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Freelance Web Design, Problem with Client

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Hi guys,

 

I am having some issues with a client and would appreciate some good advice as to where to go from here. We have been working on several projects with this client however in July they began to drop further into arrears with their account.

 

In August we asked them to settle their account as their was an invoice since April and they had failed to make payments several times. This led to several reminders and several times they promised to pay only for them to not make any payment.

 

Finally I had no choice but to suspend the account. This is normally enough to quicken the payment up however they accused me of blackmail!

 

After receiving some good advice I offered to unsuspended the account if we received 50% of the payment and we could discuss what their issue is with payment.

 

They soon demanded that they had full access to the website which we have denied.

 

The problem is they owe a large proportion of the fee for SEO and for a different project. I also provide them hosting and have control of their domain name which is part of this outstanding fee.

 

I have asked why they are withholding the remaining 50% however they say they have no issue paying it but want to do it in person. I live in Spain and they are in the UK so it is not suitable for me to go there to collect the money nor do I believe they want to be my friends when I arrive.

 

What do I do?

 

Option 1.) Suspend all their accounts until full payment is made.

 

Option 2.) Give them 24 hours notice that we are cancelling their hosting and give them their website (this is fully paid for however the SEO work is outstanding and domain fee).

 

Option 3.) Keep their website live and then open a small claims court?

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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option 1 but give notice of a county court claim as well. This means that you will have to come back to the UK for a hearing. How much do they owe you? if it is more than £700 you could go for bankruptcy. You havent made it clear whether there is a separation of the activites or payments so I am presuming that it is a single account rather than several separate ones. If it is separate accounts then you need to refer to the contract you enterd with them regarding non performance/payment.

It is certain though that you are being taken advantage of, I have a friend in a similar position as you and he suffers badly from this sort of behaviour from clients. A county court claim form will usually get them to pay up (and they will often claim to have paid before receiving the summons to avoid paying your court application costs) but if it doesnt you will have to follow it up.

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