that they would "pay it all or pay zero." He joked that they would be okay with taking it all, but the arbitrator informed them that they wanted it to go to trial. The trial began and the judge asked the manager from MARK-1 to explain her side. She began to go on a very irrelevant rant for roughly 30 minutes. The judge turned to the man to hear his side. He figured that the judge probably heard people talk a lot and decided to be direct with him.
He said, "Your honor, they agreed to pay me $2,000 to design and build a software system for them. I completed the work based on the agreed specs and then they decided to cancel the project after I was done." The judge asked for proof of work and he produced a ream of paper that contained all the evidence. Following this, the judge asked the manager if this was true. She did not have much of a response except to agree and the judge ruled the case in favor of the programmer.
A month later, the individual still had not received payment from MARK-1, so they called up the country sheriff. The sheriff threatened the manager and she quickly complied. The individual got the $2000 check in their mailbox soon after. People loved the story and put down a few suggestions in the comments section. u/joppedi_72 said, "Always write into your contracts that any changes or add-ons outside the agreed specs come with a price tag, especially when agreeing to a flat rate."