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Urgent Help Please!

Website content stolen...

11:06 am on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi guys,

I wonder if anyone can help please?

We built a website for a company in Spain and due to one reason or another they decided after a year that they wanted a refund for the site. We wrote a contract stating that once refund was received that they could use no content from the site etc, which was agreed and a refund paid in full.

As soon as the refund cheque cleared, they have re-uploaded the site (they did not have the source, so they must have done an HTTP grab or something before we deleted from the server).

The site was dynamic PHP pages, but now they are all HTM and obviously none of the content works properly, but this is not the point. We spoke to them and all we got was "sue me..." from them.

Is there any way you know of hacking in and removing our content from their new server, or any other info you can give us please?

Thanks for any help,


12:33 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I wouldn't know what could be done outside of a lawsuit. If they're not in the same country as you, that's likely to be more trouble than it's worth. I would think the best thing to do is simply not give refunds at all for completed work. Too late for this case, but it could help prevent similar problems in the future. Actually I've never heard of a web developer who gives refunds for work that's already been delivered, particularly if it's been used for a year.

If nothing on the site works as it should, I don't see any real reason to worry about it. Do your best to learn from the experience, take the lesson to heart, forget their lousy attitude, and move on. You can't get anything from them, so the less of your time you allow them to waste, the better.

1:35 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Matthew,

I agree, refunds are never good - but it was a heat of the moment thing with a very nasty and vindictive client.

We are actually speaking to solicitors now, so we shall see what occurs.

Thanks for replying,


1:35 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would definitely advise against any form of refunds for completed web sites. Your situation is not dissimilar to me buying a new car, driving it for a year and then asking for a full refund providing I don't drive it any more. The fact is, I got a full year's use out of it, and since I haven't handed it back, there is little stopping me from still 'giving it a spin round the block'.

Instead of a refund, a warranty for a specified period (1 month for example) covering defects in the application, typos, etc is a good component to have in your proposals to replace the refund policy.

Hacking the site would not be recommended, as they can then turn around and potentially prosecute you for illegally accessing their system.

Unfortunately this looks like a live and learn situation. If it is a small to medium sized site, the cost of litigation would most likely exceed the value of the site, and the other party knows that.

1:48 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Live and learn. Move on 'cause it will just consume additional time and energy to no avail. IMHO
1:48 pm on Jul 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Disgusting though isnt it?! Part of the problem with the refund is they did not like the site - yet agreeing to each stage of design etc - then they go and re-upload the SAME site?!

Word to the wise, avoid working with the Canary Islands! We have other contacts out there and apparantly this is how a lot of business is 'conducted' - very shady...


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