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  1. #1
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    How to not conduct business

    Anyone ever hear of a company called Convergenex? I've been trying to contact them for a week and they haven't been returning my calls or emails. I paid them a deposit for a site and they're now 4 weeks late on completion.

    I built my first ecommerce site and that experience taught me one thing: OScommerce is the definition of messy code. There is hardly any standard system, parts of a page layout can be found in 20 files. Its crazy. These guys sold themselves as OScommerce experts and thats why I hired them.

    I don't have that much time right now and I wanted to get the site built by Christmas. I hired them mid/early September and I stressed that I would like the site finished by the beginning of October. They gave me access to a system at proworkflow.net whereby I could, supposedly, monitor their progress. Upon logging into this system I notice they had posted a due date of 9/23. Cool.

    Then it all fell apart. The proworkflow.net account was never updated, I checked daily. They were slow, I wasn't getting updates. On the 30th I was emailed saying that they needed only 3 more hours of work to finish.

    The next week, it not being done, I contacted them again. Apparently, they say, the programmer working on it was lying to them and really not working on it, they said they fired the programmer, okay, fine.

    Last week I spoke with them on the phone. They said it was (mostly) done and wanted me to sign off on the project and pay them their balance. I told them that I wasn't going to pay their balance until it was installed on my server. I gave them access to my server at the beginning to use, they didn't use it. I told them I paid for a working site, not a script I have to install myself. After some argument we came to an agreement, I would review the site as is, sign off on it, and they would move it to my server, then I'd pay them their balance.

    So I reviewed the site, it was maybe half done. I honestly cannot see how they could have thought it was done, many many features were not working. Its like they didn't do any error checking of their own, I had to wonder if they always had clients do their error checking for them?

    I emailed them, a week ago today, with the list of problems Over the weekend their production server was down, and its still down. I kinda doubt work has progressed in the mean time. I've since emailed them and called them and have received no response. When I call either no one picks up or the account manager guy and the "CEO" are both "out of the office."

    When I hired these guys I thought it was a decently sized professional design firm. Now I think its two guys in a garage, and I worry that they're running off with my deposit. Luckily I paid with a credit card so if I do not hear from them within another day its chargeback time.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear about that. How do you get a chargeback? Do you just call your credit card company and request it?
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  3. #3
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Yup, sometimes they ask you to fill out a form, with Amex though you usually just do it over the phone. Amex has a 0 tolerance policy on card not present transactions.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  4. #4
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    What about sending a certified letter (via post) that urges a response?

    That might make em' scramble- especially if it really IS just 2 kids in a garage!

    -Costas

  5. #5
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    At this point he should get his money back first. They should complete the work first ASAP as a courtesy and request payment after the work is done.

    Aspen, with AMEX do you have to give them an explanation or just simply make the request?
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  6. #6
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    They take down an explanation, like "goods not received" or something like that.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  7. #7
    xhtml/css dude nemanja_nq's Avatar
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    Bad luck. They dont look pro to me.
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  8. #8
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    I'd get the chargeback right now. They've already forfeited the contract by failing to deliver goods.

  9. #9
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I tried calling again today, no answer. So I filed the chargeback.....
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot allstar's Avatar
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    May I ask why you went with OSCommerance? ZenCart is a fork of the OSCommerance and it is a really nice Opensource solution. It's isn't that messy and hard to configure, template, and get going.

    Sorry, to hear about your bad luck with these guy's. It kind of makes me think that next time I need some work done I ask for a list of past clients email's to confirm they did good work for them.

  11. #11
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Well... I already use oscommerce, so there is that benefit, and to my understanding zencart does not have a functioning SE friendly urls hack, which I want.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard LeoWebDesign's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like they were sub-contracting the work out and the guy bailed on them so they are trying to muddle through it.

    I took a quick look at their portfolio and I don't see many examples of ecommerce sites, let alone oscommerce expertise. The first site in their portfolio uses a template from here http://www.diamondsea.com/sts

    I would have done the Chargeback too. Good luck with it.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru
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    I've taken a look at the source of oscommerce, and the people who created it should be burned at the stakes. As should anyone who has seen the code and still chooses to use it. It has every bad code smell under the sun. The cost you save by using it is more than offset multiple times in the cost of maintenance and modification.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    I still cannot fathom why so many ecommerce sites are built around such a poor application - at which point in an ecommerce business plan does someone think it's a great idea to base their entire site/business on an unsupported, poorly coded application, especially when there are some very decent applications out there for reasonable prices.

    The solution we use costs around 300 (hardly breaking the bank), has a superior feature set, easy customisation, very good templating system and telephone support. What's 300 when you have site that can earn that in a couple of hours?

