homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.205.59.78
register, free tools, login, search, subscribe, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Subscribe to WebmasterWorld

Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Domain Names
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: buckworks & webwork

Domain Names Forum

This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >     
Domain Ownership Controversy Arising From Website Development Agreement (Verbal) With Non-Paying Client
MattyP




msg:3898712
 3:46 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I did a website for a "friend" on a verbal agreement, and he did not meet his part of the agreement. I sued him to collect what he owed me, and I lost because we did not have a written contract.

However, I own the domain, and now he wants it back. He had some guy call me wanting the domain transferred to him. I told him no, and he asked if they could buy it from me. I told him it was not for sale at any price.

Am I within my rights as the domain owner to hold out on it?

 

IanTurner




msg:3898726
 4:00 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I believe that you are within your rights to hold on to the domain - but I would check with your lawyer.

Technically you could probably put the entire website back up on the domain and run it as your own - as you should have a statement in your terms and conditions that rights in any software you produce do not pass to the client until full payment has been received.

LifeinAsia




msg:3898747
 4:27 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Am I within my rights as the domain owner to hold out on it?

IANAL, but I say yes. The lack of written agreement works both ways- he has no written agreement showing that the domain belongs to him.

I told him it was not for sale at any price.

Unless you have plans to develop the domain in the near future, I'd sell it. No reason to hurt your pocketbook just to spite someone. Use your spite to hurt HIS pocketbook. :)

Just make sure the price is greater than the original amount you sued him for, plus any court expenses, plus a more than reasonable amount for your time/effort. Plus an extra amount for the spite. :)

Webwork




msg:3898754
 4:33 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Whilst our members are most helpful and intelligent all the usual caveats apply. [webmasterworld.com]

[edited by: Webwork at 4:34 pm (utc) on April 23, 2009]

MattyP




msg:3898759
 4:36 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just got an email from him threatening to sue me if I do not turn over the domain by this Monday, saying I am damaging his business and that I fraudulently obtained the domain and am using it for personal gain and to damage his business.

My response was "YAY"

MattyP




msg:3898764
 4:38 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, I know, I am not posting any relevant info or domain names, I did read that while browsing threads

LifeinAsia




msg:3898788
 4:57 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just got an email from him threatening to sue me if I do not turn over the domain by this Monday

If you want to fan the flames, ask him to send you a copy of the WRITTEN CONTRACT between you showing his "ownership" of the domain. :)

Webwork




msg:3898822
 5:29 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am not posting any relevant info or domain names

Well . . as someone who lawyers a bit I might view what you posted thusfar as enough to identify you . . unless it's all a fabrication, such as you didn't get the email you described, you didn't sue him and lose, he didn't have a friend contact you . . .

Nice fact trail, lots of clues for anyone to find in this public forum.

Webwork, Esq. (My other day job)

MattyP




msg:3898838
 5:43 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not the least bit concerned about being "identified", I have the truth on my side. I was referring to not identifying the other party. I have the documents sitting right in front of me from the court case I lost, just yesterday. I've said nothing in my posts that I would be worried about coming back to haunt me.

Webwork




msg:3898846
 5:51 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not saying you should be concerned, nor that you have said anything that might hurt you . . on this board . . unless there are statements you made on the record . . or in other ways/means that might be contradictory . .

These things have a way of sorting themselves out. I'm just pointing out how the sorting occurs.

Depending on your jurisdiction and local procedural court rules and judicial principles/practices, if your "friend" did not counter-sue for possession/control of the domain, (apparently not) he may be SOL under some local version of "mandatory joinder of issues" or "single controversy" (single lawsuit to settle all troubles) rules.

There are always exceptions, but like cans of worms, unless you open yourself to the granting of an exception by post-action admission, by statements that contradict sworn testimony or pleadings, by "new evidence", etc. you likely are on safe ground.

OTOH, if you keep digging you just might unearth some worms. :P

[edited by: Webwork at 5:55 pm (utc) on April 23, 2009]

Slinger




msg:3898849
 5:58 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm pro spite! Keep that domain and dont give it up unless you are handed a court order to sell it.

