The Nice Girl & the Perp
This website has some drama surrounding it, and I’d like to tell the tale in hopes that I can get a little cathartic relief…
Once upon a time there was a nice girl who wanted a nice website. She did a little research, checking out other websites, making notes of the things she liked, deciding on her own personal style. Then she approached a website designer whose work she admired, and asked about pricing.
Right about this time, a close personal relative of hers decided that he wanted to pursue a career in website design and asked if she might consider letting him do her site. After some careful consideration, she decided it was best if she stepped back from the website designer she’d approached and give her relative a chance.
Things started out great–he was very responsive and quick to make changes, offer up new suggestions, and generally get the job done. The banner design above (which I love) is his work. But then, life threw him an opportunity and he took a job that left him no time to work on my project. So he asked me if I’d like him to liaise with a guy he’d worked with before to finish out the web page.
* * SPOILER ALERT * * This ‘guy’ is the ‘Perp,’ but I didn’t know it yet…
His price seemed reasonable, and as my relative had worked with him before, I agreed, and he created the template in WordPress in a timely manner.
Well, I still needed the rest of the website done: all the pages besides the blog, so my relative (knowing what I needed better than I did, in the correct terminology) went back to liaise and make a deal. I agreed to pay him $200 to finish the site, and I did so up front and was told it was a relatively quick wrap-up. I paid via PayPal on Feb 27th.
After that I waited about three weeks without hearing from him. I assumed he was working on other projects and even wondering if he might be working on mine, even though he hadn’t asked me any questions about what I wanted. Nevertheless, I forwarded him all my photos, blurbs, summaries, etc. so he wasn’t waiting on me. After three weeks, I sent him an email. He confirmed he’d been swamped and would get back to me that day. He didn’t.
He promised to have something for me by Friday. (Literally promised). He didn’t.
I checked with him again. Same promises. Not delivered.
Finally I asked if he even had time to work on my site, because I really wanted to get it done and if he didn’t have the time, I’d like to find someone else who could do it.
He promised me (literally promised) that he’d have something by the end of the day. As you can probably guess, he didn’t.
So I sent an email outlining our history and asking for my money back. He agreed to pay it back, and told me that I should ‘hit the Refund button.’ I tried explaining that I didn’t have a refund button showing up because I hadn’t been paid, but he ignored me. So I tried billing him for $200.
About a week went by and I hadn’t seen anything, so I emailed again. No response. And again. No response.
I asked my liaison if he could step in, thinking that maybe THE PERP might be more responsive to someone who could send him future work. Another email was sent, and this one got a response. He would pay the money back just as soon as possible.
No money was refunded.
Well now I couldn’t decide what to do. Butters decided that I call the local sheriff in his area (I’d easily found both his address and phone number on the web) and report it as a theft. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in this working, but I decided to give it a shot.
Last Friday I called and reported him to the local police. The cop that I talked to was THE BEST. He warned me that this sort of thing typically goes through small claims court, but that if he could get a business address on this guy, he’d go talk to him. Friday afternoon he called me back, with THE PERP standing right next to him! THE PERP tried to tell him that he was ready to pay the money back, but that I hadn’t ‘requested a refund,’ and that he didn’t want to just pay me back the money because then that would screw up his taxes. ?!?!? Really????
So while the cop was standing there, he paid me back $150, with the promise that he was going to ‘calculate the fees before paying me the rest back.’ [Insert eyeroll] I think everyone knows that PayPal fees are not in the 30% neighborhood. His reply to a reminder from me? He’d already refunded the majority of the payment, and ‘he’d look into it.’ You can guess how much confidence I have in him. So I researched the fees myself and sent him an email back with some simple math equations indicating that he still owed me $43.90. No response yet.
I’m thinking to give him till Friday and call the cops again, just to file a second formal complaint. If I’m lucky, they’ll swing by his place of business again, but I’m not holding my breath.
Deep breath…and release.
While all this was going on, I went back to the original website designer I’d approached months ago and asked if she’d take my project on. She did, and I LOVE it. She is everything the PERP is not, in all the best possible ways. Super responsive, flexible, creative, friendly… I think she did stunning job and would recommend her highly. She is Jenny Medford of Websy Daisy.
I feel better now. Slightly.
*****UPDATED AS OF 1:45 CST******
He’s paid me the final $43.90!! Huzzah! This hard-hitting blog post must have done the trick. Now I’m just out the fees and my trust.