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  1. #1

    Help. Server modified contract without permission $1500 cancelation fee

    Hi there my sister went against my advice even though I told her I would host her website for free and was paying someone to host it. Since she signed up the host has charged her bogus fees and they have modified the original contract to reflect a 3yr contract with a $1500 cancelation fee. Agreement was a few pages long so he modified the pages that she didn't sign. Document shows it was modified the other day when she requested a copy of it. She is going to email me a copy of the agreement and when I get it I will post it here for review. Is she SOL if she can't find the original agreement that she signed?
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  2. #2
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    You should have original copies of any document signed and if they alter the contract then I would think the alterations would be invalid without further approval of both parties.

    Now as to whether you could prove it was altered or not would be a problem. You always need to make sure that contracts have page numbers and that you leave *nothing* blank.
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  3. #3
    Well it's a case of "I told you so". I warned her of all of this as he was just an individual but she only learns the hard way and pretty much does exactly the opossite of what I suggest to her. Pretty sure she doesn't have a copy of the original agreement but she says she might. This guy totally raped her with the design of a template website as well as the fees and she wants out
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  4. #4
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    Well if you don't have any way to prove that the contract has been modified, unless some court would throw the contract out for some other reason your sister is likely stuck right where she is. At the least I would get a copy of the contract as it is now so that this person cannot modify it further in the future.

    Again: page numbers & no empty spaces.
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  5. #5
    So once I get the copy and the last page, which is I assume the one she signed does not say for ex: page 5 of 5, the court would interpret that as the only page of agreement right? How much does the electronic date hold up in court with regards to the handwritten date if it's months apart?
    Edit: what do you mean by "spaces"?
    And thanks so much for the insanely fast replies
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinM822 View Post
    So once I get the copy and the last page, which is I assume the one she signed does not say for ex: page 5 of 5, the court would interpret that as the only page of agreement right? How much does the electronic date hold up in court with regards to the handwritten date if it's months apart?
    Edit: what do you mean by "spaces"?
    And thanks so much for the insanely fast replies
    I'm not a lawyer, you really should contact an attorney to get advice in this sort of situation. The document could be seen as invalid for other reasons such as a provision that isn't legal and the document lacking a sever-ability clause.

    It's just general advice to make sure a contract has page numbers and no empty spaces so that it cannot easily be modified after-the-fact.
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  7. #7
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    I am sorry to hear about what had happened to your sister. She should seek legal advise if the contract had really been modified. Can't believe there are such an unethical people out there.
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  8. #8
    Kevin, which web hosting company is that?
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  9. #9
    Graphixfx out of MA
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  10. #10
    The question here is WHY did she order from that company. I have never heard of it before and to be honest their website looks like have been designed by a teenager. Unfortunatelly it is the "told you so..." situation.
    But thanks for the feedback, that company is definitely not a good choice.

    From what I see, I would simply recommend that your sister cancel all services with them and request a chargeback from the bank. I don't believe they are serious enough to take any further (legal) steps...
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  11. #11
    Ok just got the document and will post for review when I get to a pc. No page numbers what so ever. I advised her to seek an attorney. Page that she signed showed no reference to a contract length or fees.
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  12. #12
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    http://www.graphixfx.com/ - This the place?
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  13. #13
    I'm on my iPhone now but I'm pretty sure that's the one
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  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    What is the URL? And $1500 cancellation fee is unbelievable.
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  16. #16
    Ok on a pc now but i'd rather not post the pdf file because it containts personal info so i saved as text and edited out the info.
    adobe reader says document was created 8/3/2009 and modified minutes later. minutes after editing it, is when my sister received the email with the contents of the agreement. i was given some bad information on the cancellation fee, it is $800
    This guy is the shadiest peice of S*** I have ever seen in my life. he writes in the contract that he will MORE THAN DOUBLE the monthly cost of hosting on august 31st!! charging her 86.99 per month to host a VERY VERY VERY small biz website. it only has a few images and uses next to NOTHING for bandwidth.
    ill paste the agreement here:
    ---start of page 1----


    Scope of Work Agreement

    Agreement between GraphixFX (Designer) and business or individual identified on this agreement.
    The Client listed below is subject to the following terms and conditions.


    General Working Agreement – This document defines
    the terms and conditions of our working relationship. This
    agreement is subject to all terms and conditions listed in
    the Web Development Agreement.