I bought a domain name of someone just for spite (it was her actual name.com)and she tried to get me to get rid of it and she failed. I still lease it today! [Begin Evil Laugh Here.......lololololololol)

Webwork




msg:3898857
 6:09 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ahem . . . Forgive me but I'm about to go into "your old man" mode just a little bit. Sorry, but I now qualify. My son is 23. I'm old. :P

Slinger, for you we'll allow a 1-off for the evil laugh-effects, but really - truthfully - we like to maintain a professional culture in the forum. Doing things "for spite" is pretty far down the scale of professional conduct.

Bad karma also.

Just so we're all clear, there are good reasons and bad ones for acts we take in our roles as service providers. As long as I'm the moderator here, I'm sorry to say to those who advocate "other darker paths", we're simply not into it. Posts advocating dubious motives, dubious behavior, etc. are routinely edited or removed. And yeah, I get that sometimes a screwing leaves one wanting to return the favor, and not getting paid for an honest day's work sure has that "getting screwed feeling". Still, the OP had his day in court. There is likely a lesson to be learned and the price of the lesson included not getting paid. Been there. Done that. Not everyone is to be trusted.

And yeah, sometimes I just wanna reach out and . . . do bad things too. But, as someone who has acted as an attorney for 27+ years, I can solidly affirm that spiteful behavior/attitudes and vengeful ways tend to be the hallmark of careers and lives in decline. Invariably you are better off taking the high ground. Let the jerks live their jerk lives. Don't mirror them. Walk away and let them sink on their own. Move on. Move on and upwards.

And I am NOT saying the OP or you are jerks. What's good for the goose may be good for the gander. No written agreement -> no payment? No written agreement - no domain transfer. Sounds fair.

Slinger, give the girl her domain. Move on. Move up. If she's a no-good it will come back to her in ways neither you nor she can imagine.

[edited by: Webwork at 6:25 pm (utc) on April 23, 2009]

MattyP




msg:3898871
 6:33 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

First of all, I am not a spiteful person. I gave hime every consideration and more than enough opportunities to pay me what he owed me before I filed a suit against him. But at the same time, I don't take lightly to being screwed either. The judge told me if he had to make a decision, he would probably rule in my favor, but he ruled on the simple fact that we did not have a written agreement. Yes, I know, silly me, get it in writing, hard lesson learned. I agree with webwork, it would seem to me like if I lost my case because of not having an contract, why should he win his case without a contract? Only problem is, I am unemployed and broke and I am facing this battle on my own, because I can't even afford a consultation with a lawyer.

Webwork




msg:3898890
 6:55 pm on Apr 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

MP, my comment was not directed at you but "at the thinking" suggest by Slinger.

Slinger is probably mostly a nice guy . . like most of us are . . 'cept sometimes. Me too.

The only one who is really nice all the time is Buckworks, my co-mod.

Then again, there was that time when she broke the sound barrier driving a Mustang convertible . . .

Sorry to read about your hardship MP. A pre-trial consult might have been helpful. There are certain rules than can apply to help someone succeed where there isn't a written contract. Varies by facts, jurisdiction, etc.

davezan




msg:3899471
 11:15 am on Apr 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Am I within my rights as the domain owner to hold out on it?

One thing I learned is that unless any specific, applicable law says so, rights
are only as good as one's ability to enforce them, especially if others do not
agree with it.

However, I'll tell you that whoever is the domain's listed registrant and paid
for it is considered by its registrar to be its current owner. OTOH, that can
always be challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.

It's the other party's burden to demonstrate their claims. Unfortunately you'll
have to defend yours if you're eventually called upon to do so, and if they're
able to show theirs to possibly the judge's satisfaction.

