Does that sound harsh?
Maybe so. But that’s how I feel.
You’d be amazed at how many people contact me about a website, and tell me they are on a limited budget, because the previous person they hired did not deliver. And because they’ve sunk funds into something that produced no results, they now anxiously appeal to my sense of fairness and hope for a lower price to do the job correctly.
You read that right. They gave someone else a lot of money up-front and the website was not completed. Now they want me to do it for a deeply discounted rate because they have used up their budget.
I feel for you. Really, I do. But this simply can not be my problem to solve. I wish I could wave a magic wand, and suddenly you have your money back – and available to spend with me! The right answer, of course, is that you get a refund from the person who did not fulfill their end of the bargain. But based on what I’ve seen, that’s a long shot.
How can this situation be prevented?
- Carefully investigate before hiring anyone (including me)
- Refuse to provide more than a small deposit before seeing proof of work progress
- Insist on detailed line-item invoices on a regular schedule, at which time you can pay only for work delivered.
- Withhold final payment until the site has launched
- Hire local – if you work with someone you can chase in person, you have a much better chance of getting results, getting a refund, or getting revenge.
OK, “revenge” may be a bit strong, but you can work through Small Claims Court, the local Better Business Bureau, the local Chamber of Commerce and other organizations. In addition, you have the power to damage the reputation of a local vendor who does not provide the promised work.