Hi there, I would like to put all your web hosts through a scenario, please try to look at it from an unbiased point of view.
You failed to bill a client for 4 years. The client wants to switch the domain out from your hosting business because they are growing out of your service. You registered the domain for them. You just realize that you haven't billed this client for 4 years.
1) Charge the client 4 years worth of hosting before giving the domain over? Please explain.
2) Other. Please explain.
1.) I would absolutely definetely, 100% hand the domain over straight away.
2.) I would not try to charge the client for the 4 years of missed billing. At the end of the day the client didnt recieve an invoice - so didnt pay for anything. Asking them now would be unfair and would not put my business in a good light at all. However, I would contact them and inform them of the mistake - reminding them when their next billing period is.
But, to be honest I think I would notice if I hadnt billed a customer for 4 years.......
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I would hold the client accountable, as well as the host. What did client think when they weren't being billed for 4 years?
As a host, it would partially be my fault (however the client could of contacted me letting me know they weren't receiving invoices). I would probably charge for 25% of the hosting fee and all 4 years of the domain registration.
As a client, I would offer to pay all I owed. I wouldn't feel right not footing a bill I accrued.
As a Host - I would of never let the scenario happen in the first place.
As a client - I have had to contact companies in the past about failing to bill me, and I would happily do it again if they forgot. I like to stay on top of my bills.
Last edited by HostRefugee-Vince; 05-16-2007 at 05:40 PM.
In my opinion, it would have been my fault for overlooking the billing issue. As long as the domain name is current (if it isnt, I would bill for it only) I would push the domain name to the client.
Good luck with your host.
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I really don't think I could bring myself to bill the customer. I would most definitely let them know that I know they've been getting a free ride, but really...it would be my fault. Perhaps they're as nice as Vince and would offer to pay up, but I doubt it.
Perhaps they're as nice as Vince and would offer to pay up, but I doubt it.
I doubt most people would offer to pay the full price either. It's just a principal of mine, if I use the service knowing I should have been billed...I feel obligated to keep my end of the agreement.
My unbiased opinions above are only speculation. I have never not billed a client. Honestly, my decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis. I would definently not want to keep the client from doing business, but at the same time I would want some compensation (at least partially) for the costs I incurred to provide the service.
A negotiated fee would be fair IMO. Customers are not always after what's fair though. It is worth considering the value (positive and negative) of the publicity he could make you after leaving (which is why I would probably be willing to just let him go). After all, your business has survived without his money so far. I trust it will do so in the future as well.
I wouldn't charge him. I once realized I hadn't charge a client for hosting in over a year. I sent out an invoice for the next year's worth of services and suspended the account after he hadn't paid within a week. I wouldn't charge him for the time I neglected to invoice him though.
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Well 4 years is a bit much to "NOT" notice you were not being invoiced for a service you were using all this time and kept it quite. I can see if the client wasn't invoice for 6 months or so and just writing it off but 4 years is too much.
I'd contact them and tell them to pay up for say two years and full amount for the domain renewals. Since in reality they never paid for the service or the domain they don't really own it.
If they are sincere they will pay up, if all they wanted was a free ride by not notifying you about not being invoiced, they won't pay or make any excuses to get out of paying.
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I would simply explain the situation to the client and give him/her the option since it wouldn't have been his fault in the first place. As much as I'd hate to see a client go, I would also like him/her to be smiling when he/she leaves.
I would write the last 4 years off as a loss, and start billing him from this point. Although you're well within your rights to bill him for the time, it really wouldn't be fair, since you weren't invoicing him. We had a similar situation recently, and wrote off over $2000 on a service that we forgot to bill a client on for over a year.
I'd do my best to try and collect at least some of it, but I wouldn't expect much. If you're on good terms with the client in general, it can't hurt to ask for at least the past year. If you know they're difficult to deal with or if you've never actually spoken with them before, you're better off just dropping it. No point in spending more time on something that's already lost.
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The client should not have to pay. It's not the client's responsibility to notice they did not receive an invoice and request one. They probably deal with many different suppliers, and likely do not keep track of people who should be billing them who haven't. The same with my company -- I pay invoices as soon as I receive them, but I don't keep track of who I should be expecting an invoice from.
The client may be a big one and assumed the invoices were being sent to the accounts payable and were being taken care of, which is why they would have never thought to ask for an invoice.
Personally, I would suggest giving the client all of the information (admitting that you forgot to bill him/her) and if they wish not to make payment you completely understand and will hand over their domain. This gives both parties the chance to make an ethical and logical decision.
If I were the customer, I would expect the company to make me pay in full. I would be appreciative, in light of the circumstance, if the host would cut me a break though. I can't imagine that a company like The Planet, for example, would just say "oh well". I would expect them to bill me in full and they probably would.