Web Hosting Resource Kit – Editor’s Opinion 8/2004
It feels kind of weird playing the server god and suspending access to the domain and website this way. Did I wait too long to do this? Did I snap and pulled the plug too early? Should I have communicated with him more often? Was I not clear enough in pointing out the consequences? I feel a little bit that I failed to avoid this situation. But then again – how long does a web host need to wait before pulling the plug on a non-paying customer? Should it not be the customer responsibility at least to talk to you and explain the situation and try to work something out?
So, how are you handling situations like this and what can we do better to meet our needs and the serve the customer as good as possible?
It depends on how far you want to go. In my situation I had billed the hosting fees for 3 months at the end of August/Beginning of September (the clients need to pay hosting in advance). The payment was never made. 2 weeks (10 business days) later I reminded the client about the payment. A few days later he needed some emergency web design work done ( I also do some web design). I went the extra mile and took care of his needs (and also pointed out that I would bill him for the web design work). He promised to send out the check right away – he had been too busy and had forgotten about it (so his words). I also billed him the web design work. Of course his check never arrived. He called and needed some changes to his website again. He also wanted to send me 4 images for that purpose. The images never arrived, but I also told him that I am expecting the other payments to be made first. Another week passed. He emailed and promised payment. The next day came – but no payment in my mailbox.
Re-evaluating the situation I decided to pull the plug on him. The web hosting fees were not really that critical to me (less than $10.00 per month). But I had billed almost $500.00 in web design work and he was already 5 weeks behind with his other payment. The combination of things in this situation made me decide this way. The client had already access to the web design work and I did not really had anything to pressure him to make his payments other than taking down the website. So, in my situation I had several reasons to pull the plug. But things might look different in your situation.
Anyway – as I mentioned before – I feel kind of weird having this done and the customer yelling at me. I am prepared to loose this client. Luckily I am not depending this one client and at one point you have to be strict enforcing your business policies. I am running a business – not a charity. I guess I was kind of spoiled not having to deal with this for such a long time. Is this the fun part of running a web hosting business? No, certainly not. Was I really prepared for this? No, I wasn’t. Maybe you will after reading this ……?! 😉
Until next time.