    Work Plan – Search Engine Submission; Basic meta tag
    insertion and keyword rotation. Transfer of website to
    GraphixFX

    Search engine submission: Submission to the top 10 search
    engines monthly (Rankings are not guaranteed)

    Basic Meta Tag Insertions: The insertion of basic keyword
    data, rotation of keywords quarterly. (Keywords are to be
    provided by client)

    Payments & Estimates – Client agrees to pay GraphixFX
    in accordance with the following terms:

    Search Engine Submission ,Keyword Rotation – 3 year
    contract – Monthly cost $36.28, $86.99 monthly starting
    8/31/09 - early termination fee of $800.00

    Website Transfer Hosting – 4 Year Contract – Transfer Fee
    $100.00 Annual Hosting Fee $125.00 Early Termination
    Fee $200.00

    Unless otherwise specified all accounts are subject to a
    29.04% per annum interest rate or 2.42% monthly on any
    unpaid balance over 40 days delinquent. Billed Accounts
    are subject to a $6.00 Billing / Service Charge. Accounts
    are subject to the following late fee structure 6 days past
    due $10.00, 15 days past due $15.00, 30 days past due
    $25.00. GraphixFX does not accept partial payments,
    Partial payments will be returned to the client voided and a
    service charge of $28.00 will be assessed to the clients
    account. GraphixFX reserves the right to refuse
    completion, or delivery of project until past due balances
    are paid. Payments made via PayPal are subject to a
    processing charge.

    Estimates: Billing will reflect the actual costs incurred.
    Valid only for 10 days from the date on the estimate. Client
    requested changes or out of estimate expenses will be
    billed separately. The client will be notified of any price

    changes.

    Restrictions: Customer may use third party promotion
    services and or companies (SEO & Marketing), Access to
    the sites source will not be granted. Customer is
    prohibited from allowing access to the sites hosting
    control panel. Granting access to the control panel will
    result in breach of terms fee in the amount of $1500.00.
    Changes to code must be submitted to us in writing with
    a letter authorizing changes. GraphixFX is not
    responsible for errors, unwanted changes or any other
    issues that may arise. Customer will be billed at a rate of
    $350.00 per page for changes, changes requiring more
    than three hours of work will be billed at a rate of
    $500.00 per page.

    Out-Of-Pocket Expenses – Fees for professional
    services do not include outside purchases such as, but not
    limited to, printing, photography, color printouts, flyer's,
    marketing materials, laminating, custom artwork or
    custom graphic design, shipping & handling or courier
    service. Expenses are itemized on each invoice. Expenses
    are subject to MA Sales Tax unless 1) You are a nonprofit
    organization; or 2) the work is for resale and you have
    submitted a valid resale certificate to GraphixFX. If
    consultant or supervisory services are required in out-oftown
    locations, we will bill lodging, meals, and
    transportation at cost. Additionally the client may assume
    the financial responsibility of said costs directly.

    Revisions And Alterations – New work requested by the
    client and performed by GraphixFX after a
    proposal/estimate has been approved is considered a
    revision or alteration. If the job changes to an extent that
    substantially alters the specifications described in the
    original estimate, we will submit a proposal revision
    memo to you, and a revised additional fee must be agreed
    to by both parties before further work proceeds.

    Author's/ Clients alterations and other copy changes
    requested after layouts or mechanicals are completed are
    billed at
    a standard hourly rate of $110.00 per hour in three hour
    increments.

    P.O. Box 2277 . Plainville, MA. 02762
    Phone: (617) 500.4609 . Fax: (617) 337.3031 . [email protected] . www.graphixfx.net


    ---- page 2 --------

    Overtime – Estimates are based on a reasonable time
    schedule, and may be revised to take into consideration
    your “Priority Scheduling” requests requiring overtime and
    weekends. Knowledge of your deadlines is essential to
    provide an accurate estimate. In addition outside suppliers,
    developers, or consultants charge a 100% to 200% markup
    on overtime after 5:00 pm weekdays and all on all
    weekends.

    Items to be supplied by Client – Client agrees to provide
    GraphixFX the following items to facilitate the redesign:
    Digital photos of company and all products. All text that is
    to be included on each page should be provided to
    GraphixFX by client during the Construction phase. Any
    and all custom artwork is to be supplied by Client at the
    Clients Cost. You are responsible for all trademark, service
    mark, copyright and patent infringement clearances. You
    are also responsible for arranging, prior to publication, any
    necessary legal clearance of materials we prepare.

    Term and Termination – The term of this agreement will
    continue for work in progress until terminated by either of
    us by written notice with at least thirty days written notice.
    If you should direct us at any time to cancel, terminate or
    “put on hold” any previously authorized purchase, we will
    promptly do so, provided you hold us harmless for any
    cost incurred as a result.

