Folksy Ltd

Customer has cancelled a (non-Folksy) order - can I do anything?

I had an order for 13 of my papercuts from a company. The person I was dealing with wanted to see the designs before I started to cut, so I did two (there were 6 different designs required) and emailed them over. This involved doing two of their logos, which were complicated.

In all, I spent at least 8 hours working on this, only for the customer to email me this morning and say they were no longer required, as someone above her had decided on something different.

I have an email saying that they’d like to order them, but can I do anything about the 8 hours I’ve wasted? They’re not likely to require anything further, and although I’ve called them ‘customer’, they’ve not bought anything before.


Not sure what you can do (legally) as you didn’t have an actual order in your hand.

However, it sounds like you have instructions in writing that they needed to see samples of your work before they placed the order. In that case, I think it’s totally reasonable for you then to invoice them for the work that involved. They DID order samples. You’ve an email trail, plus you can confirm they’ve received the work. Hence, it needs paid for.

I’d just invoice them with wording along the lines of “As per Ms X’s instructions, samples were prepared. Time taken 8 hours @ £x per hour. Total invoice = £XX”

Don’t send it to HER. Send it to the accounts payable department of her organisation.

I do a lot of bespoke work and don’t lift a finger until they’ve accepted my quote and signed and returned the contract to me, along with the deposit. Sure, I might not get some jobs because I insist on following this procedure, but those are the jobs that would likely bail out on me after I’m halfway done, so I stick with it.


Hi Nykie
I agree with Lois @Bees And Blossoms that you had been asked to supply samples which the company should realise would involve work being done and they should expect to compensate you for this, however if they refuse your recourse in through the small claims court which you have to pay a fee for and is time consuming. If they refuse to pay up then maybe you put it down to experience and in future email a contract over before starting the job.

Keep your chin up.


agree with the above posts.

In future though you should inform potential customers that for sample’s will cost x amount to be paid before starting and is non returnable if no order is placed.

You can then if you like state that orders from samples will receive a small discount if you like.


On a legal note, it is not necessary to have a contract written, signed, sealed and delivered before it is deemed to exist “in law.” What you need to prove the contact exists is “documentary evidence.” The samples and the e-mails you have received might (and I say might) amount to that. You are dealing with a company, not a consumer, so consumer protection legislation, which deals with the position where a consumer changes their mind, does not apply and the company will be quite aware of that. They are bound by the rather strict rules of the Common Law (Contract Law to be more specific).

I’m not suggesting you should threaten court or anything of that kind, but you should adopt a tough stance with them. You have relied on their representations, and that has cost you money. Don’t just leave it as they will see you as a soft touch, which will damage your reputation.

Write a letter explaining your position and outline the sum that you are prepared to accept for making the samples. They may reject it outright or they may decide to negotiate a smaller price. You don’t have to go to court, but the knowlege that you have documentation may give you some leverage.

If you can’t get them to budge, then put it down to experience.

Also @EileensCraftStudio is quite right about having terms covering samples. Most people won’t offer them for free nowadays, so people do expect a charge.

Sam x


A delayed ‘thanks’ for your replies. I sent an invoice for the work done but no dice. I’ve learned my lesson…

I know what I would do next, send an updated invoice with an extra 2 or 5% charge for late payment of invoice.

It that doesn’t work I’d send a recorded delivery letter with all evidence to the Director stating that unless the invoice is paid in full within 7 working days it would be past onto a debt collection agency.

That usually gets things moving pretty quickly as it impacts on their credit ranking.

Also the Debt collection Agencies take their money from the debtor but adding extra money to the invoice. It shouldn’t cost you a thing other than the recorded delivery letter.