Report: #1048084

Complaint Review:

  • Submitted: Thu, May 02, 2013
  • Updated: Thu, May 02, 2013
  • Reported By: officeheaven — las vegas Nevada

    USA Reviews Internet

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: The Trouble With Patrick Vedder

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

So we hired months ago and agreed to a Pay as you Go service.  So we paid them $600 deposit and over the next 4 months we paid them $5200 and they completed the first part of our project..

I should have known better than to hire them again, because they told me it would take 2 months but it took 4 months after they just gave excuse after excuse.

Anyways we hired them again in February 2013 since we trusted them, but then it all went Wrong.. They gave us an initial bid of $650 - and remember they had already worked on our website for 4 months so they knew Exactly what was happening.  Then the $650 turned into $1100 but I agreed. Then they told me it would be $1750 Total and Final bill - I agreed, not happily but I agreed...

So then the Final Scam happened when they called me to tell me now the bill was $2700 or some crap, but thety gave me a discount because the bill could have been $10,000.  LMFAO .. the owner Julian must think I'm an idiot.  So Julian tells me he charged my credit card even though he never had authorization in writing or verbally.  Where I come from that's called Fraud..  Either way they over billed me $1117 and act like they did me a favor.  They are located in Denver Colorado and I didn't think people in Denver acted like that - stealing money..

But Julian doesn't care.  He is still telling himself that he did me a favor.... 

You know the best part, The website he gave me isnt' even finished and Doesn't work..... The reason is he talks a big game about how talented he is but he can't do the work he claims he can.  He just can't do it, but his ego won't let him admit it... Also it's funny cus online now he's blogging telling people how I called his company every day...  He's right... But I Called him everyday cus his employees made MISTAKE after MISTAKE on my website so I had to call them to tell them about their mistakes - real professionals HUH.. What a joke.......

Point is watch out for them, they will give you a Fake low bid, then get your credit card and over charge you.

so don't fall for it.. and if you google BBB you will find other complaints about their company from 2013.   so decide for yourself.  But I'd hate to see other people like myself get ripped off....

It's sad that people who don't have the skill set to actually program and build websites just steal money from credit cards instead.........So hire a real web company.. not some tiny start up in Denver that has no idea what they are doing.

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#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

The Trouble With Patrick Vedder

AUTHOR: Julian @ CommonTiger™, LLC - ()

When we first met Patrick Michael Vedder here, he had a handler. A guy that kept him, in his own words, from "going crazy" and a handler that, quote, "knows more about this s*it than I do". We just thought he was a colorful guy. We'd just set up the second office in Denver about a year ago, and the two of them said that they needed extensive work done on their Joomla to Drupal conversion and modification project, OfficeSpaceHeaven.Com. It sounded like as long as this other person could keep him controlled, everything would be fine. That being said, Patrick had managed to sort of blast his way through a number of different companies and developers at this point, and from what we we've been able to gather since, all of them ended pretty much just like this. I'm not sure if there are any that we couldn't find in our search this month, but we're talking about as many as it would take to burn through in the 9 months before he met us. So quite a few. So I'll go over Pat's case here from historical data perspective and share what I feel is reasonable to publicly share here.

Originally, they needed a site in Drupal to work like a site in Joomla that had existed for some time. Developers were having an issue getting these two to work identically, especially with the URL structures; URLs that couldn't change due to the SEO work they'd already done. This isn't something that the latter CMS (Drupal) wanted to do. So aside from ripping out entire rooms from Drupal and reprogramming them, this project originally included that, the special URL work, theming, many improvements, and well over ~8,000 listings with images, details, et al. that would have to be merged, migrated, and then extensively customization to make one group of 8000 listings "fit" with the other group of 8000 listings, so to speak. Joomla and Drupal are two different CMSes (or Content Management Systems), and they work very differently. Making one work like the other is no easy task, but part of the reason we took this on with them is because we strongly felt we could pull it off, and believed that the previous developers' problems were likely a lack of skill. In fact, that's how it was presented to us in the beginning. I put one of my recent hires and best people on it: a computer science graduate with a specialization in databases. Later in this story, this employee would be promoted to Project Manager and would be Patrick Michael Vedder's primary point of contact.

All of our work is based on estimations, and those estimations are based on previous experience with like projects. In those days, at the beginning, our estimations tended to be more based on what the client could afford. At the time, we charged $35 to $45 an hour, in most cases (which is about 25% of industry hourly rates, our prices as of January as posted are $45 to $50 / hour). But in those days, Patrick being one of our early Denver clients, we took on the project based more on his budget and what he could afford.

