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Collecting deposit for work not done

RJT

Titanium
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Location
greensboro,northcarolina
We contacted a company to update our website and optimize SEO. They come over and met with us, showed us several ideas and sent several mock ups, several teams meetings and were close to completion, then everything just stopped. No communication, no return of phone calls or email. We gave them a healthy deposit and have sent a demand letter from our lawyer demanding repayment, but no response. This is a little different than a customer who hasn't paid their bill, wonder if small claims is the way to go? I realize if they have gone belly up there may be no assets to get a claim against. Will police get involved (over 5K)? Not sure where to go with this. 30 years ago, I would have called Uncle Guido.
 
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We contacted a company to update our website and optimize SEO. They come over and met with us, showed us several ideas and sent several mock ups, several teams meetings and were close to completion, then everything just stopped. No communication, no return of phone calls or email. We gave them a healthy deposit and have sent a demand letter from our lawyer demanding repayment, but no response. This is a little different than a customer who hasn't paid their bill, wonder if small claims is the way to go? I realize if they have gone belly up there may be no assets to get a claim against. Will police get involved (over 5K)? Not sure where to go with this. 30 years ago, I would have called Uncle Guido.
Police dont get involved in financial matters. Sadly, it sounds like you have to just bite the bullet and call it a loss. I know it sucks, but anything you do is going to cost you more $ and more time. I hope you dont have a lot of $ put into this, and I hope they get back in touch and make things right.

I get spam emails every day about optimizing my SEO, and get my website seen by more potential customers. I delete them and never take them serious. I hope you did not get scammed on this, their are a lot of scammers out there.
 
30 years ago, I would have called Uncle Guido.
Guido is probably your best bet, if he's still doing house calls.

Took a look at your site tho, personally I liked it as it is. Clean and informative, not a bunch of bullshit. Maybe a little updating and more betterer photos of your work would be good but otherwise, looks attractive and works perfect. Imo, the guys you paid would have just messed it up.
 
I have had to sue people and the first time it sucked and was stressful. But the 10k I lost from a simple lawsuit with a sorta quick settlement, I learned a ton about it. Because of going to court, I changed my habits of what to write down, how to protect myself, how to have the upper hand when they start stuff, and how the system itself works.

Now obviously I'm just a "dumb contractor" like everyone else here and not a lawyer, but learning how to not get sued is worth a lot. So sometimes it is worth going through a smaller amount, but huge PITA to learn about things before going through a huge amount and a huge PITA
 
This type of company generally has no assets, anyone can do SEO with just a computer. Suing will do nothing but make your attorney richer.
This. I'd be very surprised if there is a company at all.

Probably just a dude in India who copied a generic IT/SEO website. Couple gmail accounts for giving 5 star reviews and you're in business.

I get 30-50 emails from SEO "Companies" every week.
 
This. I'd be very surprised if there is a company at all.

Probably just a dude in India
He's not that dumb ... "They come over and met with us, showed us several ideas and sent several mock ups, several teams meetings and were close to completion, then everything just stopped."

So if RJ met and paid, he's got addresses and bank info from the check. That's a little bit of leverage.

Not much, but a little. If you want to learn more about how the lovely system works, try small claims. Don't consider it as "get the money back" but use it as post-grad business class. It'll be easy to get a judgement, then comes the hard (but can be fun) part - taking the guy's stuff :)

One good trick is, with a judgement you can get an "order of examination" - when the guy shows up, you can take everything he has in his pockets. Probably not much money these days but still fun, in a get-even sort of way. And if he has a credit card he lied about, hmmm ....
 
This. I'd be very surprised if there is a company at all.

Probably just a dude in India who copied a generic IT/SEO website. Couple gmail accounts for giving 5 star reviews and you're in business.

I get 30-50 emails from SEO "Companies" every week.

Read the post before replying. He said they came to his shop several times.
 
If the developer did work on the website ,then I dont see there being any right to a refund of a deposit ........obviously different if there was a legal contract specifying the terms .....which apparently there isnt..........I got involved in something like this years ago,when I was the baddie keeping the deposit.
 
Read the post before replying. He said they came to his shop several times.
Meh, replace dude in India with several people in Greensborough.
Point still stands, and they're probably just as difficult to track down.

OP could report it to the police as fraud, and talk to his bank. Depending on timeline, with a police report they may be able to reverse a wire transfer, claw back a cheque, or dispute a credit card charge.

If they come out of the woodwork to dispute the fraud, it would give you someone to sue.

Longshot, but not much to lose.
 
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Read the post before replying. He said they came to his shop several times.

A charming salesman or two coming to your shop doesn't confirm the existence of a company. Nor does a business card or a slick presentation. Scammers make their nut on assumptions.

If you can discover other "clients" give them a call. See how they fared. Something may come of it.
 
Thanks for the feedback, we paid by credit card, so I am contacting my bank to see if there is any hope of getting our money returned. They did preliminary work on an updated website, but didn't finish or deliver anything. My website

www.progtool.net

is original, not updated.
 
File a small claim if you want, depending on the amount, probably just wasting your time, even if you got it back, just chock it up to time served.
Since they aren't responding, just have your bank do a reverse funds on the credit card charge and see what they do.
 
You have an excellent chance of succeeding with the card carrier. We charged 10 cruises at $500 each. Paid off the charge right away we just charged it to get points. We had only used 4 cruises when the cruise line went tits up. No email or phone response, letters returned, etc. After supplying a little evidence to the carrier we got a $5000 refund. I called the carrier and told them they refunded too much but they said that's the way it works. So we got 4 cruises for free. All's well that ends well, but sure wish we could have taken those 6 other cruises. We had a ton of fun!
 
First of all.... you know that most major search engines don't directly use SEO anymore, and it is really a waste of money? My website is the first return for many searches via Google, and it has zero SEO done to it.

Second of all, you replied while I was typing, that I always, always, always, pay for everything I can with my American Express. While I have not often had to use it, when I have, they have been fantastic about dealing with whatever issue I had.
 
We contacted a company to update our website and optimize SEO. They come over and met with us, showed us several ideas and sent several mock ups, several teams meetings and were close to completion, then everything just stopped. No communication, no return of phone calls or email. We gave them a healthy deposit and have sent a demand letter from our lawyer demanding repayment, but no response. This is a little different than a customer who hasn't paid their bill, wonder if small claims is the way to go? I realize if they have gone belly up there may be no assets to get a claim against. Will police get involved (over 5K)? Not sure where to go with this. 30 years ago, I would have called Uncle Guido.
Small claims court. Sometimes just the threat of small claims court is enough to get a response.
 
I thought there was a fairly short window of time you could charge back on a credit card. What's the length of time that elapsed before you guys successfully got a return?
 








 
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