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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    Ran Away with our money : (

    To make a very long story short, we were ripped for the 3rd time. 1st Devloper ran away with our funds, 2nd Kept Delaying, got partial refund back only becuase we did a charge back, 3rd manuipulated.


    The last took prey on us as we were in a desperate situation to launch and took advantage, thus not giving us anything but an install of "Word Press".

    As you know most start-up companies are limited on budget, so are we. Now being at at loss in nearly over $15,000 in total.

    Regardless of Karma to take a bite into their bums, now we need our money back and want to know what to do, how we should do it.

    Has anyone experienced such?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    I would suggest taking the contract you signed with the developers to an attorney and have him help you go after them.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    Thanks for your reply, we have a lawyer looking over the last contract the others are pretty much MIA and one turned out to be 15 years old, but the last one I do want or funds back...seems so un-fair not just in business but in terms of ethics too.

    I wish I could say more in detail I should hold off until I speak to someone about that as well. The sad part about it, is I thought he had a good reputation and would not take a chance to ruin that.....


  4. #4
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    You pay the whole sum before the the developer gives you the full project?

    You should only pay a small portion (deposit).
    At least if it is a scam you lose only the deposit.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    Your right and I thought we were safe with a contract but the deposit he required was half which is a lot....do you mean like %20 rather than 50%. I should have put everything into escrow at guru.com but.... I am currently kicking myself...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheUnlimited
    Thanks for your reply, we have a lawyer looking over the last contract the others are pretty much MIA and one turned out to be 15 years old, but the last one I do want or funds back...seems so un-fair not just in business but in terms of ethics too.
    Where are you finding these people in the first place? Maybe you need to reassess the methods you are using to find a suitable developer. I can only assume you ended up with a 15 year old because you brokered the deal 'virtually'. If this is the case, perhaps you should think about staying local and dealing face-to-face with established businesses with plenty of verifiable references and testimonials from happy clients.

    As for payment, most developers will be happy to split the project into smaller stages - you pay a deposit, they complete stage one - you approve it and pay a deposit for stage 2, they build stage 2, etc.

    Personally, I alsways take half in advance, but I don't get the other half until I've completely finished, so in the end, both me and my client are taking an equal share of the risk at some point in the project.

    EDIT- I see you've mentioned Guru.com. Well, this would explain a lot - yes you get very cheap labour, but in the end you take the greater risks of being ripped off. Of course with an established company, you'll be paying considerably more than you would for some random bloke on guru.com, but then you'd probably not be in the situation you are now.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    Yes, that is true the first was 'virtually', and I did not check I guess enough references, the second was found on "get a freelancer.net" but the last one had, or what I thought a good reputation, but I generally like his work in the resume, but your are right I thought he could deliver, ended up not being the case so I wanted to cancel the project and he refuses a refund and I have nothing.

    I thought we could even though I would take another loss come to an understanding and he would at least give back 75% but then he said he would charge for phone consults if we got out of the contract and those added additons come in to play if you wish to cancel...

    So I am not sure if we are at an lose lose situation. Of course this is a lesson learned but we/I am very truly upset and this is causing great hardship...

    Thank you for your reply, I really do appreciate your advice...

  8. #8
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    If you don't mind me asking (I'm not trying to advertise or promote myself here, I just want to make sure I know what you're doing before I offer any concrete advice you can actually use aside from what I'll provide at the end of this post - which ironically I feel may be the best advice as far as future design/development work goes), but what type of company do you run, and what are the requirements of your Web site?

    Also, where are you located? The laws of your country will govern what type of action you can take (well, not what type really, but specifically HOW you can go about taking it).

    The reason why I asked what type of company you run and what your site requirements are is simple. You're registered at one of the best Web design/development forums around, complete with a marketplace where you can shop for coders and designers alike. One thing you may want to do is look into starting a contest here on Sitepoint for the graphics (template, uncoded), and then either offer extra money to the person who created the template to code it, or take the template and put an ad on the Looking to Hire board for someone to "bring it to life" so to speak.