But stopping doing this is a lesson I ironically learned from Pat. So I'll continue describing our interaction with him.

I'll describe our first two projects with Patrick Vedder (important), and then describe the final project to help flesh out what's going on there.

We started working with them in October of 2012, and experienced a few delays on our side getting started, for sure. Pat Vedder's original budget was $3500 with a possible high end of $4000; based on their original work order (all of which we've of course still got here), it seemed more than feasible ... provided we could solve the Pythagorean URL issue for the conversion. And importantly, originally, Patrick Vedder asks us to leave him *out of the loop*, which I thought was odd. He demanded that we interact with his handler, who he felt knew more, and to leave him out of the working process.

Well, we keep everyone in the loop through Basecamp, a cloud-based project management interface that we use for all of our clients and projects. I added Pat, because I felt that even if he didn't want to work as intimately as his partner was, he should at least be able to see the process as it unfolded. Of course, when Pat got the intro email from Basecamp with an invitation to join the project, had a tiny freakout about that. Escalating, he reiterated that his handler was the main point of contact ("why couldn't we listen??"); so I talked him off the ledge by explaining to him that it's just a "window into his project", so he can see what's going on as we work. Confusingly he held his ground. It was kind of clear he didn't really know what Basecamp was, and he probably didn't *really* want to "not be involved". But we obliged him, focused our emails mostly on his Handler, Erik.

(Within two weeks, the reactive Pat emails were now saying "what's going on with my project? I haven't heard anything??". Apparently, he wasn't really even talking to his handler. I had to remind him that he requested to *not* be involved and refused at least following at Basecamp.)

Pat begrudgingly joined us at Basecamp, but more often demanded phone calls; usually to the tune of an hour or two, and often at the expense of normal time with our other customers. This wasn't a huge problem, but is a point to be made as we look back on this.

Things went okay for the first few weeks, as we were mostly dealing with his buddy. We spent longer than we expected in that first month, mainly because we underestimated the URL work for the Drupal conversion. We weren't really going to place that on Pat and his handler, though; at that point, we were just going to ride it out and finish the work.

However, within about a month and a half, his project expanded to include more work, more items, and seemingly just about anything else he could think of. Patrick Vedder apparently kind of felt that any new idea he came up with could just sort of be "pasted" in there (unquote ... "what's the problem? You just PUT IT IN THERE??"). It was, again, always the job of me and his handler to remind him that that's not how these things work. I was watching our expenses for the project (we do actually have expenses for client projects, such as employee wages, for instance) balloon while at the same time managing a ... literal ... constant barrage of phone calls and emails from Patrick about *everything*. So already, Patrick is becoming a bit of a time hog. While we're working (on a separate demo site), Pat would be obsessively clicking through this site and hunting down things that weren't quite working (yet). Mind you, it was nearly always while we were *mid-work*, which was extremely frustrating with him. He would then freak out about "mistakes". Remember, we're literally "under the hood" at this time, still well within what we're being hired to do, and far from finished. Then he'd have an incredible emotional reaction, fire off tons of nasty emails, shoot off a number of phone calls (increasingly intensifying), and then of course I'd have to talk him down from the ledge again.

It was never new information during these "come down from the ledge" talks. I have around 7 emails here for instance, spread out over first three months; each of which are just rather long re-explanations about watching developers work in real time ("pardon our dust" would be the operative phrase here), how programming and dynamic websites work, and why a change in one location means a change in all locations (if he'd find something that was out of place while we were working, it would become "there are 8000 entries! How can I find them all!?"), and of course, asking him not to jump in there with feedback until we've passed it over to him and said "here, have a look; let us know if everything looks good to you.". I tried to handle Pat as gingerly as it seemed his handler did. Most of our conversations after 11/15/12 are in fact recorded (we record generally all phone interactions with clients; actually a company change that came from dealing with Pat); I would often have to reference these when Patrick would sort of "lose time" or forget something we'd discussed previously, which is another common factor when dealing with him as a client. All the while, as we reach December, his work order keeps growing, and growing. He was also becoming more demanding a client; our time was almost entirely restricted to him and his work. Patrick's fits and reactions look a whole lot like this review, and these types of attacks were essentially always the threat if you didn't comply.

I would learn that that would become typical of Patrick Vedder. I would also learn exactly what his handler's job was, apparently.

