TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Website Design and Development
These are the standard terms and conditions for Website Design and Development and apply to all contracts and all work undertaken by Merit-Tel, LLC® for its clients.
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS
A down payment is required in order to begin development of your website. This is usually 0-50% of the upfront design fee, unless an alternative contract/email from an authorized Merit-Tel representative specifies a different amount. The outstanding balance on your website is due after the design, navigation and pages have been approved and built. Final payment is due regardless of whether all content for the pages has been sent by the client. This provision is in place to encourage the client to get content submitted promptly so that their site can go live. It also ensures that Merit-Tel gets paid for performing their duty under the contract, despite tardy content from the client.
After payment, Merit-Tel will still post outstanding content AT NO CHARGE for 3 months. If payment is not received within 30 days, the maintenance changes may be taken down until payment is received. After 60 days, there may also be a $35 reposting fee added to the outstanding maintenance invoice balance. In the event an “under construction” page is posted due to missing content, Merit-Tel will post ONE copy of any text/pictures on existing pages only, for up to 3 months after publish date. After the three months have expired, content posted to site will be billable at our current regular hourly rate. In the event that design and navigation changes are requested after they have been specifically approved by the client, these changes will be billable at our current regular hourly rate.
Once the site design is approved by the client, usually via email consent, the design is considered ready for implementation. Should the client wish to make changes to a design they have approved, those changes are billable at our standard hourly rate.
Once site outline/map is approved by the client, usually via email consent, the site navigation is considered ready for implementation. Combined with the approved graphic design, this becomes the site structure. Once we build this structure per client approval, any subsequent changes are billable at our standard hourly rate.
Provision of content is customer’s responsibility, unless specifically negotiated ahead of time as part of the project proposal.
Copy for all website pages and links needs to be delivered digitally and should be carefully proof-read by the client. Two rounds of revisions will be provided free of charge. Subsequent revisions will be billable at our regular hourly rate.
Should client wish Merit-Tel to develop content for the site, website copy is billable at our regular hourly rate. Development of copy is accomplished via Merit-Tel Web Development interviewing the client about the topic areas to be addressed on their web pages. Merit-Tel then composes appropriate copy, submits to the client for review, edit, and approval. Approved copy is then posted to the web pages.
Entry of data for database applications is considered client’s responsibility. Entry of data by Merit-Tel is billable, unless otherwise provided for in customer’s contract.
Email – We offer free domain-based email accounts to our clients as part of any hosting contract. If site is not hosted by Merit-Tel, we take no responsibility for setting up and troubleshooting email problems.
For websites with administrative control panels or content management systems, two (2) one-hour training sessions will be provided.
We offer local and long-distance phone support to our clients. We do not normally bill for technical support depending on the source of the problem, its severity, and our time invested. If Merit-Tel is not the source of the problem, technical support may be billable.
Training and Tutorials
Because customer service is in integral part of our business strategy, all of our projects include a one-time complimentary training session in order for our clients to better make use of their new web technology.
Additional training hours can be purchased at our standard hourly rate or applied against your existing maintenance contract.
Domain Transfers and DNS Management
For domains not originally registered with Merit-Tel, there will be a $25 fee to either transfer to the domain into our registration platform, or to transfer-out to another registrar. If the fee is more than $25, the client will be notified via email for approval. If your domain is not registered with Merit-Tel, DNS management and troubleshooting tasks are billable at our hourly rate.
Websites with Proprietary Source Code
Should client contract with Merit-Tel to write custom code for a website application, this code is not transferable to a new developer or host. Custom written source code is considered the property of Merit-Tel Web Development and cannot be shared with other developers. Clients are granted a license to use custom software code while on Merit-Tel servers only. Merit-Tel Web Development retains ownership of the code.
In some cases, Merit-Tel will install software for the client’s use that has been built by a third party. Examples include WordPress blog software, FCK editor software, shopping carts, photo galleries, etc. In these instances, clients will be subject to the terms and conditions of the third party who owns the software, and may use the software as a licensee only. No ownership rights of any kind are transferred to the client.
Access to or transfer of proprietary source code could result in a security risk to Merit-Tel and its clients who are running similar pieces of code. In order to provide custom software development services, clients give us access to private and/or sensitive information, trade secrets, proprietary pricing and business methods. If clients believed that we may be sharing this information with outside developers, they could lose faith that we are protecting their proprietary information. Therefore, neither access nor transfer of any code built for any purpose that is unique and not commonly and publicly available can be granted. Should client want us to build software to run on another server, it must be disclosed upfront and specifically contracted for.
