I have been so sick I can't manage regular work, due to a cancer diagnosis and other debilitating health issues, so I decided to start an web-based business to bring in at least some income for myself. In my search for a website designer, I met Dionne on etsy in December 2010.
I had placed an alchemy request on etsy. Dionne did not respond directly to my request, but sent me a personal message. She stated she was having 'technical difficulties' with her etsy account and was unable to respond directly to my request. Based on her positive feedback I decided to go with her services and requested that she make a special listing for me. Well, her 'technical difficulties' also apparently made it impossible for her to make special listings, so she requested I pay her off site. My gut said there was something up, and my gut was right, but I went ahead anyways.
There were so many emails back and forth, firming up the details. She responded to all emails immediately...that is until I paid her. Minutes after she received my $700 through Paypal I received an email where she stated she had to go to town and would send me her questionnaire later that night. I remember talking to my partner about how odd it was that she would be so attentive until she got paid, then took off immediately without the time to email a questionnaire beforehand. I joked with him that she was probably off to buy drugs with my money and that I had just been conned. Funny that, in retrospect.
The design process was started in January 2011, and was to be completed by March 2011.
Dionne has stated specific timelines for design concepts and revisions on her website (which she has since changed). She never kept to any of her times. Revisions were supposed to take 1-4 days, but on average, it would take her 3-4 weeks to get back to me. She always had excuses....her computer crashed, she was moving, she lost the files, more computer problems...blah blah blah. She was never apologetic, and seemed to feel justified by her excuses.
Her revisions seemed so rushed, and like she wasn't paying attention to what I had asked. Also, when she would fix some of her mistakes, she would end up un-doing other revisions, so we were in a perpetual state of needed to fix things, rather than catching up! I would agree to a color scheme, only to find she changed it months later when fixing a different mistake, or something that had been perfectly centered would then be terribly off center when she changed a color. It was ridiculous and incredibly frustrating.
I ended up spending so much time coming up with very specific write-ups to make sure she stayed on track. I even had to start designing my own mock-ups to send her so she could see exactly where I wanted things and how I wanted them. I basically became the designer and she would get back in a month with mistakes that would take her another month to fix and exchange with new mistakes. This went on and on and on.
She kept saying that she was finally catching up with her work and even promised to return revisions within one day, to make up for all the lost time, which she did not do. She dragged this on for months. By July, I had more than enough and contacted Paypal. The deadline for filing Paypal claims is 90 days, so now I knew why she was dragging things out so long.
I then contacted my credit card company to figure out how to get a refund and I was told I needed Dionne to give me a specific date by which she promised to complete the design. I had been asking Dionne for months to give me a completion date, after she had missed the general 'by March' agreement, and she never gave me a date. In August, however, she did finally give me a date (after she knew I was seeking legal action), which she missed, so I was able to start my credit card claim.
She even dragged out responding to the claim, so I didn't get my refund until a year after this whole mess started, but I DID get my refund in FULL! That is little consolation after being out a year's worth of income and going into extreme debt to live day to day and pay for my cancer treatments. This woman made my life and my family's lives a nightmare. There is no excuse for the damage she has caused, and as a true con-woman, she is remorseless and doing the same to others. I learned so much about Dionne through basic online searches since.
This site is particularly informative http://www.scaminformer.com/scam-report/studio-chic-design-studio-chic-design-dionne-did-a-bait-and-switch-and-c12128.html It turns out that Dionne has had numerous accounts banned by etsy, 3 Better Business Bureau complaints in the last year, at least 9 businesses/business names since 2006, and has left a long string of customers who paid for work that were never completed.
So now, with refund money in hand, I was able to hire another designer, who accomplished in ONE WEEK what Dionne took EIGHT MONTHS to do. Revisions with my new designer are back within minutes to hours. She even apologized after taking 2 days to get back, which was over the weekend. I am so incredibly happy with my new designer and confident I will actually get a professionally designed site. I have hopes of being able to afford to resume my cancer treatments when income finally starts coming in, thanks to my new designer. If I die because of all the treatments I missed, my family is planning to sue Dionne for her part in the matter.
If you are considering hiring Dionne of Studio Chic, dont. Run away, do it fast and get a real designer. Just make sure that the designer you end up with isn't Dionne under a new business name, and get a specific completion date in writing.