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selling website after client defaulted on agreement

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by tommason, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. #1
    I am a freelance web developer and was contracted to develop an adult novelty store almost a year ago. At that time I was relatively new to freelance web development and had pretty much no portfolio. I took several of my first projects without securing a deposit or down payment from the client.

    The client originally had another domain name which she had registered. Our original agreement was that 50% of the total was to be paid at an agreed upon half way mark. Once I reached that point my client was MIA. To date, I have yet to hear back from that client regarding the project.

    There was never a contract, NDA or non-compete signed.

    Since then I have redesigned, completed the development using my own custom php MVC framework(developed over the year since the agreement) and purchased a domain name - com|net|org. The site is 100% ready to go. If/when I sold it all the purchaser would have to do is setup the relevant merchant accounts with the payment processors and drop shipper. Many of the features contained are way above and beyond the original agreement between the client and I.

    I don't really think that she would have any legal rights here but I am not completely sure.
    SEMrush
    Basically I am wondering if the client would have any legal grounds to sue if I either A) choose to run the business or B) sold it.
     
    tommason, Sep 24, 2010 IP
    SEMrush
  2. jacquem

    jacquem Guest

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    #2
    I am no lawyer but if there's no contract or whatsoever that will say she has the right to any of your work then I think you can pretty much do anything about it. Besides, she's issing in action and didn't bother to contact you plus she defaulted on her payment.

    Let's wait for the others to post their 2 cents.
     
    jacquem, Sep 25, 2010 IP
  3. dscurlock

    dscurlock Prominent Member

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    #3
    If you default payment on your contracted car, then what you do think will happen? and
    you are under contract...now the good thing for you, there is no contract between you and
    her, and she defaulted to begin with...I would sell it to secure your own interests since
    she appeared to abandon the project with no futher contact...and if you happen to
    hear from this person after you sale it, then tell her to go pound sand.
     
    dscurlock, Sep 25, 2010 IP
  4. lcwadminbj

    lcwadminbj Peon

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    #4
    My personal action would be to make one more attempt to communicate giving notice that the recipient had 48 hours to respond.

    IF no reaction within the 24 hours then I would either set it up and use it myself or sell it to the highest bidder.

    My reasoniing is as follows.
    The purchaser failed to pay as per scedual.
    The purchaser has gone incomunicado for x months and faied (or possibly refused) to respond to any communications made by me.
    Finally there was no written contract

    Now I am no lawyer but I do know quite a bit after so long on the net.
     
    lcwadminbj, Sep 27, 2010 IP
  5. RonBrown

    RonBrown Well-Known Member

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    #5
    Normally I would agree with "lcwadminbj" but in this instance I wouldn't be rushing to contact the old client now that you've done so much additional work. I think it would be safe to say that they have abandoned any rights to the software, and they have made it clear that they consider the contract ended due to the non payment at the specified point and the amount of time that has passed.

    If they do get back in touch your lawyer would be able to dispose of any potential issues very quickly and easily. The advice of "lcwadminbj" would definitely provide you with an absolute defence but what would happen to all the additional work you have done? Are you able to separate this additional work from what they originally asked for?
     
    RonBrown, Sep 27, 2010 IP
  6. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #6
    he's offered you some advice, and it almost certainly gives you more protection than just grab-and-running.
     
    contentboss, Sep 27, 2010 IP
  7. Business Attorney

    Business Attorney Active Member

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    #7
    I tend to agree with RonBrown, with one caveat. Depending on the client's contribution to the project in the early stages, the client may own intellectual property rights to materials which are contained in the final project. That is probably not likely, but we don't know enough of the facts to rule it out completely. If the project does contain material in which the client owns rights (a copyrighted logo, for example), his failure to pay for your work does not give you the right to automatically take his work.
     
    Business Attorney, Sep 28, 2010 IP
  8. attorney jaffe

    attorney jaffe Member

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    #8
    I think you have gotten good advice from each of the posters above. However, as you can see, more facts about the situation gives rise to more questions which gives rise to more actions to take.

    Further, since you seem to be entering the world of e-commerce in a new area, my suggestion is it is time to consult with an attorney. A few dollars spent up front could save you a fortune down the road.
     
    attorney jaffe, Sep 28, 2010 IP
  9. ladesignandcoding

    ladesignandcoding Peon

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    #9
    I would say this, if the client hasn't bothered reaching out to you, don't make a attempt to reach out to them, use it for whatever you see fit and make back the money that you lost. In the freelance world there are tons of clients that want the world delivered to them but want to pay you $100.00 lol
     
    ladesignandcoding, Oct 4, 2010 IP