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  1. #1
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    PHPConnection.com - Empty Promises and Delayed Refund

    Well I've been trying to get a **** like clone script up, and I hired a programmer

    We spoke by phone and he was a very nice guy and knew his stuff so I was more than happy to let him take the job.

    I finished the design (did all the html, and image work) and basically sent it over to him to code the backend to.

    He quoted me about 40 hours, and $700 for the project. I paid half of it upfront since it was my first time working with him and I got burned hard once at RentaCoder so I was a bit reluctant to do the entire fee upfront.

    Anyways....

    It's been a month, and I haven't seen anything yet. We speak sometimes by MSN and by phone, but he's usually busy.

    I realize he has a lot on his plate, and he's had some things in his personal life which take away from his time...

    But the thing is, he usually promises me to show a beta, 2 weeks ago a beta would be done on wednsday, and then that following weekend. Nothing.

    I then asked if I could see a beta this weekend, and he said yes. I needed to see something...a month is much too long for me to be at a flatfile.

    Ive been trying to contact him this weekend, yesterday I messaged him and got no replies. I assumed he was busy and finishing up the beta or something.

    Well it's Sunday afternoon, and I can't find him. Tried phoning him, and no one was there so I left a message.

    I have a magazine interview coming up and I really wanted to be able to show this, but unfortunately that doesn't look possible now...

    What should I do? Any advice?
    Last edited by Kiren; Jul 15, 2006 at 20:59.

  2. #2
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    Did you not specify any deadlines? Also, never pay 50% up front. I've hired numerous programmers in the past and I only pay them when I see the product. Some are ok with being paid everything at the end, while others demand 50% half way through the project which is fine too, as long as I see it and have a copy of it. Why not try calling him again?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiren
    He quoted me about 40 hours, and $700 for the project. I paid half of it upfront since it was my first time working with him and I got burned hard once at RentaCoder so I was a bit reluctant to do the entire fee upfront.
    Can't understand how you "got burned hard once at RentaCoder". Why did you pay "upfront"? RentACoder has the escrow service - your coder can't touch money until _you_ decide that the work is completed. If the coder disappears or miss deadline - you can ask about arbitration.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiren
    What should I do? Any advice?
    Use the mediator who provides the escrow and arbitration services.

  4. #4
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    TakeReal has a point. RentACoder has arbitration for projects that fail and they generally take the side of the buyer, making the coder jump through hoops just to keep his/her rating with no payment. It seems you're not telling the whole story here.

    johnny 190, however is wrong in his advice to you. Most professional web firms won't do work without some kind of deposit. However, did you have a contract with your coder? You say you talked to him on the phone. If that's so, is he local to your area? If he is and you have a contract, then you do have recourse to at least recoup your deposit if he has defaulted in the project timeline. However, you'll need to consult an attorney or your county court services (small claims) to find out the correct procedure.

    As far as getting your job done in time for your interview, there's no way to make someone complete work if they don't want to. Next time, do a reference check as well as a phone conversation. Look at your provider's portfolio and ask for references to his work and past client's you can contact.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  5. #5
    Not now, I'm kinda busy. pdxi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shyflower
    However, did you have a contract with your coder?
    Bingo! I'm surprised Linda was the first person to mention this. A good contract will save your back one day.

    I work without contracts ONLY if I know and trust the client I'm working with, and if the client has a record of paying consistently on-time. For everyone else, there's a contract.
    Jeffrey Hunt, freelance PHP & MySQL developer
    Resume: http://www.jeffreyhunt.org/resume/

  6. #6
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxi
    A good contract will save your back one day.
    Only if the buyer and seller are in the same country though.

    When you outsource to other countries to save money you take on additional risks that you need to factor in as a buyer.

  7. #7
    Not now, I'm kinda busy. pdxi's Avatar
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    The author of the original post made no mention of whether the programmer is in the same country.

    I never do business with anyone if a contract cannot be enforced.
    Jeffrey Hunt, freelance PHP & MySQL developer
    Resume: http://www.jeffreyhunt.org/resume/

  8. #8
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    I'm in Canada, he's in the United States

    Anyways we spoke again, sort of, he apologized said we would have a schedule up as well as a beta, it's been about...4 days now and still no word of him.

    Haven't seen him online, on MSN, or even on the forums.

    His website is PHPConnection.com

    I feel scammed, and most of all I'm consistently getting the run-around when I told him directly that I felt that way and that this should change.

    There is another customer in the same boat, funnily enough I found out most of my info through him.

    About RentACoder...

    Can't understand how you "got burned hard once at RentaCoder". Why did you pay "upfront"? RentACoder has the escrow service - your coder can't touch money until _you_ decide that the work is completed. If the coder disappears or miss deadline - you can ask about arbitration.
    This was back in...probably '99 when Napster was still out. I wanted a program that would "request" files from Napster download them, play them, then delete them after.

    I got a program that wouldn't install unless you installed about 8 C++ libraries, it was hacked together. RentACoder didn't take my side because they said the product was complete, except you know...it didn't work (Couldn't connect to the internet, couldn't request files, didn't do anything). It was basically a program with some entry fields.

  9. #9
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    I'm in a similar situation, except we paid the coder in installments, and they showed us fake screenshots to prove they had been doing something (they were just mockups copied from other sites, no actual coding or design had taken place). They are U.S. based (as are we), its a 5 figure contract and they keep pushing back the delays.

    They claim the contract is void because since we were a few weeks late in delivering some inventory images, that means they can now deliver the site whenever they feel like and they are being very threatening that they will stop and deliver nothing if we continue to pressure them, not a fun situation.

    Even with a contract (unless its really good), someone can screw you if they really want to.

  10. #10
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    *Sigh*

    Well I finally got a hold of him, I told him I wanted a refund. He said he would give it to me by the 14th. Now he's saying Sunday or Monday.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiren
    *Sigh*

    Well I finally got a hold of him, I told him I wanted a refund. He said he would give it to me by the 14th. Now he's saying Sunday or Monday.

    At least you didn;t have to waste any time discussing this. This might drag out as well, but it sounds like you will get it.

    Jochen
    http://www.automatem.co.nz
    Websites, On-line Software and everything Internet
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  12. #12
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    If you pay with a credit card, and the designer/coder rips you off, can't you just claim fraud and get a charge back?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by VeraBestia
    If you pay with a credit card, and the designer/coder rips you off, can't you just claim fraud and get a charge back?
    Yes, charge back is possible in this situation.
    But charge back is possible even whole work done, but buyer just don't want to pay.


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