I contracted with A-1 to build an iPhone application. The programmers began work for about 3 weeks when I asked them to put the project on hold to let my website developers catch up. They said that it was no problem to put the project on hold, but depending on their schedule, I may have to wait a short while for them to begin. My customer service rep asked that I complete my second payment of the remaining 50%, which I did. This amount was not due until 50% of the project was complete, but given their willingness to go along with the delay, I obliged.
Upon returning, the my customer service rep and programmer had moved on to other companies. The work done previously could not be located, so we were essentially starting from scratch. Since we were starting from scratch, I asked the programmers if we could change the scope of the app from what it was previously. They had no problem with this as they agreed that it would require less work than the original app. I did ask them if the new scope was possible, and not to proceed unless they were sure that it was. They agreed that it was and proceeded on. My new customer representative assured me that there would be no requests for additional funds and that they would supply me with a high quality completed app. I was also told that I would receive updates every day to every other day.
The updates started out daily for the first week, then quickly dropped off. In addition, I was no longer able to get ahold of my customer service rep and his numbers were disconnected. Upon calling the company and talking to one of the principals, I asked if the rep was still with the company. He assured me he was, but it took three times asking to get that answer. I also asked several of the programmers about my rep and they all said he was still with A-1. I came to find out later that he left the company shortly after my last conversation with him in that first week. Then, the fun started. They told me that it would cost an additional $5,000 to include one of the features for the new app. Remember that they said it would not be a problem to switch to the new app as it would be less work, and that my rep promised me a high quality fully functional completed app. I ended up scrapping the feature that was to cost this additional sum and they supposedly proceeded on. The app went past the deadline we had set. It was two weeks later when I demanded to see that the app was completed and read for submission to Apple. It was at that time that they told me that the man part of my app, which used a shopping sites API, was not allowed by that site. I was disappointed to say the least, but also surprised that they discovered this right as the app was due to be delivered. Sensing that something was not right, I asked to see their finished version of the app, even though it would in violation of the shopping site we were utilizing. They said that they did not bother finishing the completion once they found out it would not be something I could use.
Wanting a fully functional high quality completed iPhone app, I asked what now? We put our heads together and I presented another idea for an app. However, I was also informed that my the programmer I was working with was no longer working with the company (they were subcontracted). The new programmer and contact said that it all sounded good, but that he would just have to run the details past accounting. A week later, I received a huge bill. I immediately contacted the programmer and he said he would find out more and get back with me. He did not get back with me, so I tracked him down about a week later. He again said he would find out more and get back with me.
I called A-1 and got ahold of the owner (or one of the owners/family members). He explained that I would have to pay full price, just as if I were starting a new app. In shock, I explained everything that had happened from the lost programming to all the details of failed delivery and all the promises that were made by employees that were never with the company. I will never forget his explanation. He said that people had done work on the project and those people did not work for free. He asked if I thought that it was right that people work for free. Regardless of the fact that his company had not provided me with any deliverable, we were square. If I wanted the app, I would have to pony up and pay for it. I tried to reason and even offered to pay half the amount once the project was delivered. He stood firm with all the funds or nothing.