Terminated Hosting Client

Hey guys,

So recently I have had a client who has had an invoice due February 1st, and opened a ticket a few days ago in April claiming that his site was taken down.

It turns out the invoice was unpaid. Per our Terms of Service, our clients have 60 days after the due date to pay their overdue invoice. We retain the data and keep the site suspended, but failure to pay after 60 days will result in irreversible account termination. While the site is suspended, we keep backing up all the data, as for all other active accounts.

All of our clients have 2 weeks reminder before the invoice due date. That angry client was reminded multiple times prior and after the invoice was due, but he claims that he did not receive any reminders. I have attached the screenshots proving that emails were sent, but he denies receiving them.

Since his site is terminated, he claims that we are unprofessional for retaining his site backups. We explained to him that we cannot keep all client backups indefinitely as we need to use the server resources more efficiently.

What do you guys think about this? How would you deal with such a client?
 
D

Deleted member 44219

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If I had a Client behaving like this, I'd tell him to check his Emails and Messages. If he keeps on denying that they've been sent, I'll ask for Photographic Proof. If he denies again, then I'll stop serving him.
 

Lämmchen

Paragon
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Feb 10, 2019
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Had the client been paying past invoices using that same email address? Had he recently changed his email address? Or is it an email address you provide as part of the hosting service? It's possible he never checks that one?

I'm glad you posted because this reminded me to call my Trash Service since we hadn't received an invoice to make a payment. Apparently they don't send out invoices for automatic bill paying...nor do they send out receipts. Not that this is equivalent to what you have with your client issue it makes it real for me to see that sometimes we can forget that bills might be coming up and rely on seeing an invoice.

If your client didn't have an accurate email address then that could be part of his problem and his responsibility. It's also his responsibility to check his spam folder.

As a business owner you might want to work to see why he didn't get his email. I think about my dad and how he would never bother to check his spam folder and that would be his responsibility to do so but sometimes clients aren't the most technology literate. So ask yourself if you want to keep this client and bend over backward to salvage the client host relationship or if you want to write it off and thank your lucky stars you don't have to deal with him again?
 
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ChrisGrigg

Community Team Member
Community Team
Forum Sponsor
I do not see any attachments.

In this case, you have every right to terminate an account that is past due as long as it is stated in your Terms of Service.
I do the same thing with backing up accounts that are suspended, but after 30 days of the client not renewing, the account and all associated backups with that account are also terminated from the server. The client had ample time to pay the invoice if you help on for 60 days.
 

Azareal

Paragon
It is possible that the emails ended up in the spam folder or got blocked outright by the email provider. Contacting customers by a secondary method like SMS or by phone might be helpful, although it might be a bit much for something that isn't a business class service.

You are fully in your right to terminate the account. If someone doesn't pay, then they're not a customer. That doesn't mean that you can't work with them to resolve their status and to resolve their situation, but fundamentally, a host exists for the sake of making money.

A host who goes the extra mile, however is fundamentally a host that more people are willing to work with. It might not be worth it to burn bridges and lose a long-term client due to a temporary issue, if it can be resolved.

Disk space is a relatively cheap resource in today's world, especially if you're hosting a fairly small site, so maybe you could compromise slightly there, but it is understandable that you can't just keep every backup around forever.
 
Thank you everyone for your input. The client paid on an annual term so he may have just forgotten. He only paid once, and it was time for his annual renewal.

His email provider does not mark our emails as spam, as confirmed by other clients with the same email provider. He may have accidentally marked it as spam though, in which case I have no control over.

If I had a Client behaving like this, I'd tell him to check his Emails and Messages. If he keeps on denying that they've been sent, I'll ask for Photographic Proof. If he denies again, then I'll stop serving him.
He was so stubborn and I wouldn't ask for screenshots for emails. Even if I was right, he would omit our emails from the screenshots haha


Had the client been paying past invoices using that same email address? Had he recently changed his email address? Or is it an email address you provide as part of the hosting service? It's possible he never checks that one?

I'm glad you posted because this reminded me to call my Trash Service since we hadn't received an invoice to make a payment. Apparently they don't send out invoices for automatic bill paying...nor do they send out receipts. Not that this is equivalent to what you have with your client issue it makes it real for me to see that sometimes we can forget that bills might be coming up and rely on seeing an invoice.

If your client didn't have an accurate email address then that could be part of his problem and his responsibility. It's also his responsibility to check his spam folder.

As a business owner you might want to work to see why he didn't get his email. I think about my dad and how he would never bother to check his spam folder and that would be his responsibility to do so but sometimes clients aren't the most technology literate. So ask yourself if you want to keep this client and bend over backward to salvage the client host relationship or if you want to write it off and thank your lucky stars you don't have to deal with him again?
You are absolutely right. I had my server management team investigate and they confirmed that emails were being delivered successfully into inbox. We never give a reply to clients unless we are absolutely sure of it. And glad I was able to remind you to check your hosting renewal :) Just to let you know, we do send out invoices for automatic payments, AND receipts. Just don't accuse us for not sending them LOL :p

I do not see any attachments.

