• Report: #716907

Complaint Review: John Flynn, kickstartmedia

  • Submitted: Tue, April 12, 2011
  • Updated: Wed, January 02, 2013

  • Reported By: Aurora — Las Vegas Nevada United States of America
John Flynn, kickstartmedia
Pottsboro, Texas United States of America

John Flynn, kickstartmedia Expected results not as described yet not able to get any monies back unless I referred 2 clients worth 2G Pottsboro, Texas

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Load of Malarkey...

*Consumer Comment: John Flynn Did Fine Work for Me

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A friend of mine yesterday told me about a webguy who he had paid, who then decided he wanted more money for the job, AFTER he was paid in full

So my friend, a well-respected and seasoned businessman, decided he would not support such unethical business practices. But, unfortunately, this guy took down his site.

So he did his homework and forced this vendor's hand through saying he would use this site. His site files were promptly returned.

And that's when I told him what happened to me... and he convinced me to report this, even though I considered spilt milk. So I hope the time I spent here  to recount it, saves you some grief
should you be considering dealing with this company:

Owner Name: John Flynn

Owner Website: www.kickstartmedia.org

My case is simple. I told John exactly what I wanted, described the look and feel to suit my target audience of 45 and older experiencing certain health issues.

After waiting 3 working days past the promised first draft due date of two weeks AFTER I paid half upfront, I called him.

It was obvious nothing had been done to that point, although I was told "Oh, we were just talking about your site."  Interestingly enough, less than three hours later I had a simplistic PDF thumbnail sent that was supposed to represent the customized skin  of my blog template.

At this time I was also leading a project advisory team  representing various health services.

I gave a polite acknowledgement reply to the email I received from John with the attached PDF, but I was floored when I opened what he sent me.

I far cry from the promise that was on the site when I purchased as below:

"We've got a great team of people that are dependable, creative and ready to blow your expectations out of the water"

 I decided to get over my shock and pass this by my project team to get their response. BTW: I had run a very successful PR and design firm and we had produced award winning work, so it is not as if I do not know the elements of good design. If any one of our designers would have tried to pass this off, even as a rough draft to one of our clients back then, they would have been fired on the spot.

To give you an idea of the group's response, one of the advisory members, a lawyer who was representing services for disadvantaged women said, "My 16 year-old son could have done better than that."

So right after that meeting  I decided to call to pull a stop to this, when John called to get my feedback.

Let me say that I have never been spoken to so demeaningly by a vendor. Enough said...

To my surprise, my project team members got back to me later that day in absolute disgust. You see, I was also in charge of recording our bi-monthly tele-meetings and I had forgotten to turn off the MP3 recording  because his call beeped in as we were all hanging up.  And I forgot to  press "Stop Recording". So not only did the group get our current strategy session, but they got his incoming call to me!

I can't print what two of the men said, but suffice to say that after they heard the call (on top of seeing the PDF) I was unanimously advised NOT to continue with this design firm.

Yet how was I to know. I thought I was in good hands because he was (at that time) listed inside the Studiopress blog site(the site where I bought my blog theme) as a someone who customized these particular blog templates. I have since noticed that the referral list that included his name
and contact info, is no longer available.

The efforts to try to get him to refund my money over the next six weeks resulted only in more aggravation and insult. Then, my family had a life-threatening health crisis that took its toll for over a  year and I had no more energy to pursue this.

On my last call to him during this time period, he said he would give me a refund on this condition: If I referred two $2,000 clients to him!

Humm, I am an unhappy customer,  so he thinks it is perfectly ethical to suggest this. Obviously, he also thought I am the sort of person who would turn around and make myself culpable in convincing two unsuspecting people to hand him over money so he can possibly again NOT deliver on his promise that he boldly stated on his home page (at the time) and therefore, possibly sting two
more people with his then posted website promise: ".... you will be wowed by the results".

So although this post will serve me no good, at least you will be forewarned of my experience.

And, at least I did NOT try to get my 50% deposit of $1,000 back... by knowingly deceiving someone like you and taking a $500 commission for referring them to buy one of his then $2,000 Studiopress blog customizations. Which, by the way, is not rocket science (blog skin customization, I mean).

Oh, add to that price tag another $500 fee (which was in the contract he sent me)...  if you want him NOT to promote himself, with a link at the bottom of your site back to his site.

As per the contract I received, it said: "Since this is our primary way of developing new clients if you would like the link removed and no credit given please add $500 to the price"

That same contract said: "There will be no surprises... (except how good your
site looks...)"


