Mandy vs. Jan – Decision

Their arrangement was a mismatch and a mistake.

Jan did not understand what Mandy wanted. She believed that Mandy’s ideas were about work other than the website. Mandy wanted a collaborator on her website, which Jan was not prepared to do.

I said that the case should be resolved by the return to Mandy of some portion of the fee to Jan. I said that I was prepared to rule on the case at once, but I was concerned that any judgment would hurt Jan’s ability to borrow money for her school tuition. I also said that if the case was not settled, Mandy would probably have to engage a collection agency or lawyer to collect my arbitration judgment.

I suggested to both of them that they instead negotiate a fair settlement, with reasonable payments over time and with stiff enforcement “teeth”, allowing Mandy to enter judgment for the full fee if Jan did not pay any installment.

After some discussion between them, the parties agreed to settle the case by splitting the $4,000 fee in half. Jan agreed to pay Mandy $2,000 in two installments.

Do you agree?


9 thoughts on “Mandy vs. Jan – Decision

  1. The comments point to the core fact that there was no agreement between the parties about the content of the website. I had to decide how much to give back to Mandy.

    However, the parties had said that they wished to settle. I decided to leave it to them to decide.

    In this case the arbitration process was converted to a settlement conference, giving the parties the power to shape a settlement according to their own needs and interests.

  2. Based on the information given, I find it difficult to believe in Jan’s basic honesty. The work of a designer is to help an often inarticulate client develop a vision. Language shortcoming is an insufficient excuse for not being able to present a few schematic alternatives. Perhaps at the arbitration table they presented themselves as both being hopelessly naive. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take four months and collecting a $1000 check each month for Jan to realize that she could not do the job. At the most, I would have strongly recommended that she pay back $3000, allowing for one month of her attempting to understand the scope of the work.

  3. I disagree. There was no work done and they should have called the whole thing a draw with money returned to Mandy. A decision based on how a decision against Jan would affect Jan in the future should have zero bearing on the case and decision.

  4. This is indeed a “messy” situation. However, Jan was to have provided the architecture and content basics for Mandy’s website. After the second meeting, she should have advised Mandy that the “content” was not adequate for presentation on a website and given Wendy notice that she could not continue on the project and work out a separation agreement at that point. Without Jan altering Wendy’s expectations, she is at fault for not delivering on the intent of initial agreement, albeit a terribly worded contract.

    I would have decided 100% return to Mandy and advised her not to move further into her venture until she developed it to a point that her mission could be communicated and easily understood by potential clients.

  5. I think the full fee should have been returned to Mandy.
    They are both Novices. No thought process between them. Both wasted equal amount of time.
    They were both at fault-Mandy shouldn’t have continued paying $1,000 each month for 4 months without receiving any proposal or design within the 4 month period.
    As for Jan the only pen to paper she wrote was for her $4,000 fee calling it project Mandy. No description or details of the project.
    Jan didn’t produce any project, ideas or design to warrant 50% of the fee.
    Also having gone through an Arbitration case myself. I was sent the decision (in my favor) in the mail. It included instructions regarding how to collect payment. If the payment wasn’t received within 60 days, I was instructed to contact the sheriff, send a copy of the Arbitrators decision to him. The sheriff will pick up the check in full payment and send it to me by mail.
    I had to utilize the instructions. It went exactly as given. At no cost to me.

    • I feel that MAYBE 50% is a fair amount Mandy should be paid. Not Full amount because she was a novice . If you are going into business, should you not check person and read all pages before you intend to do business with before submitting any monies to this person.Obviously she didn’t.
      Mandy on the other hand paying this money to Jan I can’t imagine her doing this without some kind of productivity from Mandy and she is considering going into business?
      How about a BUSINESS 101 for Mandy?


  6. I would not have awarded 50% to the web designer, Jan. As the web
    designer she is also responsible for doing the coding and uploading of
    whatever ‘content’ the site’s owner either provides or agrees upon with
    the designer. It is by nature a collaborative effort. As a graphic arts student this is common knowledge. It sounds like Jan provided a web site structure with very little agreed upon content. Such a structure would consist of a series of blank pages with just a headline. I don’t feel that warrants a payment of $2,000. Sounds like Jan did not bother to fulfill the minimum required for a web site.

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