I worked for Heritage/HIT for roughly a year as a freelance/contract web designer. During that time, I seen some of the worst customer service and sales tactics I have seen from any company I have ever worked for. And the number of dissatisfied customers that I worked with only grew. I could write several pages about the B.S. that I saw customers go through as well as the innumerable unethical business practices of this company - here is a brief overview.
Often customers were promised complete web design projects from start to finish in two weeks time. The reality was that many of the projects I worked on, sat for an average of three months or more before they got to me. Unfortunately, the clients problems did end there once I completed my aspect of the design process - waiting as much as several more weeks to a month or more before all the final touches were applied to their project.
HIT also regularly charges $1,000.00 or more for freely available scripts on the web, such as Zen Cart, as well as quite a number of free upgrades, etc. and charging outrageous rates. For example, the company charges a minimum of $550.00 for someone to have a Zen Cart store. Of this amount, designers only see about $25.00 - $100.00 depending on the number of pages - the rest goes into the company's fat pockets. But that is just for the cart, hosting cost roughly $200.00 to $300.00 more or a minimum of $850 just to get their store up and running.
Other ripoffs include them charging $65.00 for a shared SSL certificate when you can just as easily buy one on your own for about 1/3 of that. HIT also offers the "service" of registering domains names for clients. However if one of these domain name customers decides that they want to go somewhere else more reputable, HIT refuses to release the domain names that they over-charged for, stating that they own the domains, not the customers.
Which come to think of it, everyone who has run into this problem with HIT should report them to ICANN (do a search on it) and file a compliant - enough complaints will get their registrar status revoked.
As others have mentioned, the entire focus was not on customer service as the project managers continually pressured us to sell, sell, sell. Never mind the fact that customers had issues with the projects they already had going on. It also became increasingly impossible to get any work done as my clients continually told me that I was the only one returning their phone calls and emails.
The final straw came when several clients were charged for products and/or services that they did not authorize. I was basically informed that if I said anything that would help these clients get their money back, that my position would be terminated. I told this manager that I was not going to lie for HIT and that I was not an employee of the company, so he could promptly shove my contract where the sun doesn't shine.
This is all in addition to the fact that this company has canceled payment on my final invoice check as well as not paying me for more than $1,000.00 on other projects I have worked on. I will also be reporting this to the Utah Attorney General's office to pursue the matter legally.
I have advised a number of clients that I have worked for through HIT that I would only be providing services on my own through my own company which holds considerably higher standards in ethics and customer service. I will however gladly testify, act as a witness or otherwise give deposition against this company - especially so for those whom I have worked with directly and have been ripped off by this den of inequity, snakes and con artists.