Website components that ARE transferable to another host include html code, graphics, logos, pictures, navigation, text, and the data residing within a database (but not the code). Hourly fees will apply for any special work that needs to be done to transfer those parts of website that do not violate the other paragraphs in this section.
Merit-Tel Web Development maintains and troubleshoots the websites we develop for our clients, as well as any domain-based email accounts of those websites. We do NOT assume responsibility for upkeep or provide non-billable troubleshooting on our clients’ ISPs (Internet Service Providers), ISP-based email accounts (firstname.lastname@example.org, , etc), your home or office internet connections, or any other non-domain-based issues outside Merit-Tel Web Development’s realm of service. Provision of non-domain-based troubleshooting services will be billable at our normal hourly rate.
WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT CANCELLATION
If site design and development work has already begun (such as creating a design concept), then the down payment is non-refundable. Merit-Tel my elect at its sole discretion to offer a partial refund depending upon the circumstances.
If you reject any of our work within the 7-day review period, or not approve subsequent work performed by us to remedy any points recorded as being unsatisfactory, and we, acting reasonably, consider that you have been unreasonable in any rejection of the work, we can elect to treat this contract as at an end and take measures to recover payment for the completed work.
STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS
Stock photography includes most photos and/or images not provided by the client. Stock photography purchased on behalf of client for use in website development is billable at a minimum of $10 per picture. This amount is separate from the amount quoted for website design and development. Some pictures are more expensive than $10, in which case we will solicit client approval and communicate the price before purchasing.
Images outside of the website design must be provided in digital form or in a form that can be easily scanned, unless otherwise provided for in client’s contract. Subsequent revisions will be billable at our regular hourly rate.
WARRANTY BY YOU AS TO OWNERSHIP OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
You must obtain all necessary permissions and authorities in respect of the use of all copy, graphic images, registered company logos, names and trademarks, or any other material that you supply to us to include in your website or web applications. You must indemnify us and hold us harmless from any claims or legal actions related to the content of your website.
DESCRIPTION OF ONGOING COSTS
There are 2 types of ongoing costs: domain registration and hosting.
Domain name registration: This cost recurs annually. Domain name registration gives you exclusive rights to a certain name, such as www.mycompany.net, so that you can use it for your web-based purposes. You are NOT required to register a domain through us, but we strongly prefer that you do. Many services are not honest in the way they sell names and we spend a lot of time helping people re-secure rights to the name they thought they had already purchased. If you have registered your own name, make sure you have yourself as the Registrant and Administrative Contact with a current, easily accessible email address. This will help to ensure that your domain can be renewed or transferred should the need arise. Domain name registration fees are not refundable.
Hosting: This cost recurs annually. Hosting places the domain name on a particular server connected to the web, which allows you to post a website for viewing through a browser. You are NOT required to host through us, but we strongly prefer that you do. Hosting comes with domain-based emails, bandwidth, storage space, database and security tools, and other features. Projects that involve custom programming must be hosted with Merit-Tel to ensure the programs that we write will work. If you want to host your site on another server this must be disclosed before we begin programming.
HOSTING RENEWAL PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS
Your hosting account will be automatically renewed under the same time and fee structure unless you give written notice to Merit-Tel fifteen (15) days before the renewal date that you do not wish to renew the account.
HOSTING CANCELLATION PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS
You may cancel at any time. If you cancel before the first 30 days from the opening of your account, please refer to the details under “Limited 30-day Money Back Guarantee.” If you cancel after the first 30 days, you will be obligated to pay all fees and charges accrued prior to the effective date of the cancellation. Merit-Tel will refund the prepaid fees for basic hosting for the full months remaining after effective date of the cancellation, less any prior fees and charges, and an early cancellation fee of $25. Accounts that are terminated by Merit-Tel for abuse or violations of internet standards or these terms and conditions will not receive any refund. All cancellations must be received in writing according to the deadlines indicated: regular mail and e-mail are acceptable. Phone requests will not constitute acceptance of any cancellation. Refunds will be issued back to you within 10 business days from your cancellation date.
HOSTING TRANSFER PAYMENT OBLIGATIONS
If you wish to transfer your hosting to another provider Merit-Tel can, upon request, download your site onto a cloud based storage and share it to you. The cost for this service $50. FTP access to your site is not available for transfer purposes.
LIMITED 30-DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE ON HOSTING
If you are not completely satisfied with our services within the first 30 days from the opening of the account, you will be given a refund on your hosting fee excluding setup fees and time accrued from setup date. If paid by credit card, refunds will be issued to the original credit card provided at the time of purchase. If your account has been cancelled by us due to a breach of the terms and conditions on your part, you will not be eligible for a refund. Domain name registration is non-refundable.
