Advice on web developer dispute

Hi there,

I was recommended by HAWK @feverbee to post to this community as in her words ‘would be right up your street’

here are some details

I have an issue with web developers time stretching on my project but it seems either impossible to prove because I am not a coder or nobody wants to admit this is normal practice.

I would just like your opinion on the following

Job details - Job posted on for 1 - 4 weeks at 40 hours per week. Time when I ended project. approx 8 weeks. Final cost $3500.

This time-stretching became more apparent as the project went on which for example instead of using the theme to create masonry grid view on my reports page they wrote code instead. It took me 15 mins to create what took them days to do! To support my claim I have approached another developer team for a quote for the same brief as the first as follows

They quote - $2100 to finish site in a time frame of 35 business days. 100% money back guarantee.

They have also used without change, image and webpage examples I sent them to illustrate what I wanted on the site. I believe they have copied the code (page inspection) and just pasted it to my project and passed it off as a days work, for example

Without the evaluation of a developer I feel I will surely lose this case as Upwork are quite simply ineffective in mediation. All they are doing is forwarding on messages between myself and the developers and are simply no help at all which protects their commission.

I can’t seem to get anyone to understand my point or I have no point?

To say I am deeply disappointed by this would be an understatement!

1 Like

Well, we do love @hawk too. She used to be our forum administrator a while ago :slight_smile:

I know that the difference between $3500 and $2100 can seem significant to you but for me, it is not. Although I haven’t seen the quotes so I’m not quite sure what company offers. Or their quotations.

So, with no further information, the fact that the first company qouted $1400 more than the other means nothing to me.

I would say that it is even cheap if they were really hand-conding. Which, as you say, it might not be true.

The fact that you needed only 15 min to create what they needed days to do, again, means nothing to me. It is obvious that you used a template which looked the way you wanted and it was already similar to what you were looking for. But quality coding, even if it is based on an already existing template, takes time. And there are many factors involved to be taken into account.
And I swear that it is not easy to look at someone else’s code. Sometimes it is faster to do it yourself.

Having said this, you feel scammed and you don’t trust this company. To me, even if your reasons were not real (which it is hard to know at this point), your distrust is reason enough to go somewhere else.

Recovering your cash is another matter. Because it depends on the contract you have with this company, first. Also, if you both live in the same country with the same rules.

It might be hard to base your case on the code itself, and the “fact” the they’re cheating and copying code from somewhere else. But if you had a firm agreement on time and schedules, you might go from there. Obviously, if they have delayed the project a week or two, that might be reasonable. But if they indeed are taking too long and are over those 4 weeks for, let’s say 7-8 weeks, you can complain that this company is not complaying with their end of the agreement.

I would advise to ask a lawyer, though. Because if you’ve hired this company through a third party like Upwork, you will have to take into consideration your agreement with this company and also Upwork’s own terms.

The lesson for the future is… make sure that you do your homework and do a proper investigation before hiring a company. :slight_smile:

I suspect that I haven’t been of much help but I do feel your pain.


And here I am!

I encouraged @trevor18 to post here not because I think this is necessarily a rectifiable situation, but because I’m curious to know whether this is common practice – and if you guys think it’s ok.

In most cases I charge out at a fixed price with an agreed contingency and I don’t extend without discussion and agreement.

I find that people often have an unrealistic expectation of what they’ll get for their money in this industry (and probably in many others) but that means that the onus is on us to manage expectations and in this case it doesn’t sound like that happened.

Companies like Upwork (which I have no personal experience of) are there to remove ambiguity and insecurity from these kinds of transactions but it sounds like they’ve fallen sadly short in this case.


Hi @molona,

Well, I agree and am also showing a little love for @hawk for coming to support my post. Very admirable!

I understand that the lack of more information has a bearing on your opinion but (sigh) there are more questionable instances I have documented that raise concerns.

I am not a developer but do have a technical understanding of computers from being a IT Technician. I know they are not the same thing and that is the very reason I approached this firm via Upwork and why I am also trying to gauge opinion by posting to sitepoint.

I understand your point on my using the theme (not template) to produce a masonry grid post for the page but I have asked an am still waiting for a reply as to why the theme capability was not a start point for their customisation? Now i guess you will have acceptable retort to my comment but it comes from a position of knowledge and expertise which I do not have.

It is very doubtful that I will be successful in recovering any of cash as Upwork and sites like this only mediate which basically ends up with Upwork just acting like a mail server and just passing on messages. Wholly ineffective in cases of dispute.

To me its copying code if the examples I sent the developers to give them an idea of what I wanted design wise was used exactly with little or no change but again, I am no developer so it remains a suspicion.

Unfortunately, a lawyer is out of the question as I am cash poor and simply cannot afford it. I am vulnerable and feel like my inexperience has been taken advantage of.

My experience is in sales and customer service and within this industry there is a term ‘invitation to treat’. Which basically means if you purchase an item on Tuesday and then return for whatever reason on Wednesday and the item is half the price you have no recourse to complain as you agreed to the ticket price at the time. Nothing illegal about that but ethically for me would be the difference between a good experience that I would return to and one that I would not.

