- Report: #1061190
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Viewed Local Media
Viewed Local Media7055 University Blvd Winter Park, Florida USA
Viewed Local Media Web design/hosting Scam and RipOff Winter Park Florida
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In January of 2013 I began being pursued by Chris from a “family business” Florida company called Viewed Local Media (VLM) who identified himself as a web designer, for the purpose of redesigning and hosting a new website for my web-based business, Quadovator.com. In mid-Feb we entered into a verbal over-the-phone agreement involving the following terms: VLM agreed to construct a new website for Quadovator.com based on content of the existing website plus additional content provided by me and subject to my approval. The finished website would be transferred to my domain name once complete. They also agreed to host this site, provide SEO services and site maintenance/changes in a timely manner. At first I was told the new website would take two weeks to construct, then as we entered into the agreement that was stretched to “possibly four weeks,” which I had no problem with. As compensation for providing these services I agreed to an initial charge to my debit card of $159.95 (posted 2/18) and a second payment of the same amount once the new website was built to my satisfaction and ready for public display. I also agreed to a monthly payment of $29.99 for SEO and maintenance once the new site was finished and transferred to my domain.
My first hint of trouble was when Chris was immediately replaced by Mark who was immediately replaced by Wesley and Josh. Via direct email and their “changes lounge” I provided volumes of content including ad copy, pdf files and links for them to incorporate in the new site (being built at the temporary domain of www.quadovator.us). I rarely received requested acknowledgment of their receipt of these messages, and outside of my initial conversation with Chris was never asked for input and was never once asked to approve any of their work. In fact, when the second charge of $159.95 showed up on my account on 3/20 I hadn’t even been provided a link to the address of the new site. When I did have an opportunity to view the new site it was vastly incomplete and riddled with catastrophic flaws but I considered it a work in progress and attempted to provide unsolicited and unacknowledged constructive input through redundant emails and phone message requests to contact me that were largely ignored. Also on 3/20, an additional charge of $59.95 was posted to my account for the first month’s hosting fee. After many, many attempts I was actually able to speak with a human at VLM.
I complained that the second charge of $159.95 was supposed to pay for a “finished website” not a work in progress, their hosting fee was double what I’d agreed to and I had no intention of paying to host an unfinished website. Wesley explained that he was unaware I’d been told the monthly fee was $29.95. My request for a refund of the $59.95 charge resulted in a $30 credit on 3/21 so I considered my first month’s hosting fee paid when the website was actually finished and changed over to Quadovator.com. Over the next two months I continued to provide input via email and request phone calls to discuss content (see accompanying email docs), which were ignored.
On 5/29 I became aware that VLM had posted a new recurring monthly charge of $29.95 to my account on 5/23 so I called them immediately and was shuffled around to Mike who identified himself as some sort of manager and explained he was Wesley’s replacement. At this point we were 13 weeks into what was supposed to be a maximum 4 week build and not a single thing had been changed from the site that I’d viewed at the end of March. Mike asked me to re-send all of the correspondence I’d submitted to Wesley, which I did, along with a request that he acknowledge receiving it. I also told him my patience with VLM was running thin, that he had a week to accomplish what was then 9 weeks overdue. On 6/5, after no attempt by VLM to contact me in six days, I sent Mike an email explaining that VLM was in breech of contract and since they had only wasted my time and provided nothing of value I demanded a full refund of all charges and removal from their list of recurring charge customers. Three and a half months had transpired and their Quadovator.us website was so unfinished even the “Click here to Order” on all the product pages wasn’t connected to a link. And these people advertise themselves as professional web designers?!?!?! Their incomplete build was never transferred to my Quadovator.com domain name.
On June 6 I informed Mike by phone and email that I wanted confirmation our business relationship had been terminated. He verbally accepted the termination and agreed to call me back with confirmation that my fees would be refunded that day. Having heard nothing, I called again on 6/12 and was told no one was in the accounting office yet, that he’d call me back that day. On 6/14 I was told the accounting team was in a meeting and he’d call me back that day. On 6/17 I was told he didn’t have an answer yet but he promised either he or someone from accounting would call me back that day. On none of these occasions was any attempt made by VLM to call me back. On 6/18 Mike put me on perpetual hold and eventually came back with a decision by “the accounting team” that they would refund only one month’s hosting fee. I informed him I would disputing all VLM’s charges with my bank and filing a formal complaint with consumer advocate groups. On 6/21, the day I wrote this account of my experience with VLM and 15 days after Mike agreed to make sure I was released from their reoccurring monthly billing, they posted another monthly hosting debit of $29.95 to my account. This brings the total amount VLM has stolen from me to $409.75. I’ve since learned from ripoffreport.com (search viewed local media) that I’m not the only one they’ve scammed.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/22/2013 05:23 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Viewed-Local-Media/Winter-Park-Florida/Viewed-Local-Media-Web-designhosting-Scam-and-RipOff-Winter-Park-Florida-1061190. 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.
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