SITES NOT HOSTED BY MERIT-TEL
Should client decide to host their site on another server, Merit-Tel cannot guarantee the all elements of the site will work. Merit-Tel will make a reasonable effort to research the problem on the foreign platform to let the client know what we think the problem is. However, we cannot take responsibility for problems caused by or on another hosting server, including but not limited to email, FTP, SSL, database, server software, and site security issues. If Merit-Tel believes it will take a significant amount of time to fix the problem, we will advise the client before proceeding. In most cases, fixing problems on a foreign hosting server is billable.
There are no required maintenance fees other than domain registration and hosting. Most people do some work on their site every month, for which we offer maintenance plans. We can make certain parts of the site updatable by you by implementing a custom Content Management System, or installing a blog. For work we do on the site after going live, we charge on an hourly basis. If you expect that maintenance will be a regular occurrence, Merit-Tel offers monthly maintenance contracts, the terms of which are contained within “Monthly Website Maintenance” below. If need be, we can customize a maintenance plan for your particular needs.
MONTHLY WEBSITE MAINTENANCE
Services not considered 'standard website maintenance' are subject to be charged at a regular hourly rate of $100 per hour, and will not be considered part of this contract. The minimum charge for maintenance is $299 per month, any additional work that is included in this agreement will be charged at $100/per hour.
What is included:
Edit, revise, update or create new textual/minor graphical content.
Consultation, and guidance on the use of the web site.
Regular monitoring and updating to ensure impeccable performance across all major browsers due to the fact that not all browsers render sites in the same way.
Protection against hackers from gaining access to your site. We can also protect your emails from spam attacks, which can be troublesome and frequent if not dealt with efficiently.
Regular and thorough backups of your site so that it may be fully restored in case of loss.
We’re here should you need us for consultation and advice.
Monitoring your website functionality to ensure that everything is working as it should and upgrade where necessary. Some plugins may become outdated and no longer work with the newest version of your website software. Plugins may need upgrading to accommodate the newer version, or become obsolete with the improvements in the website software.
Downtime is highly inconvenient for any website owner and when it happens it is important to have someone on hand to help. We can assist you by liaising with the hosting company to sort out the situation as quickly as possible.
*When your site is oﬄine you need immediate technical support, We ensure that option is available and deal with any issues ourselves so you don’t have to.
What is NOT included:
Web site redesign, re-alignment or re-development equalling more than 50% change to web page, web site, web graphics on the website (i.e. 4 graphics on website, and you want 3 changed, there is a charge for anything above 2, meaning 50%)
CMS design or integration including but not limited to blogs, shopping carts and web forums. These require a separate design agreement.
On-page SEO such as Meta tags (title, description, keywords), alt tag, h1, h2, h3.
You shall provide Merit-Tel with minor updates to the web site for an indefinite period of within this contract. The contract will be paid on a Monthly Basis with the 1st payment due as soon as initial work is complete and each payment due around the date of initial payment of each month, unless otherwise directed by an authorized Merit-Tel.
During the duration of this contract, you agree that Merit-Tel will be the sole provider of maintenance services for the web site, and no other party will have access to or rights to change the web site. If a party other than Merit-Tel makes changes to the web site, any errors that are created must be repaired and will be charged for at the hourly rate specified above. Minor updates should not exceed more than 50% of the content on any single site page, THE PERCENTAGE TO BE DETERMINED BY Merit-Tel.
DEADLINES & DELIVERABLES
You are responsible for responding to all maintenance requests from Merit-Tel within 24 hours on weekdays and 48 hours on weekends, via email, with a confirmation that the request was received, and an estimated completion date for each action item in the request. Maintenance requests received after 18:00 EST may not be completed until the next business day unless prior arrangements have been made. Most work will be done within this time frame, this is mostly precautionary.
You are responsible to adhere to all quoted deadlines for the deliverables in the maintenance requests at all possible costs. In the event that Merit-Tel has any issues in delivering on a quoted deadline, you will be notified via email the reasoning for any change.
Any revisions, additions or redesign requests to Merit-Tel to perform that is not specified in this document shall be considered "additional" and will be billed at an hourly rate mentioned above. Merit-Tel shall advise on any requested work that falls within these bounds.
You hereby authorize Merit-Tel to access your web hosting account, providing active user name / password combinations for access to the server via FTP, assuring that 'write permissions' are in place on said hosting provider.
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the United States applicable therein.
By Accepting the estimate/invoice provided to you by an authorized Merit-Tel representative, you agree to the terms of this document “Web Maintenance Agreement”.