I completed this website 4 months ago. (I would like to keep the website anonymous - if this post comes up on google search for his customers, it will have a negative impact on his business). We did several iterations, he was very demanding (and nosy), I complied with every single thing he wanted, including the font-size of the footer which destroyed the aesthetic looks by quite a bit. (and he messed with the colors too, making it look dangerously childish and unprofessional)
Anyway, he was very friendly during he whole process. After getting all the requirements I accepted to build the website for £950 and I charged him £150 in advance so he wouldn't want to bail out after I started the work. The requirements kept changing quite a lot, I made adjustments as and completed the website just 5 days late, w.r.t. the agreed date, in-spite all the changes in requirements.
That was four months ago. He has never returned my calls nor replied to my emails since then. How do I get the money back from him? I really need some advice on this, this is the second time someone has not payed me.
Points to be noted:
1) We did not sign any contract - he was a friend of a friend.
2) I still hold the passwords for ftp, cpanel and everything. I don't want to bring the site down. somehow it doesn't seem ethical to me.
3) I posted this on stackoverflow and it was closed, I was redirected here.
Thank you everyone, for your enormous support. I thought I should include some more details: He is hosting the site. as in, I made him register and use his own debit card to buy the domain name, webspace and everything, I just have the passwords for his cpanel, and ftp (well, I have access to cpanel that pretty much gives me access to many things)
Now, if I give him a warning, he might change the password to cpanel, but I am fairly sure he doesn't know about ftp's.
Anna Lear's advice and sent him the final invoice, on Saturday, with a warning that I will take the site down if he doesn't respond to my email before this Tuesday. He hasn't replied to my emails yet, but I will let you know how this goes. Thanks much for your support. I plan to put up a holding page as
Darknight suggested after Tuesday.
I dont have a server space of my own, however I have few web spaces of my clients but I dont want to use them for these kind of purpose.
After my follow up of final invoice and warning, the client refused to anything. workman's advice seemed to be the most sensible to me. I mirrored the site to my own webspace, logged into his CPanel and forwarded the website to my site. Once that was done, I put up a holding page on my site so anyone going to the website would see a holdup page (nothing fishy, just an Under Construction page). Of course, this was all very weak in the sense that if my client knew about CPanel he could just remove the redirection. But, I had this second chance to get back to him and I was relying on him not knowing anything.
Two hours later, I got a call from the said client, (and he was acting as if he did not get any of my voice mails or emails) and asked me to get the site back up. I, of-course, said I had to be paid and two days after that he made a bank transfer. His site's back up and running now.
Just wanted to say thank you all very much, I was very desperate when I had started this question. You guys are the best, not only you told me to learn the lesson (which I did) you also gave me a very very good solution that seemed to be very ethical (almost) to me.
A BIG thank you to workman!
If I could choose more than once answer, I would have chosen
Anna Lear too, but since I followed workman's advice I had to pick that up. People who made a point about not taking the site down without consulting a lawyer, thanks a lot.