It is not just the company i am left not trusting it is web development in general. This is the third bad experience I have had which I have stopped in its tracks as soon as I felt something was unacceptable that I could prove. This situation however is a lost of a lot of money I cannot afford which has delayed my project no end!

It is unfortunate that the main points of my grievance, cost and time taken on certain aspects of their work ‘mean nothing to you’ However, it means everything to me!

As far as homework goes I studied my ass off but there is only so much you can do.

On the contrary, you have been extremely helpful and I am grateful for your input.

much appreciated



You’re a diamond! Thanks for supporting my post. :heart_eyes:

What i have realised so far that payment by project is the way to go but freelancer platform Upwork only made me aware of this recommendation once I approached them with my concerns disputing the time taken to complete my project. I guess, with a 20% commission fee on freelancers jobs I am not surprised that many developers try to sign you up off book for a discount. or that Upwork are not of any help in disputes with freelancers.

Indeed i probably had an unrealistic expectation of what could be achieved. But what is a guy supposed to do when the project brief says 1-4 weeks $1500 and they say ‘Yes we can do that in that time’?!

I have reviewed (terrible) and Upwork who are said to be the largest freelancer platform around. That being said, I will not be using a freelancer platform or marketplace website in the future.

So how do I find a developer for my future projects?..

Copying and pasting someone else’s code by viewing source code is not a done thing. That’s not how dynamic websites work.

I would suggest before you start any project that is in the thousands of dollars, you seek consultation from a professional.

A consultant will be able to tell you whether or not your expectations are too high or too low, or if it is even worth making such an investment.

Good to see you around here from time to time. You’re still missed… Overlord :stuck_out_tongue:

Obviously I should be more carefull with my words. I do apologize. I didn’t want to give the wrong impression.

With “meaning nothing to me”, I didn’t want to say that these points were not important. Simply that there are too many things to take into account to know how relevant these points were.

In terms of cash, $3500 seems a too high quote compared to the second company. But then, if it is money well spent, or if $3500 is a high price… it is hard to say.

Today, it looks like you paid too much because you obviously not receiving what you should.

In terms of time, using templates and themes is a smart move… but they tend to look too generic. And often, they have bloated code that needs to be cleaned. So yes, you might be able to create what you want in 15 min. But even if you bought a theme with high quality code, this theme was created with a broad public in mind. So there’s a lot of uncessary stuff.

Because every programmer and coder has his/her own style and way to do things, looking at someone else’s code can be a very time consuming task. And very tyring.

Now, back to the main point: time-stretching.

I’m not a native English speaker and I’m not familiar with the term “time-stretching” on the web. I only used it for audio. But I believe that you mean an unjustified delay on the final delivery of your project. Would this be the definition that you would give to the term?


That’s how I read it. In project management terms, things have slipped beyond the time/dates they were scheduled or promised for.

This is what bothers me the most. You are courageous – imagine how many others are out there that are less so.[quote=“trevor18, post:4, topic:268939”]
It is not just the company i am left not trusting it is web development in general.

And THAT’S what we need to fix.[quote=“BrettDev, post:6, topic:268939”]
I would suggest before you start any project that is in the thousands of dollars, you seek consultation from a professional.

I think that’s the problem here though, right? That’s what he was doing when he approached Upwork – an organisation whose tagline is “Hire The Best - Trust Your Job To True Experts‎”.

For a lot of people who have never had to commission web work before, that seems like an obvious option. You have the protection of an organisation that should clearly communicate processes and expectations at the start so this doesn’t happen.

When people ask you guys where to go for small freelance projects, what do you advise?


@BrettDev Thanks very much for adding your thoughts on my issue. @HAWK was on point with her comment. My approaching Upwork was my attempt at approaching a professional to assist me in getting the best out of my project.

Unfortunately, you will probably find these freelancer platforms deficient only when you have a problem to solve or are in a dispute!

I will not using a freelancer platform again

@molona No worries, apology accepted. I just wanted to make clear that because I live in Switzerland I am not sitting on a cash cow :joy:

I actually agree that if it is money well spent then that has bearing on my dispute but because I now distrust their process, how can i indeed tell if it was money well spent. Or, is it my ignorance of the process that has led me to believe they were doing right by me.

I know that if it was not for my experience in repairing pc’s i wouldn’t have questioned as much as i have. How bad would it get then, and who is there to help people who find themselves in my situation without the insight that I have gained?

It took me months to first find and then wait for updates to make sure that its good reviews were maintained and that it would receive continued support. These were things I tried to do to limit as much as possible the need for customisation to realise my vision.

Ah yes, I am also an ex music producer and you are correct.Time stretching is an incorrect description[quote=“molona, post:7, topic:268939”]
an unjustified delay on the final delivery of your project

Is the correct description of my issue.

Thanks very much for that.

@HAWK Firstly, thank you for your comment, that’s nice to hear.

I just want to finish my blog which will help to inform members of these exact issues. If i actually shared what i am up against at the moment you would wonder why I am still standing.

I would still like an answer to the question posed by @HAWK

**[quote=“HAWK, post:9, topic:268939”]
When people ask you guys where to go for small freelance projects, what do you advise?


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