In this case, you have every right to terminate an account that is past due as long as it is stated in your Terms of Service.
I do the same thing with backing up accounts that are suspended, but after 30 days of the client not renewing, the account and all associated backups with that account are also terminated from the server. The client had ample time to pay the invoice if you help on for 60 days.
What's wrong with you? I want you to keep backups for at least 2 years even if I don't complete payment! Otherwise, I want my money back.
 

Azareal

Paragon
What's wrong with you? I want you to keep backups for at least 2 years even if I don't complete payment! Otherwise, I want my money back.
There is a big difference between keeping a backup for a an extra month or two and keeping it for two years, particularly in the "forgot to renew" case.
I don't think anyone realistically expects a host to keep a backup around for years.

I do find it slightly odd that it didn't auto-renew or something though, that would have saved a lot of hassle. An odd-ball who just did a one-off payment or has a strange payment setup?

All in all, I can see it both ways. It can be a huge pain in the ass to deal with however many payments may be due, it's not so much the money (hosting bills are dirt cheap 90% of the time), but the hassle of dealing with the payment, I've done early payments to hosts long before an invoice before to avoid hassle.
His email provider does not mark our emails as spam, as confirmed by other clients with the same email provider.
That's not how email providers work. They don't just flip a switch on a domain, they might let some emails through, others not, and some may or may not go in spam. They're very whimsical about it.

I'd imagine they use some brand of machine learning on every email and even a bit of noise can skew things. It's very annoying, as I never know if something that I've sent will actually arrive.
 
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There is a big difference between keeping a backup for a an extra month or two and keeping it for two years, particularly in the "forgot to renew" case.
I don't think anyone realistically expects a host to keep a backup around for years.
ChrisGrigg is a friend of mine and I was being sarcastic with him lol. I am not his client, and would definitely not expect a host to keep a backup for years lol.

I do find it slightly odd that it didn't auto-renew or something though, that would have saved a lot of hassle. An odd-ball who just did a one-off payment or has a strange payment setup?
As a business owner, I can tell you that not all clients opt for automatic payments. I myself don't sign up for it because I want to keep track of what I am charged.


That's not how email providers work. They don't just flip a switch on a domain, they might let some emails through, others not, and some may or may not go in spam. They're very whimsical about it.

I'd imagine they use some brand of machine learning on every email and even a bit of noise can skew things. It's very annoying, as I never know if something that I've sent will actually arrive.
I understand your point, but I also understand that the exact same emails with the email invoice email templates were sent to other clients using the same email provider. He also had to confirm his email upon user registration, which indicated that our emails were being sent to him.

Anyways, I just cancelled his invoice since I have been very patient with this client.
 
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MrDangem

Up-and-Coming Sensation
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Is it possible to just keep his/her backup sites for whole 6 months?
And his only choice is to pay his due or he will not get his backup files?
I think people will do their best to pay that due for the sake of their updated websites.
and 6 months is not that long, but if it really hurts, you can ask for a penalty or inconvenience charge?
 

Ravenisawesome

Resident
Aug 4, 2012
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I think customers should try to pay on time. What happens when you don't pay a utility bill? The service gets cut off, and honestly this is no different. Emails were sent, so the customer wasn't left in the dark. I know sometimes emails get sent to the spam folder, but I don't even think this person checked their emails if they went through just fine on Doctor Tech's end. If the client contacted DT sooner, and politely asked for a extension on his bill I'm sure they could have worked on a agreement together. You're running a business, and if someone isn't paying for the services you're providing then that's their prerogative, and therefore the service should be terminated, plain and simple.
 
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Azareal

Paragon
I think customers should try to pay on time.
From a host's perspective, there are more things to balance than simply whether to cut someone off, but yes, a customer should do everything in their power to resolve their invoices.

You should never rely on the host to extend the olive branch, if they do then they're doing you a favour, and it shouldn't be taken for granted.
 
I think customers should try to pay on time. What happens when you don't pay a utility bill? The service gets cut off, and honestly this is no different. Emails were sent, so the customer wasn't left in the dark. I know sometimes emails get sent to the spam folder, but I don't even think this person checked their emails if they went through just fine on Doctor Tech's end. If the client contacted DT sooner, and politely asked for a extension on his bill I'm sure they could have worked on a agreement together. You're running a business, and if someone isn't paying for the services you're providing then that's their prerogative, and therefore the service should be terminated, plain and simple.
I definitely would have extended it if he had asked for it. We are always flexible and understand that our clients may be going through circumstances.

From a host's perspective, there are more things to balance than simply whether to cut someone off, but yes, a customer should do everything in their power to resolve their invoices.

You should never rely on the host to extend the olive branch, if they do then they're doing you a favour, and it shouldn't be taken for granted.
I think keeping backups for 60 days past the due date is more than what mosts can usually offer. We definitely don't like cutting any customers off, but it's the way our billing and server management system is setup to free resources for potential future clients.