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tomfmason

Two part Question.. Ethics and International Law..

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Here recently I have been burned by several clients. Most have been low budget jobs so it is not really that big of dent on the pocket book but...

My normal payment schedule is:
[list][*]20% upon signing of the contract
[*]30% once the design is completed and in full working order on my server
[*]50% upon successful transition from my server to theirs(if I am not hosting it as well)[/list]

I have been thinking of making it 3 even payments 33%.

If I offer financing for the design services(projects with a budget of 1500 USD or more) I expect that 30% be paid and the remainder can be financed over a determined time frame.

I have found that I get stiffed a lot less if I finance the project.

Now to the topic at hand.. I have a project now that I have finished that had a $4500 budget. At about the half way point I got a bad feeling from the guy.. So I left a small security hole.. He still owes me $2250 and I have been unable to reach him for over a week.. He will not return my emails or phone calls.

The client is located in France and I know nothing about French law regarding this and don't even want to think about how much an international lawyer will cost me. I am sure that it would be a lot more then what is owed.

I do know that if I should drop all of the tables in the database that two things could happen. First I could be jailed and second he could easily get a freelancer to pick apart the site and rebuild the database.

So basically I am at a loss here.

Any suggestions on how to proceed with this..

Thanks,
Tom

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Okay the first thing you need to do is use that securi<ack!> mmff mmmf! <gets dragged away by the french secret service>

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If they pay you half, and they don't pay you the other half, and you build hte whole site.  They should only be given half the work, nuke the database.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing at all, the french would have a hard time to get you in court.  Your talking about international affair's it would cost the guy, a large amount of money nad they can't summon's you to court for that, and you can't be put in jail if you did all the work and only got paid half for it.

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[quote author=businessman332211 link=topic=112813.msg458078#msg458078 date=1161881790]
If they pay you half, and they don't pay you the other half, and you build hte whole site.  They should only be given half the work, nuke the database.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing at all, the french would have a hard time to get you in court.  Your talking about international affair's it would cost the guy, a large amount of money nad they can't summon's you to court for that, and you can't be put in jail if you did all the work and only got paid half for it.
[/quote]

There are some rather significant holes in that. First off, I'm guessing that there was no contract signed establishing the work to be done and the payments to be made. Thus, the contractor would have no way of proving that the client indeed owes him money, except for maybe emails, which might be tricky to submit as evidence.

Concerning nuking the database - once it's created, and hosted on someone else's server, it would be pretty hard to legally destroy the database. It belongs to the owner of the site, regardless of the fact that he stiffed you the $2250, and you would be destroying property over international boundaries.

For the original question: If you were to find a way to use this security hole anonymously, and in such a way that it's impossible to figure out that it was intentional and not a mistake on the owner's or the server's part - make your own decisions. Just make sure that you're absolutely sure of the decision you make.

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I do have a signed contract with the mentioned payment arrangements.

I also have an application on my server were the client can login and view the hours spent working on the project, view current design progress and can chat with me. I always save all chats between myself and the client. After 30 days I save them in xml format just in case this happens.

I think that I will do some research and testing. I will also wait for a month or so and if I have not heard from him in that time..

Thanks,
Tom

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[quote author=businessman332211 link=topic=112813.msg458210#msg458210 date=1161890010]
http://www.trainup.com/CollectingDebtsTipsandStrategiestoLegallyGetWhatYoureOwed9439.htm
[/quote]

Gee, it's too bad that you have to attend the seminar to get any valuable info out of it...

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Just an idea, it's not something I want to get too deep into to.  For debt collection, I simply have a lawyer.  He file's paper's for debt collection, if he get's money from the person, then he take's a specific percentage and I am set.  I have done that with 2 clients.
I have 2 more now, one owe's me 1100, and one owe's me 300, I am going to have to do the same thing with them, it happen's a lot in this industry.  Don't sweat it, get your evidence together, contact a lawyer, or go to your local legal place, file paper's for debt collection.
You 90% of the time don't even need to take them to court or anything.

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