Many companies have their own IT guys and that means they hold the digital keys to a business which can cause problems if that relationship sours.

Doctor Shannon Davis signed a contract with TWT Group to set up and maintain her dental practice’s complex computer system.

However, trouble arose when Davis says TWT wouldn’t pass along her x-ray provider passwords to update her 3D software citing security reasons.

“I was just so frustrated after this happened three or four time and I said let’s get together because this is not working,” says Davis.

She cancelled the contract which cost TWT $15,000.00 in future fees but when she brought in a new IT company she learned she’d have to replace $8,000.00 worth of hardware she just bought that was still registered in TWT’s name.

Her “.ca” domain name is still with TWT and the company told her there’s a security hole in her system that it would help her patch if they settled their dispute.

“My new IT guy says he can’t even find it,” says Davis. “They’ve been looking and looking so now they want to scrub the whole system and start from scratch and that will be thousands of dollars.”

Davis went to the police who are now investigating.

Shawn Freeman owns TWT and he believes Davis broke the contract because she didn’t want to pay his rates.

“If it was a password thing strictly we’re looking out for the client’s best interests and let’s chat about why,” says Freeman. “We’re doing it to protect you; we’re not keeping it from you.”

As for that security hole, Freeman says it’s just a piece of software that he didn’t delete.

“It wasn’t a smooth transition because they didn’t give us time so we couldn’t remove that software.”

Computer expert Tom Keenan says contract should spell out how to regain full control of a computer system if the relationship sours and get your vital details up front.

“You say to your IT guy, I love you dearly, but just in case, I want a list of all the software on my computer, all the contracts for that software, all the licenses there are and when they need to be renewed and I want all the passwords,” says Keenan

Keenan says there are valid security reasons for IT providers to restrict access to their client’s passwords and other information but ultimately it is the client’s property.

(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)