Really frustrated with my website designer

Discussion in 'Website Development & Design' started by london25, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. london25

    london25
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    Hi guys,

    I am new to this forum as well. I wanted to post my experience and ask for your advice.
    In January I decided to start my own business so I approached a web design company to develop my website. I did my research before and I decided to go with them as I saw on their portfolio that our biggest competitor, that happens to have a really nice and amazing functioning site, built their site with them.

    Initially they told me that the site would take 12 weeks to be completed plus one month of testing. I asked if we would sign any contract or something but the guy said that we don't need to and he sent me an outline of how they will work. This was a really big mistake!

    The site is actually running really late as basic functionalities which we were expecting to be obvious they were not implemented! So the developer keeps blaming me because I am asking him to add functionalities! Furthermore, when I went to visit this guy in his office I told him that I don't want to outsource my project as I need western mentality on the design of the website and from personal experience eastern designers don't understand western taste. He said he wasn't going to outsource anything.

    I have to mention that I have a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science so I know this field. Going through his company's main page and goofing around I managed to sneak into the ccompany's database and check their files. I was able to find the beta version of my website they were working on and I can tell they development was moving really slowly. Also, I tracked some of the developer's IP address and I found that they were working from Nepal. After a little more research I found out the other company in Nepal that they were working on my site instead of the one I went to! The worst thing is that on their website's portfolio they have my own website saying they created it and other similar ones that have the same phrases and text on their contents which make my website not unique at all!!!

    I am really frustrated as my developer is lying to me continuously. I still haven't told him that I know what they are doing but I really want some advice from you guys. Could you please let me know what my rights are and what I could do to save some money from this guy?

    Regards

    London25
     
  2. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to our Business Forum London25 and sorry to hear about the issues you are having with your web designer.

    Have you paid any money to your web designer yet? If not I'd suggest that you simply walk away from them, tell them you don't require their services because they have not done what they said they would do, and then find another designer for your project.

    If you have paid them for their services, a lot will depend on how much. But you should probably tell them you want your money back because they are not delivering as they have agreed to and they have broken any agreement they made by outsourcing your website design, but don't tell them how you found out.
     
  3. daytrader

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    yayks! you could get in trouble with this in the end.
    you might want to demand for a new design just to consider and tell them when it should be done.
    if things get awry still after confronting, you might want to talk to a lawyer.
     
  4. Valentine

    Valentine
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    Pretty dicey situation.sorry about your developer.At this point you may want to consider some serious options and cost should i believe should be a priority.getting a lawyer or developing a new site would cost you more,be time consuming and it dosent even sound like these guys are ontop of their game.from experience ill sugest that if you aint geting what you want from them and you still have a little more cash,then you can get somone who knows what they are doing to finetune your site to your taste for a little extra cost and get on with your site.thoughts still after confronting, you might want to talk to a lawPretty dicey situation.sorry about your developer.At this point you may want to consider some serious options and cost should i believe should be a priority.getting a lawyer or developing a new site would cost you more,be time consuming and it dosent even sound like these guys are ontop of their game.from experience ill sugest that if you aint geting what you want from them and you still have a little more cash,then you can get somone who knows what they are doing to finetune your site to your taste for a little extra cost and get on with your site.thoughts
     
  5. GekiDan

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    It's kinda sad to know it's happening to you. As far as I understand from your post, you don't have a contract right? So you can walk out from them and find another web design company. And as Fergal asked, we want to know if you have already paid them a certain amount.
     
  6. patrick0001

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    I believe london25 has make deposit to the web design company, else that company wont start work for him. If I am rushing to setup my business, I will just let the design company finish whatever they can finish, as long they no incurred additional charge.

    Time is money, I am sure a healthy business will not forever stay with same design. Instead of spending time to complain, I would spend more time to get new business. When I have more money, I can always appoint more than 1 design company to come out couple of design mock, and choose the best among them.

    If you really need a site up, and the site is still take long time to complete. Please consider setup a free fans page or blogger to take care your visitor, when the actual site up, you redirect them to your official site.
     
  7. Joseph.Shivell

    Joseph.Shivell
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    The first thing you need to do is promise that you will never do this again! If a website designer or firm discovers what you did, they will be reluctant to take you on as a client (to put it mildly), because they will think you can, and will, hack into their system anytime you want, putting their other clients files and information at risk. Whether or not actually intend to do so, you will be viewed as a too big of a risk to them to take you on as a client.

    If you have not paid any money to the initial website designer, I would simply inform them their services are no longer needed. If you have paid them money, and you need to hire a lawyer to get it back, be honest with the lawyer about what you did, so there is no chance of the designer suddenly surprising them with something they didn't know about. Also keep in mind the designer may decide to take legal action against you because of your actions.

    As far as a new designer is concerned, you and they should both keep in mind that this is your site, so you should tell them what you want, and they will decide how to implement it. Before they begin the design process, you should have some idea of what you want, with examples of similar websites, in addition to examples to show what you don't want. If there is a better way to do something, that may not be what you want but gives the user a better experience, they should be able to explain why. They should listen to you because it is your website, and you should listen to them when they have a suggestion to make the site better. Designing a website for you should be a collaboration, not a confrontation. You should also have the right to approve the site before it is published, and should be kept informed throughout the process.
     
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  8. mackey

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    Sorry to hear about what happened, that's one of the other side of outsourcing...
    You need to careful in choosing the right person, that's why I always suggest to hire an outsourcing firm/company instead. There will be a lot of advantages if you'll be hiring a company.
    Supervisors, Managers and Team leaders are there to help out your staff. Your files are also 100% confidential, and there's always a point of contact between you and the management.
     
  9. Stephen Ryan

    Stephen Ryan
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    First mistake.
    Contracting a design company who is already a supplier to your competitor.

