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Unhappy with Webdesigner's work

how to ask for money back

     
3:43 pm on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have waited over a month for a project that was supposed to take 7-10 days. My web designer (which has designed about 10 websites for me in the past) delivered poor quality on the most recent site. I think I have already lost enough hair stressing out over this project that I do not wish to work with him anymore on this specific project.

Is it fair to ask for my money back? And if so, how should I approach it?

I have found another web designer who could do the same stuff for less money.

4:23 pm on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have waited over a month for a project that was supposed to take 7-10 days.

We're all guilty of the deadline extension. :(

My web designer (which has designed about 10 websites for me in the past) delivered poor quality on the most recent site.

But, the other 10 were okay? 10 out of 11 seems to be a pretty good track record if you ask me.

I think I have already lost enough hair stressing out over this project that I do not wish to work with him anymore on this specific project.

Wierd how 10 projects can go by and then all of sudden you get one that makes you want to just fire em, huh?

Is it fair to ask for my money back? And if so, how should I approach it?

It might be fair but that is not to say that you're going to get any money back. If it took a month as opposed to 7-10 days maybe we are not hearing both sides of the story? And, what about a secondary design? A second chance?

I have found another web designer who could do the same stuff for less money.

Heh! If I were your soon to be previous web designer and I was reading here at WebmasterWorld, I'd FIRE YOU. ;)

6:49 pm on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Is it fair to ask for my money back?

No? You asked for a service and he delivered the service. Unless you have it in your contract somewhere that you don't have to pay him if you don't approve of the finished project, you owe him.

I'd take 10 / 11 as pretty good; if you think someone else can do better than go to that guy, but what's done is done. Cut your one loss and move on if you need to.

Note that problems come up with web design and meeting deadlines perfectly is sometimes difficult to do depending on the complexity of the project.

6:52 pm on Aug 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Might be he farmed it out or let a new hire do it.

If you have good communication see if you can work it out.

Every one deserves a second chance...KF

4:11 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Agree with the above, you need to check your contact to see if you have some sort of money back guarantee.

10 out of 11 is a pretty good track record. I sure as hell would not be leaving him/her for another developer I did not know just to save a few bucks because of one screw up.

Personally, as a developer myself who works with my wife's business, I try to stay away from clients like yourself who feel they can not pay without any effort to resolve the problem(s). This is why we require 50% payment up front, and the other 50% before the site goes live.

We've had folks complain about paying up front, we simply tell them it is our policy, and if they are not comfortable with us, they are under no obligation to use our services.

On more than on occasion we have "fired" a potential client for trying to get out of paying a deposit. One client had her husband review our contract, and he called to say they were not going to pay a deposit, and questioned what kind of business we were to require such a thing. We were polite and told him it was our policy based off problems collecting in the past. He questioned our integrity as a company, and wondered why folks didn't pay, thinking we must not be good.

We simply told him we didn't think it was going to work out, thanks for inquiring. Apparently his wife found out he "lost" us as developers and was very upset. We were apparently the 3rd development company he "lost" to the project and she really liked us.

He came back and tried to negotiate some more on the contract. We simply told him we didn't think we were the right fit for their project. End of story.

Long story short... If you have any interest in keeping a working relationship with the developer, be polite and respectful. Developers can fire you just as easily as you can fire them. And you may not have such good luck the next time around to find someone who can bat over 90% on your projects.

4:43 pm on Aug 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Whether you get your money back or not depends upon your contract. You need to what you are paying for - and judge whether it has been delivered and to what extent. An ugly design is still a design; and what is ugly to you may well be beautiful to someone else.

One client had her husband review our contract, and he called to say they were not going to pay a deposit, and questioned what kind of business we were to require such a thing.

Deposits are a matter of credit control; no deposit on a two month project is equivalent giving a thirty day credit line. 50% up front, 50% at the end works out at an average of no credit and no advance fee. One might question what kind of business the potential client had; it sounds suspiciously like a one-woman show. I'd be worried about credit worthiness and asset levels myself. There's nothing you could do to get payment if she had a limited liability setup and few assets.
3:25 am on Sept 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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After rereading Post #1 I just keep thinking that there is a communication issue at the core of this - one way of from both of you.

