How can I get $1000s back from a really crappy website?

34 replies
Hey all - I hope someone or some few might have some advice on a local business owner's website situation.

I had posted on another post about my neighbor who owns a bakery, ignored my free advice over the past 3 years, and then paid $3000 to someone else to build a simple website for her bakery. We'll call my neighbor Jane.

So Jane emailed me a link to the preliminary demo site that this woman had finally come up with, after Jane paid her $3000 last April and apparently was being charged the "final" $800 in order to take delivery.

Turns out - this is a simple WordPress site, free theme (Weaver II), 1 column, basic 5 pages plus "portfolio" pages which were just a single column of pictures - no text with them, all content was copied and pasted from Jane's old website, all pictures of cakes, etc were provided by Jane - if there was 2 hours worth of work put into this, I'd be VERY surprised.

To add insult to grievous injury, this was a TOTALLY UGLY site! Totally plain, not even any social media buttons, no call to action, no headings or subheadings, no on-page SEO, no color except for what was in the pictures that Jane provided. Just text, a few pictures pasted between paragraphs (not even any wrap-around text), and that's it!

This kind of thing makes me angry - it's the worst of the Warrior Forum, as far as I'm concerned - the mentality that I've seen in a lot of WSOs that you can slap together a WordPress site and charge the client thousands because they don't know any different.

So this lady convinced Jane that this was a $7800 website, but just for Jane, "and don't tell anyone I've done this for you", she would knock off almost half and "just" charge $3800.

I'll stipulate that old saying that I know someone is going to come back with - "caveat emptor" - let the buyer beware. But perhaps this is one reason that it's hard to gain credibility in the offline market - when people deliver a pig in a poke and call it a custom design.

I'm meeting with this woman and Jane on Monday (Jane wants me there so that she doesn't get bamboozled again) and I thought I'd post here to try and get some concrete advice as to how I might help get the $3000 back. I've already told Jane to not, under any circumstances, give the final $800 that this lady is asking for. The website is ugly and totally unacceptable. She essentially charged $1900/hour for this ugly WordPress website that's not even SEO friendly. And I also told Jane that I really didn't think that she would get any money back.

But if any creative minds out there can spitball some ideas, I'd be grateful. Will a lawsuit do any good? What can we threaten her with? Posting negative review on Craigslist for our city? Angie's list? I'm just tossing out ideas to see if anyone can expand or add to....

Thanks in advance,
Nancy (yes, my real name)
#$1s #back #crappy #website
  • Profile picture of the author Tonyk518
    a lawsuit for such low money is probably a waste of time and more money. I assume there was no contract?

    Unfortunately, I think you live and learn. There are plenty of good decent web devs out there that could do the job and an honest one at that.

    I would refuse to pay the last 800 but shes probably out the 3k.

    You could try Ripoff Report | Scams, reviews, complaints, lawsuits and frauds. File a report, post your review. Consumers educating consumers. and the better business bureau?
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Was there any paperwork?
    Any contracts? Anything?

    As a side note, I would walk away from "Jane" as well.
    If your friend went against you and your advice, hired someone else, then
    Ran to you when they f'ed up.... I would walk away.

    Sorry, but I don't have time to play games and deal with bs.
    It may sound a little harsh, but so be it.

    I would say, look Jane. I told you to listen to me and you didn't.
    Now you are in a terrible situation. If you want my help, and you want me to come to the meeting, my current rate is $xxx per hour. Otherwise I wish you nothing but the best and advise you leave the checkbook at the office.

    If "Jane" raises her nose. Just tell her the last time she didn't hire you she paid
    $1,900 an hour for a terrible job. Its her call.


    Personally that is what I would do.
    If you want to stab me in the back and then ask me for help when it happens to you...
    You can jump off a bridge or pay my inconvience fee. Which is higher than the first time.
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    • Profile picture of the author njs7227
      Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

      Was there any paperwork?
      Any contracts? Anything?

      As a side note, I would walk away from "Jane" as well.
      If your friend went against you and your advice, hired someone else, then
      Ran to you when they f'ed up.... I would walk away.

      Sorry, but I don't have time to play games and deal with bs.
      It may sound a little harsh, but so be it.

      I would say, look Jane. I told you to listen to me and you didn't.
      Now you are in a terrible situation. If you want my help, and you want me to come to the meeting, my current rate is per hour. Otherwise I wish you nothing but the best and advise you leave the checkbook at the office.