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict LittleFigment's Avatar
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    Whats the solution Shadowbox?
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  16. #16
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazy_yogi
    I've taken a look at the source of oscommerce, and the people who created it should be burned at the stakes. As should anyone who has seen the code and still chooses to use it. It has every bad code smell under the sun. The cost you save by using it is more than offset multiple times in the cost of maintenance and modification.
    I agree about the convolution, but I haven't found much in maintenance costs, and mods... well... hopefully you don't need to install many.

    If you have other options that truly have the features of OScommerce, please recommend them. Perhaps show me a sample site.

    See, the thing is, most programs suck when it comes to things like SEO. I heavily edited my oscommerce installation for SEO reasons and I have #1 listings for all my products. I could do this because it is open source and there is a large community of people hacking it. For closed source or paid programs you can't always hack it, instead you have to rely on the original feature set, which is unlikely to have all the features you need.

    But, you're right, ecommerce sites make a ton of money, so if there is a good easy to use paid program that has all the features, why not buy.

    Just for fun, here are my requirements.

    1. SE friendly URLs
    2. uses php/mysql (no cgi)
    3. custom title & meta tags for all products & categories
    4. custom h1 tags and paragraphs of text at the top of all categories
    5. no session ids for spiders
    6. the ability to use UPS XML to get dimensional weight quotes (not just the standard weight quotes, these need to use dimensions).
    7. the storage of the first 12 digits of a customer's credit card in the local db, along with exp. date.
    8. authorize.net integration using their direct connect feature
    9. the ability to manually enter orders in the control panel
    10. a newsletter system
    12. appropriate taxes for set zones
    13. automated emailing of order updates and receipts
    14. CVV support
    15. a coupon/gift certificate system
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    We use JShop Server - http://jshop.co.uk/products_jss.php

    All code is cleanly written and fully editable php/mysql.

    1. SE friendly URLs
    5. no session ids for spiders
    Yep - sessions removed and you can easily add extra spiders by adjusting the spiderDetect file. urls in the form 'product.php/3/0'

    3. custom title & meta tags for all products & categories
    4. custom h1 tags and paragraphs of text at the top of all categories
    Each category/section/page can have its own meta tags (set with the product/section in the backend). All page/ctegory/product content controllable from the backend, and you can add h1 tags on each template as required. You can take it as far as you want and addition of additional tags and text is simple.

    6. the ability to use UPS XML to get dimensional weight quotes (not just the standard weight quotes, these need to use dimensions).
    Might need to make some kind of hack for this - not sure off the top of my head...

    7. the storage of the first 12 digits of a customer's credit card in the local db, along with exp. date.
    8. authorize.net integration using their direct connect feature
    9. the ability to manually enter orders in the control panel
    10. a newsletter system
    12. appropriate taxes for set zones
    13. automated emailing of order updates and receipts
    14. CVV support
    15. a coupon/gift certificate system
    Yes on all counts.

    New version comes out in Jan which looks like it will certainly make it quite a complete solution. I use this exclusively, and have found customising it a breeze.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard LeoWebDesign's Avatar
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    I had been leaning towards X-Cart . How do you think that compares to JShop?

  19. #19
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Each category/section/page can have its own meta tags (set with the product/section in the backend). All page/ctegory/product content controllable from the backend, and you can add h1 tags on each template as required. You can take it as far as you want and addition of additional tags and text is simple.
    I don't get what you're saying here. Are you saying that if I want an H1 tag on the category page I have to add it to the template? Well, if its in the template... how does the content of the h1 tag get filled dynamically without a corresponding backend database edit?
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    The H1 tag in the template will just contain a marker, like
    Code:
     <h1>{section.name}</h1>
    Same principle for the title tag.

    Either that, or don't put the header tag in the template - instead, set up the template so the section description itself contains the header tag as part of the description. You are not limited in any way - this is pretty basic stuff with this software - check out the admin demo in their site - look at the template section of the cms

  21. #21
    SitePoint Addict shaxs's Avatar
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    Honestly, the best idea is to pay to have a custom ecommerce solution done. I paid to have the core built. It is exactly how I want the backend, adding products ect, then It only costs about $500 to implement it into any site or design. I guess for a one time site, it may be a little high, but it may be worth it. For example, I have a site that drop ships products and it has been tailored to that business model. If you want to open an ecommerce store, you should spend some capital and do it right. Let it be exactly how you want. Probably only cost a few thousand.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Sorry to hear about your troubles with them... I know you can't get back the lost time or revenues from not having the site but at least you didn't lose your deposit too.


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