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I do have a contract, but it only has provisions for the client canceling. There is also a provision that allows me to keep the initial 50% payment and bill for the remaining work (which has all been completed) if the client delays the project for 60 days. But nothing that says what happens if I want to end the relationship with them.
I long ago wrote off the money and only hoped the experience would be redeemed by the success of the live site (12 carefully optimized pages that looked very promising for driving a good deal of targeted traffic to this small business client.) Now I shudder at the thought of having to continue working with this person if she comes up with the money a month or two from now. I'd rather cut my losses and move on.
I realize this is getting into the legal advice area, but I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and if so, how they handled it. I must say I've learned a lot from this woman, and I've revamped my whole project management routine because of her, but enough is enough.
The simplest way is to set them a reasonable deadline in writing (in Germany, two weeks after receiving the letter seems to be considered "reasonable"). If they haven't paid then, you can take that as concludent action that proves their unwillingness/incapability to pay.
If she comes back two months from now and says here is the rest of the money, please give me the site, why not give it to her and refer her to a competitor for support. (Does your agreement say you have to support the site?)
What is your down side? (Other than you don't really want to talk to her?)
If you want legal advice on this, does the law society in your country have a legal referral like ours where the first half hour is $10? Try them.
I did send her an invoice dated 2/20/03 due "on receipt" so maybe that's enough to constitute non-payment. Sounds like if I want to take action rather than just wait and see, I'll have to get legal advice. The comments here have been very helpful though.
And if you don't receive payment before then put the site design/concept up for sale on eBay where someone else can purchase it so you make your money back from the time you put into it. Of course remove their logo from it and put yours on it or a <LOGO> type logo on it ;)
This brings up a potentially good marketing strategy. What pitfalls would entail this approach, such as licensing agreements vs full release, or methods of ensuring payment - and not getting scammed? I have built several design templates that I would like to market.