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Advice needed!

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by maskell24, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. maskell24

    maskell24 Junior Member

    Hi Guys and Girls.

    I was wondering if someone can re-assure me, currently My hosts are having a few problems which started with a mass DDos attack now a Hardware failure. So to solve the problem to get the accounts up online i.e emails and everything else working they have restored a hard drive of about 1-2 months ago which has a clients site but has the holding page on.

    I emailed the client yesterday to tell her what the problem was and she has completely taken it the wrong way and wants a full refund of the website - not a problem if I had a contract but I don't! She is threatening me with a court case, this was last night via a text, whilst I was out with some friends socialising on a weekend (she picked a brilliant time to ruin my evening!)

    I think she doesn't quite understand that her website will be back online tomorrow a the the latest, so I can't see it being a problem, as I have notified her of the downtime.

    What do you suggest I do, I can't really afford to refund her the payments so far as I have had to pay the developer to develop the site, so this is really out of the question - again I don't think it would have been a problem if I had a contract and she had signed it. Its definitely something that I am working on now as I don't want a repeat of this again.

    Oh and I forgot to mention this is a client that wanted photo's done so I paid the photographer out of the budget for her to turn around and say that she doesn't like them after she gave me the instructions and showed me how she wanted photos taken.

    Thanks for any help in advance.

  2. Sunburn

    Sunburn Active Member

    Hey Liam,

    Tricky situation, as you have correctly pointed out a contract would have saved your bacon in several areas, although thats not possible now, I think the best course of action is damage limitation (reputation).

    I would suggest speaking to the client directly, over the phone, or face to face would be better, explain to them that the situation for the loss of the website is completely out of your hands and that the responsibility for the websites uptime is that of the hosting provider and not you. I would also reassure the client that the website will be back up and running shortly. If this doesn't resolve the situation then its time to face facts and play hard ball.

    Make sure you keep a recorded conversation, everything that goes between you and the client needs to be recorded, you may need this in a small claims court, this evidence will show that you tried to actively help the client in this situation, provide suitable solutions, and the level of accommodation you have gone to in order to appease the clients expectations and requirements.

    Ultimately this will never go to court, the client is trying to bully you, Stand your ground, you have no contract with the client, and all moneys where given in good faith, a gentleman's agreement if you will, so technically there is no legal binding agreement, to argue otherwise it would be like buying a bar of chocolate, taking a bite and then asking for the money back as you don't like how it tastes. You provided the solution, the client liked it and paid. At the very most, if your responsible for the hosting solution used, you could offer a refund on the amount of days not online per rata.

    ala if the hosting costs £10 per month, and site was not available for 24 hours refund - xxx amount as a gesture of good will.

    Keep us informed.
  3. Russell

    Russell Member

    It sounds like she's got the wrong end of the stick and thinks the website is lost forever. Short term best thing you can do is get it back running from your backups asap and let her know when it's up. A contract mentioning that whilst you may source third party suppliers on their behalf (hosting, printers etc) you are not responsible for any failings on their part is a must going forward. Having said that the lack of a contract in this instance works both ways. She has nothing in writing to pin the hosting failures on you and certainly no case for demanding a full refund.

    I tend to avoid offering hosting as part of a package for clients whenever possible as from previous experience it's more hassle then it is worth. As clients tend to automatically see you as their own IT department and expect 24 hour support, if their email goes down or something. If you do offer this than add an hourly rate to your quote for future web support (and make it a decent enough rate to make them think twice about contacting you for every minor question).

    Long term for this client I'd assess whether you want any future work from them (if offered). If at the first sign of an issue she is demanding refunds, this does not bode well for a future relationship.

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