      If "Jane" raises her nose. Just tell her the last time she didn't hire you she paid
      $1,900 an hour for a terrible job. Its her call.


      Personally that is what I would do.
      If you want to stab me in the back and then ask me for help when it happens to you...
      You can jump off a bridge or pay my inconvience fee. Which is higher than the first time.
      Jane didn't sign a contract - forgot to say that in my original thread.

      I also agree with what you're saying about "Ignore my advice once, shame on you. Ignore my advice twice, shame on me" - or words to that effect. I'm currently getting a lot of self-recrimination from her - "Oh, I should have listened to you in the first place" - uh duh yeah you should have.
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    • Profile picture of the author workers24hdotcom
      Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

      Was there any paperwork?
      Any contracts? Anything?

      As a side note, I would walk away from "Jane" as well.
      If your friend went against you and your advice, hired someone else, then
      Ran to you when they f'ed up.... I would walk away.

      Sorry, but I don't have time to play games and deal with bs.
      It may sound a little harsh, but so be it.

      I would say, look Jane. I told you to listen to me and you didn't.
      Now you are in a terrible situation. If you want my help, and you want me to come to the meeting, my current rate is per hour. Otherwise I wish you nothing but the best and advise you leave the checkbook at the office.

      If "Jane" raises her nose. Just tell her the last time she didn't hire you she paid
      $1,900 an hour for a terrible job. Its her call.


      Personally that is what I would do.
      If you want to stab me in the back and then ask me for help when it happens to you...
      You can jump off a bridge or pay my inconvience fee. Which is higher than the first time.
      I would do the same;-)
      Don't waste your time man, if he wants your help then ask him for money in ADVANCE
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      • Profile picture of the author boatree
        What I am quite pleased to hear is knowing that you can charge 3K to a local small business for a custom designed site.

        It seems as if a lot of people would have not had an issue if this web designer had spent some time, properly customising the website with the basic on page SEO, testimonials, social media, a good design, call to action etc... which is precisely what I want to be offering my clients.

        I was thinking more at the $1,300 per website end, but I am going to take a stab at $2,800.00 maybe even $3,200.00 or thereabouts.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    There was no paperwork at all.

    Nothing saying what each had to proivde?
    For example: A 5 page website for a total of $3,800
    With $3k down and $800 due upon completion?
    Nothing saying it was going to be a custom site?

    How was the site payed for check? Card?
    How long ago was the last payment?
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    • Profile picture of the author njs7227
      Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

      There was no paperwork at all.

      Nothing saying what each had to proivde?
      For example: A 5 page website for a total of $3,800
      With $3k down and $800 due upon completion?
      Nothing saying it was going to be a custom site?

      How was the site payed for check? Card?
      How long ago was the last payment?

      Yes, an email detailing the pages and the cost. Included was the phrase "custom header and footer", which it was not - unless you count uploading Jane's own logo and adding the address and phone number as a custom header. Custom footer was "©2012 All Rights Reserved | Contact Us | Terms | Privacy". Otherwise, no mention of a custom site. She listed watermarking all of Jane's cake photos for $4 per photo. Of course, we all know that someone on Fiverr can do 100 photos for $5, or 20 cents each. Jane has 500 images, so this cost alone would have been $2000.

      She detailed it as $7850 but more than half off at $3800 (her math was a little off on that). And she indicated she would be willing to "work with Jane" on payments.

      Last payment was in June.

      All payments were by check.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    That's a fine line....

    Yes, some of it may be considered custom. Depending on the court.
    It is no longer a stock header. Adding the logo now customized it.
    The address and phone number were just icing on the cake.
    Technically it is custom. No other site will have that. It doesn't come that way
    stock and it is unique to her.

    The footer, I don't know what the stock footer is. They might be able to get away from it by
    adding the footer menu.

    Terrible situation. Wash your hands and walk away.
    Or raise your rate and watch the "web designer" walk.
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    - Neale Donald Wilson -
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    • Profile picture of the author FredJones
      Not that I like the position that Jane has landed her into, but look at it realistically.

      Was Jane not asking for this anyway all along?

      Did Jane think what she would get in return of her investment?

      Did she ask for the specifications? If she did, didn't she already agree to it? If she didn't, then what do you think Jane is as a buyer - buying something that she does not even know about?