    Upon termination of this agreement, GraphixFX will

    ***EDIT OUT NAME OF BIZ*****

    transfer to client all your property and materials in our
    control and for which you have paid. Client will
    indemnify and hold GraphixFX harmless for any loss or
    expense (including attorney fees), and agree to defend
    GraphixFX in any actual suit,claim or action arising in
    any way from our working relationship. This includes,
    but is not limited to assertions made against Client and
    any of its products and services arising from the
    publication of materials that we prepare and you approve
    before publication. Client agrees that all
    invoices/estimates and scope of work documents that
    have been paid are considered no refundable.

    Additional Services – Photography of your products,
    employees and Fleet can be provided by us at a rate of
    $185.00 per hour 4 hour minimum. The photo service
    may be provided by one of our select vendors or by a
    developer.

    Advanced web site promotion services are available and
    are high advised with any relaunch or web site re-design.
    Quotes for these services are included for your
    convenience.

    Custom artwork or design can be provided on a per item
    basis and will be estimated upon request. Work for these
    services will require a written approval and payment in
    full.

    Account Number:***EDIT***


    P.O. Box 2277 . Plainville, MA. 02762
    Phone: (617) 500.4609 . Fax: (617) 337.3031 . [email protected] . www.graphixfx.net
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  17. #17
    ok so after reading every word of that it seems as she is getting more than just hosting. he charged her $100 per year for the site. 36/m for 'Search engine submission' which will later become $86.99/month. ok so im not a website junkie and only deal with servers so i dont know what this entails BUT SEEMS OUTRAGEOUS TO ME, but please correct me if im wrong.
    and edit again for the early termination fee its broken down to this:
    $800 for the 'search engine BS'
    $200 for the webhosting
    = $1000 ETF OMFG!!
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  18. #18
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    At this point, posting on WHT isn't going to do any good for you. We all just gotta learn, we ain't our sisters/brothers keeper. She decided to make the choice so she has to deal with the consequences. I had to learn that a long time ago with my own family. I don't mean to sound cold-hearted, but 'tis how it is. I advise that you suggest to her that she seek an attorney and present the original contract as-is in court. She may want to tell the "bogus host" that she does have an original copy in case they back out and step down and do the right thing before interring court fees. If she doesn't have an original copy, this is a good lesson.

    Good luck!
    Housewife Model 2000.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by futts View Post
    At this point, posting on WHT isn't going to do any good for you. We all just gotta learn, we ain't our sisters/brothers keeper. She decided to make the choice so she has to deal with the consequences. I had to learn that a long time ago with my own family. I don't mean to sound cold-hearted, but 'tis how it is. I advise that you suggest to her that she seek an attorney and present the original contract as-is in court. She may want to tell the "bogus host" that she does have an original copy in case they back out and step down and do the right thing before interring court fees. If she doesn't have an original copy, this is a good lesson.

    Good luck!
    It's a bogus host but she should learn? yet she should seek a lawyer? A little contradicting.

    From what I understand, they had a contract, then the provider added onto that contract? That means he wanting to make a new contract, however your sister didn't agree to it, so a contract was not form and the old one is still in place. If she signed where changes where made or a NEW contract was typed/written out and signed or verbally agreed to, then a NEW contract is formed.

    This is what I got from what you stated, that he wrote on the contract after it was signed by your sister.

    You need a lawyer to look things and the situation over, but make sure you get one!
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  20. #20
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    Customer will be billed at a rate of
    $350.00 per page for changes, changes requiring more
    than three hours of work will be billed at a rate of
    $500.00 per page.
    that's a joke right?

    at least Dick Turpin wore a mask.

    owm
    Last edited by Outlaw Web Master; 08-04-2009 at 05:46 PM.
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  21. #21
    All I can say is...RIP OFF. What a crap company. Probably just some 16 year old in his room who thinks he can get away with that. $1500 cancellation fee is ridiculous.

    You said she signed a contract? That sucks so bad.
    Download my eBook + Videos: Starting your own successful web hosting company.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbbrock1 View Post
    All I can say is...RIP OFF. What a crap company. Probably just some 16 year old in his room who thinks he can get away with that. $1500 cancellation fee is ridiculous.

    You said she signed a contract? That sucks so bad.
    If the kid is under 18, most likely the contract, original or the one he wrote on trying to pass it as a contract would not be valid.
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  23. #23
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    hmm...

    on their website (support link) they give their physical address as...
    Physical Address:
    90 Taunton Street
    Plainville, MA. 02762

    googleing 90 Taunton Street Plainville, MA. 02762 gives a self storage facility.

    http://www.extraspace.com/Storage/Fa.../Facility.aspx

    strange? not strange?

    roflmao...
    http://www.extraspace.com/ maybe that's the dude sitting on the sofa.

    here in the UK, self storage facilities are where you store your furniture whilst moving home or abroad etc....not the kind of place any business operates from, unless it's a storage company.

    owm
    Last edited by Outlaw Web Master; 08-04-2009 at 07:34 PM.
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  24. #24
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    I don't know the law in MA but in the UK such a contract would be laughed out of court - if she was a consumer.

