Steve Hartken, using the name Urgent Programmer, was contracted by Overdrive Auctions to program a website. The website was to be an online auction website focused on automotive related products. Steve's bid indicated that he could complete the project for $989 and 15 days.
We ran into trouble about a week after we started the project when we discovered that we had been sold a pirated script for the auction environment. After notifying both the company we purchased the script from and the rightful owner of the script that we had unknowingly acquired a pirated version, we worked with Steve to find an open source script that would meet our needs. We also agreed to pay him an additional $100 due to the unexpected difficulty and bumped the deliver date considerably.
We also established a series of milestones that would gauge the progress being made. Steve consistently delivered sub-par work and missed the milestone dates. Throughout the project, it seemed like Steve was trying to learn how to do the work as he went along. Even the simple portions of the site like the HTML and CSS were sloppy and ignored basic best practices. We figured that we'd just hire someone else to make it look good once Steve was done and that as long as it all worked properly in the end that we'd be fine.
Unfortunately, beta testing was a catastrophic failure which was met with more delays and apparent confusion on how to program the features by Steve. When the site finally passed our beta testing phase, we launched it (8 months late at this point). We marketed the first auction aggressively and spent a great deal of money on advertising. When the auction got close to the end, more people started bidding and the site suffered a total system failure. The timer stopped functioning properly, the auction price didn't update and several other proprietary features that were integral to the site's success failed to work.
After losing quite a lot of money on the first auction, we contacted Steve and asked him to fix the problems. Two more weeks of development later, he said it was ready and we ran another auction (mistakenly assuming that we could trust him). That auction failed in the same ways and in brand new ways, causing us to once again, lose lots of money.
We again contacted Steve, expressed our discontent and he promised that he understood the problems and would fix the site. He brought the whole site down this time to do some additional testing. Several weeks later, when he said it was ready, we tested it and it seemed to work. We ran another auction and it once again failed catastrophically when more than around 5 people were bidding at the same time. While we once again marketed the site and the upcoming auction agressively, Steve contacted us and said that he was done developing on the site (whether it worked or not).
At this point, Steve had effectively ruined the business through the constant failing of the website he was contracted to program. Customers didn't trust us to handle their money, we were forced to issue refunds and the site was still broken. We contacted Steve and requested our money back. He refused to refund us so we threatened litigation. He still refused but we decided that it wasn't worth suing him over slightly more than $1000.
We strongly recommend that you stay away from Steve Hartken. He may be capable of minor, simple programming work but he is sloppy and lacks attention to detail. He also lacks the skill to complete a programming project of any real complexity.