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Thread: Trying To Get Paid

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Trying To Get Paid

    I finished a small website for a customer (about $750.00) and for a couple weeks it was uploaded and active despite me not having been paid. Well after the customer didn't get back to me when I sent him an email about getting paid, I took the site down and re-uploaded the old one. Well he got pissed and wrote me and after making excuses why he couldn't get back to me, he had the nerve to ask how I was able to take the site down seeing how he changed the username/password of the hosting account. Well fortunately for me he didn't touch the FTP info so I was able to take it down.

    Anyway, now he is demanding I re-upload the site and remove my FTP abilities and prove it to him with screen shots. And he's now calling my FTP access "unauthorized" and "illegal access".

    So in order to get paid, I'm supposed to upload the site, remove my ability to take it down, prove it to him, admit it was "illegal and unauthorized" and then...then he'll pay me sometime next week.

    Am I wrong in not going along with his wishes??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Ntrimgs View Post

    Am I wrong in not going along with his wishes??
    It would depend on your hopefully written agreement with him regarding the service you will provide and the payment requirements and any overriding laws in your country.

    It's obviously too late for this situation, but what I normally do is ask for a 10% deposit on their giving me the go ahead to do the work and the balance normally paid on completion of the work but prior to uploading.

    During development I offer to show them the progress so far either on my laptop or on a separate designated area on my personal website if they want www access during development.

    When the client is happy for their web site to go 'live' on the www I ask for the balance of the payment, or at least up to 95% (depending on the size of the total c0st) and after receiving that payment only then do I upload their website to their chosen web $erver.

    Finally, do you know a good lawyer?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Good on you Ntrimgs. Keep it down until you get the cash, at which point put you can put it back up. If the guy still refuses to pay you, then take it as a lesson learned to require a deposit, move on and ignore all his requests until the one where he agrees to pay you in full immediately (not tomorrow, next week, or in installments). If he likes your work enough, then he'll pay you, just like he said he would at the beginning of the project.

    Personally, I wouldn't even put it up if he offered to pay me half now and the other half after the site is back up. After all, you've already proved yourself more than trustworthy by letting him have a free website for a couple of weeks and he has proven himself less than trustworthy by not paying you.

    Stick it to him.

    P.S. I've had to do this before as well. It's amazing how fast you get a reply once they realize their website is no longer online.
    I've switched careers...
    I'm NO LONGER a scientist,
    but now a web developer...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    I did put on the invoice "payment upon completion" but he is trying to tell me that completion of the website is total upload and removal of ALL my FTP access. I told him that I would be crazy to do that because I would lose all leverage and security in getting paid and he countered with "I told you I'd pay you, that's all I should have to say".

    But what really burned my a$$ was when he called my FTP access "unauthorized and illegal". I had about enough of that. I did take a deposit though of $168 but this is the type of guy that will try to take me to small claims court to get it back.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I can't give legal advice in an environment like this since I don't know what country you are in or what your local laws and legal options are regarding your situation.

    But in a very general sense:

    1) unless you actually defined what 'completion' meant in your hopefully written agreement/contract/quote you gave him prior to commencing work on the project, then it could be a grey area.

    2) imo your options include:

    a) doing what he wants and hope he pays up. If he doesn't, take him to small claims or whatever to try to get him to pay as long as the c0st of going to small claims is not high in proportion to the balance of payment that he still owes.

    b) dig your heels in and withold his website from the www until he pays or takes you to small claims and they then decide the outcome.

    c) get independent legal advice from a local lawyer who knows your local laws and legal options.

    Either way, maybe use this as a learning experience and be more clear (in writing) in what you will provide and when and when payment(s) will be due in future jobs. The aim is for you to keep control as much as possible of the progress and finaliation of the project.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by tirna; 06-24-2010 at 08:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Such non-payment cases occur frequently to small start-ups and to free-lancers. The reason is simple. They would presume you would not fork out the monies to go to court to sue for those "small" payments. The court-related fees and your time does not worth the effort.

    It is always an uphill task for small start-ups and free-lancers. Even those agreements you may have drafted and signed between them and you are not legal-binding depending on your country laws.

    In my country, we have a Small Claims Tribunal courts to handle such cases. But in all scenarios, small start-ups and free-lancers are always at the loser end. It really need some great luck and timing for some companies to pay you and from there build on subsequent friendly connections and business. That lucky break is always needed.

    In my country, we sometimes like to seek fortune tellers for advices to improve our luck and for business lotsa luck in our business dealings.

    Lastly I hope you finally get your payment. Let that person conscience bite him in his latter life or what I believe as karma. Best of all, let that person experience non-payment from his customers to let him feel the pain he is inflicting on you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Ntrimgs, don't move a muscle or even talk to the guy until he agrees to send you a cheque. $750 is not a lot of money, $582 is even less. If he can't come up with it to get his new site back online, then he's never going to come up with it.

    If he takes you to small claims court to get his $168 back, then let him have it. He still doesn't have the website that he agreed to pay you $750 for. Remember to state next time that the deposit is "non-refundable" and you won't have to even worry about this.

    I would stay clear of negotiating with this lunatic, though, and just do nothing until you are going to be paid in full.

    This thread burns me because I HATE these people who think they can hamstring little guys. These people think they can 'outsmart' you, but in fact they're just committing theft and are total crooks.
    Last edited by aj_nsc; 06-25-2010 at 10:28 AM.
    I've switched careers...
    I'm NO LONGER a scientist,
    but now a web developer...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    NW Washington State
    Bummer that you are getting ripped like that. You own all the development effort (not the content) until you are paid for it, period. How this turns out for you will be a life lesson....!
    In the future, get yourself a written contract and don't operate without one. This a very cheap set of forms that you can purchase and then customize for your situaltion:
    I use these written contracts for all my customers. It will add a professional touch to all your potential jobs, Web design, hosting contract, change orders, etc. Don't do business without them.
    I typically get 1/3 down to start a job, 1/3 after wireframe (all pages and navigation, but no content), and the final 1/3 BEFORE going live. Don't give your work away. Asking to be paid will instill respect in reputable clients and help you identify deadbeats, like you've run into.
    Best wishes,
    Eye for Video

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