Pat's a pretty intense combination of not understanding plus emotional impulsivity issues (in both directions, we found, high and low). His handler's job was not only to remind him to calm down and rethink things before tearing up the phone lines, but also to act as a "go-between" to explain to Pat how programming worked. Which I always found odd, because it wasn't the *technical aspects* he was explaining to him, but aspects I've really never seen any of our other 70-80 clients have a hard time understanding. Things such as describing what is and isn't appropriate to do during a revision cycle (where you check work and respond with input), or that programming isn't like cutting and pasting into notepad (which he literally thinks, based on a phone conversation with our Project Manager). I would learn nonetheless that I was only getting a *sliver* of the overreactions that I would have gotten *without* his handler, who was apparently just a really good friend from college, and whom I would also later learn wasn't really a part of the project.

To make matters more difficult, the URL work (Patrick's site had a special URL structure that directly opposed the CMS he wanted to use, making our work challenging) turned out to be just as difficult as the previous developers had found it to be. We'd managed to accomplish it, thankfully, but with a huge site, many thousands of listings, and a database that had to be broken like a mis-healed leg and reset in order to function like the old CMS, my guys had to work full time to fill this order.  We *actually* managed to get this to work, and moreover be scalable and able to migrated easily to his new server. But that's down the road somewhat. In the end, there was a reason that literally *no one* had been able to do this so far (even outside of Patrick's project).

So our first two projects with Patrick opened in September of 2012 and closed in January of 2013. Pat signed off on these, and all was there. We took two huge hits in a row, though, because we kind of weren't set up to deal with people like Patrick at the time. As I said before, we charge around $45 an hour for projects that start with an estimate. That was Patrick Vedder's hourly. And of course, Pat himself states how long we worked together. There are 160 working hours in our month. Of course, there are a few weeks where Patrick wasn't really on our plates. I would say that Christmas week, New Year's week, three weeks after his Phase II project, and a few interspersed days in November and December of last year, Pat wasn't so much on our plates (this isn't intended to be accurate; I've

So if you take an average month of working full time on Pat, you can see how quickly he racked up a bill; after about two months, I'd say, we actually began *paying* for Patrick Vedder's project Phase I. I didn't want to increase his quote (we don't really do that), but I really couldn't figure out what to do with him.

He was now, at this point, wanting some special Google Maps Street View functionality, and the URL structure work for his site was of course still underway. It was the type of work that eventually had to be patched together in a system that didn't want it; like shoving a square peg where it didn't want to go. It was a situation where when you fixed one item, three more would pop up. There were definitely a few times where we (or I, actually) stated to him that it looked all done, and to have a look and let us know. Of course, Pat would diligently find something (and he should have), and we'd dig into what he found.

This wasn't really a problem either; as we and his handler tried to explain to Pat, that especially with a site of this size he was going to find small items like that, and the point is to pass it back and forth in revision until we get it done. The vast majority of our clients (and people at large, really) understand this, and are pretty normal about the review process. Patrick, on the other hand, was almost ADD when it came to his memory of the last conversations about the items he'd find. And we'd have this same conversation, again.

"Patrick, we're currently working *as we speak*. I'd really appreciate it if you give us a moment to work, and then provide your feedback."
"But if this is broken, what about the other 8000?! I mean HOW WILL I EVEN KNOW??"
"Pat, if when we're done, you spot something wrong in one URL, let us know; when we fix it there, it'll be fixed in all 8000. That's kind of how sites work. And some of what you're looking at here is really just a quick tweak I can do in two minutes."
"Well you'll have to tell me like, a hundred times, okay? Sorry." Then he would calm down somewhat. "[The Handler]'s the smart one about this stuff. I don't know anything at all about this s*it. You know what I mean bro?"
"I get it, Pat. Just give us time to work here, and we'll let you know when we need you to look over the work so far. If you're looking at it while we're working, it's all going to be unpredictable as far as what you'll see. We're moving things around right now on the demo site. At the same time, when I send it back to you, you *will* find items out of place with work this complex, I'm sure. And it's just part of the process with the type of work you need us to do."
"I know, I know. [The Handler] told me the same thing. I just don't trust anybody. You understand, right? I just freak out because *sooo many people* have worked on this, and they've just all left me high and dry."
"We're not going to leave you 'high and dry', Pat."

Bear in mind that this is all happening in the *midst* of 21 other active, normal, client projects we had to keep afloat with the time we had left.

Thanks to these interactions with Patrick, we began to develop an ironclad service agreement, as well our current quoting system. Previous to that, I would often base it on the cost of wages in favor of the client. Because of these interactions with him, we tightened our estimate process so that it was consistent, non-arbitrary, and itemized. We didn't want to take another hit like Pat.

By the time we'd hit Christmas, Pat had consumed the better part of two months of work-weeks (at 40 hours a week for the single team member working on his project, mind you).