    Consumer protection laws are usually quite comprehensive and give a lot of protection. The contract is so one-sided and onerous that it's terms couldn't be considered fair or represntative of the real costs or loss involved if she did cancel. However, if it was signed by her as a representative of a business then the chances are it will be more difficult to get out of without some fight.

    The best advice is to get an attorney involved. It is the ONLY solution that makes sense now.
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  25. #25
    Hey thats no joke about the $350 per page. she paid that. and you should see the site. it must have taken a TOTAL of 15 minutes PER PAGE to design with dreamweaver. I honestly dont care about what she has paid already because i told her she was getting the shaft to begin with. all I was questioning i guess is the validity of the contract where she signed page 2 of a document that has no reference to a page 1 or any other pages for that matter. I've instructed her to seek an attorney already and she is doing so, i've also told her to find a new host ASAP as I would not host the site for her due to the fact that this person is a child in nature and will throw a temper tantrum when she leaves without paying a bogus ETF that he imposed on her after the signing of the contract.

    on another note... would someone mind offering some incite as to what the search engine crap is? like i said before I have minimal knowledge of website creation/publication
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  26. #26
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    Realistically everything that she paid for/agreed to pay for is way over-priced. It looks like they make money by charging businesses and people with too much money for things that they really don't understand as they likely don't get questioned being "professionals".

    I have seen a few places like that - this one design firm near us charged a buddy of mine $4,500 for a simple two-page site that I could have designed for him for free in under 30 minutes. I even offered to do it beforehand but he wanted to go with a "professional" and they wore suits and ties and such... Yeah I may have been in a t-shirt and jeans but at least I would have done the work without giving the shaft.

    Have your sister have an attorney look over the contract because from the sounds of it a good portion of it if not all of it could be tossed out in court but don't hold me to that.
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  27. #27
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    Not going to read the entire thread but if the document was changed you can be safe to assume that anyone who goes to the trouble of modifying "contracts" that the "contract" is invalid and you do not have to pay because they are not going to do anything about it/don't have the ability to do anything about it.

    I wouldn't waste my time with lawyers until they initiate any legal action because as I said if they did actually modify a "contract" then it's invalid in the first place and I would seriously love them to explain that one away.
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  28. #28
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    crooks, get your money back...stop any payments.
    Keep log of all data.
    Complain to bbs (which will do nothing)
    and just hope they go away.

    If not, sue them at your local county courthouse.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    And be nice to your sister, it is bad enough being ripped off, but to be chastised by someone you love on top of it sucks.

    And now we have a thread protecting people from this host.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbbrock1 View Post
    All I can say is...RIP OFF. What a crap company. Probably just some 16 year old in his room who thinks he can get away with that. $1500 cancellation fee is ridiculous.

    You said she signed a contract? That sucks so bad.
    Uhh, not all teens are like that. I am 15 almost 16 and I either offer my services for free or fair market value
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  30. #30
    Well got some even better news. Turns out Mr Imadumbass decides he is going to change the terms of service. Boy was this a STUPID time to do something like this. He states in his email:

    "If you disagree in whole or in part you have the option of cancelling your service with GraphixFX. Please note that if you cancel your account you will be subject to any and all current and past due balances in addition to early termination fees if applicable.

    If you do not submit to us a letter of cancellation accompanied by a Certified Bank Check for all fees and Early termination fees within 5 days starting on the date of this notice, you're in whole acceptance will be assumed."

    hahahahha my sister just got another way out. this guy is trying to make it harder for her to get out, when in reality hes just making it easier. can you say coerced? I smell a lawsuit.

    this guy is so smart he's stupid. He's totally oblivious to state laws.
    Drafting up a BBB and attorney general office complaint in the morning for her so she can submit. if that gets no where this guys going down
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  31. #31
    Site says they have been around since 2000.

    http://www.graphixfx.net/ -reg in 2007
    http://www.graphixfx.com -reg in 2004
    http://www.gfxsupportzone.com/ -reg in 2007

    So thats a lie right there.

    But the TOS does say this though 'Subject to change without notice ' but if he is doing it to try and make you pay, then I feel you will have a strong case against him.

