Web host did not breach contract by terminating rude customer

Mehmet v. Add2net, Inc., — N.Y.S.2d —-, 2009 WL 3199876 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept. October 8, 2009)

Plaintiff website operator didn’t pay his monthly hosting fees on time. He called the hosting company and said he’d be sending a check, but in the meantime the web host exercised its right under the hosting agreement to suspend Plaintiff’s account for nonpayment. Plaintiff called and left a nasty voicemail, using an obscene word to threaten to sue the hosting company if his website was not reactivated.

In response to this angry voice mail, the web host terminated Plaintiff’s account. He sued for breach of contract. The web host moved to dismiss at the trial court level and the court granted the motion. Plaintiff sought review. On appeal, the court affirmed the dismissal.

Of particular importance was a provision in the hosting agreement that incorporated by reference an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), and provided that any breach of that policy would be grounds for suspension or termination of plaintiff’s account. Under the AUP, plaintiff agreed “not to abuse whether verbally or physically or whether in person, via email or telephone or otherwise … any employee or contractor of [defendant].”

The nonpayment coupled with this violation of the web hosting acceptable use policy undercut Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim.

7 thoughts on “Web host did not breach contract by terminating rude customer

  1. jinnah

    its not good to be rude.

    support is a very important factor in web hosting. good quality support is a blessing for customers. I like shopaserver.com support , they use to mail properly , take action by time. like them allot

  2. Joe

    I've never seen a clause like that in a service agreement, but I'm very happy to know that it's out there! People need to know that it's never okay to be that rude. Even if you're paying for something, which this guy wasn't.

  3. Dan

    “I’ve never seen a clause like that in any user agreement.”

    It’s not all that uncommon. Personally, I don’t even see it as an absolutely necessary clause. Verbal abuse is just as good as physical abuse. I don’t see why an employee would have to put up with either. After all, one can choose his customers too. Just don’t be a Soup Nazi. :P

    Not only that, he threatened to sue, which for me would be reason enough to stop communication and let lawyers do the talking. :)

  4. Stephen Ryan

    There are lots of little clauses in the standard AUP that companies have. Very few people actually read them but you can agree lots of them in a hell of a lot of ways.

  5. Andrew Wooger

    Working for several years in live chat support team for one well-known web hosting provider I never appreciated rude customers and the way they talked to support member. Nevertheless we never terminated their account due to their rude behavior. We always tried the best to solve their problems and satisfy each customer.

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