You may want to read this resource article online about the warning signs when hiring a web designer.

Note item  #4 below 
about the inclusion of the designer's website link at the bottom of your
home page:
(((link redacted)))

9 Signs You Shouldn't Hire THAT Web
Guy (Point #4 below applies in this case)


4. He Wants a "Designed By ...." Plug on the Bottom of Every Page


           "You've paid this person to create a marketing tool for you -- not a billboard for him.
            Your website is a launch pad for your business and Poindexter McScooner is simply the
             man behind the curtain -- keep him there."

Yet, cases like mine happen all the time as my business friend can attest simply because some "at home online service providers" rely on the fact that they KNOW it is NOT worth the customer's time or expense to travel to their state of business to take them to small claims court.

Meaning, they KNOW going in that they can get away with not giving you fair return on your money, even though we as consumers pay them half upfront "in good faith" based on what they publicly state they will deliver.

Maybe this is why he did not have a need to have (according to the contract sent to me) a "no refund" policy, so that if I was not happy he could tell me "after the fact" that all of a sudden there is such a policy. Tough luck for believing the pre-sales pitch.

And... Maybe even tell you, like he did to me, that the ONLY way to get my money back was to send him business (2 referrals worth $2G each to him at the time, $500 each to me)

Think about it... this is a no lose business model, for THEM.

My response (and recommendation of my project group) was to halt
the situation so he would not spend any more of his time and waste my money on
a project that he (or whoever he may have assigned to do this) obviously did
not have the sensitivity to my audience to undertake.

I learned it's best not to throw good money after bad.  So I simply wanted to cut my losses and get back a fair portion of my investment because little thought and time was spent in providing the thumbnail PDF design I was emailed. Yet he argued that he had already spent my $1,000 in his time on this so no refund of any amount was in order!

At the time, his homepage said: All of our designs are custom made with our users in mind

Gee, how naive of me to believe I'd get what I paid for (in good faith, in advance) --- I guess I should have asked for a definition of how I'd should get ready to "... blow your (my) expectations out of the water"

I certainly did not think that would mean (after waiting two plus weeks) a hastily created PDF with a logo inserted on it (a logo I had already previously paid a professional logo firm to design) plus a professional photo (that I also supplied them)... so they could simply add a colored background
and a generic photo from iStockphoto of a group of twenty-something young women and men with their arms defiantly crossed, no less.  

Hello? And my target market had been carefully described to him as over 45, etc. ???

So, I am thankful for places like "Ripoff Report" for evening out the playing minefield that exists online... even if it's too late for me.

I decided to keep and frame my itsy bitsy $1000 PDF as a reminder to tread carefully, despite website promises as I just might get what they think I paid for.

If you need to see this $1,000 piece of work to help you choose wisely in dealing with designers, I am happy to share my hard-earned lesson.

After all, if a picture is worth 1000 words, no need for you to pay "a dollar a word" to get ripped off, too!

To your successful online adventures, hopefully without the "mis".

P.S. I went back to his site before posting this and noticed he has changed his promotional wording
and also now has his contract posted online with a NON refundable clause in it.

Although he still charges his $500 fee to NOT have his website link at the bottom of your site (that you paid good money to have "customized") so that he can ride on your site traffic and continue to profit off you.  Think about it.

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/12/2011 06:40 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/John-Flynn-kickstartmedia/Pottsboro-Texas-/John-Flynn-kickstartmedia-Expected-results-not-as-described-yet-not-able-to-get-any-moni-716907. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 1Consumer 1Employee/Owner
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#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Load of Malarkey...

AUTHOR: John Flynn - (United States of America)

Here's my response to this nutjob liar...

YOU SAY:
A friend of mine yesterday told me about a webguy who he had paid, who then decided he wanted more money for the job, AFTER he was paid in full

So my friend, a well-respected and seasoned businessman, decided he would not support such unethical business practices. But, unfortunately, this guy took down his site.

So he did his homework and forced this vendor's hand through saying he would use this site. His site files were promptly returned.

ANSWER:
This is complete and utter hogwash and your imaginary "friend" is just that.  First of all I never raise my prices for any reason and all expectations are clearly communicated in writing.  First of all I only take 50% of the payment up front and do not even get the remainder until the client is in full possession of the site.  It would be impossible for me to be "paid in full" and then demand more money as the finished product is in the clients control and I do not even have access to the site.  
Second of all, "his files were promptly returned" is another outright lie.  As previously mentioned it would be impossible for me to "return" a clients files as it would be impossible for me to get those files as I do not even revieve the rest of the payment until the files are under the client's control.  Good try though...