After I got an email from him about a new feature idea he had, I kind of had to draw the line. I had a phone conversation with him where I tentatively let him know that we couldn't keep pushing forward without adding to the estimate. That we were way over time, and if I kept doing this for him, me and four other people would be literally out of a job. The conversation went better than expected, to Pat's credit, and we agreed to a certain number of hours at a certain cost.

We set this new module idea (Gmaps integration) at $750 at roughly 16-20 hours, and called the end of the Phase I part of the project, which amounted to $4,210 in the end. The team member that had been working on his project was promoted to Project Manager, which means that he would eventually take over lead on interacting with Pat as a client. I would fall back to a supervisor role, but in the months of January (which was focused on this Gmaps module) and late February (which is when Patrick Vedder started his Phase III project), I would still shadow this employee to make sure that our company protocols were being followed.

And eventually, in late January, we finished his Gmaps module (notice how much longer this took as well ... Pat seems to be so demanding with his work that it's never really "finished", as new features that were "obvious" and work that was barely iterated would need to be done and redone, client calls aside). But that said, when we were done, he was happy with it. I felt it was an incredible accomplishment to please this kind of customer, and literally chalked up all the lost cash from those three months on our part to a learning experience. This was Patrick's original review for us, left as a review campaign very much like this negative campaign:

"I have been trying to find somebody to switch our website from Joomal to Drupal- and the 8000 pages we have in our site...  It's a technical and tough project cus so much of our current structure had to stay exactly as we have it - like our meta titles, Urls, etc... After 3 previous companies and 8 months of frustration I found Julian and his team at common tiger and they were able to help me...  I have always found it difficult to work with web developers because they don't listen and want to tell me (the client) what I should do even though I'm paying them.  But Julian and his team are different.. They listened to me (even when I act crazy from time to time - LOL) and I appreciate their help...    I am actually in the process of hiring them again to complete our website at http://www.officespacehe… and for a few other smaller projects..   Thanks again Julian and Zach for your help. Just wanted to say thanks for your help and I have already referred a few friends to use you guys. Truly appreciate your help, and normally I can't stand developers... LOL ... thanks Pat
Pat Vedder, Owner; OfficeSpaceHeaven.Com"

So this is where we were back at the end of January. I made the call to go ahead and take the hits on that in lieu of a campaign of glowing reviews, really. In the end, we actually managed Pat *and* managed to do the impossible with his site. He was already speaking with the Project Manager about having us migrate it, as his handler had opted not to work with him any longer (and he was originally the person who was going to do this). By this point, we'd crafted a strong service agreement, developed protocols for handling project overages, organized invoicing and billing so that our clients were happy and well-informed, initiated a process for taking deposits on project estimates, and had gotten to this place almost *exclusively* based on our interactions with Mr. Patrick Michael Vedder. We had one other client with a similar personality in January, but otherwise, our clients are normal, grateful, typically balanced people who just need work; but these changes were actually allowing us to better serve these 49 other clients in a way that was allowing our company to develop and grow solidly. On some level, I was even thankful to Patrick for his craziness.

Well in typical Pat form, his Phase III project started off with a short list of minor features and a migration. Since we'd already come up with our estimate menu by this point, we were able to quickly get him a realistic estimate. Our menu is just a long spreadsheet of tasks and items we're familiar with, alongside spaces for hourly work; it's literally a situation where we take the client's list of needs, add the items to the spreadsheet, and give them the number at the bottom. The spreadsheet itself calculates the cost just based on time, as I mentioned above. Pat's original estimate was $644.

Within a couple of conversation, again in true form, that list had changed. Pat, of course, felt like certain features were "obvious". As it was done in the office, I listened to my employee field both this issue, as well as explaining some of the other changes that had taken place since Pat started with us:

"Well Pat, you know we actually do things a little differently around here than we did before ... " And then, after a silence:
"Okay, well first of all, we charge for overages when project time goes over estimates by a certain amount ... " (which would be 15% over)
"Also, Pat, we have customers sign a service agreement and pay a deposit to get started now, so we would look at doing that with this new project ..." and I could hear Pat's explosion over the phone.
After a few weeks of getting more detail from Vedder, we discussed Pat's final quote, added the items and features that Patrick felt needed to be there, and gave him a new estimate. This one was for $1125 (22.8 hours) and was sent out to Pat for review on February 26th of this year.

Patrick accepted the quote and we moved forward. I, personally, and partially because of all the glowing reviews he'd left for our company, opted *not* to specifically have him sign a service agreement. I thought it might feel intrusive to an existing customer, knew Pat's reaction style, and just thought better of it. We'd still be covered by our terms and conditions, anyway, which are on the website and the same as the agreement itself; just without his signature.

