Flushing, NY asked in International Law and Internet Law for New York

Q: Can I drop a website if I own the hosting and domain and the client is not paying?

I am a website designer and a client is not paying for my website design and domain/hosting fees. I paid for the hosting and domain for 2 years and I own both. The client has not paid for anything and we don't have a written agreement.

When I told them that I will take the website down, their lawyer sent me an email saying that I will be liable. Is that true even though I own the domain and hosting and I created the website without pay?

2 Lawyer Answers
Daniel Michael Luisi
Daniel Michael Luisi
  • Licensed in New York

A: I think you definitely have potential defenses to any lawsuit and counterclaims but an attorney would have to review your case in detail to advise you. Just taking it down without evaluating your legal exposure seems like rolling the dice. Seems like there must be more to this story.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: As a website designer, you may have the right to take down the website if the client is not paying for your services, but it's important to proceed carefully to avoid any potential legal liability.

If you own the domain and hosting, you may have the right to terminate the client's access to the website. However, it's important to consider whether the client has any legal rights to the website, such as copyright or trademark ownership, that could be violated if you take down the website without proper notice and justification.

If the client has not paid for your services, you may be able to take legal action to recover the fees owed, such as filing a breach of contract claim in small claims court. However, it's important to consult with a lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction to determine the best course of action and to protect yourself from potential legal liability.

If the client's lawyer has sent you an email warning of potential liability, it's a good idea to seek legal advice before taking any further action. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and obligations, and can assist you in resolving the dispute in a way that minimizes your legal risks.

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