I’m an artist, and I have a website on the artist hosting service, Artspan.com. Unfortunately, recently their hosted websites were hacked and some of us lost all our uploaded images. They have said they would help me upload all my many images again, but I have decided to end my relationship with them and asked for them to return a prorated fee on the amount I paid upfront for the year. They say they will not do so and say my account will close at the end of my billing period in October. The amount I am requesting isn't much— probably a little over $100, but as I entrusted them with the security for my website, I feel I’m entitled to a prorated amount because the website is devoid of my art. (I have to find the contract online somehow, I know). Who is responsible and what would you suggest as a next step for me? Thank you.
...I have to find the contract online somehow, I know.
I'm sure the contract will state that, by signing (or clicking through the TOS or hosting agreement) you hold Artspan not liable for any loss of data or images, hacks, service disruptions, loss of income or anything else that happens to your website and artwork.
You're simply out of luck on getting a refund; you signed a contract, and it is legally binding. Artspan could still offer a refund, but it would be their choice, and they are not legally bound to do so.
You could possibly have recourse on a state or local level, if your jurisdiction has consumer protection laws, and Artspan is legally located in such a jurisdiction (as stated in the contract), but that's for you to investigate.
You are only entitled to a refund if the contract says so or in the case of total failure of consideration
I don’t know what the contract says about refunds but I would guess it doesn’t mention them. Since you have had the use of the service for a period of time there has not been total failure of consideration. So you are not entitled to a refund, partial or full.
You may be entitled to damages which are the monetary value of the loss you suffered due to their negligence. This can be pursued as a contract claim, a tort, or in some jurisdictions, as a breech of a statutory guarantee. The contract likely has a limitation of liability clause which may be enforceable which may close down or restrict this approach. Notwithstanding, any money you get this way is damages, not a refund.
In australia the leading case is Baltic Shipping v Dillon. Ms Dillon was on a cruise ship that ran aground off New Zealand. She was rescued and claimed damages for the loss of her luggage and the distress etc. which the court awarded. She also claimed refund of the fare, however, she had received 9 days of the 14 day cruise and so she failed on this point.