I also opted *not* to charge Pat a despot. I figured since we'd extensively gone over his work, and since he'd signed off on an itemized list of tasks, we could estimate his project time and that is would be wrapped up soon enough, anyway. A deposit usually has nothing to do with the client, anyway; the majority of the time, it's used to cover costs for the workforce up until delivery. Since delivery wasn't far off, I decided not to push the issue.

Pat was also now moving forward without his Handler, who decided to step away from the project for unknown reasons.

And this is probably where the drama truly began. I watched as my new Project Manager's time was literally absorbed by Pat. 1 to 2 hours in the early morning to his personal phone, well before his day had started. Up to 15 emails fired off a day, usually just misinterpretations of, or reactions to items that had been discussed, just like his Handler and I dealt with in the months previous with him. In the interest of time and project completion, my Project Manager assigned our top guy to his project, who focused his time entirely on Patrick Vedder and OfficeSpaceHeaven. This of course meant that my team member was no longer available for work on anything else during this time. At the same time, in my mail audits, I'm watching Patrick essentially muscle my employee into giving more work, more time, and intimidating him whenever he would mention something he didn't want to hear, such as this conversation that transpired midweek in mid March:

"Okay, Patrick, we need to start talking overages. We've gone way over time here."
"Overages ... hah! I can't believe this. Overages? Then why did you give me a quote if you were never going to STICK BY IT??"
"Pat, you need to understand how long we've been working on this for you now ... "

And later:

"... and if you count that up, Pat, that's already way over what we talked about."
"Psh. Your numbers don't even add up. How could you even stay in business if I was taking up all that time!?"
"Exactly, Pat. This is what I'm trying to say to you."

His estimate time came and went. A few more conversations about explaining overages to Patrick Vedder did, also. Two or three in emails, multiple phone calls. It became the *most common conversation* between Patrick and my Project Manager over the phone. Mid-March, I'm putting pressure on the Project Manager to be more firm with Patrick, and going over recordings of our calls and emails with him to help him understand how to deal with Patrick and personalities like Pat. The project manager is finally able to have a conversation with Patrick without escalation.

This entire time, Patrick is still demanding more work and claiming to have to money to cover that work; supposedly budgeted just in case of this.

In a conversation with my Project Manager, he seems to feel confident that the work is so near completion (Mid-March, two weeks and 74 hours in) that we could look forward to it being done by that following Monday. I tell Zach that if he feels that's the case, to tell Pat in the interest of client support, that we could "cap" his overages at $1750. This is essentially the amount that I would need to make sure I wasn't paying for Pat's projects again just in *base wages*, not including the salary for the nearly "concierge project manager" Pat was getting at this point. Pat agrees, everything seems fine.

But of course, Pat's still got new items, revisions, and fixes on Monday. After Monday. I ask Zach to clear us to charge Patrick a deposit, finally. On the 21st of March (nearly a month after his initial project had started), Patrick pays us a deposit of $875 on the $1750 that we'd last come to an agreement about. By this point, we were a Thursday past the Monday, which was the condition for the cap.

Following that point (or at least the week after), Patrick was then told (*again*, mind you) that we needed to charge him overage time, now. We wouldn't charge recursively, but he would have to pay his own way forward from there onward.

Of course, Patrick threw a fit about this. The phone conversation contains some pretty colorful language. However, we're starting to learn that Pat uses these sorts of reactions to essentially push others into getting what he wants. We also learned that there are even moments where Pat will *make things up*, literally. It wasn't until we started recording phone calls that we could spot this at all. My Project Manager stands his ground in that conversation, and in the end, Pat says:

"Okay, we'll talk about it."

I'm thinking that this is where Patrick's confusion started. Or at least with this project.

It seems to me, reading his reviews, that he must have felt that he'd successfully strong-armed my Project Manager into submission over the issue, while in real life, the clock began ticking in earnest. I think Pat felt that since he didn't "agree", that he's not liable for any time and overages that he incurred. But our prices, our menu, our service agreement, and our working structure is not only visible online in full view at the website, but also something we go over often, and that had gone over with him. Patrick ordered a feast from the restaurant menu. He pointed, and ordered, got his food, and ate. He saw the prices beside the items, and even the waiter noted several times that he was racking up a bill. He argues until the waiter shrugs and brings him another course. Somehow, Patrick's logic states that, if he doesn't agree to the menu, he can order all he wants, and only pay for the original burger he ordered when he's done. He doesn't understand that ordering services that are charged hourly constitutes an agreement to pay for said services when he's done. His agreement came with his order, and definitely with scarfing down all the food from the kitchen. At some point, I wondered what he was thinking when we knew that he'd spent the better part of a month on a $45 / hour project, all the while having two copies of our service menu in hand.

