I was doing a website for a client. They paid in full for the services and I didn't have any issues with the service/payment. He then later asked for additional work, which was not a part of our original contract. I agreed with an additional fee. He agreed. I completed the work and gave a run down on what I did. With the work being related to SEO, it's fairly difficult to demonstrate. But I did my best. He ignored my email, and the next and the next. I had also sent him an invoice at some point which had been ignored. He then one day emailed and said he was currently away but couldn't see any difference in my work. I replied showing where I had done the work and still expect payment. He did not reply. I then sent another email saying I was expecting payment. No reply. I emailed him and said I would give him until the end of the week or I would take action.

The end of the week came and I had not heard anything nor received any payment. Bare in mind it had been about 2 months since not receiving anything. I decided to log into the server and remove the work that I had done that he had not paid for. Not the whole website, just the additional bits.

I sent him an email saying I had removed the additional changes due to non payment and if he wanted to pay me for them I would happily add them back.

He has replied saying he's not happy and he will be taking legal action

He doesn't really have a leg to stand on, does he? No payment = no service. I've just taken back what he hasn't paid for. I never removed anything he did pay for, and I never accessed anything I shouldn't have. Does this access class as a breech?

update: We had a contract but the SEO was not included in the contract. There is a section of payment which includes a deadline for payment. They did pay that for the website. The contract says that once the website is complete then the service is complete. The intro to the contract also said the services were for the website build and no additional work. I mentioned in e-mail that SEO was not included and he was fine with this. So that was it and the website was complete. He paid for the service. Then he later asked for SEO in addition so we agreed on payment in email and I did the work using his account/pw as I previously did when working on the website. I feel like, technically there's no contract at all because the contract we had was only for the website service.

  • What country? I feel this is a location-specific question... – Canadian Luke Oct 10 at 16:53
  • Sorry. This is in the UK – OnlineUser02094 Oct 10 at 19:53
  • People can sue for practically any reason That doesn't mean they'll win. And in 99.9% of cases, it's a hollow threat to scare you, nothing more. – Scott Oct 10 at 20:21
  • Did you agree to any terms of payment and delivery? – Daniel Oct 16 at 14:44
  • Was it clear in the agreement if you had an obligation of results or an obligation of means ? – Harry Cover Oct 17 at 8:42

When they say they will take legal actions, then so should you. Get lawyered up!

I am not a lawyer and can not provide reliable legal advise. But I believe that it might not be a good idea to undo your work when you don't get paid. When the work is there and the payment is not, then only one party is violating the contract. When the work isn't there either, then both parties violated the contract.

When you do SEO work in the future, then it might be useful to document exactly what you did. This allows you to prove to the customer that you actually provided services to them. Make sure your contract says that you will do certain services, but not that you guarantee that these services will have a certain effect.

  • +1, Also make sure you put clear terms of payment and delivery in any future contracts. – Daniel Oct 16 at 14:46

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.