David

kaled




msg:3899626
 2:14 pm on Apr 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

1) What country are you in?
2) Is the domain name (more or less) the same as his company name, assuming he has one? If yes, he may have rights.
3) How much work was involved? (Hours, days, weeks).
4) Briefly, what was the nature of the verbal agreement. If it was simply as crude as "If you do a website for me I'll see you right later" then probably neither party has any rights over the other. However, if any money did change hands, in some countries that might be used to argue that a contract existed.
5) When you sued him, did the judge rule that no contract existed, or did he rule against you on other grounds - this could be critical.

If you use the website/domain-name in a manner that could be construed as deliberately damaging, you may fall foul of the law and/or terms of service of the host. It's always better to take a profit where possible rather than be obstinate for the sake of revenge.

I once inquired about purchasing a trademark from a company that wasn't using it. They set a price I thought unreasonable and I said so. However, they then threatened to sue me for their costs because they jumped the gun and instructed lawyers to begin the transfer. Some people are idiotic and like to make threats!

Kaled.

bwnbwn




msg:3899771
 4:14 pm on Apr 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Me I would quote him a price he owed me plus all expenses in the suit plus all time I spent on the mess he could have avoided by paying the fee.

Say he owed ya 3,000.00 add another 2,000 for time spent and offer him the domain name for 5,000.00 Add no negotiating the price; final and only offer you will offer.
You get your money and rid of him. If he refuses you made him a offer.

Also add since you have no need for the domain name you are putting it up for PRIVATE auction if he doesn't meet your offer.

That should stir something and since there are some hard feelings here I would set up (if he takes the offer) to do the sale at a bank, attorney's office were the CERTIFIED CHECK and domain transfer are executated.

grelmar




msg:3900206
 6:13 am on Apr 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

If this guy is a "friend" and he stiffed you, then he's likely the kind of guy who has left a trail of wreckage behind him, including other p-ed off business.

It shouldn't be too hard to find some of those businesses, especially if he has competitors.

Notify as many of his stiffed creditors and competitors as you can than you're going to hold a public auction for the domain. Make sure it's "public" in the sense that it's at a physical location where the deadbeat actually has to sit in a room full of people he's ticked off.

Good chance at least one of them will be more than willing to run the price up beyond the willingness/ability to pay of the guy who stiffed you.

The event is likely to get you some cash in the pocket, and serve as a public flogging of the guy who stiffed you.

And in the meantime, if the domain name is tied to his business/personal name, make sure your 401 redirect it to a BBB site of some variety.

Yes, I was evil in a different life.

hannamyluv




msg:3900349
 12:42 pm on Apr 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is it trademarked? That's important too.

It is one thing if it is a domain name that is pretty general or not trademarked. But if it is trademarked, a whole other set of rules apply to the domain.

incrediBILL




msg:3900531
 5:54 pm on Apr 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

You had no written contract, it burns both ways.

I would give him the domain name if he pays what he owes you, plus legal fees and interest, and not one minute before.

fathom




msg:3900588
 7:38 pm on Apr 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I did a website for a "friend" on a verbal agreement, and he did not meet his part of the agreement. I sued him to collect what he owed me, and I lost because we did not have a written contract.

However, I own the domain, and now he wants it back. He had some guy call me wanting the domain transferred to him. I told him no, and he asked if they could buy it from me. I told him it was not for sale at any price.

Am I within my rights as the domain owner to hold out on it?

I'm normally one for standing on principle [at all costs] but I also believe OJ got away with murder... the ex-friend already cost you "twice"... and ego usually makes things grow out of proportion.

What is the domain worth to you?

From what I gather in your response... "$10.00/year"

What is it worth the the ex-friend?

You sued to get what you were owed... now you don't want it?

You'd rather the headache of going to court "again" at all costs to do what?

"Stick it to 'em"?

Better make sure you have the "dream team" because going to court is rarely about right or wrong... the better story from the better attorney is where you should place the bet.

