We needed a small piece of development work done for our website, so we hired indianelite.com to do the work, having had previously used them on getafreelancer (cheapestandbest) to do a different development project. That project a couple of years ago they had done competently even though their communication hadn't been that great.
Purely on the basis of the previous piece of work we'd had done we made the mistake of approaching them directly which means that the project was not covered by the escrow system used by getafreelancer. It's turned out to be a big mistake as we have heard nothing from them since making the payment for the project.
Prior to engaging them, we asked for a quote and they came back with a competitively priced quote and were able to answer all of the questions we had about it - they did so quickly and thoroughly and we were feeling positive about the project. As soon as the money was paid to them to start the project, communication ended.
We know that communication in India was wiped out for a few days at the end of last month, so we were prepared to give them a lot of flexibility and leeway, asking repeatedly for timing updates once we received an automatic email from them on 1 August to say that they had been affected but power was restored. We had immediately replied to sympathise with them and show flexibility in delivery deadlines but they never replied. In fact, they have not replied to one request for information on project progress or a timing update in spite of our repeated pleas. Worse still we haven't just been dealing with a middle level manager in their organisation, we have been dealing with their CEO Ajit Ray.
We don't know if the project is progressing, whether it was ever started and whether it would be ever finished if it carried on. We tried to call the USA toll free number provided on their ticket system but received a message from the phone carrier that the number is no longer active. Has it been discontinued or did it never exist? It's still posted on their site in bold.
We are feeling very sour as we will now have to find someone else to do the work which we still need to get done, and fight to get a refund from them.
We are pretty flexible people with over 20 years of experience in working with IT contractors and vendors but no communication for over a week after advising they had their services restored is not acceptable - especially when the company has in the past 48 hours posted on their blog, their twitter feed and bid on new freelancer projects. They are obviously not incapacitated from a power outage any more but are not replying to us.
We note that they have a 14 day refund policy on the Indian Elite website so wonder why they are being silent - after all, how can you get a refund from someone you don't get a reply from?
We have had no choice but to file a formal complaint with PayPal, and will now have to go through a drawn out process to get our money back. Don't join us in that pain, make sure you use escrow if you work with this company OR even better, don't use them at all.