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A bit of background - I'm 15, live in the UK, and love web design and that.
This 'mate' asked me to do him a website, I said sure, and agreed it would be £15 (Hosting £10.58 1 year, so a 'tidy' (not) £4.42 profit for me).
I bought the hosting etc and did the whole website, spent a fair bit of time on it, numerous hours customising it.
He then decided, after a few days of playing around with it, signing himself and other people on it up, that he didn't want it anymore, but he would pay when we got back to school (this was all during the summer holidays).
We didn't agree a contract at the beginning, because I trusted him, as he was a friend etc. (I have got proper legal contracts and invoices, but it was all too late for this client).
So, the beginning of term, he paid £12, because that's all he had, I thought that was OK, I said pay the other £3 by Friday. He didn't.
Everybody at school is on his side, saying I 'stole' the website off him, and am being greedy by taking... £4.42 on top of the hosting charges. How can I steal my own work, and how can he get away with only paying £12? I haven't got an avenue to turn into. What can I do? (I can't exactly use 'legal proceedings')
Thanks for any help.
I know this is for 'Professional' webmaster issues, but I do do proper websites for normal people as well, this just happens to be a more 'casual' one. Sorry if this post has really annoyed you by being in the wrong section, or something else like me not being a 'professional'.
Most similar threads here talk about hundreds or thousands of dollars lost. Consider it an extremely cheap lesson and move on (making sure that you don't repeat the same mistake later).
Since he paid for part of amount owed, I'd give him "part" of the website and walk away.
Also, you don't need "friends" like that.
Yep - I have a lot of sympathy for other web designers! He didn't want the website anyway, so I'm not giving him anything. Just a quick question, who owns the I.P.? Me or him? If this was to happen in the future, and they claimed I.P., would I own it, since I created/customised it, or would they because they paid for it? Or could I word it (in the contract) so they could use it under licence, but in case of any disputes (e.g. money), I could take it off the internet? Thanks for your quick response - I'll probably be back in the future!
I could do that, but it's a bit iffy lol, especially as everyone in our year (which is close to 120 ppl) agrees with him. And I'm a bit of a geek, so a bit lopsided the odds are. Thanks for the 'advice' anyway!
or would they because they paid for it?
Yup, they would own the IP. They owe you a debt and it's just a debt (complete with the hassles you get in chasing for it). You can have contracts drafted to get around this (IP remains yours until paid for in full).
Chalk it up to experience. What you've just learned you don't usually get the opportunity to learn at school. Given your age, carry on as you are and learning as you go. You'll do just fine ;)
When it comes to written agreements even the palest ink is better than the best memory.
£3 for a good lesson...cheap at twice the price
Agreed. I'd spend another £3, hire someone a grade up to:
Take it out of his nose. ;)
First, I am sorry to hear you have been mistreated by someone you considered a friend.
As my name might suggest, I have the same problem you do, lake54...no one is ever going to ask me to be their body-guard/enforcer. While you may never get the satisfaction, which there must be some, of beating your money out of him, there is something to be gained beyond experience.
The same suggestions pop-up in threads like this. Take note of where this deal went sour -- make a list of the positives and negatives. Get a written contract regardless of your relationship to any individuals involved. Add the site to your portfolio; save any good code and bits which might be used in future endeavors. Potentially rework and repackage the site and sell to another client for an increased profit margin -- you did the lionshare of the work already and your client does not want it. Why not unload it on someone who might be grateful for it? You can sell it on the cheap and still clear your original profit plus some (hosting is paid for the first year...what a selling point!).
Also, just out of curiosity, did he say why he didn't want it? Could there be a legitimate gripe? Often, opportunities to learn and improve from such situations are lost during the initial bouts of anger and self-pity...let's say that, hypothetically, you did have a contract with a line item stating he must pay you £3,000,000 to break the contract; and he paid out dutifully. What could have caused him to do so? -- if nothing else, there may be valuable insights into the social dynamic of your school and grade (or, for all I know, he is just an ungrateful, misbehaven jerk with no integrity).
Just be sure that in the future, when you are running your own company, you do not hire or do business with this "friend." :o)
Personally for such a small sum Id walk on by and forgt it I know it may seem that a serious injustice has been caused and its hard to swallow but just forget it.
Be grateful you found what a toerag this friend is early on in life and over a a very small sum of money.
Now you know he others feel over unjustified charge backs :)
[edited by: Essex_boy at 6:13 am (utc) on Sep. 19, 2008]