7 - 10 days into over a month. Why? Communication issues from one or both? In the blink of an eye a week becomes a month - for good reasons and bad.

90% happiness rate. To die for! (On either side of the table.)

Money back? Maybe you can negotiate something - explain your disappointment. I would seriously question whether you are entitled - but he may give you some 'good faith' rebate with having to do so. That would make finding a way around burning the bridge even more crucial - for you.

You found somebody else awful fast. Same stuff - less money. Hmm. I've heard that before. Was or is there an underlying issue? Maybe a personal crisis that one of you isn't sharing with the other and has affected attitude and quality. Something is missing here.

3:07 pm on Sept 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Long story short... If you have any interest in keeping a working relationship with the developer, be polite and respectful. Developers can fire you just as easily as you can fire them. And you may not have such good luck the next time around to find someone who can bat over 90% on your projects.

Good call! thanks all for your replies. He has been doing great work. He hasnt returned my money and I guess I wont ask again either.

Once the new webdesigner completes the work, I will probably ask him to contribute in other ways (such as additional graphic design or something...)

3:41 pm on Sept 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Before any discussion of money being returned, you should discuss your concerns (e.g., lateness, lack of quality) with the designer. Depending on the answers (or lask thereof) that you get, THEN you can decide whether or not to have a secondary discussion about money back and/or discontinuing the relationship.

One question I have: if you were expecting it to take 7-10 days, how did it get to be 1 month? Didn't you communicate with the designer before day 11?

4:31 pm on Sept 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Totally agree with above. Have the conversation about the issues first. Come to agreement on what concessions were allowed if any, and put those to one side. Then try to agree in quite clear details exactly what was delivered or not delivered and who was at fault and the business impact/cost of the issues.

If there are quality or delivery issues with business impact then you are entitled to not pay for the work until they are resolved, or you can just reject the work if the deadline was missed and the impact is significant.

If you paid already, learn an important b2b lesson - do not pay upfront unless its in *your* interest to, usually to expedite or negotiate on cost but accept the risks - paying upfront often demotivates a suppllier.

4:58 pm on Sept 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A Month .. Fire his butt.

Found same quality cheaper.. Hell yeah Competion is what keeps prices down and quality up.

It sounds as if your web designer "thinks" that as a long term customer he can now place you on the back burner and pay more attention to new clients
Fired dosent mean you cant re-hire..firing is simply a wake up call for your designer that you expect quality and on time

6:59 pm on Sept 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What happened during that one month?
Well I did not hear back from him despite the fact that I emailed him every week. I tried to call him, but no one answered the phone until one month. When I spoke to him, he said that I have not been receiving his emails. Apparently all of his emails were bounced back.

he told me to use another email address and that is when he delivered the website.

it was a very frustrating experience especially that I have paid about $3k for the domain only, but I am glad I resolved the issue. he again appologized for the mis-communication and said hopefully we can continue to do business as in the past. he mentioned that he did not save my cell number and did not have any other email address as back up.

I also would hate to burn bridges especially that I have outsourced many of my websites and until now he has been very good!

The new webdesigner which is a friend of a friend promised to deliver the project in less than a week and he will ask for payment afterwards.

I am glad I found another web developer as back up. I hate to depend on one person regardless of how great they are!

[edited by: dailypress at 7:18 pm (utc) on Sep. 2, 2008]

7:04 pm on Sept 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Might be he farmed it out or let a new hire do it.

thats what I thought

Personally, as a developer myself who works with my wife's business, I try to stay away from clients like yourself who feel they can not pay without any effort to resolve the problem(s). This is why we require 50% payment up front, and the other 50% before the site goes live.

He usually asks for 50% down. I have always paid 100% down hence why i asked for my money back!

It sounds as if your web designer "thinks" that as a long term customer he can now place you on the back burner and pay more attention to new clients

I do agree on that! I have noticed he brings up price every new project (same quality and same number of pages) and delivers a few days late every time.

his first website was excellent, on time, cheap price! I guess that is how webdesigners get clients and returning clients.

