Designed a website two months ago and have only been paid half...

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by orangeillini14, May 31, 2009.

  1. orangeillini14 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2008
    Hey guys, I'm looking for a little bit of advice. I've designed a few websites for this particular client before and haven't had too much of a problem with him before.

    We agreed on him paying half of his payment before I give him the files and then once I receive his first payment I send my files over. Once that's done he sends his second half of the payment and everything is good to go.

    This time he hasn't followed through with his second payment and it has been two months. His reasons for not being able to pay usually have to do with something similar to:

    "I'm still waiting on my partner to pay me for the second half..." or
    "The site is going really slow and everyone is busy."

    I have now asked him to borrow money from his parents/friends/unicorns/whatever has money because this is getting out of hand.

    He responds to my emails within a day or two or sometimes not at all.

    What should I do? He is well aware that his payment is overdue and that he needs to follow through with his portion of the agreement.
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Make sure your correspondence is all up to speed and clear records kept. Even an agreement to do this or that by email counts as a contract. Take local legal advice on recovering smaller claims.

    In future, hand over nothing until you're paid in full.
  3. orangeillini14 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2008
    Next time I work with this guy (if for some reason I decide to...) I'm going to have him pay everything before I even start doing anything... :rolleyes:
  4. blaster_boy macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2004
    Not sure that there is much more you can do except take legal advice on what you can do.

    If he uses your work without paying in full, you can ask (via lawyer if necessary) to retract your non-paid work from his site; but you'll have to prove it !
  5. durruti macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2004
    direct action gets satisfaction

    sounds like you got stiffed.

    My advice, take direct action.

    if u have access or who knows maybe u know the people that work the server or something, maybe they will help you out. Considering u only got paid half, you should make the website only half functional.

    alternatively, make life as difficult as possible for the person who hired you. Call them, email them, basically go out of your way to bother them.

    Try and find out who their 'partner' is and talk to them directly and find out what's going on. Use that information when proceeding, but don't reveal that information until it is the right time.
  6. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    Whenever I am not paid or pay is slow I get a lawyer to draft and send a letter of demand generally that gets action and fast.
  7. the vj macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2006
    I had a client who was a kind of crazy, after a year he asked me for a quick job for a client of him. I did it and then he keept the money and never paid me back. That was this year and I still in rage.

    I had another one like that last year as well.

    Obama said once and I believed him: do not be naive.

    Nor, create a conflict.

    Tell this mother ****er for a dead line. When are you gonna have the money? you know I am driving a business and I can't wait for ever and I already gave you 2 month in good will.

    Put him against the corner very gently, or he either pay you in a week or he won't pay you at all. At least you will know.

    Then... do not be naive next time, this person seems problematic and the worst thing in business is having a bad experience.

    Read this carefully because this is a fact: no contract or agreement can advoid some one with a bad will. If some one wants to screw you there is not contract in the world who can protect you, they will find the way.

    I live in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is our president, he is the most disgusting person ever, he have been cheating for 10 years now and his culoture of cheating, being corrutp and all that is taking effect in the Venezuelan population, even people who are opponent to him are equialy nasty. The man who asked me for the job and never paid me, after I spoke to his boss he got promoted.

    So, do not be naive, precise that bastard, be smart in how you do it.
  8. Macrovertigo macrumors member


    Jan 25, 2008
    I agree with those who suggest that contracts and Copyright protections are all well and good, but that it is entirely up to you, the injured party, to enforce a contract or make US Copyright Law of 1976 really work for you. One thing you can do, is inform the other party's webhost that the "unpaid-for" files they are hosting as his associated website are part of a legal dispute - the webhost may ask your client to resolve the situation immediately or they may simply pull his site. (IMHO if the terms of the contract are not fulfilled and the client is stiffing you, then they of course do not have clear conveyance of any Reproduction Rights that allow the client to use your work in any way.) When you look for a lawyer to send this client a letter, ask the lawyer about apprising the offending client's webhost of unauthorized use of your creative property. If you are a working artist of one sort of another you may be able to avail yourself of the services of a "Lawyers for the Arts" kind of pro-bono inclined lawyer. At the very least, look up some DIY references and compose your own letter, then begin slowly directing your energy back to productive subjects once more.
  9. Griffter macrumors member


    May 28, 2008
    Exeter, UK
    What country are you in, that makes quite a big difference.

    I can speak only for English law, where you can pursue the amount in the small claims court.
  10. bluetooth macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2007
    It's already been said, but always, always, make sure the payment is received in full and funds varified before handing over any files.

    You may find that clients such as this have every intention of paying you but once the files are in their hands, paying you becomes a low priority that is beneath a pile of several other small business priorities.

    My advice would be to keep sending tactful emails, perhaps once a week, for a few more weeks, then try dropping by the place of business to speak with the client directly. Most people will find it a lot more difficult to make excuses when apprached face to face about an agreement.

    That's my advice but everything stated above me is also sound. If you are interested in retaining the client, try to remain patient and tactful in your approach. If you have done business in the past and not had any problems, my geuss is what I stated above, the client has just put your invoice on the back burner so to speak.
  11. nightwolf macrumors member


    Oct 4, 2005
    Ontario, CANADA
    I never saw a penny and I paid for name and hosting for one year.

    So don't feel bad. Don' get mad... just get even.. But at a later date when no one suspects anything!
  12. Andrew K. macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    Always draft a contract, that way it protects both of you and you won't run into any trouble like this.

    I learned that they hard way, $140 hard. :(:mad:
  13. MonoSeed macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009
    You by chance don't have access to his FTP do you? Were you testing the website at all? Sometimes a site can go "down" :)
  14. Andrew K. macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    Ohhh good idea, he would be well within his rights to shut it down til the other half of the payment is made :)
  15. mac88 macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2008
    Boston, MA.
    Shut it down! Show them who the boss is. They'll pay.
  16. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I wouldn't go nuclear.

    1. According to you, this client has a good record of payments, and mostly replies to your emails quite quickly. He has already paid you half. That's good compared to some cases out there. 2 months (60 days) is a bit long, but again, it's not all that long a delay. It's worth taking gradual steps here.

    2. It doesn't matter what his problems are with his partner / his unicorns are, his responsibility is to pay you the second half. His other problems are none of your business.

    3. Send him a formal letter in the mail (and another copy in email) requesting payment of unpaid fees. Keep it short and polite and formal. Outline at the bottom what will happen if he doesn't pay: you will charge him interest on the fee (maybe 5% per month) , and continued refusal to pay will result in you seeking the closure of the website and the return of your files.

    4. Keep it polite, professional and constructive - remember, what you want is for him to pay you AND to come back and pay you for more work in the future.

    I have a few friends who take this approach, and it does help. One said he often has to charge late payment fees, and what happens is that on receiving notification of the extra fee, his clients always pay the original bill, but never the extra fees! He's happy with that though, it's a result.

    It does seem that you've been accepting unprofessional excuses to delay payment. Perhaps this client is a personal friend of yours?

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