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Thread: What do I do?

  1. #1
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    What do I do?

    Hi.

    I have been dealing with my hosting company to get me a website done, but have run into a major wall with them.

    To cut a long story short, I was told that they had run out of project time for my project because they underquoted me due to the amount of pressure I put them under to quote (it was 3 months between my first e-mail regarding the quote and payment).

    It has now been 3 months since I paid and I still haven't got a fully developed site per the original specification yet. Now, they had the design within a week of meeting me, but its taking them 2 months to move the design to an open source e-commerce system, which surely shouldn't take so long as I do not want them to program any parts of the website, just to overlay the graphics.

    The other day he said it was his mistake and he would complete the website at his cost, and that if I have any queries or want an update I should speak to his PA.

    So this morning (which is 2 days after he told me he would get them to work on my site, and I haven't heard from him since), I sent the following e-mail to his PA:

    Hi xxxx

    I was wondering if you could give me an update on the progress of the final stages of my website.
    xxxx said I should speak to you.

    Rgards

    Itai
    to which she replies:
    Hi Itai

    xxx is still working on the website and could you please be patient as he is working on it.

    Thanks
    Kind Regards
    xxxx
    Now maybe I was in the wrong, but I took offense to the fact that she instructed me to be patient ... especially seeing as it has been 6 months since I first told them about this, 3 months since I paid the 50% deposit and 2 weeks since they last touched the online version of the site which is incomplete (and for which I give an easy to use detailed list of bugs)

    So I replied:

    Hi.

    And I was supposed to know he has been working on it how exactly?
    I check the website, no updates changed? I understand he may be doing them offline, but it would've been nice if someone told me
    he began working on the changes.

    I have been quite patient actually, as I was expecting the site to be done at the end of February but I understood that deadlines
    are hard in the industry. Please do not tell me to be patient. If you had kept me up to date of the progress and e-mailed me from time
    to time, then sure you could have told me to be patient, but neither you nor xxxx have been keeping me up to date (Unless I ask) ...
    so in my mind I must be prudent and assume that you still haven't started, hence why I ask for updates. I expect basic updates of progress
    when I ask, or preferably every couple of days so that I know what is happening with the project. For me, every day this website is
    not complete is a day for me losing money. So I like to know how far we are.

    If you had to build a house one day for yourself ... would you just hand over money to the builder and say phone me when you are done,
    or would you expect to be informed of the progress of the house because you are so eager to move in and do not want to be left in the dark?

    Regards

    Itai
    Now I didn't think this e-mail was personal at all, nor did I think I was speaking to her with a tone, but you guys are objective and maybe will have a different opinion to me.

    After I sent this e-mail, I got a reply back from the owner:

    Hi Itai

    I refer to my email where I explained the situation with the budget etc.
    I don’t appreciate your tone in your email sent to xxxx.

    I have thus cancelled the project. We are not in a position to accommodate further development.

    xxxx will upload the latest to your domain.

    Kind Regards

    xxxx
    So now I am stuck. Because I am assuming they are going to tell me they are complete with the website when both them and myself know it isn't complete and will want me to pay the other 50%. Now I won't pay the other 50% until they finish the design to my original specification and also to the signed off graphic design (which they didn't complete by the way).

    And if they refuse to work on the site anymore unless I pay more money, that is unfair to me, so I would rather tell them to cancel it completely, they can have their design back and I want a refund of my 50% (assuming it goes this way and doesn't get resolved).

    Now assuming we are this far and they refuse to refund or complete what was expected on the quote, do I have a claim for Positive Malperformance (I'm no commercial lawyer, so need to know what recourses I can take). Also ... if it gets ugly, do I have a claim for damages due to them wasting so much of my time where if I had a website a month or 2 ago, there is a guarantee I would be doing and converting more sales.

    I would like an objective outlook on this and any assistance I can get. If I was in the wrong. please let me know.

