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An older acquaintance asked me back in 2001 to established…

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An older acquaintance asked...

An older acquaintance asked me back in 2001 to established carriage rental website 2001. Established second website for trailer repair, sales & parts. Then in 2005, they requested a seasonal website for Winter Carriage rides. He owned the business, was completely not computer savvy, and knew only about the horses etc. Nothing about the web. Initially it was just to set the websites up for him, but then changes always need to be made. It was a verbal agreement and I became more of a “website builder” on retainer.
For 15 or so years, I have charged $100 month plus additional for 3rd seasonal website . I changed pictures out, refreshed the sites, researched cheaper website services, made sure licenses and renewals were up to date. When I couldn’t get any photos from them directly, I would go on their Facebook page and synchronize photos that way. I was always tweaking the sites.
March 2016 they decided to discontinue my services. The reason was that they recently decided to barter with a client. She was purchasing one of their carriages and in turn offered to handle their website. Now, they are disputing the last invoice for $900, stating they feel they have paid more than enough for my services over the years, they haven’t seen any changes to the websites, I was using an online website builder, and they now wanted details for services rendered. In the beginning I used computer code until the advancement of online website builders. Personally, I feel how I got the job done doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I did my job without any complaints from them.
Like a fool, I gave them the passwords and account information trusting that I wouldn’t be having a problem getting paid. I have sent them 2 invoices requesting payment. The last being July 2017. I finally received the following email letter on August 29, 2017:
AUGUST 29, 2017 “Thank you for your patience awaiting our response, we had questions regarding our latest Website Service Agreement with you that required some research first.
According to Netfims, (the Domain Registrar for gandffhorsetrailers.com, gandfcarriages.com and gandfcompanies.com) our visa Credit Card has been charged separately for all Domain Registrati9ons & renewals, Website Builders, and Hosting since 2001.
That determines that the $100.00 monthly invoices that you send us are for building, maintaining, and updating the websites. As of 2016, our company websites still had the original designs, wuilt with a simple Weebly Website Builder, as they started with in 2001. We had the opportunity to get our sites modernized by another service in late 2016, and have notified you that your services are no longer necessary. Our domain registrations at Netfirms are current, so we were not expecting any other invoices from you.
Apparently, what is in contest at this time, is the value of your “Services” on the latest invoice that we received from you. Since 2001 we have paid you roughly $17,000.00 in “website service fees”, separate from Netfirm’s account charges. We have always paid you timely, and in full. We also feel that we have generously for your support services, however, we’ve seen few visible signs of upgrades to our websites since there original design in 2001.
For both of our purposes, cay you please prove evidence of the recent “website services” that you billed to us in the last invoice amount of $900.00.?
That you for the work that you provided in our early days on the internet. We appreciate your efforts in introducing our services online. For that we will always be grateful. But it’s time that we learned to manage our own site, us carriage drivers have to keep up with modern technology too.”
I live in Arizona and they live in California. I have not filed anything.
============================

Lawyer's Assistant: What is your official status? Do you have any pending applications or petitions with USCIS?

What is that?

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No. They are pissed because they feel duped. I am pissed because they are (no offense) horse people and after 15 years are going to pull this crap. Sorry....

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No, thank you

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Legal
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9/20/2017
Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
INFOLAWYER
INFOLAWYER, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 61,573
Experience: Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses
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I can suggest some options. would you like that information? please let me know and i will put it together and respond shortly. You can wait or come back later when we email you that a reply is ready. Thanks for your patience. This is not the answer. just an opening question so I can better focus the answer and make it more helpful.
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
options would be helpful. I am not sure how to proceed and get this all finalized as soon as possible.
Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
I am sorry this happened. I will do the following: 1. suggest options for pursuing a case 2. preparation tactics 3. way to find a local lawyer if you still wish to involve one but can save on fees by following steps 1 and 2You want to prepare your case by creating a time line starting from the earliest event. For each event, write down key details and witnesses and if there is a document that relates to it, save it and refer to it. This timeline can be very valuable in narrating your case and presenting it later in a concrete and specific way.If you sue in court you may end up with a judgment. The judgment generally allows you to levy on bank accounts, lien real estate and work with the sheriff office civil enforcement division. Many lawsuits result in settlement - which expect the judge to encourage. You stand to recover not only your actual losses (compensatory damages) but also interest, costs and legal fees. on occasion special damages (punitive damages) are also available.By being prepared and pressing your claim, the other side should feel the pressure and consider the risk of losing and legal fees. That realization can help bring about a settlement!Please let me know if the reply is acceptable by responding "yes" or "acceptable"
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Well, what kind of timeline are we talking about? I have some discs with the different website looks over the years...My husband has seen me over the years working on their websites.I never nickel & dimed it because there were times I spent far more hours than needed to on their site. Even when it was "slow" for the website's, I maintained charging the monthly fee because I considered myself on "retainer" and if they needed something done I would do it. . It has never been in question for 15 years. I understand that since I reside in Arizona, then the would have to travel from California for small claims court? What about the statutes in Arizona pertaining to "verbal agreements"? Is there an established history in payment that would be considered as admission?As far as changes to the website. The online website program wasn't even invented until 2005, so their claim that I've been using it since 2001 is a lie. I started out programming and setting up videos, scanning photos and other things without a website builder. Anyway, should that matter? If I am on "retainer", pursuant to their paying me as such for 15 years? Can they not pay me if I don't have concrete changes during the slotime we are talking about in the billing?
July 2016-December 2017 6 months @ $50 month = 2 websites
January 2017-Feb. 2017 2 months @ $50 month = 2 websites
November 16 and December 16 (seasonal) 2 months @ $50 month = 2 websitesWhat about a letter? Something you can Is there a way to communicate my judicial possibilities at hand? A form? A way to be polite, but kick them in the ass? I don't want to have to contend with
Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
By time timeline I meant a chronological narration of the events.A lawyer letter threatening litigation may prompt a settlement especially if it threaten the options I outlined earlier as consequences.Good luck!Please let me know if the reply is acceptable by responding "yes" or "acceptable"
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Okay, is there a template that you would recommend outlining such a letter?
By them paying me, does that mean they accepted the verbal agreement?
Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
It does show intent to pay. No such template but generally would identify what you want, the history between the sides and reasons why payment should be given. Please let me know if the reply is acceptable by responding "yes" or "acceptable"
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
What about the statutes in Arizona pertaining to "verbal agreements"?
Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
Verbal agreements are binding under common law provided they are proven. So if he admits to the arrangement under oath and penalty of perjury, it is enforceable!if I can elaborate on anything, just ask me.Please let me know if the reply is acceptable by responding "yes" or "acceptable"
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Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
Awaiting your reply, thank you!
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Is it possible for him to rely on California statutes pertaining to verbal agreements?
He would have to come to AZ?
Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
Courts generally apply the law of the state where action pending. If he admits to a verbal agreement that will bind him
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Lawyer: INFOLAWYER, Attorney replied 8 months ago
Please let me know if the reply is acceptable by responding "yes" or "acceptable"
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