    Therefore, a quick description of your company and a rundown of your requirements will give you the basic information you need should you choose to start a design contest here on the forums. And even if you choose not to go down that route (or just want to hire someone to code it), you'll at least have the information you need already written down in a handy place.

  9. #9
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheUnlimited
    Thanks for your reply, we have a lawyer looking over the last contract the others are pretty much MIA and one turned out to be 15 years old, but the last one I do want or funds back...seems so un-fair not just in business but in terms of ethics too.

    I wish I could say more in detail I should hold off until I speak to someone about that as well. The sad part about it, is I thought he had a good reputation and would not take a chance to ruin that.....
    It's called "due diligence". It means doing your full research before committing to an expensive business decision, and it's the cornerstone of successful business.

    Yes, the freelance world is chock full of kids and MIAs and every other variety and species of unreliable turkeys. That's inevitable when the only barrier to entry is a computer (in my case a word processor, in their case a pirated copy of Dreamweaver) and an Internet connection. But if you're consistently finding that the people you're working with are turkeys, then the problem is you.

    You're not screening well enough, or you're looking for love in all the wrong places, or you're balking at professional rates and practices, or something. But for whatever reason, the only freelancers you're connecting with are these people.

    At this point, complaining about the turkeys may well be cathartic but won't do much good in practical terms. You need to start reexamining the process you're using to qualify your contract help.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    The company is a magazine, print and online with a radio station, podcasting and video/tv network.

    No Dan, your indea is indeed fantanstic. I really do welcome all advice. The company is located in the US & Japan.

    "due diligence" Yes, I do agree, really I do and I researched, or at least I thought I did but the last person we hired he is a bit well-known in some circles and designed for some large companies but your right, as he put us on hold a few times becuase of other clients, and after our money was given the dedication seemed to have changed. Other than what research we have done I am not sure how I could have avoided this last loss! The others are our fault and I agree we should have took safe measures. ie, complete escrow, or only 20% down.

    After two months he gave me a first mock-up of what I could have done in photoshop in 1 hour not his best work and I am sure that is the time he put into it. The next contract I execute should state at a minimum that we have the right to approve design work, rights to detailed time reporting, etc.

    The options this last joker gave us was to cancel the project get nothing, I just can not accept another loss and start over again, but he refuses to give any funds back except for $200 or so.

    I really needed a place to vent and see what our options are to getting more of the funds back but from here on out I will place all in an escrow to protect both parties.

    I have never ran a contest here for work before but let me check around.

    Thanks Guys!!!!

  11. #11
    A Smarter Way to Web! zivo's Avatar
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    Post Relationships

    Finding good people takes an effort. Even if a person is a referral from someone, I always start with a non-disclosure agreement and subcontractor agreement, before I even assign something to them. If they balk at that, then that's a first sign that things won't work out.

    A good first step to take with someone new is to give them a small project that is not mission-critical or on the critical path to your business. Develop a statement of work or contract, set milestones, and begin. That way, you can get a sense of the work experience, and if the project is small enough, you can usually pay at delivery.

    I always ask people that I work with that the most important thing to me is to be honest. Some are, some aren't. The ones that aren't, well, they aren't working with me anymore!

    mp/m

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    Hi Mike, how are you? If you don`t mind can you send over a sample contract that you might use which would be fair for both parties. I can send you the one we used but most would not have a problem with an escrow service? If they do that would be a sign to perhaps seek elsewhere?



  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    Feel free to PM me...

  14. #14
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    I'll bite .

  15. #15
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    I had the EXACT same thing happen to me, 2 developers and $5,750 (stay away from creativesurge.com) I finally found a developer that sticks to their word and works dilgently. I waited 5 months for the company that ran off with $5250 to do my site and the new developer has taken maybe a month to do the whole site from scratch.

    My site is www.aksfinest.com and the new developer is www.qualityclix.com and I REALLY recommend them. Good luck with everything.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    I understand exactly how you feel, we lost an extreme amount and most importantly time. I would mention the two name on here but we are seeking action so I do not think I should mention the name...but the new firm I am working with got me a mock-up in less than 4 days unlike 2 months and he sent a pretty snazzy mock-up, I am pleased so far.

    They did not have any problems with a complete escrow and I am paying him in juncture`s one at a time.

