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Client Refuses to Pay Web Designer, So He Edits The Guy's Site to Advertise His Competitors

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    Text - r/ProRevenge Posted by u/_XeduR 1 day ago 3 2 A client refused to pay, so I had some fun When I have the time and come across interesting projects or clients, I take on one-off assignments to create websites, graphics, applications, etc. for said clients. I recently had a client for whom I created a website. Their old website looked like it was created in the early 90s, but it drew a lot of traffic, so the need to update was clear.
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    Text - Like always, we first agreed on the scope and design, and my client showcased his competitors websites for me, explaining what kind of things he absolutely wanted for his site, "but better", as he put it. I then had him sign a standard contract and pay a small up front fee. Everything went smoothly and I got to work.
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    Text - After the project finished and I sent an invoice to my client, he told me that he won't be paying anymore. During the few days that I had worked, he had watched some YouTube videos about creating websites and he had come to the realisation that he, without any prior experience in web design or programming, could create an equally impressive site in pretty much the same time as I had, and so he didn't feel like he should pay me anything extra. I reminded him of our contract and he flat out
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    Text - Obviously I had no intention of taking him to court because it would result in more headache than it'd be worth, but I wasn't just going to let this slide. The website was already live and teeming with visitors, but my client, although they were a newfound web design professional, hadn't realised that I was still the only one who had access to the site's back-end, which meant that I could make any changes to the site and he couldn't do anything about it.
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    Text - So, I remembered how he had told me about all of his competitors websites. I figured the appropriate response would be to write a script that replaces his company's contact details and opening hours with those of his competitors. Every time the site would load, the script would randomly show one of the competitor's contact details instead. I also made it so that the contact form requests would be sent to a randomly selected competitor's email.
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    Text - I chose not to inform my client of this and went on to enjoy my vacation. Within a week, I received several emails and a call about my client's concerns that something was wrong, that he hadn't received a new client through the site in almost a week even though the site's visitor count is much higher than before (thanks to the new design and improved SEO that he hadn't yet paid for). I let him know what I had done and I told him that I would undo it, but it would take me about an hour, fo
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    Text - apply the rush fee stated on the contract for that hour. And of course, I told him that this would all be added on top of the original fee that he owed me, plus interest for late payment. Naturally, this led to insults and threats being thrown in my direction, to which I calmly responded that I will begin work once I have the money on my account and if he doesn't want to lose any more customers to his competitors, he'd best man up quick. He tried to call me immediately and I just declined
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    Text - Edit 1: Added details below about the legality of the situation that some have asked about The client's old 90's styled website was running on a similarly outdated legacy hosting package. As such, I had convinced him to update his hosting provider in the process. So, I had paid for the hosting and setup the new site on that server. I did not touch the old site at any point. After I was done with the site, I showed it to the client who was happy with it and told me to redirect his domain t
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    Text - Then, after it came clear that my client hadn't paid me and told me that they wouldn't pay me, all I did was modify the code that I had written, that was on the server that I had set up, that the contract stated would be my property until the final payment was made. As my client didn't pay, I merely edited code that I owned, on a server that I owned. He could have gone and redirected his domain back to his old server at any point, but, even after his newfound web development expertise, di
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    Text - Edit 2: The contract had a clear section concerning rights and responsibilities of both parties, as well as clauses for what would happen in various scenarios such as work not being carried out, client not paying in time, client wanting to terminate the contract or client refusing to pay (and what constitutes as refusal to pay). Refusal to pay would mean that the rights and ownership are not transferred to the client and that I may remove the site and any files and software I have associa
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    Text - waited until the client had told me that they wouldn't pay me or until I would have seen the payment to redirect the domain for the client. Had I done that, none of this would have happened. When he told me that he wouldn't pay, I reminded him of the section and the clause in the contract, which he brushed off. After this, I wrote the scripts. Sure, I am not proud of what I did and I could have handled it better, but this lapse of judgement got the better of me, and while I am not proud o

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