[thelist] Rights with a non paying client...?

Ben Joyce ben.joyce at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 13:40:52 CDT 2008

I have been in this situation before and in hindsight I wish I hadn't
handed over the code until I was paid; I lost out about £8k due to a
flaky contract and working for basicly, COWBOYS.

Anyway, I wouldn't deface anything but definitely make sure you have a
backup of all the source code, etc.

I would persue this through the small claims courts if you can.  As
tempting as it might be (and I would be very tempted!) it's not good
form to deface or delete users data.

Try to remain calm and keep the communication channels open.

Good luck,


On 4/7/08, Tris <beertastic at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all..
> I just finished a monthly rolling contract with a client that lasted
> 15 months, or there abouts.
> Each month was a fight to get paid, but they relented, because I was
> on-site and near the accounts department (close enough to hound them
> often enough to be annoying I think).
> Anyhoo, I'm gone now and my penultimate invoice is now late.
> (bit of a worry, as I was counting n that to pay my VAT bill, live and learn).
> Anyhoo, I still have back door access to their MySQL server and could
> feasibly delete, edit, and generally make a mockery of their database
> for several major clients.
> Naturally, I'm aware that this will not get my money any faster... if
> at all, but I did think that why don't I go and delete the data that I
> added that was connected with the work I did while I was there?
> Make a back up and restore it all when I'm paid.
> There was never a signed contract between us, so I was wondering if I
> can claim that under my own freelance terms etc, the work is owned by
> me, until payment, regardless of the fact that they might feel they
> own all code/data etc...
> It all seems very shaky ground to be honest, but I'm driven by the
> fact that I know they have no backups.
> Thoughts, advise... your own horror stories welcome...
> I'm at the end of my tether and my last ditch attempt is to go to the
> office tomorrow and simply sit and wait til they pay me... but I was
> kinda hoping to enjoy my unemployment for a few weeks...! ;-p
> Ok, let me know..
> Tris...
> --
> "The only people who don't make mistakes are those who don't do anything"
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> to laugh at him.`
> Thomas Szasz
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