Of course, in the end, Patrick Vedder would eventually want to walk out on his bill.

Our service agreement states that we'll charge the card we have on file in a number of situations. One, at the end of the day for a Pay As You Go cycle. Second, in cases of collections where the client has disappeared on us entirely. Third, at the start of a project based on an estimate. And fourth, when "Overage" is reached. In every case, the customer has control of this process. And usually, that isn't a problem; most customers are happy to pay their bill and appreciate us checking in before we run the card. The issue is, Pat spent his check-ins trying to argue his way out of paying for what he was using. He would still use those services, though, and we did hold off for some time to let him argue with the Project Manager, but he would still have to pay his bill.

On April 4th, Patrick had worked his way up to 30 days of continuous work. That would be 240 (seriously, I balked, too) ... 240 hours of labor and services. That's far more than we counted on, far more than we estimated, and of course, far more than we can afford. The person working on his project is named Duc; he's a 24 year old computer science graduate who depends on us to pay his paychecks and keep him in rent. For me, that's $3000 in time *just for Duc*. It would be an estimated additional $1650 for the project manager's time, which is factored into every project. Not to mention of course, that this isn't our running cost ... *just our "paying our people for his work" cost*. I pushed that number down to 160 hours (a full month, or $7200), and I went ahead and discounted all but the most basic of his work. I was just going to swallow the loss.

On this day, Patrick finally signed off on overages. He finally understood that we needed to have him pay to move forward, existing customer or not, and that we couldn't continue otherwise. We were already two Mondays past the cap I offered him if we'd finished by then, so his bill at this point, counting discounts, added up to 2884.62. Again, the Project Manager felt that there was no way Patrick could keep pushing for more at this point. I ran the charge myself for the unpaid portion of that (1999.62) and felt that we might have been able to wrap this up, as well. I even gave Pat's old Handler a call to see if would help us explain to Pat how this works; it almost seems like we needed his interaction with Pat far more than I'd originally thought when we first signed them on. He'd been invaluable in keeping Patrick Vedder from melting down apparently multitudes of times, and I was hoping he'd be able to step in and chat with us all here, as well. He wasn't able to help at this point, unfortunately.

So for the record:

Patrick's original, accepted quote was for tasks that would take us up to ADDENDUM 1.A in the list below, plus the move itself to the live server. After my applying a 65% "customer service discount" on his time in the interest of at this point moving this project on and stopping losses, here's a short list of the services Patrick contracted at $45 / hour:

Phase I (Original estimate $645):
    Install Theme:
        -Install the theme
        -Configure the new theme to restore basic functionality of the site before the theme was installed

Reformat City Page:

        -Enlarge Google Map and reposition it on city page

        -Place listings on the right side of the page, next to the Map
        -Reduce the Size of listing teasers to take up similar vertical space as map
        -Change the fields that are viewable in the listing teaser
        -Reformat teasers to conserve space after new teaser fields were added

Reformat Listing Pages:
    -Enlarge 'listings in the area' Gmap and place it at the bottom of the page
    -Move Listing images to the top of the page and on the right side of the page
    -Condense Listing Data and place on the left of the page next to the images
    -Place individual listing Google Map to the right of the listing data

*Migrate Drupal Demo onto Production Server (MOVED TO PHASE II, ADDENDUM 1.A on 02/26/13)

ADDENDUM 1.A 02/26/13:

Phase II (Second Additional Estimate: +$600):
    -Build category-specific contact forms on city and listing pages
    -Include google street view on listing pages (advanced)
    -Add Gallery/Gmap/Street view Module on Listing page
    -Remove unnecessary theme features from site

*Migrate Drupal Demo onto Production Server DEV area (MOVED TO PHASE III, ADDENDUM 1.B on 03/14/13)

ADDENDUM 1.B 03/14/13:

Phase III (Overage +$518.40):
    -Combine 'About us' and 'Contact us' Main Menu Items into a single Dropdown menu item
    -Add all Articles/White Label pages from live site into Drupal site (600+ pages)
    -Format URLs and meta titles for all Articles/White Label Pages
    -Add Featured Cities links on the right side of the homepage
    -Recreate Main homepage image and contact form, then add it to the homepage.
    -Include SiteMap, RSS feed, Privacy Policy links and pages on the site's footer
    -Create Module for dynamically populating phone number on listing contact form for All listings exceptoffice-space
    -Numerous design changes for the colors, text, size and layout of contact forms on both the City Pages and listing pages
    -Add Privacy Policy link to all contact forms on the website
    -Add Disclaimer text to site footer
    -Reformat Country and State pages to have a three column format
    -Add social media icons and links to social media pages

