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  1. #1
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    Domain Name - return to customer

    Hi there sitepoint community.

    I have a question regarding the return of a domain to a client but I was not able to find appropriate information so I think and hope this community is the right place to ask.

    A client of mine asked me to register a domain and host his new website. He transfered me the 10 USD for the domain registration process via PayPal but we didn't have any written contract.

    I did as requested for the domain part, registered it in his name but decided after some conflicts not to proceed with the hosting part so I unlocked the domain, provided him with the EEP code in order for him to use the domain somewhere else as I didn't want to have anything to do with it but now he "threatens" me that if I am not hosting his domain / website he will proceed on legal ways.

    My question: What can I do to protect myself? Actually I never hosted a file for his new project - second he just paid for the domain but not for hosting and third I provided him with the EEP Code and the domain is still registered in his name.

    Some advise or information to laws would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you very much,
    Pete

  2. #2
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Hi p123. Welcome to SitePoint.

    Sorry to hear of your situation. I've moved this to the business and legal issues forum, as this is not really a domain question per se.

    if I am not hosting his domain / website he will proceed on legal ways.
    I'm not a legal person, but for what it's worth, I'd say he is just blowing hot air. Personally, I would just laugh at this. You owe him nothing—not money or services—and he hasn't a leg to stand on. He can't demand a service of you. It sounds like you've done everything decent, in terms of providing him the means to transfer the domain to his control. There's nothing more you can do, other than be his slave.
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  3. #3
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    Thank you very much ralph.m for your welcoming and for your advice. Yes indeed I think I did everything according to law , I was just seeking for confirmation that I am "on the right side".

    Thanks again,
    Pete

  4. #4
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    Glad to be able to offer moral support. As I say, I can't offer legal advice, but I think even a lawyer needing some extra cash would tell you to save your money on this one.
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy TheRaptor's Avatar
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    Welcome to the SitePoint forums Pete!

    As Ralph said, I don't think you have anything to worry about. He's trying to force you to provide a service that wasn't agreed upon, so legally he's standing on a very thin sheet of ice.

  6. #6
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    My guess is that the guy has never heard of an EEP code, doesn't know what to do with it and doesn't want to admit that, so he's trying to bully you into dealing with it instead. My advice? Rejoice that you ditched him so early in the proceedings!

  7. #7
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Send the client an email with the following information:

    - the status of the domain, including expiry dates, etc.
    - your willingness to accommodate the transfer of the domain to whoever he wishes
    - your acceptance of his $10 in exchange for the domain registration, and a clarification of the fact that you are not providing hosting or other services
    - your contact information to be used in the event that he wants to transfer out

    - IMPORTANT: explain that when the expiry date arrives, you will not be registering the domain, and will no longer have any interest or control over the domain after that point

    Don't say anything else, just send the above information to him and forget about the whole thing. The only thing you should do if it's requested is facilitate the transfer of the domain to someone else for him.
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  8. #8
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    Thank you very much for all your help - it's really appreciated.

    I would like to expand the whole story a little bit and hopefully get some advice on how I should proceed:

    Two years ago I was contacted by a couple to create a website and an internal booking system for their business - (let's call it 123 Corp) on a freelance basis. Everything was fine and I continued the hosting and domain renewal for them. (A very big misfortune is that I moved location and currently am not in possession of our signed contract as it got lost when moving - I still have the contract on computer but without any signature, so that won't help much - the contract was also signed and authorized for the development, design and 1 year of hosting. I continued the renewal procedure though on a "friend" basis without any new contracts).

    Last week suddenly the both split up (without my knowledge) and one of the two partners (the one which always contacts me when there are changes required on the website) contacted me saying that he would like that i register the domain xyz.com and redirect the old domain , which is zyx.com to it. I did as requested and set up the redirect but suddenly the female partner calls me on the phone and explained to me that his actions were illegal and were without her knowledge. She supplied me with all the paperwork documentation of proof that she is the real and only owner of 123 Corp. So I removed any redirect, returned the newly registered domain to the the male partner (as you know from in my initial thread) but he came back to me with the demand I have to host him or he'll sue me. On the other hand the female partner says that if I help him or transfer data to him she will sue him including me for cybercrime. WTH! I am therefore caught in the middle between their fight. My decision was to terminate the business relation ship with the male partner and returning his newly registered domain and working in accordance to who is the legal owner of the business.

    Was my decision correct? Did I do anything that I shouldn't have done ?

    Any advice would be very much appreciated,
    Pete

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by p123 View Post
    She supplied me with all the paperwork documentation of proof that she is the real and only owner of 123 Corp. So I removed any redirect, returned the newly registered domain to the the male partner
    I suppose in hindsight it would have been better to make sure that the first request was OK with both partners, but in reality, if you've been used to taking instructions from one or other of them, you can't really be blamed. If she is the true owner, I think you did the right thing in returning things to the way they were. I still say he is blowing hot air and you owe him nothing. I would not have anything to do with these people at all from this point onwards. Just give them access to whatever they need to get out of your hair.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by p123 View Post
    but he came back to me with the demand I have to host him or he'll sue me.
    You can check with an actual lawyer on this. But without any demonstrable kind
    of agreement, he has no enforceable claim.

    A funny part is there's surely lots of people willing to take him on...if they do not
    find out what kind of person he is first, maybe...

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    My $0.02: You have a client [an entity] and an authorized contact or set of authorized contacts. When you get a request from one such contact you follow it and bill out for the work.

    If there's a disagreement on the backend stay out. Don't pick sides. Don't fight to defend a decision. It's not your war but you open yourself up when you start getting involved or drawing conclusions. Figuring out who really owns what, if someone is damaging someone else, will be up to a court.

    Simply explain that if the party contacting you would like to change the account authorization you will need an updated agreement from the party who your relationship is with. If it turns really ugly you can always inform them you are not able to offer services given the nature of their dispute and will return any website / domains to the entity you are in agreement with providing an appropriate refund for unused services as needed.

    And oh ya, save everything. Avoid calls, in person meetings.. get it in writing. Splits get ugly. Should you decide you need your own legal help, more documentation is a good thing.
    - Ted S


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