The claimant (I will call her “Mandy”) had an idea for a new business.
Mandy had a day job with a large equity investment company, but she spent many working hours thinking about her idea.
Her idea sounded to me like a business plan for a new Silicon Valley investment venture. Her idea was shifting and changing. It was uncertain in her mind.
It was “her dream in progress”.
Mandy decided that she needed a website. She placed an ad on the bulletin board of a local graphic art school seeking a “freelance web designer”. She outlined her idea to the first person who answered her ad. I will call her “Jan”.
Jan appeared to me to be a mild and quiet but rather inflexible person. She was not articulate in English, as it was not her first language.
Jan’s only issue at their first meeting was to set her fee for the website. She asked Mandy for between $3,200 and $4,600.They settled on a fee of $4,000, payable in four equal installments. Mandy paid Jan’s fee in full over the next four months.
A letter drafted by Jan simply set the fee. She described the project as “Project Mandy” without any other description in the letter.
I asked Jan if she understood what Mandy was asking her to do. Jan replied that she thought that Mandy was outlining other work unrelated to the website.
Jan took no notes at their meeting and did not think that Mandy’s ideas were relevant to the website fee.
After more meetings, Jan still had no text or any other of Mandy’s details (her proposed logo, photos, clippings).
Mandy said that she never received a website proposal from Jan.
“There was nothing I could use. I was devastated and demanded my money back”, she said.
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