    Regards

    Itai
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  2. #2
    Gold Member garthu's Avatar
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    Hi Itai, Thats really sad. Looks like they used your mail as an excuse to get out of it. I probably would have been even stronger with my wording if i had been told that. telling your client to be patient is a no no...
    I have one thing to say regards court though - try seriously to avoid this. See what you can walk away with first under pleasant conditions and then decide if it is viable. Be pleasant, even take some of the abuse if need be - COURT IS THAT BAD. Try to get back your cash or can you use the half built section and take it elsewhere. I certainly wouldn't bother paying the 50% as they clearly stated that they canceled and didn't fulfill (but get legal advice there).

    Court in this country can break you! Financially and in will. Really try to avoid unless there is no option at day end. That comes from experience and these days even when there is a 100K involved, i smile and walk unless we 100% sure to win (difficult in legal)
    Garth

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  3. #3
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Is the project on your or their server?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  4. #4
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    Its on their server, but I downloaded it to play with it before all this happened.
    I sent an e-mail to the MD to try explain myself to him and to explain I wasn't speaking with a tone, just that I replied to her because I didn't like her tone ... still awaiting a reply from him, so we will see. I can tell you ... in business terms the money is not a lot ... but for me, it is as I am a small company, so court is definitely not the way to go. (its only R5700) ... and if I tell them to keep the cash I gave them, I can tell you now they won't give me the website, because it is 90% complete ... and they are making this huge fuss over about 10% of the job.
    I would rather just let them finish all of this, pay them and we get on with our business lives. I don't want to change hosting providers, I have been with them for 2 years ... since they were a small company. But I guess in some cases, as a company grows ... so does their arrogance ... maybe its not the case, but its how I feel at the moment.

    I either need the full amount back so I can take my business elsewhere, or a working site. The sad thing is I know they could finish this in 1 - 2 days, but they are choosing to be like this instead.

    I was on good terms with the MD ... so maybe he'll accept my explanation with regards to the wording to the PA, and he will continue. If it were my company, I would repremand my PA not my customer. Does he really not care at all about my revenue stream to him.

    The worst part of this is that I always recommended his company to friends and customers who need websites / hosting ... but no longer.

    I will however keep my cool, and not report them on sites such as hello peter, and I won't disclose their names here out of respect. They are generally good and I wouldn't want 1 dissatisfied customer to defame my name unless I really asked for it.

    So we will see how things go from here.

    To my advantage, my sisters best friend is a Commercial Lawyer, so maybe if it does have to go to small claims court / civil court or which ever court is right, she can help me out.

    I have studied 1.5 years of commercial law, so I have a basic understanding on where my contractual rights lie, and what my recourse are. My best bet probably is a clame for positive malperformance should it get that far.
    If you need any Accounting, Tax or even Financial Management advice, PM me and I'll try help and keep your information confidential.

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  5. #5
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    By the way, this is the reply I gave the MD after his last e-mail ... I think it was a decent reply.

    Hi.

    I did not appreciate her tone with me.
    I asked her for an update ... all I wanted to know was what exactly was happening because I did not know xxxx had started work, only that you were going to talk to him.

    I am under pressure and stress to get the site fully functioning.

    Instead I get told to have some patience.

    I sent her this message:

    Hi xxxxx.

    I was wondering if you could give me an update on the progress of the final stages of my website.
    x said I should speak to you.

    Rgards

    Itai

    because it had been 2 days since I spoke to you, and you had said "If you needs any updates etc, or just want to find out what's potting - drop xxxx an email." And seeing as I didn't know that xxxx had started, I decided to do that. Then I get told:

    "could you please be patient"

    which to me comes off as rude as I have waited for 2 weeks without an update to the site even though I went through the site and created nice easy to view lists of things xxxx did not do correctly, and it would have been nice to know xxxx started.

    I understand you work under a budget, so do I ... mistakes do happen, but I do not punish my clients for those mistakes, I treat them as if there was no mistake to begin with.