*Migrate Drupal Demo onto Production Server DEV area (MOVED TO PHASE IV, ADDENDUM 1.C on 03/22/13)

ADDENDUM 1.C 03/22/13:

Phase IV(Overage):

-Make streetview images the default featured image for all listings that do not already have a featured image
-Add Street view image to listing teaser on city page, if street view is the featured image
-Link the teaser image thumbnail on City page to the corresponding Property Listing Page
-Create 'Claim this listing' page and add a link to this page on every listing except office-space category

-Export data from Production Site, Reformat spreadsheet data to work with demo import module, import data

*Migrate Drupal Demo onto Production Server DEV area (MOVED TO PHASE IV, ADDENDUM 1.D on 03/26/13)

ADDENDUM 1.D 03/26/13:

Phase V (Overage) :

-Locate missing/hidden image files on live server, transfer them to demo site, and import all  missing images
-Remove 'Conventional Offices' category from every city in Arizona
-Add new 'Lease Commercial Offices' category to every city in Arizona
-Include rules to handle URLs and Meta Titles for new 'Lease Commercial Offices' category
-Combine Min SqFt and Max SqFt Listing fields into a single field 'SqFt'
-Populate Default values for SqFt and Lease fields on all office-space Listings

-Include rules for URL's and Meta Titles for exceptional cases in live data
-Randomize order of listings to prevent stacking of Google Map Markers

*Migrate Drupal Demo onto Production Server DEV area (Completed)

ADDENDUM 1.E 04/03/13:

Phase VI (Overage:

    -Copy databases from demo server and upload them to the production server

    -Transfer file system from demo server to production server

    -Reconfigure .htaccess URL rewrite rules to work on the new server environment

    -Change paths of images from demo to reflect the production server file structure

    -Added 301 redirects away from broken pages that the client had once deleted

    *Migrate Drupal Demo onto Production Server Live area (Completed)


Also, this doesn't include the three days (or so) of time the team member and project manager spent getting him all of his materials and helping him set everything up after the relationship with Patrick broke down.

And that's something I should go over here, as well. The final breakdown. On Friday, April 5th, my Project Manager and Patrick's interaction had broken down sufficiently for me to step in. Patrick was angry this time because our Project Manager (communicating based on our meetings) finally took a stance of not being able to move forward for work Patrick couldn't pay for. Pat wasn't happy with that. This is the exact *opposite*, of course, to what Pat and the Project Manager agreed to the day before that. As it always is with Pat. So we initiate a conference call that evening with the Project Manager, the C.O.O and Team Administrator, Patrick, and myself.

In this 15-minute recorded phone conference, we learned a few new things about Pat.

Patrick isn't afraid of telling a few tall tales. I took a more client-management approach in the conference, but he vehemently said many times, emotionally, and convincingly, a number of things that he wasn't aware that I already knew to be untrue. A number of claims about what Zach did and didn't tell him that I have phone and email records for. A large amount of "time slipping", where he believed that the Monday in relation to the overage cap I offered as the completion date was barely a week ago (the difference between March 18th, and April 5th). When he was caught in one fib, or discrepancy, he'd just leapfrog to another. After 10 minutes of this, I kind of realized that he was just trying to "scream his way to a discount". A number of times, it was clear that he knew he was in the wrong, but I'd listen to him disregard that and just try another approach.

And when that one didn't work, or I had some data to rebut that, he'd just move on to another.

Finally, he tried to move on to "Bro. Just give me a rebate, bro. I can't afford it." Not an exact quote this time, but a condensed one. And he stuck with that one for a while, likely because it's difficult to argue that one with data without being him.

I offered in that conference to help finish him up; asked him to sign a service agreement (better to have one on file on top of the terms that apply to all customers using our services), and stated that we'd be happy with what we'd collected and get him set up within the next few days (or 20 some hours). He never really responded to that; just shifting from angle to angle, eventually clearly just trying to talk his way out of a check. This would halfway through that recording, and probably where it was apparent that this interaction wasn't going to end very well.

I told him that we needed to stand our ground on this one and we had to at the very least stick what he owes us in base costs. Patrick went on for another 2-5 minutes about how kind and patient a person he and his handler have been, and how he always, always, always pays his bills (see the attempted chargeback, below). Then he went into something about his father, and how "his father was right all along about people" (weird guilt trip, maybe?), and then said he wasn't happy at all and would be moving on.

