You had an oral contract for her services. You agreed to pay her through PayPal and apparently expected your website to rise to the top of Google's search engine for $2100, and she agreed to build you websites, or to take your existing websites and optimize them, I'm not sure which.
By not using a written contract, you don't get copyright ownership of her work, you only get a license to use it. If you dispute all her work, you'd have to prove that you got no value from her work and that she guaranteed phenomenal results for a bargain price.
At some point you gave her administrative control over your websites so she work on them. She used that control to take the sites down when you fired her. That was wrong of her, but it got your attention.
So here's how this will go. By not having a written contract, it's her word against yours. She'll say the parties had a 9 month contract, and it takes at least 3 months to get SEO results. She'll say she could only be terminated after 3 months and that you owe her $10,000 for work she's already done. She'll say she owns the newly worked on websites, you only have a license to use it, but you need her permission to modify her work.
You'll say you got 0 value out of her work, and you want your $2100 back, and you want her to restore the websites to their condition before she started working on them.
I like her arguments better than yours.
I'm not sure what she wants, but if I were you, I make a deal with her to get the websites back up, get transfer of all her copyright rights to you, pay her whatever you owe her, settle with mutual releases so neither of can sue the other, and then hire another SEO contractor IN WRITING and make sure your expectations are reasonable.
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Excellent answer already. As I understand your facts you decided not to pay her for work she had already done because you didn't like the work. You are not claiming she did not do the work. You are claiming it wasn't satisfactory. With no written contract you have nothing upon which to base a claim that she promised you would be "satisfied". I have to ask what kind of business person hires someone without a written agreement as to what performance is expected? You would do well to meet with an experienced business litigator before making any decisions. Incidentally, lawyers don't tell people what is the "right thing to do". We tell people what the law is based upon the facts that they provide us. The client decides what to do.
DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
Attorney Koslyn's examination of the facts are accurate. You should look for an experienced business litigator to sit down and go through all the facts with you to make sure that everything is covered. You can find some attorneys here on AVVO. Some even offer free consultations for new clients. Best of luck!
The Law Office of Andrew Chung, PLLC. (832) 409 0117. Andrew@Chung-Law.com . The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.