Be that as it may... sometimes "doing to right thing" is better than standing on principle. IMHO.

extra




msg:3900596
 8:12 pm on Apr 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with hannah. And maybe I did not read the tread good enough, but I can`t see which country you are in and I guess there is different rules in different countries as well. A trademark for the same name could be an important issue.
In my country we can't hold a ".contry ID" if we don't have a company that have same or related name to the domain name (exept if you have a trademark). ".com/net" etc is no problem.

taasinge




msg:3900780
 4:23 am on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Keep your eyes on the ball. Or, in other words, keep your focus on the central facts.

The worst you can do to others isn't to give them a bad treatment, but to trick them into doing something bad. This dude played an ugly trick on you. Do not allow him to perform a worse one by making you behave like the spiteful person that you are not.

But I have to say that there is something in grelmar's idea which appeals to me...

MWpro




msg:3900797
 5:06 am on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm going to throw my two cents in here:

-I kindly request that you stop saying "verbal agreement" when you really want to be saying "oral agreement." A verbal agreement is simply an agreement involving words...

-This may be moot for you now, but I feel that it needs to be addressed. There is nothing wrong with oral agreements, they are enforceable. However, you must be able to prove the existence of the oral agreement. Were there no emails, partial payments, invoices, etc that you could have used in court to show that there was an agreement? Was there any acknowledgement of any kind that was in writing?

-But anyway, see this as a lesson: get things in writing, even from friends.

-You are most likely safe from a future lawsuit regarding this particular incident, as claim preclusion will probably bar him from bringing his claim since his claim would involve the same transaction/occurrence.

tangor




msg:3900823
 6:53 am on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Most likely the matter has already been settled in your original lawsuit. He denied the contract, therefore he can't come back against you on that same topic.

You might not be able to afford a lawyer, but there are legal aid organizations that might be of benefit IF the other fellow decides to pursue.

Be on top of it, of course, but there is, usually, a bit of time available (due to court schedules if nothing else) to prepare.

While this forum is NOT a venue for legal advice there have been many good suggestions made about possible responses. And, as you have discovered, even if you lose a court case the world continues to spin, or even if you win...

callivert




msg:3900922
 11:48 am on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Most likely the matter has already been settled in your original lawsuit. He denied the contract, therefore he can't come back against you on that same topic.

That's what I thought too when reading this thread. A court has already decided that there was no contract between the two parties. Therefore, it seems like a non-starter. Domain's yours.

greenleaves




msg:3901138
 9:11 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

That's what I thought too when reading this thread. A court has already decided that there was no contract between the two parties. Therefore, it seems like a non-starter. Domain's yours.

Not if he had trademarked the name of the domain before the domain was purchased (say xyz trademarked, then bought xyz.com)

If you are going to ask for money for the domain, be sure to do it over the phone. So far no paper trail, so don't put one out that can hurt you.

Also, I agree with webwork, you shouldn't have made this post. When dealing with courts, the less info you put out, the better, since that give less things that can be twisted.

savvy




msg:3901219
 12:31 am on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just my 2cents but...

It sounds like your angry that you were ripped off, which if you were is fair enough.

However, from my experience the best thing you can do now is to give him the domain and walk away. Nothing negative you do now is going to produce a positive result.

Strapworks




msg:3901241
 1:08 am on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just don't get these Karma people, sorry but most nice people keep getting screwed by those in the world that like to take advantage of others. You need to have your wits about you and be careful. Now, I am not saying you should screw other people yourself, but why in gods name would you just give over the domain to the guy after he told you to take a hike and so far he is benefiting.
You should keep the domain, if his "partner" still wants to buy it than give him a price that covers what you are owed, legal costs, and a little extra for your trouble, that is extremely fair.
Don't give in, no matter what people say his ethical or "karma", ridiculous.

Yoshimi




msg:3901571
 3:17 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have to come down on the side of give him a price for it, and let him buy it off you. I don't necessarily agree with adding a sum on top though, charge for the hours you worked on the site, and your legal costs, don't bump it up...what would be the point.

If it's a choice between recouping costs and betting the farm, you're better off just getting your money back and letting it go, why let him cost you health and mental well-being too?

This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Domain Names
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved