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Website Design and SEO Project 5

The concluding ‘frustrating’ episode between a website client and website design company that refuses to pay for work completed despite being presented with all the evidence of the work being completed and even statistics that support the improvements in performance in terms of website visitors and enquiries.

[Website Design Company] Why do you want to video a meeting? I would have to say no to that for various reasons but I am much more confident in communicating via email as we can reference things very quickly and easily and things are easy to find / recall. I would also want to know what you are hoping to achieve by having a meeting as think email is a much more efficient means of communication and so far its yourselves that have caused delays in communications as I reply to the emails you send within hours but you take day / days to respond.

I am very much hoping to resolve this but it seems I have spent hours and hours researching your project and documenting this to you and you still believe we have progressed very little, whereby I believe we have progressed to the point where all the ‘facts’ are known by both of us.

What additional issues have I raised in the email? I must admit to being slightly frustrated by the full and complete information / help / advice I have provided and direct responses to your concerns and then to your apparent lack of ‘progress’ to reach a resolution. I believe this situation is crystal clear, as do others that have had overview of the facts, and was hoping that your legal representative would have given you directional advice by now but it seems they have claimed not to want to ‘judge’ who is right or wrong in this situation.

If you insist on a meeting I will reluctantly agree to a meeting at my office between myself and yourself but can’t agree to it being recorded and think email communication is the way forward as its more efficient. I normally have very packed / busy days and would need plenty of notice and can probably only commit to 1 hour but will do my best to attend if that is what you think is needed to progress.

If you insist on a meeting I would like a full agenda and list of questions you would like to ask.

I would like to propose you can make a decision on all that you have read and know right now and am happy to do these quickly to ensure we can both move on.

1, review all the communication and acknowledge we have acted correctly / professional and pay the final payment on the invoice.

2, pay for us to transfer the domain / database / code / emails to you or a 3rd party then contest the invoice at a later date.

3, confirm to us that you can’t reach a resolution and will not be paying the invoice.

I will once again stress I am willing to continue working with you hosting your domain / promoting your company / giving you help and advice as I have only your success as my ideal outcome. I urge you to revisit my emails and suggestions and knowing what we are professionally capable of in terms of website design / SEO be assured you are in the best hands.

[Website Owners] Apologies for the late response, I was waiting for your response, but must have missed this email until today, when I went back through my inbox (due to having expected to hear from you) and found this email. I assume I must have unknowingly opened it, possibly on my phone and then not seen it come up as a new email.

I suggested videoing / voice recording the meeting as you expressed concern for communication to be recorded. I suggested the meeting as (as previously mentioned) I feel we aren’t progressing towards a solution via email and that conversing in person may allow us to speak more directly and possibly do so. From your response I gather that you would prefer not to having a meeting to converse, and also, due to the arrangements you say you would require to apply to a meeting, I feel it would become very difficult to move forward in such a meeting regardless.

In light of your last email, with regards to the break down of the fees it would cost to move /transfer away from yourself; I was not made aware of any such costs prior to setting work in motion with yourself, nor can I see any such detailed costs in any (virtual) paperwork I have received from you.

In response to your willingness to continue working with myself and that you “have only your success as my ideal outcome.” and that I am “in the best hands.”, I must decline, due to my feeling of disagreement. This is largely based on the unsuccessful outcome the last 2 years working with yourself has produced. As I’ve mentioned numerous times now; I haven’t had one job that has come through the site, no phone call inquiries that have come through the site and only 8 email inquiries through the site in the 2 years.

I feel that we have come to a point now where we seem to be at an in pass, as you are wrongfully holding my website and it’s information from myself, and also, have offered me only options of payment in one way or another, which I have been disputing, due to the lack of success mentioned. We have not moved forward from the outcomes you are suggesting in any way. As such, I invite you to keep me informed of how you would wish to proceed and also, how to regain control of my property (website and information) you are wrongfully refusing to release to me.

[Website Designers] Happy to meet but not happy to have it you video or record it, if you think that this would progress our dispute I am happy to do this.

Happy with your decision to go alone but still bewildered that you havent taken me up on the offer to take enquiries from another Essex Photography company but will not ask again as you have made your decision.

Previously you have indicated you haven’t had one job from the site and even though getting jobs from the site wasn’t a metric used to release the project payment you clearly stated you didn’t get a job, now after I asked permission to review your email enquiries from your site you have admitted to having 8 email enquiries presumably as if you gave me permission I would be able to see those enquiries, you state you have had not one phone call from the site in this time and again even though this wasn’t a condition of project success I find it hard to believe after seeing and producing the reports showing the website visitor stats increases.

Regardless of the email enquiries from the site and the phone calls you claim not to have received this wasn’t a factor in project completion and releasing payment, and would never have suggested it would be even if you had originally,

I am now fully aware of the whole project, our huge work invested in it and am now more than ever totally convinced we couldn’t have done more, the whole situation can be summarised in two sentences and in those sentences your refusal to pay is simply down to you not wanting to. With a full  professional / non-emotional review of our work you ‘must’ realise that we have done everything possible and achieved visitor number increases (reports presented previously) and documented every update / improvement /change completed.

Happy to give you the code / database / email / domain as soon as you agree to the work involved and pay the fees.

I will reconsider the whole project over the next weeks and give you a reasonable deadline to complete the project / transfer.