      Think of it, "I shall sell a house for $1 million" ad - now, does this sound like a realistic way to sell something? Woudl I buy a house just by this ad if I was in senses? Where're the details of the house? Is it a studio apartment in the middle of a village? Is it the most posh location in the entire nation with a major 10,000 sq yard sea-facing house with a private beach, lawns, tennis court, swimming pool etc etc? Nothing is specified in that ad except for the price. If that's what Jane bought for, why was she not asking the right questions in teh first place?

      So, Jane had agreed to pay a greedy seller something that the seller wanted to sell. I would put the problem purely with the buyer, and not with the seller. Any transaction has 2 ends to make it rational. For a seller, if he can sell zero quantity for an infinite price, then that's the best incentive. For a buyer, if she can buy infinite quantity for zero price, then that's the best return. The rational balance of price and deliverable because of the fact that both the parties are trying to get the best deal for their own interest. That's the fundamental behind any rational system and economics. Think of "game theory" (if not sure, Google "game theory") and you'll know). In fact, the Nobel prize in economics this year (2012) - something on stable marriages - has gone to an algorithmic approach that is fundamentally aligned with game theory, and the "economics" behind getting best deals.

      To me, it seems Jane had violated the ABC of economics by not understanding what she gets for a fair and rational price. So the consequences are natural and obvious.

      Sorry if I sound a bit hard-hearted. I am just speaking the vanilla truth rather than hiding behind mental barriers.
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    • Profile picture of the author njs7227
      Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

      That's a fine line....

      Yes, some of it may be considered custom. Depending on the court.
      It is no longer a stock header. Adding the logo now customized it.
      The address and phone number were just icing on the cake.
      Technically it is custom. No other site will have that. It doesn't come that way
      stock and it is unique to her.

      The footer, I don't know what the stock footer is. They might be able to get away from it by
      adding the footer menu.

      Terrible situation. Wash your hands and walk away.
      Or raise your rate and watch the "web designer" walk.


      I hear what you're saying. But then all WordPress templates are actually custom sites, and I feel badly for the talented custom web designers out there.

      My analogy to Jane was if I quoted a bride-to-be for a $2000 wedding cake, bought 3 Betty Crocker mixes, canned icing, a few sprinkles, slapped a bride and groom on top and called it a custom layered wedding cake. Sure it's custom - I iced and put sprinkles on myself - but it would be just as ugly as the website is.

      My other analogy was if I bought a $30 dress at Walmart, adjusted the hem a little, and sold it as a $1500 "custom design". I did customize it, right?

      That's why I had her contact a lawyer. If the definition of custom is that as soon as you touch something, it's basically been customized by you, then where does that leave true custom designs?

      It is a fine line. I have already told Jane that I don't think there's any way she's getting her money back. But I thought I'd put it on this forum and see what people with more experience than me think.

      Thanks,
      Nancy
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    Just curious, was she happy with the site before giving you the preview link?

    What is your true end game, are you just being a good friend, are you hoping to
    get some loot freed up for a redesign or are you just wanting to play "I told you so."

    I dont know what you can do except appeal to the webperson and voice your displeasure.
    Maybe the "threat" of posting negative reviews will be enough for them to give
    a partial refund or something.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    Sorry to hear of your friends issues here Nancy,

    Nothing ticks me off more than unscrupulous designers (or other business people) who take what they can get from someone who doesn't know better and then delivers them a piece of crap website on top of it all.

    I mean, sure - people can spend $3000 on a website easy, but for that you should expect a great looking site that has at least some basic SEO and lead capture mechanisms in place. Of course most traditional "ad agencies" and "graphic designers" don't have a clue about ROI and developing a website thats an INVESTMENT, but unfortunately your friend also doesn't have the business sense to demand a return when investing marketing dollars like this.

    At this point, if you still want to help her out some, maybe make some suggestions and see if the designer will make some changes to get her at least a half way decent site before finalizing payment. I'll never understand why so many people get involved in projects like this without contracts - but hopefully this is a lesson she wont soon forget.

    I'd also encourage her to publicly voice her dissatisfaction and let the designer know that reviews of this terrible experience will be posted wherever possible online, and if it were me, I'd probably go so far as to print up flyers to hand out to customers and advise them to avoid this designer (assuming they're local and would feel the effect of this).

    I really don't know how a designer like that could sleep at night - especially considering that they could've spent $50 on a killer template a theme forest and maybe passed it off as worth $3k - but to use the free weaver theme with hardly any customization...unbelievable.
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    • Profile picture of the author njs7227
      Thanks to everyone for their replies.

      Someone said something about Jane should do some due diligence before plunking down that much money - I totally agree - especially since I had been giving her free advice for the past 3 years and she didn't bother to ask me, probably because she knew she really should have hired me, not the other lady. But we still feel sorry for people who get scammed - like the old driveway paving/home improvement scams where they take your deposit then skip town. Sure the little old lady should have checked with the BBB, asked around, etc, etc - but ultimately your anger is directed against the scammer, not against the little old lady.

      I am thoroughly irritated with my friend and realize that she's using me to bail her out - but ultimately, I'm loyal to my friends. I've told her I'll go to the meeting just to keep her from making any more bone-headed mistakes (my exact phrase) but the free train stopped as soon as the meeting ended and my going rate from then on will be $125/hour, and she agreed. I'll try to come back and post the outcome.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    On a side note; if she had over 500 photo's to upload, Im assuming there would be text (Copy) involved for each thumbnail, and key word driven descriptions... $7800 is cheap. I would have never even taken the job at that price.

    However, a bad design job is still not cool, and Im not taking away from what you are saying.

    Originally Posted by Eddie Spangler View Post

    Just curious, was she happy with the site before giving you the preview link?

    What is your true end game, are you just being a good friend, are you hoping to
    get some loot freed up for a redesign...."
    Me thinks the Deuce may be onto something. Yes, its unnerving when a friend gives their business to someone else, but its a classic truth that a prophet is rarely honored in their own hometown. You should have been my friend, when he turned me down politely for some investment capital I was trying to raise, and then saw that business doing $260k per month 6 months later!
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    • Profile picture of the author njs7227
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      On a side note; if she had over 500 photo's to upload, Im assuming there would be text (Copy) involved for each thumbnail, and key word driven descriptions... $7800 is cheap. I would have never even taken the job at that price.

      However, a bad design job is still not cool, and Im not taking away from what you are saying.



      Me thinks the Deuce may be onto something. Yes, its unnerving when a friend gives their business to someone else, but its a classic truth that a prophet is rarely honored in their own hometown. You should have been my friend, when he turned me down politely for some investment capital I was trying to raise, and then saw that business doing $260k per month 6 months later!


      I know what you mean about the photo captions - tedious work. However, she didn't have any captions at all - no ALT text, no caption, no description, and the title remained the name of the picture dragged and dropped from Jane's picture folder.

      I think ultimately, to put that controversy to rest, I want to see my neighbor succeed. The family has been my neighbor for 7 years, her boys are my son's age and they have played together for half their lives, she has a daughter in college. It initially horrified me that she spent that much money on a website but I thought - oh well, at least she'll have a custom website. But then I saw it and my horror turned to anger. Yes, anger at Jane for being such an idiot, but more anger at this so-called web designer, and it will give me pleasure to meet with them tomorrow and give her a piece of my mind. Again, don't think Jane will get any money back, but maybe it'll keep them from rooking some other clueless business owner.

      And in case anyone thinks this way (not anyone on this thread, of course) - no, I don't think it's okay to rook a business owner just because they're clueless. I'm all for upholding the values of honor and fairness in my business and kind of expect it of others. But then I was raised as a missionary's kid and maybe I'm the clueless one.
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  • Profile picture of the author Original Poster
    Banned
    As a buyer, one can always protect themselves.

    But, this requires that they operate only within the sanctuary and confines of an iron-clad contract to protect themselves in the event of such happenings.

    As an ancestor of the first wave of Attorneys, the great speakers of ancient Greece, I know the importance of "getting it in writing".

    Go forth my friend, and seek the truth!

    Good luck,
    OP
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    • Profile picture of the author MarkJez
      Hi Nancy,

      Sorry to hear about this situation with your client (or soon to be client).

      Here in the UK, we have an organisation called "Trading Standards" which is linked to the Government. Every town and city has a Trading Standards Department and their job is to monitor all businesses in their area to ensure that they are trading fairly and honestly. If a complaint is made to them that a website creation company is severely overcharging it's customers then it is duty bound to thoroughly investigate that company to see if any criminal or civil offence has been committed.

      Trading Standards Departments have even more powers than the police, and could during their investigation confiscate the webmaster's computer and see if she has been scamming other customers not just Jane.

      Do you have anything similar to Trading Standards Departments in the USA?

      If so, then it may be worth making an official complaint to them. Better still, if you could find any more "victims" of this scam, then the case against the webmaster will be that much stronger.

