Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've recently had the misfortune of hiring a developer who failed to deliver a working product by the arranged date. I have the software, but it produces errors on installation. The developer said the product works.

I had wanted to give the developer the benefit of the doubt, but they have ignored all requests to show me a working demo. I set up a website specifically so that they could install the software, but they have done nothing (it should be a matter of uploading the zip and changing a few things in the configuration). They have also ignored all requests for information on their configuration. Actually it is really difficult to get any reply from them at all. It is almost 1.5 months after the deadline.

Possible ideas

  • Have a third party check the software.
  • Put in a claim with Paypal (although I think it is too late and isn't covered anyway).
  • Make it public (I'm assuming it isn't defamation because it is true).

QUESTION: What should I do (or not do) about this?

EXTRA

  • I've noticed that even if the software was to work there are a number of features that I requested (prior to their acceptance of the job) that they have ignored.
  • I've found comments on the web about the company saying that this situation is normal for them. They seem to use errors in their software as an excuse to extort more money from their clients. Actually this was a relief as it backed up my belief that I'd been scammed.
  • They don't have a phone number on their website.
  • The developer is based in the US.

EDIT:

The arrangement was that I paid 25% of the cost of the development. The developer would keep all rights for the product. The product was integrating an already existing open source component with a CMS. I produced icons and did the styling for part of the component (completed). The developer would have the component done with the features I requested by mid December.

EDIT2: The developer said that they would be able to provide all the features I requested.

EDIT3: There is no documentation with the software.

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 29 '12 at 4:57

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
Stack overflow is not at all the right place for this question. –  dave Jan 29 '12 at 4:43
    
Sorry. I suspected that. Do you know where I can post this? –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 4:45
    
just learn how to code and move on with your life... personally, I'd just make couple of reviews on their services and hit them with couple of negatives so people can see how bad they are... –  Robin Van Persi Jan 29 '12 at 4:45
    
I don't know of a stack exchange site that seems to fit, maybe something like hacker news? –  dave Jan 29 '12 at 4:46
    
What was your arrangement with the developer? Fixed cost for list of features you provided? Fee per hour worked? Or what? (By the way, this is the reason I strongly advise against fixed cost for agreed features -- you will spend the rest of your life arguing over whether the delivered product met the specifications rather than over whether it's useful.) –  David Schwartz Jan 29 '12 at 4:48

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

From the attitude you have described, I don't think you can comfortably rely on the code you have even if some of the functions work.

The guys don't look professional and I would not use such a software for anything serious. As a result hiring a consultant to look at it won't really work well if the software is large. It is not easy to evaluate the correctness of a software you don't know about without serious work.

I guess it all depends on how much the 25% you paid represent to you...?

If the amount is not that large, then taking them to court may cost you more money and effort than what you have paid. Also, publishing the information may again cost you.

If the amount you paid is not significant, I suggest you leave it at that. This is of course not a happy decision but I think it may be the least expensive in terms of effort and money. You could also ask a lawyer about the expected fee the lawyer would ask for and take that into account. But when it comes to law, consider that you may not win. It is always possible.

share|improve this answer
    
I think you have some very good points there. For me, the time wasted on making the icons and trying to get the component to work make that 25% much greater for me. Security was a major motivating factor in getting someone else to do the component. The irony of it all is that even if I get it to work, I have to wonder about how secure it actually is. –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 6:03
    
You are correct, you can't trust such people for security stuff. –  Emmad Kareem Jan 29 '12 at 14:59

You have the right to sue, if you paid for work that didn't actually function. That is a significant threat, but be prepared to compensate for a refund.

share|improve this answer
    
How would I start a case in America? I'm not sure where to start since I'm not based in America. –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 5:08
    
You pretty much will either have to come here or file the lawsuit in your country. –  Rig Jan 29 '12 at 5:22
    
@Rig OK. Thanks for the info. I will look into it. –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 5:31
    
Problem is depending on the company they may not really give a damn if you sue them overseas :P –  Rig Jan 29 '12 at 5:35
1  
Unfortunately, I suspect they never gave a damn from the start :X –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 5:50

I think this falls under the category of "Stupid-Tax" I suspect that your best bet is to consider it an expensive lesson and move on. Any attempts to recover the money you already spent will probably be more expensive than its worth. For example Spending $5,000 to get back $6,000 seems kind of pointless.

In future I would demand weekly updates with demos. Don't expect a final product after 4 months, but know that every Monday they will show you what they have done in the past week. Or even do a daily stand up via video conference

Stupid Tax is a term I borrowed from Dave Ramsey it refers to the times when you do something dumb that costs you money.

share|improve this answer
    
You might like to elaborate on 'stupid tax'. In hind site, the fact that a developer has products on the market isn't sufficient proof that they can program. Maybe it is a bit vindictive, but I would like to make them earn that money. If they get away with it scott free they will just do it again and again and again. –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 7:35
    
I should elaborate a bit. I had access to the software while it was being developed. I reported the errors from the start and they claimed that they had fixed the problems in the updates. However, this was not the case. I also gave them access to a site that I installed the software on, they never even bothered to log in. –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 7:47
    
I added an explanation on "Stupid Tax". In this case they did a bad job, but you probably should have stopped them much sooner –  Zachary K Jan 29 '12 at 10:07
    
OK thanks for the explanation. –  moomoochoo Jan 29 '12 at 10:23

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.