Question posted in the General Law category relating to KwaZulu-Natal
I do freelance writing to earn. I have a PR client (KHC - Kendal Hunt Communications) who pays me R200 per hour. I am not permitted to turn work down, even if I am overloaded as they become increasingly aggressive “I am your client, you cannot say no!” attitude. It’s easier to simply work insane hours than deal with the fallout…
Kendal asked me to quote on an extra project per hour – website copy – and gave me a comprehensive list of what she wanted done and for me to quote my hours alongside each item on the list. I was instructed to ‘bill in fat as the client is fussy’. It came to 93 hours.
Kendal said that her (very new) client couldn’t afford 93 hours, and she really needed this client, so please to requote? Because it was a list, I asked Kendal to tell me how much she could afford and then to decide from the list what she wanted me to do for her budget? No, she wanted the entire list at a reduced rate and said the following: "Please however in the meantime bear in mind that is THE CLIENT’S budgetary constraints which are the main concern and why I asked you to review – NOT KHC’S".
I requoted, dropping my hours from 93 to 65 with the proviso that this was underquoted for amendments, corrections etc. In an email she agreed to the quote as the client had accepted and told me to proceed and that she would actually give me 2 extra hours (!) (67 hours in total)
Well, I finished the work and billed her for 61 hours (not 67 hours). She then asked me to validate my quote and itemise time against each section of the quote that she had already agreed to and that the client was willing to pay.
QUESTION: does this make sense and is it permissible to ‘negotiate’ a quote after asking me to requote, accepting the quote, (adding to it) and then withholding payment until I validate my hours?
To my understanding, a quote is binding and to the benefit of both parties if completed under time and delivered within the deadline? (I delivered on the day of the deadline) and charged less than agreed to.
I genuinely believe that as the client accepted my quote, she added her services to it (and they accepted it as one lump sum) and she is trying to take away from my billing time so that she can get more of the payment than she quoted for her services.
Information provided by client
Answer to the Question
Hi there and thank you for your question,
I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.
You are 100% correct in your views and your understanding of how quotes work, when they are accepted, and the effect that it has as a binding agreement.
What you have is an agreement as to the hours of the work, and the price per hour, and what work you will do for that price. I have absolutely no doubt that you have the right to stick to the price you quoted, which was agreed upon, and you must demand payment in full.
There is no need for you to now, after the fact, to explain which hour you spent doing what work!
Issue a summons out of the small claims could if you want to, or send a letter of demand calling for payment of the balance.
If there is a part of the answer which you need more advice on, or clarity please continue in this same thread instead of opening a new question.
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