      Here in the UK, we also have consumer style TV programmes such as Watchdog and "Cowboy Traders". They feature rogue traders every week, and usually bring them to justice.

      Sometimes the mere threat of being investigated and possibly charged for criminal or civil action by Trading Standards (or the USA equivalent) and or TV's Watchdog is enough to make a rogue trader send a full or partial refund to their victims.

      Best regards
      Mark J.
      London.
      UK
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      • Profile picture of the author mojo1
        Put your emotions aside in this case. Jane is not the innocent victim.

        Three months ago, I was in a similar predicament when a college friend showed me the business website that she'd initially paid $200 for. It was a freakin' free Site Google website. These are absolutely free non hosted sites.

        She was dissatisfied and rightfully so. The contractor who was from Odesk whose specialty was not even website design quoted and charged her $200 to put together a site based on Google's free non hosted platform.

        Now after educating my friend on what this guy used to build her site and giving her a reasonable quote to upgrade her business website on Wordpress for even less she still decided to go with someone else much more expensive to do her upgrade.

        Well 30 days out from dealing with this new website company, she also came crying for help one night literally slightly after midnight in an email wanting even more help because she couldn't afford to keep doling money out to this new web company.

        Sometimes tough love is the best solution. Needless to say, although I really do wish her well, I didn't respond to that email after much thought and reflection with our mutual friend.

        Some people will never learn and trust are not worth the headache. Just be cordial when you see your neighbor and avoid talking about their business issues at all cost.

        Just let this go and move on for your own sanity.

        Everyone has to learn their own lesson from which to grow.

        If you continue to make salvaging her bad business decision your primary mission, I guarantee you'll still be entrenched with this problem for months on end.

        There's an old saying " We get what we negotiate, Not what we deserve" is very true in this transaction. An ultimately, you charge what the market will bear. Prices are subjective.

        Somewhere along the line, Jane trusted and saw value in what this sales person offered. End of story. This is the real lesson we can all learn from.
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        • Profile picture of the author njs7227
          Originally Posted by mojo1 View Post

          Put your emotions aside in this case. Jane is not the innocent victim.

          Three months ago, I was in a similar predicament when a college friend showed me the business website that she'd initially paid $200 for. It was a freakin' free Site Google website. These are absolutely free non hosted sites.

          She was dissatisfied and rightfully so. The contractor who was from Odesk whose specialty was not even website design quoted and charged her $200 to put together a site based on Google's free non hosted platform.

          Now after educating my friend on what this guy used to build her site and giving her a reasonable quote to upgrade her business website on Wordpress for even less she still decided to go with someone else much more expensive to do her upgrade.

          Well 30 days out from dealing with this new website company, she also came crying for help one night literally slightly after midnight in an email wanting even more help because she couldn't afford to keep doling money out to this new web company.

          Sometimes tough love is the best solution. Needless to say, although I really do wish her well, I didn't respond to that email after much thought and reflection with our mutual friend.

          Some people will never learn and trust are not worth the headache. Just be cordial when you see your neighbor and avoid talking about their business issues at all cost.

          Just let this go and move on for your own sanity.


          I know - I'm an old softie and need to grow a pair Actually, I was an air traffic controller for 12-1/2 years BB (before baby) and am by no means a pushover - more like (overly) assertive. This was from all those years of standing toe to toe with captains and even flight commanders and holding my own. Well, in safety situations like ATC, it's my runway or the highway! I even was called a b***h once and considered it a compliment. (Hey, no one crashed that day, so it was all good.)

          So I have no problem with meeting with this person and asking her to make it right, one way or another. And Jane and I now have the understanding that there will be no more freebies from me - I have the care and feeding of my own child to worry about.

          It's interesting this thread turned into one on the nature of friendship and what we are willing to do (or at least what I'm willing to do). After all, dredging up my own background as a missionary's kid, Christ said greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friend - so what's a little web design help next to that?

          I got the gamut of thought on this problem and I appreciate everyone who took the time to weigh in.
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          • Profile picture of the author mojo1
            Originally Posted by njs7227 View Post

            I know - I'm an old softie .

            Christ said greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friend
            As a fellow Christian, I can totally relate. We should help others when they ask for help and not judge them for their mistakes. None of us will avoid making mistakes in this life that's for sure.

            Hopefully as neighbors, you both have learned the importance of being totally transparent about your desires and expectations in the way you conduct business with each other from this situation and can grow moving forward.