I concurred with this decision (we just couldn't work a single minute longer without payment), told him I was sorry that it came to that point, and then in interest of good closure authorized my Project Manager to get him whatever he needed to close up. Of course, he burned through another ~20 hours just getting through this.

One of the most interesting features about our call with Patrick was how difficult it was to help him understand the nature of time itself. I pulled up company records, emails, phone calls ... all of which show nearly a 9-6 workday for one of my team members for almost 6 weeks. My guys clock in, the clock out, they track time, we download FTP logs, we keep raw server logs on file along with our backups. It was just amazing to me that March 18th is "one week" away from April 5th, or 28-30 days of work at a posted $45 / hour ... 39 phone calls, 215 emails (from the start of the day to well after the end of the day), and a huge completed workload can actually be summarily ignored when someone like Pat just wants out of his bill, and at everyone else's expense.

Of course he wants to keep the work, though; which he did.

So once Patrick got everything he needed from my Project Manager, he signed off and said 'thanks'. And then promptly changed all of his passwords, went to his credit card company, and tried to charge back everything that he'd paid us. Of course, all while keeping the work. Nasty business, that.

Wells Fargo gave us a call about a week later as part of their investigation, asked us questions about dates and times, amounts, asked for a record of our communications, *apparently* spent quite a bit of time looking through our website, and then ruled in our favor, actually. The agent said to me that the service agreement (which is written in down-to-earth, plain and normal english; not legalese or in fine print of any sort) clearly states the nature of estimates, our charging procedures, and our policies, and that Patrick himself admits to using far more than his original estimate. He concluded his investigation with denying Pat his chargeback attempt. So luckily Pat Vedder didn't get away with that one, but he did give it a shot.

And I guess when that was a fail, he went on to try to hurt our company through the review system; unsurprising to me, at least.

In the end, *just in Phase III of his project*, Pat consumed or his work consisted of:
+215 emails to my Project Manager, each demanding an explanation or giving unnecessary feedback during the work process that had to be addressed individually
+39 phone calls, 22 of which were one to two hours before the start of my PM's workday, 5 of which were far *after the end* of his workday, and the vast majority of which were ~1 hours long.
+Over 50% of these phone calls addressed overages, in both cost and policy
+~240 hours of one team member's workable and billable time, from February 24 through April 5th
+20 to 24 hours of additional time to help wrap him up in preparation for moving on to another service provider (after our conversation)
+And now, of course, all of this time and effort dealing with this; which is actually okay. It is part of our business to have to handle things like this, sometimes.

That said, we only managed to get Patrick to pay $2884.62 and with great effort; this works out to 26% of his minimum actual usage or 40% of the time I honestly would have charged him for.

*None* of this gets into his work with Phases I and II of his total project arc. I honestly don't want to really even think about what we might have lost in this project portions. That's gone; not much I can do about that, now.

They say that your most difficult customers truly make your business work. I would say that, out of our current 71 customer client list, only 4 of them have been like Pat Vedder here, and only two have disappeared on the bill. In the end, Pat these few customers have led us through a number of company changes that I'm actually quite thankful for. Everything from contracts to client management; from overage policies to collections. Dealing with Pat has helped shape us into a stronger company and even avoid these types of issues with other customers. Once we were able to shed Patrick, my Project Manager and Team's time swelled back to where it actually should be, and all the other projects that were getting backlogged by the one demanding project moved forward again at a normal pace. We couldn't pay our employees bonuses for that month, unfortunately, and cash flow was dangerously low for a month due to the hit we took there, but getting him off of our plates proved to be kind of the key to stabilizing our business. Amazing that *one guy* could do that.

Because of all this, and partially due to how shady Pat was when he wrapped up with us, I've opted to go ahead and hit Patrick for the full bill. Truthfully, I couldn't see a reason to offer a discount after I learned that he was very literally trying to give us the shaft after we helped him close out. A hit like that in a chargeoff (in that particular situation) would have meant at least two team members laid off that month. It would have meant that we had to pay out $8,000 in employee wages (about $4500 of which was Pat's work alone) while taking in less than $2000 in contracts, less his attempted charge-off.

In response to Wells Fargo deciding pretty quickly in our favor, a very angry and out of control Patrick instead is trying to strong-arm us into refunding all $2880 (the amount of his chargeback attempt) by offering to take his reviews down if we comply. I've got the rent of five people to pay, and I'm absolutely not about to do that. So here we are.

Pat represents the reason that "nice guy" companies like ours eventually harden somewhat, as well; so while making our structure far more organized and, honestly, more clear for everyone (including our clients), he did take away some of the ultra-easygoing nature of how we started out. It seems like a positive growth change, but a costly one.

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