    Cancellation Policy:
    Cancellation

    GraphixFX Internet Solutions Internet Solutions reserves the right to suspend or cancel at any time Customer access to Service for any reason. If GraphixFX Internet Solutions Internet Solutions institutes its right of cancellation then all fees paid in advance of cancellation will not be refunded.
    Customer may request the cancellation of their purchase at any time. All fees paid in advance will be retained. No refunds are issued at any time.

    All associated files will be deleted within 48 hours (2 days) of the day of cancellation.

    All items are sold, as is, no warranty.
    All purchases are non refundable Ensure that you are ordering the correct item once your order is placed we will not refund you. If you make a mistake during the ordering process you will have to reorder the item that you intended to.
    Last edited by CubicH-Gray; 08-08-2009 at 12:44 AM.
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  32. #32
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    What are the chances of:
    1. ignoring his emails
    2. stopping all payments
    3. graphixfx engages a attorney/his friend to draft a letter demanding payment
    4. you countering by getting a proper attorney to throw out that contract

    Perhaps, you never know, he won't even embark on step 3.
    Roy Lee
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  33. #33
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    Write a complaint to the state Attorney General's office and/or the state's Consumer Protection office, and be done with it.

    I am pretty sure

    If you do not submit to us a letter of cancellation accompanied by a Certified Bank Check for all fees and Early termination fees within 5 days starting on the date of this notice, you're in whole acceptance will be assumed."
    is illegal in darn near every state -- or it should be.

    Lack of payment does not constitute acceptance of terms. You can disagree with the terms and put in a notice to cancel, and the host (ISP, phone company, credit card company, etc.) can still require your payment, that's fine... happens everyday. But if you contest the charges that doesn't mean you agree to the terms. ??? It's a nuance, but a key nuance.

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  34. #34
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    I wonder how many other people have been robbed by this guy, personally I'd sue him if an attorney felt there was grounds to do so just to try and put his little scam out of business.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConceptLane View Post
    What are the chances of:
    1. ignoring his emails
    2. stopping all payments
    3. graphixfx engages a attorney/his friend to draft a letter demanding payment
    4. you countering by getting a proper attorney to throw out that contract

    Perhaps, you never know, he won't even embark on step 3.
    Exactly!

    This guy is a full-on scammer, and I'm sure he knows it.

    Just dare this scumbag to sue - they most likely won't because they know they can't win.
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  36. #36
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    Out of curiosity (it's been a while since I read the initial post) how much has your sister already paid to this guy?
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  37. #37
    im really not sure. she paid to have him re-do the website as well as the hosting and SEO fees. shes paid monthly for 11 months now i think.
    shes in the process of looking for a new web hosting company. i advised her to find one ASAP and gave her a few suggestions. she talked to a lawyer and he is reviewing everything. I kinda hope this dirt bag tries to go after her for a cancellation fee because a counter suit will be in place
    This clown doesn't have a leg to stand on as far as I'm concerned
    thanks for everyone's responses
    Last edited by KevinM822; 08-08-2009 at 10:47 PM.
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  38. #38
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    138
    Hi,

    I really can't believe what I'm reading here. What bowls me totally over is that your sister is even still paying the guy!

    I dunno about elsewhere but in the whole of Europe this is called an exploitative contract and hence invalid. In fact, most European courts would decree that that buddy had to pay back like 95% of what he already got from your sis! Usury laws can be found in every national legislation here and EU-wide as well, and that's usury, plain and simple.

    I'd simply stop paying.

    That said, similar services are not uncommon, but at VERY different rates.

    C.
      0 Not allowed!

  39. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    125
    Consult an attorney but DO NOT stop paying unless your attorney says so.

    If there is any validity to the contract (unlikely, but just in case) and this is going to go to court, your sister has to be adhering to her side of the contract. Simply not paying because she is unhappy will mean she is in breach of contract and it doesn't do her any good no matter how much things appear to be in her favour at the moment. Take your attorneys advice at all times and only stop paying if they say so.
      0 Not allowed!

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    UK: Oxford
    Posts
    1,256
    Go about this 2 ways,

    1: Basic - Tell him to "f**k off" and Ignore him and his company.

    2: Computer - If you still have the original visit in Firefox, load the old version of the contact OFFLINE so it doesnt update and print it off.

    But other then that, I cant think of many other ways. I personally wouldnt bother with an attorney, and deal with the little bugger your self. But It's your choise and YOUR (sisters) money.

    Hope it works out.

    Joe
    Garbott Ltd - Professional web development & consultancy services
    Oxford.Hosting - Prestigious shared, cloud, dedicated and gaming hosting solutions.
      0 Not allowed!

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