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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We are a small company of web application programmers, dealing

Customer Question

We are a small company of web application programmers, dealing with a client who owes us significant sums of money (some dating back over 9 months now).
Are we legally allowed to delete invoiced but unpaid for code from their site, if doing so will (because it is integrated with previous code that has been paid for) prevent it from working completely?
The client has their own dedicated web server, which we manage, so it wouldn't be as simple as just ceasing to provide a service, we would have to actively remove the code and in doing so would essentially break the system.
We have stated to them that we won't be undertaking any further work for them, but do still have access and have left the backup systems running (the company is a travel booking agency, so protecting the data is important to more than just the client who doesn't have the technical know-how to do backups himself).
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
I would not recommend deleting the code. If you have legally parted with ownership of it, even if you have not been paid, by deleting it you are potentially making yourself in breach of contract and subject to a claim for loss.
How much are you owed by this company?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


In total around £85k, but we have offered to accept £65K if they pay a minimum of 5K within two weeks. [we do have other questions on this site more aimed at the collection aspect].

Presumably there wouldn't be the same breach of contract (we don't have a written contract, only agreements made in emails) issue if we discontinue ancillary services relating to the site (such as performing daily backups, providing DNS resolution, and system maintenance)?

Discontinuing the DNS service will result in the website and email not responding until the client gets an alternative set up.

Many Thanks,


Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
Do you have terms and conditions signed by the customer that say you can terminate your agreement with them?
Kind regards