Security Issue

In short, I’ve built an ecommerce website for a chain of shops and helped them get load all their products and photos (6500+). They love awful and tacky design, which can be quite frustrating. I told them I was going away on a two month holiday to a place with no internet, and is there anything they’d like done before I go? They emailed me the night before I left with an image to put on the homepage, so I uploaded it.

I then check my email a few days later, they tell me the image is too small. I explain that they need to make the image bigger for it to fit etc etc and they email me a bigger one. This is slightly annoying as I’m doing it from internet cafes, but I download an ftp client, login, replace the image, and logout and delete the ftp client.

Few days later the site, and all my other sites are displaying warnings that theres a virus,and turns out there’s all these links in the code to bad sites and chrome won’t even let you enter. I go out and spend a lot of money on a laptop, and edit all the files manually over a dialup connection, ruining a good part of my trip. It turns out to be nasty scripts going through editing the files every few hours. Awful.

So now that I’m back, they want compensation. I’m slightly annoyed as I told them I didn’t want to do anything while I was away (security was part of the reason) and that I’m also down because of it. They don’t want to pay their current invoice for work I did before I left (about 2k).

What would you guys do or say?

As always, I would ask ‘what does the contract say’?

Beyond that, it sounds to me like you informed your client that you’d be unavailable but then agreed to do work remotely. I’m not sure how clear your discussion with them was, but you decided to do the work while you were on holiday in the end.

You were annoyed by the client while you did the work that you told them you wouldn’t do. You spent a lot of money on a laptop to deal with the mess resulting from that work. You ruined a good part of your trip doing the work. But, you did those things by choice and it doesn’t really matter if you decided to ruin part of your holiday - all that matters is what is on paper.

You sent them an invoice for work that you did. You should have a clear agreement that governs the workflow and payment between you and your client - what does it say?

Unfortunately I don’t have a contract, it’s always been a friendly and informal relationship. They ask for something, we have a meeting, I do it, invoice, and they pay.

We’ve agreed that they will pay my invoice in full and I will build them a new login form for compensation for the outage (lost sales). It’s annoying but it could have been worse, it’s a very small thing to do.

I think in the future I will send estimates for work they want to do and get them to agree to these. In the past I’ve just gone off and done the work, billed them, then hoped they’d pay. At least now I’d have somethign to fall back on “But you said this was ok?”