Need some guidance - developer not responding after purchase


Let me give all of you a complete idea of what happened.

I had purchased 2 Joomla components from a developer for my websites. The license was per site license and the developer was supposed to give regular product updates for the component at no extra cost. In those 6 months there was I think one minor bug fix update which was done by the developer but no major enhancements. Many were giving feedback on what was needed in the component including possibility of migrating to Joomla 1.6 once it comes through.

The developer shocked all by bringing out a brand new version of both the products - but with a rider. No existing client could get updates to the new version. If they needed the new version then then needed to purchase a subscription pack. The per site licensing was gone. All existing users had only one option. Keep the existing version and use it or buy the brand new version and dispose off the old version.

Hence I contacted the developer and requested that some kind of upgrade option should be provided to all existing users who had faith in the product in the initial stages and supported the product. Leaving them with no upgrade options was not a fair option. The developer responded that this would not be done. So again I contacted and asked if then in such a case option to transfer or sell the license to any user who is interested in the old version should be provided.

The developer then blocked all my accounts on the site and also warned me that I would be reported for illegal use of software which is really not true because I have invoices and payment receipts of both purchases made.

The developer does not respond to any of my emails and I have been left with two unusable components with no upgrade options.

What are my options in such a scenario? Is there anything I could do so that I can get back my money? or atleast get back my access to my accounts on the developers site?

Thank you in advance for all your help

Realistically? If the developer is in the same country as you, you can go after him in your local small claims court. If he’s international, you’re basically out of luck. It will cost you more to go after him than it’s worth.

If you were promised ongoing updates and these were not received, then it is the developer who is breaking the license agreement. Were these promises made in writing? Do you have evidence that they were promised (emails, forum posts, the actual licence agreement)?

Is the developer in the same country as you? How much money are we talking about?

It sounds like at the very least, you should get a refund, but it seems a good faith gesture would be to upgrade you to his new version.

Not entirely sure what this clown is trying to achieve though. Is anyone in their right mind going to pay him any money for this new version? How long before he abandons that as well? His customer service record doesn’t really paint a pretty picture, does it?

Perhaps he should be made aware of the Streisand Effect. I would perhaps consider posting up your experiences on as many forums and consumer web sites as possible. Just remember to be completely truthful in your account of the whole situation.

Thank you for all the messages.

Yes, like suggested, the developer is in another country and the amount is appx. USD350

I already approached the concerned country’s trade body and they say I could file charges in court but that would cost me much more than what I had paid for the product, which the developer knows quite well and inspite of me sending message that I have contacted the trade body for future course of action, the developer remains silent on the entire issue and is not at all responding.

I read the license terms in great detail, though the developer is not fully bound to release new updates, it really hurts that in the name of license change, new updates are being provided to members who purchase new membership plans. What existing users expect is atleast provide them with an update if not free then at least at a discounted price to what is offered to new users.

Raise a giant stink about it, find others in the same boat and write posts about how underhanded the developer is.

Make sure to fill up the SERPs with pages complaining about how this all came about, make it more difficult for the developer to do business in any way possible, make sure when someone googles the product name they see pages and pages of complaints, target the “product name” + “review” keywords.

If you’re not going to get satisfaction you might as well get revenge.

So what is the product anyway so that the rest of us know to steer clear of this douchebag

Thank you for your feedback.

Mainly my first priority would be to either have some upgrade option or part money back in case no future updates are planned on this old version that I own.

At this point would not like to make the developer name public but would definitely PM the name if some one wants to take up my case with the developer. I could even provide all email correspondences / payment receipts everything so that it would help me get back my accounts and/or some kind of upgrades to the new product - as no doubt the new product does look promising and would save me the headaches to migrate to some other component as the data entered using this component is in thousands.

Any feedback in this regard? Still waiting for a solution from some one.

Thanks in advance

waiting for a solution? I think all your options have already been posted.

You can pursue them through the legal system of his/her home country, but it won’t be worth it for the relatively small sum you have paid and that’s provided he/she has “technically” done anything illegal which you haven’t established in anything that you have posted so far.

My advice would be to get your own proper qualified legal advice and be guided by that. I definitely am not qualified to give any legal advice and I think legal options are your only option at this stage.

Hi jaagare, I got your PM about this and had a look at the developer’s site.

There doesn’t appear to be anything specifically mentioning ongoing updates, however they seem to have had a major change recently, new domain etc, although I did check and found their old license terms, which again made no mention of updates, so it sounds like legally they may be covered with respect to not offering any more updates to you.
Not sure if they promised anything via email or in their forum etc.

I do take issue with some stuff though. In their current license, they reserve the right to change the license agreement at any time, and without notice to you,by posting the new license on their site. Your continued use of the software indicates your acceptance of the new license.

Does this mean they change the agreement without telling you, but still expect you to be bound by the terms of this new license? Are you expected to check their web site every day, just in case they secretly updated the license terms? That doesn’t sound right to me, however I don’t know much about Aussie law, but I would suspect any changes should be notified by email with at least 7 days notice - I suspect you should also be given the opportunity to not accept it (i.e. if you just wish to continue using the existing version under the license you agreed to at purchase). Typically a new license agreement will be linked into a new version of the software, so the act of downloading the new version (and ticking a checkbox etc) will confirm your acceptance of the new license.

I also take issue with them suspending your account (and threatening to report you to your host), based on your stated intention to sell the license. Yes, suspend your account if you did sell the license (it appears to be non-transferable), but you haven’t yet, so they should honor the license. They are the ones now breaking the license agreement, not you.

Basically, they don’t paint a picture of a company many people would like to do business with, but I do think it may be better to move on and chalk it up to just one of those things - I still think you could post your experience on consumer review sites etc, as long as you are careful to stick to the facts (and the ones you can prove should you need to). People do read this stuff and do take notice of it.


Thank you very much for your advice.

Yes, for my auto site I have already bought another component from another developer and will not use any future products from this developer.

For my real estate site as I have close to 10000 odd listings, will be evaluating and moving over to another component soon.

Had I known the developer would do such a thing, I would not have invested hours into modifying the template / adding listings into the current version.

Will try a final time with the Australian Trade Commission in my region if they can do something in this regard, or I believe my money is lost.

Easy question: do nothing and move on.

$350 is not enough to spent time fighting with a developer when your only real chance is to win a refund or license for the next version. I doubt you want to continue using this developers products, and the time you spent fighting for a refund is better spent generating more money and growing your business.

Don’t sweat the little stuff, just keep doing business and try to win long-term.

I think you need to apply for the third party - I mean payment processor.
And start dealing about money back