ED Magedson – Founder
PopLabs.com2500 CityWest Floor 25th Houston, Texas USA
PopLabs.com PopLabs, Inc. AKA Webxites LP, Inc. HOLDING OUR WEBSITE HOSTAGE WITH NO CONTRACT Houston Texas
One of my first duties as manager of Helios resort was to deal with the owner's frustration over the lack of service rendered by this company. He was paying them almost $700 per month. After a few test runs for myself in which I asked PopLabs for simple text and jpeg changes to our website that they promised would be done no later than 72 hours -- and were still not done 5-6 days later -- I began to do some investigating of my own. First thing I turned up online was a slew of complaints from websites such as this one and an F rating from the Better Business Bureau. Then I looked through all our company paperwork, both past and present, and the only thing I could turn up was permission to bill a credit card for payments that ended on 12/31/13. I asked the owner why he continued to do business with them when there was no signed contract and he told me that when he originally questioned them about this back when he purchased the property in July of 2012, they basically threatened and harassed him by saying they had a perpetual, recurring contract based upon an expired contract from the previous owner. Because my boss is not aggressive or internet savvy, he buckled under their pressure until I arrived on the scene.
I was put into contact with Erin Womack, who immediately jumped on the customer service bandwagon and promised me the moon and the stars with a new website design at no cost to us. When I questioned her about the F rating from the BBB, she said it was not applicable to the conversation we were having. Furthermore, she stated that the contract from the previous owner, which expired in February of 2011 -- a year and 5 months before my boss purchased the property -- was still in effect until 2015. She went on to state that unless we paid an approximate amount of $10,000, they would not release the domain name username and password to us. When I explained that my boss had never signed a contract, they claimed they did not do business with the owners of the resort, but the resort itself. I explained that our business is not a separate entity, like a corporation, and that common reason would dictate that they would have to have a signed contract with the current owner in order to do business. My conversation with this woman led nowhere because her defintiion of a business liability or responsibility did not match mine.
I contacted a hired powered attorney I know in the Los Angeles area who also happens to be the mayor of a city within Los Angeles. After consulting with him and based on his research of the matter, he informed me that PopLabs is one of many predatory companies that will trap unsuspecting website owners into legally unenforceable but never-ending contracts by inserting themselves as owner of your website, despite what their contract says. Because we are in California and they are in Texas, going to Federal court over a $10,000 dispute is not worth it and becomes a loss to us -- as mounting a Federal Court case would cost double or almost triple that amount -- and that this is a fact that these kind of companies are well aware of.
We at Helios resort have moved on and will recover from this debacle. I even tried to call Erin back to negotiate some kind of settlement -- in essence, to pay to get the baby back alive somehow. But now they do not even return phone calls. In the meantime, PopLabs has shut down our reservation traffic and despite our not paying, has kept the old, outdated website up just to interfere with our current web traffic. We are letting everyone we know in Palm Springs and Los Angeles to beware of PopLabs. They are an AWFUL company to deal with. They have given my elderly boss an ulcer and exacerabted his already bad blood pressure. As a brand new manager, they have provided me with one of the first and probably most valuable lessons in dealing with a thoroughly disreputable website design company.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/23/2014 10:09 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/poplabscom/houston-texas-77042/poplabscom-poplabs-inc-aka-webxites-lp-inc-holding-our-website-hostage-with-no-contra-1132924. 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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