            All the best to you.
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      • Profile picture of the author njs7227
        Originally Posted by MarkJez View Post

        Hi Nancy,

        Sorry to hear about this situation with your client (or soon to be client).

        Here in the UK, we have an organisation called "Trading Standards" which is linked to the Government. Every town and city has a Trading Standards Department and their job is to monitor all businesses in their area to ensure that they are trading fairly and honestly. If a complaint is made to them that a website creation company is severely overcharging it's customers then it is duty bound to thoroughly investigate that company to see if any criminal or civil offence has been committed.

        Trading Standards Departments have even more powers than the police, and could during their investigation confiscate the webmaster's computer and see if she has been scamming other customers not just Jane.

        Do you have anything similar to Trading Standards Departments in the USA?

        If so, then it may be worth making an official complaint to them. Better still, if you could find any more "victims" of this scam, then the case against the webmaster will be that much stronger.

        Here in the UK, we also have consumer style TV programmes such as Watchdog and "Cowboy Traders". They feature rogue traders every week, and usually bring them to justice.

        Sometimes the mere threat of being investigated and possibly charged for criminal or civil action by Trading Standards (or the USA equivalent) and or TV's Watchdog is enough to make a rogue trader send a full or partial refund to their victims.

        Best regards
        Mark J.
        London.
        UK

        Oh yeah - that Watchdog idea is a good one. I actually used one many years ago to settle a dispute with a sewing machine vendor and won. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author WeavingThoughts
    Honestly, I don't understand the problem.

    Anybody can charge any rate for any service. It is between the buyer and seller. If both of them are okay then it is cool. It doesn't matter if it can be done for free elsewhere. If it was so then there wouldn't exist arbitrage and merchandising.

    Again, not having a good design is subjective. Is she dissatisfied? Did they discuss what would happen if the design was not satisfactory? What was agreed? Just a bad design doesn't mean anything if revisions or mock ups were not agreed in the price.

    Besides, does she find the design bad or do you find the design bad?

    And this isn't a scamming case. She charged what she wanted to. The buyer paid without any external force. You are just jealous that you don't get paid like this.

    You have no case. You can spend all you like on lawyers but I guarantee that you will lose.
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  • Profile picture of the author WeavingThoughts
    And honesty $5000 for 500 uploading 500 images (if done one at a time) is fine and some people may charge much more. This is without the website, that is.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Just remember that Christian "Love" when you go to lay into this webdesigner, who you say you cant wait to attack, and who was only offering the service that they offer, and your friend bought it.

    Even "heathens" can love their friends. And I say that in love.

    You guys are basically setting up to ambush and hunt blood from a webdesigner who probably feels they have done nothing wrong... Its not like they are setting off to take advantage. They are just offering what they offer, and your friend obliged.

    Have Christian love, and compassion for them too, because they are fixin to get set up, cornered and ambushed , by one person who they didnt know was even upset (How fair is that?) , and another angry person who had nothing to do with the deal in the first place.
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    • Profile picture of the author mojo1
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Just remember that Christian "Love" when you go to lay into this webdesigner, who you say you cant wait to attack, and who was only offering the service that they offer, and your friend bought it.

      Even "heathens" can love their friends. And I say that in love.

      You guys are basically setting up to ambush and hunt blood from a webdesigner who probably feels they have done nothing wrong... Its not like they are setting off to take advantage. They are just offering what they offer, and your friend obliged.

      Have Christian love, and compassion for them too, because they are fixin to get set up, cornered and ambushed , by one person who they didnt know was even upset (How fair is that?) , and another angry person who had nothing to do with the deal in the first place.

      Yep that's right. That web designer as I stated earlier got what they negotiated and what the market, her neighbor was willing and quick to pay. The web designer was not at fault at all and ultimately much can be learned from the conviction they obviously held about their services and established with her neighbor.
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      • Profile picture of the author njs7227
        Well, it's two months later and I thought I'd update the situation in case someone finds the thread in a search.

        The case is going to court, most likely February. Jane consulted a lawyer, who asked her to document everything she could. Most of it was via email (the rest via phone), and it turns out there was quite a lot that the web "designer" agreed to that was not delivered. More than that, I cannot say at this time.

        If you believe in karma, it delivered. As I was doing "free" work for my friend Jane, karma dropped some unsolicited paid work in my lap, which came in handy just before Christmas.