ON TO "YOUR CASE..."

You are correct, this is very simple...
We have a design "process" that is clearly defined both vocally and in writing before we start work.  We do not simply give one design and "voila" it's perfect.  Although this cometimes happens it is rare.  We go back and forth with our client UNTIL THEY ARE SATISFIED.  We have never not done this.  We also clearly state in wirting that because this is a process that we are both investing in that it is a non-refundable deposit.  In other words if you elect to stop the PROCESS and quit then that is on you and you do not recieve your deposit back.  

So when you say, "unanimously advised NOT to continue with this design firm" what you are really saying is that you were advised to forfeit your money because you quit the process.  

 
YOU QUESTION:
Yet how was I to know?

ANSWER:  How about actually reading the extensive written communication that summarizes the process?


YOU SAY:
The efforts to try to get him to refund my money over the next six weeks resulted only in more aggravation and insult. Then, my family had a life-threatening health crisis that took its toll for over a  year and I had no more energy to pursue this.

ANSWER:  Exactly.  This is why we have written agreements.  It's very simple.  When you agree to something you stick to it.  You decided not to do this and so you paid the price.  You then whined about it for the next 6 months not six weeks.

YOU SAY:
On my last call to him during this time period, he said he would give me a refund on this condition: If I referred two $2,000 clients to him!

ANSWER:  Yes, when I invest time in a project, schedule that project, turn away other projects and then a client quits this is a problem for me.  Returning your NON REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT would be ludicrous.  I gave you anoither option which was that if you didn't want to continue with the project then you could find someone else who wanted to fill the space and I would put your deposit towards their site.  This seems like a pretty simple compromise which of course I was under no obligation to do according to our contract. But no, once again, that wasn't good enough for you.


YOU SAY:
Humm, I am an unhappy customer,  so he thinks it is perfectly ethical to suggest this. Obviously, he also thought I am the sort of person who would turn around and make myself culpable in convincing two unsuspecting people to hand him over money so he can possibly again NOT deliver on his promise that he boldly stated on his home page (at the time) and therefore, possibly sting two
more people with his then posted website promise: ".... you will be wowed by the results".

ANSWER:
As someone in customer service we strive to make all "unhappy customers" happy.  However, sometimes an "unhappy customer" is impossible to make happy and this is the area in which you fall.  You want to break your word, go back on a written document with expectations because you changed your mind. The bottom line is that you started a project and then ran into money issues because of your alleged family crisis and so you made an excuse to stop the process.  This is your problem, not mine.  When you start a project make sure you can actually afford to finish it.  Simple.  It is not my responsibility that you didn't plan accordingly.


Okay, let's talk about the site link:

This is a very standard process. We are very proud of our work and of our relationshup with our clients.  We charge significantly less than other firms with our wealth of experience.  Many of those firms do not put a site link on the sites they build, they just charge 3 times our rate for creation.  We derive all of our business from site links on satisfied clients websites.  We do however recognize that someone might not want a site link on there and so we give an option to not put one on and we charge accordingly.  This is a choice for our client once again, that you knew about in writing up front.  For you to see all of this stuff in writing up front and agree to our terms of service and then come back later and badmouth us for it makes you an idiot.  If you had an issue Dawn then you shouldn't have worked with us in the first place.  


Bottom line Dawn...
1.  You didn't read the clearly defined written terms of service.
2.  You got in over your head on this project.
3.  You broke the terms of service.
4.  Now you run around on the internet talking smack.

Time to act like an adult.  Read things like "terms of service" and actually follow through and magically all of these issues will disapear for you.


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#2 Consumer Comment

John Flynn Did Fine Work for Me

AUTHOR: Dan - (United States of America)

John built my site at www.RCSpiritualDirection.com. He was referred to me by a well known internet marketing person who also was very happy with his work. He did a fantastic job, at a reasonable price, within a reasonable timeframe. John is an honest reliable guy. I am not refuting the case below but I have been in the technology business for many years and am a published author in the field (See "Business @ the Speed of Stupid" on Amazon.) As I write in the book, vast majority of challenges between vendors like John and their clients rest in expectations and communication. Because of my experience I knew exactly what I was getting with John's stlye and approach. Both worked out fine for me.

I will address one thing in the complaint below. The idea that a web designer wants to have their signature on the site they designed is standard industry practice. This is in no way an ethical issue.
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