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Contact 2: Web Design Nightmare

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - If you want to build a web based business pay attention o this story.  A local web designer accepts payment but his clients get little in return.  The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning.

This is a story about the down side of e-commerce.  I talked with a couple of local people who saw the internet as a platform for their business plan.  They quickly found themselves in the middle of a web design nightmare.  Jeff Kleine is looking to start a penny auction website.  Joe Doyle wants to start an online lawn service.  Both men decided to hire Stadia Studios.   Kleine paid over 1300 dollars.   Doyle paid almost $1,600 dollars.   That was half of the total cost.  Both men were looking for e commerce sites.  These are somewhat more complex than the average site according to Kleine.

'It had some functionality as far as randomizing, choosing prices, constantly updating the price every time somebody bid.'

Stadia studios owner Mike Allton met with both men and told them he could give them what they wanted.  They began to lose confidence in Allton's ability after waiting for months.

Doyle tried to be patient.  'Three to six weeks came and went and the excuses started coming, he had to go out of town for a wedding or he had to go out of town for this or that. '

 Kleine felt something was wrong.   'Originally when it came around to the February timeframe and he didn't have anything to show me I began to think he was in over his head.'

Both men asked for refunds.  But Stadia's website says a client must request that within fifteen days of
Signing the contract.    Mind you they've waited weeks with promises that the work was getting done.
Contact 2 never got a call back from the web designer.  And the three addresses I found for him turned out to be dead ends.

Both men filed for and won in Small Claims Court.  Allton failed to show up in these 2 cases.  Judgments were also rendered in at least four other cases filed by out of town clients.  Doyle says he`s frustrated.

'I still have nothing. I don't have my money and I don't have a website.'

And both men now know the sites they wanted cost a lot more than this designer's price.   The lesson, sometimes the lowest bid isn`t always the best bid.  They found locally bids were running anywhere between $2,500 dollars and $5,000 dollars.   Before you hire a web designer be sure you check them out thoroughly.   Ask for references and avoid making large upfront payment.  For more tips on website design go to our website FOX2now.com and click the contact 2 tab.   If you have a consumer issue call Contact 2 at 800 782-2222.

The Better Business Bureau issued the following tips for small businesses and other consumers looking to hire someone to develop a website:

•    Be careful when dealing with any individual or company you don`t know. Look past the designer`s website and ask questions: How long have you been in business? How many employees do you have? Do you have an outside office or do you work from your home? Do you have references I can contact?

•    Know exactly what you will be getting for your money and how much you will pay.  Get a signed, written contract that lays out the details of your agreement with the contractor.

•    Avoid making a large upfront payment. A contractor should be comfortable with a pay-as-you-go agreement, with periodic payments made as work progresses.

•    Agree to deadlines and try to stick to them.  Deadline extensions should be the exception rather than the rule.  Be wary of anyone who consistently misses work deadlines.

•    Check for BBB Business Reviews by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

About the BBB

The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior.  The BBB provides objective advice; free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.  Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.