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Website Design Ripoff. What to do?

By NM1968 - 11 February 2013 26

I recently decided that my 1980’s website needed upgrading.

I contacted a company and was told I had to pay half up front which I did. I was then emailed the Terms and Conditions which I signed and was then asked for the rest of the money.

Yes, I did pay it, what a fool!! Upon rereading the terms and conditions again, it stated that they could only ask for half the money up front.

I brought this to their attention and they became quite rude. After a few conversations with them I lost faith in their ability to produce a professional website on my behalf.

I then asked for a full refund and was promptly given a big fat NO.

Anyone got any suggestions on how I can get my money back without having to go through Fair Trading and represent myself in Court.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Website Design Ripoff. What to do?
1
M0les 1:17 pm
11 Feb 13
#

I’d write them a letter, then go to fair-trading/small claims. Due process is the best approach.

Maybe try something like squarespace.com next time?

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2
Madman 1:43 pm
11 Feb 13
#

I would recommend you contacting the ACCC and seek advice.
They would be able to provide you with the correct avenue and possibly advice that will lead you in the correct path.

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3
notdingers 1:52 pm
11 Feb 13
#

How did you pay? Depending on how much money maybe get a lawyer to write a letter to them.

Otherwise if the claim is under $10k (I think) you can take the matter to the ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal. They also have some places to get free legal advice listed on their website here

This tribunal have the power to award claims but is not a full on court, it is a more informal environment that aims to resolve disputes, plus it only costs between $50 and $127 depending on the claim size.

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4
smcphill 2:03 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Madman said :

I would recommend you contacting the ACCC and seek advice.
They would be able to provide you with the correct avenue and possibly advice that will lead you in the correct path.

ACCC will refer you to the ACT Office of Fair Trading. They can attempt to contact the company on your behalf in an effort to mediate a reasonable outcome.

In practice, what usually happens is the company in question simply ignores all communication coming from the OFT. When this occurs, the OFT is completely powerless to do anything about your plight, and you’ll be sent a letter saying “we tried, but those nasty people won’t play. Off to the courts with you!”

So sure, contact the ACCC / OFT, but don’t expect any resolution forthcoming as a result. I guess the outcome of the OFT’s involvement would go in your favour once you get to court…. whenever that happens.

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5
Balthazar 2:03 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Disappointed with the title of this article. “Website Design Ripoff” attacks the whole industry, when you should just be attacking the company that ripped you off. There are good hard working people out there who will get labled as “rip off merchants” just because they design websites. This could happen in any industry and the majority should not be tarnished by the extreme minority, that you happened to have encountered.

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6
BimboGeek 2:15 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Write them a letter saying why you changed your mind and noting that they haven’t started yet and copy it to the office of fair trading.

If your only complaint is that they asked for cash upfront which you were willing to pay then maybe just stop being an idiot and let them do their job.

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7
smcphill 2:25 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Balthazar said :

Disappointed with the title of this article. “Website Design Ripoff” attacks the whole industry…

I design websites, and I’m not offended, or feel attacked by the title.

Perhaps if the title was “Website design: what a ripoff”, or “Paying for website design? Fool!”, your umbrage would be justified.

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8
Mysteryman 2:25 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Balthazar said :

Disappointed with the title of this article. “Website Design Ripoff” attacks the whole industry, when you should just be attacking the company that ripped you off. There are good hard working people out there who will get labled as “rip off merchants” just because they design websites. This could happen in any industry and the majority should not be tarnished by the extreme minority, that you happened to have encountered.

You’re right! I’m positive that everyone considering the commission of a website will view this post and determine that all web designers, without exception, are “rip off merchants”.

Shut down the internet, everyone!! We’ve all had our fun, but the rip off merchants can clearly no longer be trusted.

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9
Paul0075 3:21 pm
11 Feb 13
#

You could also talk with your accountant. My one prepares and sends letters of demand, and so on, so it might be worth asking them for help too.

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10
m@ 3:22 pm
11 Feb 13
#

BimboGeek said :

Write them a letter saying why you changed your mind and noting that they haven’t started yet and copy it to the office of fair trading.

If your only complaint is that they asked for cash upfront which you were willing to pay then maybe just stop being an idiot and let them do their job.

This. Also, if the first installment was a non-refundable deposit and you’ve simply changed your mind—you’re unlikely to be entitled to a refund of that payment.

Write a letter of demand; be prepared to take go to court. Keep copies of all correspondence.

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11
Ben_Dover 3:32 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Ben_Dover said :

Anyone got any suggestions on how I can get my money back without having to go through Fair Trading and represent myself in Court.

Go to their office with a bucket of water, theaten to pour it over their servers.

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12
Pork Hunt 3:52 pm
11 Feb 13
#

A 1980’s website. I’d like to see that…

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13
Roundhead89 4:06 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Pork Hunt said :

A 1980’s website. I’d like to see that…

… especially since the World Wide Web was only invented in 1992.

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14
Sam G 4:58 pm
11 Feb 13
#

Hot and cold clients are the reason up front is required at all. Don’t forget you engaged them to work for you. Don’t forget you went ahead and paid them. Your best bet is to do another 180, get over your issues, apologise for being a fool and follow through with your commitment.

Sorry if this sounds blunt. Also if you need to make a decision like this again, pick from a tender, use ozlance.com.au

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15
deepsouf 9:14 pm
11 Feb 13
#

As others have suggested, go to Fair Trading initially. If that fails, you can goto ACAT (which is designed for individuals to take action without lawyers or formalities like the rules of evidence). Engaging a lawyer to write a letter of demand could be an option, but know that if they ignore it and you end up in ACAT anyway, no legal costs can be awarded to you. According to you, they required full payment up front (contrary to the T&C of your contract) and they haven’t designed your website yet. At a minimum, you ought to get half of your money back, as it was only supposed to be paid after the work was done. The other half is tricky because it would be a cancellation and refund – you should check the T&C and their website to see if they have any policy regarding this.

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