    Second mistake.
    Not getting contracts signed in writing

    Third Mistake
    Not producing a requirements spec at the start of the project


    Problems you will face if you dump them.
    Supplier may feed your project intel to your competitor.
    Time it will take to engage a new designer and get a site developed.

    Basically, you played this project totally wrong and you are being burnt.

    They are taking you for a ride because you have shown naievity which they are now taking advantage of.

    Tell them you know what they are up to and you no longer want them to do any work for you, given your investigations have found an overseas
    company advertising themseleves as the developer of your website.
    You don't have to tell them how you arrived at that information.
    Take a snapshot of all and any materials for your record.


    You made mistakes, now you need to roll out of the relationship and appoint a new designer.

    Good luck
    Stephen
     
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  10. Peter Birganza

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    Hi,
    I don`t think so that this guy is good for you. So, for the time being ignore him once more and warn him. But if he again repeats this activity than fire him without listening his arguments or lame excuses. It is good for you as well as for company benefit.
     
  11. london25

    london25
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    Hi guys,

    Thanks for your replies. Just to make some things clear:

    1) When I contacted this web design company I knew they did the website of my competitors but they told me they no longer offering services to them. My competitor became huge so they have their own developers.

    2) I did not get contracts signed (its really common in UK and I don't know why) but I have kept conversations through email with designers. I asked them more than 3 times to sign a contract but they said it wasn't necessary. I initially sent them a list of what we require for our website but even so they did whatever they thought it would be ok! So we needed to ask them again to create more functionalities.

    3) I have already paid them 2/3 of the price and we agreed to pay the last instalment when project is finished. I don't think is a good idea to leave right now as a huge project like mine will take a lot of time to be done by another company.

    My problem with this guy is that I keep asking him to do some things and he does them half way so I have to ask him again and again. It is really frustrating. I had a conversation with him yesterday and he informed my that the hardcore coding will be finished in 2 days. So it will take another 1-2 weeks for finishing touches and API payment gateway integration although I am really worried that his 1-2 weeks will be a month!

    Also, the website needs maintenance and judging from their unprofessionalism I am not willing to pay these people to maintain it. However it is really important for the maintenance people to know the site coding inside-out so obviously the best thing to do is have them do it. I am not willing to risk it and change to another company for maintenance as it is really hard to find a good one.

    Could anyone suggest me a trustworthy one based in UK? I need a group of developers that are PROFESSIONALS. If possible I need a suggestion from personal experience. The company I am with now they sound like the best of a kind from their website testimonials although the have proven the opposite.

    Thats all from me guys.

    I'll let you know for any updates.

    Regards

    London25
     
  12. GekiDan

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    So, what's the current status of the project? Is it nearly or maybe halfway done?
     
  13. Stephen Ryan

    Stephen Ryan
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    Paid 2/3 already!!!!!!!!!!

    You really in it and they got you locked in with their motivation waning.

    You better stick with them and learn from this experience.

    Whole thing is an almighty cock-up, but it is my experience that it will all eventually come out in the wash, but much more slowly than you like and at greater cost to you.

    All your fault by choosing unprofessional bitches to work with.

    Stephen
     
  14. Joseph.Shivell

    Joseph.Shivell
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    Let me see if I understand this correctly. Your advice is, since they've taken most of his money, he might as well let them take the rest? He has been working with them for quite some time, and they still haven't finished, and won't tell him why. As I mentioned in a previous post, website design should be a collaboration, not a confrontation. Although it is no doubt an expensive lesson to learn, I think london25 has learned it, and should put halt to this farce as soon as possible.

    Although I would not put it the same way, I agree that they are definitely acting unprofessionally. In the previous post referenced earlier, I already mentioned how a truly professional website design firm should act, so I won't repeat it here. As london25 mentioned, "they sound like the best of a kind from their website testimonials", so saying it's his fault sounds like blaming the victim.
     
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  15. london25

    london25
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    Thanks for replies guys,

    Website is supposed to be finished today although they still need to integrate the payment gateway system plus some graphic designs.
    I completely agree that is my fault for choosing the wrong people to work with. However project is almost finished and I am not willing to hold back at this stage.
    I just wanted to know your opinion about maintenance. Should I go with them or should I risk of choosing another company?

    I guess I can see the quality of the service they offer on maintenance field through the 3 month free maintenance period. If I am not satisfied I guess I ll have to search for someone else.

    Thanks again for your advice

    London25
     
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  16. Fergal

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    That sounds like a good plan, keep your eyes open for a good web designer that you can trust, during that time.

    Will the site be hosted by someone other than your current web designer? It would be a good idea if it was, because it would make it much easier to move away from them in the future.

    Good luck with it all.
     
  17. Stephen Ryan

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    Joe, there is nothing different about purchasing a website than purchasing an extension on your house, yet so many business people think they can just walk in with the cash and expect a website that satisfies their every desire. But it doesn't happen that way.

    You can't just throw your money and hope for the best. You have to do your homework and ensure you are getting best value for money and you have covered the risks.

    So yes, I would say that it is the customers fault, although the supplier is taking advantage.

    I'm afraid London25 is buried knee deep in this project, given he has paid them 2/3rds already and the cost of unwinding in time and money would be greater risk than pushing the supplier over the finishing line.

    I'd get the site running nicely and then tell them they will have to sing for the rest and then play them for as long you can before giving them the rest.
    In fact, i'd make a case for getting them to reduce the last payment.

    Good luck
    Stephen


     
  18. GekiDan

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    We're glad that your site is nearly finished. Hopefully, you can share us the URL of your site once it's ok so we can see why they took it this long to finish. Still, "Experience is the best teacher."
     

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