7:59 pm on Sept 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Its great to know that everything has sorted out. Good thing that you gave him another chance to do the job. Those instances do happen, we can't avoid such things because there were factors that we need to consider and might be the reason why your programmer wasn't that productive that time.
5:36 pm on Sept 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I am glad I found another web developer as back up. I hate to depend on one person regardless of how great they are!

While there is clearly a lot of truth in that statement, remember that loyalty is a two way street. If you don't give good loyalty then it is probably not realistic to demand it from someone else. Corporate America is still trying to learn this lesson. Many companies ask for unyielding loyalty from employees, but feel that you as an employee are disposable at the drop of a hat.

Many years ago in the earliest days of the Internet I worked at a bank before getting into this field. They required all new employees to go through "training" where a consultant pretty much told you over the course of a day that the bank demanded perfect loyalty from its employees, but we could be let go at anytime with no warning. I think I was torn between the stupidity of paying a consultant to deliver this "service" or wasting a whole day of payroll to tell me something I would never accept.

It sounds as if your web designer "thinks" that as a long term customer he can now place you on the back burner and pay more attention to new clients

Again, there may be a lot of truth in that statement, but keep in mind he is still running with a 10 out of 11 satisfaction rating and one bad assignment is probably not a fair sample to make such a sweeping judgment over. Now if he were delivering shoddy work all the time then I would say this could be true, but one time only, probably not fair to say this is what is going on.

6:31 pm on Sept 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>> Competion is what keeps prices down and quality up

Not in my book. I'm driven to produce quality and charge a fair price for my work because I care about my clients and the work I do. I don't care about competition. If all the client cares about is the fee then I suggest they move along (as politely as possible). As Fortune Hunter pointed out - the relationship is a two way street.

9:53 pm on Sept 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>> If all the client cares about is the fee then I suggest they move along

Amen to that lorax.

There are times when I think one of my designers is charging me too much. But you know what, they always provide excellent quality and are very dependable. In the end the product they produce makes my websites better places and six months from now I won't even remember that they charged me US$500 when I felt it was worth US$300. Same thing with the sysadmin I have a contract with to manage my servers. When I hire him to do something that's not covered by our contract I always ask how long he thinks it will take. If he tells me he thinks it will take three hours, but it actually takes 4.5 hours, and the job is well done, which it always is, then I tell him to charge my credit card and we both walk away happy. The quality of the work, and the personal relationship, means more to me than a few hours or dollars one way or the other. In the case of my sysadmin I know he appreciates this and will drop whatever he's doing, or go into full-bore multitasking mode, when I've got a problem cause he knows I pay as soon as the job is done; no net 30-60-90 like many of his other clients. It's hard to put a value on that kind of relationship. And that relationship has turned into a friendship I can't put any sort of value on.

>>dailypress

I'm so glad things worked out well for you. You've saved a professional relationship and it's so hard to put a value on that sort of thing. But I hope your designer (and you) have learned a very valuable lesson here. You need to have multiple methods of contact. The people I deal with have my work phone, home phone, at least three e-mail addressees from three different providers, and my mailing address. That might be a bit much for some. It all depends on your level of trust.

Ultimately you need more than one method of contact. If you'd had that I suspect this thread would never have been needed. :)

6:19 pm on Sept 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If all the client cares about is the fee then I suggest they move along

Remember also that a client can often [although not in all cases] receive value in a lot of ways besides just in delivered projects. I often spend time on the phone and emailing as well as meeting with my clients giving them ideas, sharing knowledge and information, as well as sending them articles, free reports, etc. I get paid for this extra stuff in a continuing relationship and ongoing projects. My client gets a lot more than simply a project when they need it.

If my clients started disregarding all this extra value I deliver and simply start shopping price on me all the time or attempting to replace me all the time with a cheaper supplier I would dump them flat and find a client that did appreciate the knowledge, expertise, and added value I bring outside of just ongoing projects.

No matter what anyone says, business is done by people and people do business with relationships. Loyalty, value add and mutual respect are a few things that relationships are built on. Notice I didn't mention price in that list.

12:10 am on Sept 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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GaryK: im glad too, cause searching around and talking to others, I just realized he offers good quality at a fair price.