We hired Lava Design to produce a couple of products for retail sales. Lava design is an industrial design firm run by Jim Easley out of Spring Park, MN.
Jim quoted us $3,500.00 for a design and engineering. 3/4 way through the project, he told us it will take another $4,500.00 and that he mis quoted us from the beginning. Rather than ask for a refund or argue, we agreed as long as he agreed to 3 monthly installments of $1,500.00. Then $8,000.00 later, the product delivered was not engineered friendly for injection molding or CNC machining, so it was a complete disaster. He then told us it would take another $3,000.00 to solve some issues. We did not agree.
Simultaneously, we had another project we were initiating. In fact we already sent him a check that day for $4,200.00. We immediately called Jim and told him to return the check or rip it up as we are not using his service or Lava Design moving forward. We called up our bank to stop payment on the check. Jim stated he would rip the check up.
Its now 6.2 months later.. His wife Melissa Easley decided to commit check fraud and deposited the retainer check anyway, though no services were done. We called our bank, and they stated stop payment checks have a life span of 6 months. In fact a banker told us as long as you have this same business account, for the rest of your life every 6 months we will have to renew stop payments. Never heard of such a policy.
Our bank is now trying to help us, and they stated we needed to file a police report, which we just did. We called Lava Design and spoke to both Melissa and Jim Easley. They tell us we owe them $2,100.00 in phone fees (every time we spoke to them on the phone (like an attorney) they were charging us.) They then stated we will put back only $2,000.00 in your account take it or leave it. We decided not to negotiate with blackmailers and told them to face the consequences. We will pursue it legally.
All those considering any engineering or industrial design, we warn you seek somewhere else. As Melissa's words were "Jim and I are struggling financially" and we need this money. They are desperate and now will pull a bait and switch on quotation to overcharging. Stay away from this Bonnie and Clyde mom and pop operation.
It may cost us $4,200.00 but hopefully it will cost them much more. They are unreasonable and desperate and will do anything to defraud you and make a quick buck.
I will post this in every complaints bureau and I am sure more victims will surface. We are going to sue them for this as well as legal expenses.