    I will PM you the info!

    What makes it worse is because of the late launch we lost $$$ in advertising not just the corporate contract we had but even some indie ads as well. Very frustrating!

    Your site look, shall I say "Yummy" when do you launch?

  17. #17
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    whenever you work "virtually", unless you have a LONG relation with the developer/designer, you should really use something like www.rentacoder.com

    that's how it works:
    - the buyer and the seller agree on specs and amount (that can be done with an auction-style or individually)
    - the buyer gives the whole amount to Rentacoder
    - the selelr does the work
    - when the buyer accepts the work as completed, money is transferred to seller

    if there is a dispute, you can request an arbitration: RaC decides if and how much of the money must go to the seller, or (if something was not done) return to the buyer.

    Don't take me wrong: I am not saying that you must use the "find a coder somewhere far away" method, if you don't like it. I am just saying that even if you already have selected the coder, Rentacoder is a good protection for both parts.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    What a fabulous site, I am currently using guru.com their fees are a bit high though..

    Thanks for the site!!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheUnlimited
    I understand exactly how you feel, we lost an extreme amount and most importantly time. I would mention the two name on here but we are seeking action so I do not think I should mention the name...but the new firm I am working with got me a mock-up in less than 4 days unlike 2 months and he sent a pretty snazzy mock-up, I am pleased so far.

    They did not have any problems with a complete escrow and I am paying him in juncture`s one at a time.

    I will PM you the info!

    What makes it worse is because of the late launch we lost $$$ in advertising not just the corporate contract we had but even some indie ads as well. Very frustrating!

    Your site look, shall I say "Yummy" when do you launch?

    Very good to hear that everything is on track and thank you for the kind words. I struggled over the idea of taking legal action but it came down to whether I want to go after the crooks or get my website launched. Its hard to avoid being emotionally tied to your business but overlooking someone taking advantage of you. I really hope you are able to recover at least some of the money you have lost.

    Ideally I was supposed to launch back in July but we're looking at the first week in December now and I'm VERY nervous, its my first real business venture and I have worked a union job ever since I graduated high school. Do you have anyone doing SEO work for you? My developer is great but they do not have a great deal of experience in SEO so I am searching.

  20. #20
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Try posting here on the Sitepoint forums - specifically in the Marketplace.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    In the future you may want to consider working with a project manager.

    They would take on responsibility of managing the freelancer(s) and leave you time to focus on the more important aspects of your business.

    -Costas
    In order to understand recursion
    one must first understand recursion

  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast SheUnlimited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aksfinest
    Very good to hear that everything is on track and thank you for the kind words. I struggled over the idea of taking legal action but it came down to whether I want to go after the crooks or get my website launched. Its hard to avoid being emotionally tied to your business but overlooking someone taking advantage of you. I really hope you are able to recover at least some of the money you have lost.

    Ideally I was supposed to launch back in July but we're looking at the first week in December now and I'm VERY nervous, its my first real business venture and I have worked a union job ever since I graduated high school. Do you have anyone doing SEO work for you? My developer is great but they do not have a great deal of experience in SEO so I am searching.

    To be honest no, we never hired anyone to do the SEO, we were always updating on content and I would say the most traffic came from many PR releases. I did the link exchange system a while back but there is so much controversy around this. If you take two subject cases, one being a high traffic site that never did a link exchange and the other who did.

    We had forums in addition to our site which indexes well so when we cleaned that up and deleted some posts we noticed a big drop but I would send out a massive PR campaign with press releases. You can do the free via PR WEB but if you go for the paid like $250 you will notice traffic increase give the news outlet to see. The last one we did Yahoo News picked us up, AP and although it was on the delay of our launch ......

    Recover from the loss hm.... That is right about having some if not alot of emotion getting ripped is getting ripped. No different than making a purchase and their are missing parts in the box ... so-to-speak. lol

    Oh, most cms systems will generate keywords for you in each page even blogs do this well not sure what your business is but sitepoint would be a great place to start on SEO or even SEO forum.

    I hope your business takes off and I hope that you can soon recover after your launch!!! Wishing you all the best!


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