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I had a contract to provide web services to someone for a few months. The contract has now expired and has not been renewed. The client was horrible to work with and I no longer want to work with them, but they have made no effort to find someone to replace me.

If I flick the switch their online business goes offline. If I do this and they offer to pay me to bring it back online, do I have to do it? I don't want to work with them anymore and have already given them the backups. The contract expired almost 2 months ago now and I'm getting annoyed that they are taking advantage of me for a service I am not being paid for.

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    You should hire a lawyer to look over the details of the contract to make sure you have no contractual obligations. If there are no contractual obligations then I would send a letter via certified mail stating a date in the future (a few weeks to 1 month, but no more) stating that their site will be switched off on that date and that they need to make other arrangements. – mikeazo Jun 14 '16 at 11:44
  • Then in future dealings, send that same letter out 1 month before the end of the contract to any clients who have not renewed their contract and stop letting these awful clients walk all over you. – mikeazo Jun 14 '16 at 11:46
  • What service exactly are you doing now that you are not being paid for? – gnasher729 Jun 14 '16 at 12:54
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    Hosting all of their online services. I own and maintain the server that runs the service for them. The contract was like them renting the service. – Dan Hastings Jun 14 '16 at 12:54
  • Have you been billing periodically for hosting? – user662852 Jun 14 '16 at 13:10
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If you have no contract to provide the service then you have no obligation under contract law to do so.

However, if you are aware that withdrawing the service could or would cause damage to their business then doing so may leave you open to a suit on the basis of negligence; particularly if you do so precipitously and without warning.

You should write to them in the following terms:

Despite our agreement that the contract would not be renewed you have not made any arrangements to stop using my service. Consequently I consider that by your actions, you have continued to treat the contract as ongoing. I am happy for this arrangement to continue on a month-by-month basis and will be invoicing accordingly. If this is acceptable, please respond by 4pm on x/y/z; if you do not do so I will switch the service off at 4pm on x/y+2/z

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If there is nothing in your agreement that says you need to continue to provide them with a service you don't. If you have already given them backups and they are not paying you for the service, then its there problem.

This is especially true if they have already confirmed they are not wanting to renew the service with you. (I am not a lawyer, but I disagree with Dale M's conclusion that this leaves you open to a lawsuit - well, you are always open to a lawsuit - anyone can file one for any reason, but I don't see how they could prevail.) I do agree that it would be prudent to send them a communication advising you are going to stop providing the service on XXX date.

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