    I did not raise any tone to xxx, I simply mentioned to her that I do not appreciate being told to be patient and that there was no way for me to know that xxxx had started.

    I also tried to let her see my position on all of this with the house analogy.
    Please could you show me where I had a bad tone, as I do not believe I did have a bad tone.

    Regards

    Itai
    Last edited by Dave A; 28-Mar-09 at 07:00 AM.
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  6. #6
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    I assume you haven't signed any form of contract with them?

    It's best to always get a contract in place, even if it's something basic. R5700 might not be a massive amount of cash, but it certainly is enough to warrant a standard design contract.

    They should have given you a contract to sign which clearly outlines what is expected from both parties and is put in place to protect not only the developer, but the client as well.

    I'm on the developement side of this fence and I always go the contract route before starting developement.

    In this case I believe the developer is in the wrong. If they ran out of time on a project on which they quoted, they should complete it, learn their lesson and quote more next time. It's really as simple as that. I also vote that they are trying to use this email as a free ticket out of the project which is costing them money. Their mistake should equal their loss and because of they way they handled it, it will result on people leaving

    Just my 2c from a developers side
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  7. #7
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Missed the "hosting company" part - that will teach me not to skim

    I had visions of the worst case scenario - that you were dealing with a p'd off coder. Legal position could have been the least of your problems.

    If it is going to be a commercial site, I'd try my best to get the project finished on good terms with the developer. If that can't be done, flush and start again with someone else.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bullfrog View Post
    I assume you haven't signed any form of contract with them?

    It's best to always get a contract in place, even if it's something basic. R5700 might not be a massive amount of cash, but it certainly is enough to warrant a standard design contract.

    They should have given you a contract to sign which clearly outlines what is expected from both parties and is put in place to protect not only the developer, but the client as well.

    I'm on the developement side of this fence and I always go the contract route before starting developement.

    In this case I believe the developer is in the wrong. If they ran out of time on a project on which they quoted, they should complete it, learn their lesson and quote more next time. It's really as simple as that. I also vote that they are trying to use this email as a free ticket out of the project which is costing them money. Their mistake should equal their loss and because of they way they handled it, it will result on people leaving

    Just my 2c from a developers side
    I did sign something that said they would develop to what we agreed upon. I'm hoping the guy will just finish the project if not. They are definitely not getting another cent out of me and maybe I will write off the 50% or so as "graphic Design" costs and keep the images .... although this is far from ideal.

    And Bull ... I might need a new hosting company soon

    Just one question ... if I move hosting company ... what happens to my SSL ... do I have to buy a new one?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Missed the "hosting company" part - that will teach me not to skim

    I had visions of the worst case scenario - that you were dealing with a p'd off coder. Legal position could have been the least of your problems.

    If it is going to be a commercial site, I'd try my best to get the project finished on good terms with the developer. If that can't be done, flush and start again with someone else.
    Well if it does end of bad ... thats what I plan to do.
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  10. #10
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    I think I just got some good news. Just received this e-mail from the MD:
    Hi Itai

    I see your point.

    I was out the whole day and the whole office fell apart this morning.
    Allow me to please follow this up with xxxxx. It’s completely ridiculous!

    Kind Regards

    xxxxx
    to which I just replied:

    Hi.

    Thank you very much.
    I know how stress gets to the better of all of us.

    I was a bit harsh with xxxxx, I admit ... I too am under a lot of stress.

    I was thinking, and in return for your troubles ... I am happy to place a "Designed and Hosted by xxxxxxx"
    text below my copyright. This is usually good advertising (I looked at many before I got you to design the site),
    and due to me receiving so many hits, at least its some advertising you will get for the under budgeting.

    Thank you.

    Regards

    Itai
    I believe this is a gesture of good faith, and will hopefully make him feel better about the under budgeting issue. Its my part of trying to call truse as well.

    Seems like issue ended well ... what a relief
    If you need any Accounting, Tax or even Financial Management advice, PM me and I'll try help and keep your information confidential.

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