        Thirdly, I know I mentioned being a Christian, but some of the responses above bordered on religious cyberbullying. One might consider being more careful on a public forum....

        Finally, this whole experience has started me on a product which I'm going to present to my local chamber of commerce (town population 29,000) about how to go about getting a website designed without getting scammed. You wouldn't believe how many businesses have shown interest already (hint: A lot).
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        • Profile picture of the author bwh1
          Originally Posted by njs7227 View Post

          Finally, this whole experience has started me on a product which I'm going to present to my local chamber of commerce (town population 29,000) about how to go about getting a website designed without getting scammed. You wouldn't believe how many businesses have shown interest already (hint: A lot).
          That's great to hear.

          You might rethink your customer approach so you won't let slip another ready to buy 3.8k client, OK.

          Sometimes a bit "hard sale" when the client is ready can't hurt. If he still won't bite let the friendship be...well, just a friendship - no business.

          G.
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        • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
          Originally Posted by njs7227 View Post


          Finally, this whole experience has started me on a product which I'm going to present to my local chamber of commerce (town population 29,000) about how to go about getting a website designed without getting scammed. You wouldn't believe how many businesses have shown interest already (hint: A lot).
          Classic educational/expert positioning approach to marketing and pre-selling services so you get businesses calling you, and/or get paid while you are getting business. Best of luck.

          Sorry the case is going to court. From the emotional standpoint, nobody wins. Then there's the matter of collecting...

          I studied air traffic controllers in college for an organizational development course. They do have to have .... um ah ... a strong mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialbacklink
    John has a point. There are a ton of these "web designers" out there these days. Some are just scammers. Others don't know what they are doing and hear they should charge a lot. They do. Someone agrees and well there you have it.

    You made yourself of low value to the person by giving too much free advice. We've all been there at one time or another. I would try to see if the situation can be resolved peacefully to get your friend a site she is happy with. If not let the person know up front that action will be pursued. If, and only if, they aren't agreeable to fixing the situation then I would pursue small claims court. No lawyer need be involved and it's cheap in most states to file. I think it was like $50 in Texas.

    Then, there is a recourse through Rip off report, yahoo local, google local, review sites, BBB, etc. But, again all of this is a last action. If you go in on the offensive they will be on the defensive. It doesn't mean they are wrong. Maybe just uninformed. Just try to be patient and reasoning. If it goes south don't let it be your fault.
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  • Profile picture of the author ikan_sith
    "Someone said something about Jane should do some due diligence before plunking down that much money - I totally agree - especially since I had been giving her free advice for the past 3 years and she didn't bother to ask me, probably because she knew she really should have hired me,"

    I think that this is a part of the problem. You gave her so much free advice over that time period that she didnt value you. Although I am just starting out I only give a little info away just to show suspects (not yet a client) my abilities/knowledge level/expertise. Then when they ask additional questions, I quote them my rate for a consultation hand then a business card and say "I'm ready to get started when ever you are." THAT IS TO EVERYONE; friends, family, co-workers (yeah i'm still @ the just over broke) even people at my church. I have found that free advice has no value to potential clients. They will use you as their free source for info and never buy. Doing this has also allowed me to learn who are the tire kickers and deal with them accordingly.

    I don't mean to sound harsh but when i gave out free advice all the time it was impossible to get a sell. This is a business. When a Suspect (non-client) becomes a Customer I over deliver to show my value. My few clients (less than 30) love it and have started to reccommend me to their business associates.

    Remember, people will pay you if you can solve their problems and provide great service.

    Just my $.02!

    CARPEDIEM!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author flightrisk
    Websites are subjective, how would you fill if i ripped your site and telling him i could do that better and cheaper and had the owner call you for a refund?

    Sell him your services and move on...BTW customers dont like to told what the bought is crap
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  • Profile picture of the author CageyVet
    If a business owner buys a Website from a designer with out first doing some research about website designers, costs, features etc etc, then they are to blame as to what quality product they are sold at what price.

    If a business owner does not take the advice of someone in the Web designer or consulting field, then the business owner is to blame.

    If a business owner does not see examples, previews, mockups before they put money on a web design, then they are to blame.

    I could go on and on and on about this but I will not because it is no different than buying a brand new house without ever seen a design, plans, options, comparing home builders etc etc.

    Either way, I hope her problem gets solved for her and if the designer did not complete the work that was contracted, then your friend should see something good come from that.
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