In summary, am happy to meet at my offices or a local venue to myself but not happy for you to video / record it.
Happy for you to pay your final invoice, happy for you to pay for us to package up your digital assets for transfer and then for us to continue this dispute once it’s transferred. Happy to continue this dialogue but it appears you are the party not willing or able to see this from my perspective

Having reviewed all our work and correspondence with a 3rd party and thought long and hard over our ‘dispute’ or should I say your reluctance to pay the final invoice and my bewilderment at this, I have decided that there should be a clear decision for you to make to finalise this, the decisions, I believe, are below:

1, Pay the final invoice

2, Pay the website export / domain transfer costs / then contest the final invoice

3, Refuse to pay the final invoice and accept we must take legal action to ensure our costs are recovered / final invoice is paid

To, hopefully, bring this ‘dispute’ to an early close and allow us both to move on I will propose that if you pay the final invoice the domain transfer / website export will not be chargeable and the hosting fees will be waived. I will also reduce the invoice total as a gesture of good faith if agreed and paid 21 days. Therefore, if you agree to pay the invoice at a reduced rate I can re-draft the invoice with the final balance reduced. This is my full and final offer / settlement agreement and have done this in good faith as a result of you claiming to not being 100% happy with the website improvements / updates / SEO  even though I think we have demonstrated, that the work / updates / improvements were completed fully and professionally. This reduce final invoice and free transfer / hosting offer will lapse in 21 days and we will revert to the standard invoice without any fees being waived. I consider it generous in the light of all the work / effort / results / correspondence over the last 2 years with yourself and your company.

If you are intent in continuing to refuse to settle the final invoice, we are more than happy to continue this dispute with yourself but I will withdraw the offer of waiving the account closing / domain transfer / website export fees as well as including the domain renewal / hosting fees in our final invoice / settlement.

I really hope this sounds attractive to yourself and if you review all work / results and correspondence you will realise that a reasonable and fair minded person could feel that you have acted unfairly / unreasonably and been slightly disingenuous with some of the thing you have said / claimed and that this is the best solution for all of us to move on.

I will also like to add that if you agree and can’t get the funds to us within the 21 day deadline I am more than happy to continue to allow you to pay on a monthly basis and will continue to offer you free hosting / email / domain renewal and to keep the website where it is until you can secure the funds to pay the final ‘reduced’ invoice.

I really hope you acknowledge this offer and consider it fair and reasonable enough to accept it as we feel it is more than reasonable.

I wish you every success in the future and really hope that once you review all the emails / updates that show the website improvements / SEO work we have sent. in an unemotional manner, you will eventually acknowledge that we have acted correctly, reasonably, professionally and in dealing with this dispute we have been fair and open.

[Website Owners] I appreciate your proposal, however I feel that due to the various issues I have raised in (what is now) quite a number of emails and the resulting position of the website’s (and company’s) lack of success through this SEO campaign, I must politely decline.

Therefore if you are requesting me to make a decision and choose one of the three options you have provided me with, I am forced to choose No.3. This is due to the fact that with regard to options;

  • No.1; I have clearly already stated my reasons for not feeling that I am liable to pay. Please see previous emails for details, but the overall reason is that the campaign and anything else done to contribute to success in terms of business, that I was promised, has not become a reality. So much so, that I have not had one customer through the site in 2 years (a point that you yourself expressed shock at when I told you in our phone call) and only 8 emails inquiries.
  • No. 2; I have not until our very recent discussions been made aware of the charges, verbally, in writing or in any documents, and therefore believe that as such, they should not apply.

I feel that it is unfortunate that what now the only option from the selection of 3 that you have presented me with, seems to be that of legal nature.

I would like to, yet again, request the information I require to access / transfer my website which you are wrongfully holding from me, and hope that whatever proceedings are taken from this point onward, result in myself being able to do this with my property.

[Website Owners] Hope you are well and hope we can finally get this project / website sorted for you. We acknowledge your continued refusal to accept / acknowledge the project has been completed, your main ‘excuse’ to not complete / pay for the project of saying originally you havent had any customers then revising that, when promoted, to admitting you have had 8 email enquiries is not one that we, or anyone, can consider as reason to withhold payment. We acknowledge your attempts at getting the website transferred also but this will not happen until the transfer cost is paid or the website project is fully paid for. We have also not received payment for the hosting / domain (due date 12th April so now 5 months overdue). We are well within our rights to remove email / domain / website services at any time and impose penalty payments.

I will re-state that we are willing / able to supply you with the email / website code / database / analytics access / Google Place management but this will not avoid us robustly perusing the outstanding project payment from yourselves legally if required.

If you still want us to supply you with everything we have done on the website and despite this probably not being financially attractive to you we can do this within 24 hours for you. As stated there are costs for this including supplying website code (provided zipped code), updating transfer tags, export of email files  and the database export , these would all be supplied electronically or on a CD if required (at additional cost) then there would be the outstanding hosting fee of the last 2 months to consider which would invoke another year (normally we do it for 2 years at a time but will allow 1 year in this instance and will give a special discounted hosting cost of £80. Therefore the cost for us to supply you with our work and facilitate the transfer would be close to the owed to us I would suggest this isn’t a financially attractive idea for you, this will also keep open our dispute for final payment of the invoice.