Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bamboozled



There are a lot of things I can stand for, but taking advantage of people is not one of them. Especially when it's someone I happen to think is pretty freakin' awesome, like Shannon. The interwebs can be a beautiful thing, people supporting people they've never even met, individuals coming together to raise awareness and mucho dinero for worthy causes, but it can also be a nasty reminder that people really suck sometimes and you've gotta watch your back. If someone as intelligent as Shannon can get bamboozled, you might be next. *shudders* That's why the following post is being passed along. Read the story and be cautious.

I'm involved in this awareness day, because I was one of the unlucky bloggers. One of the unlucky that was scammed by Jess, the previous owner of Delicious Design Studio. {This in no way involves the current owners of DDS}

I loved her style. I loved her blog. I loved her portfolio. I wanted her to bring all of my ideas to life, and I wanted to pay her good money to do so because I knew she could. At the end of 2008, I decided I wanted a blog design done for my birthday in May, 2009. She had all of my ideas and my $112 down payment. At first, everything was great. I watched as names were scratched off of the schedule list, and the time for my design was getting closer. Then, I got an email saying she was going through personal problems with her family (health) and that she promised she would get around to it by a certain date. The end date was creeping up, and I hadn't heard from her. I would send emails asking how things were going, only to get automated "out of office" replies. Then, the final day came where I was supposed to have everything installed and published. I still hadn't heard from her. So, I decided to write her another email.

Hey Jess,


I feel like I bother you all of the time, so sorry! I'm just checking in because today is the final day and I haven't heard from you yet. I'm just anxious to see it! Can't wait to hear from you!


Working on the mock ups to send to you tonight. Just got into the office for the day/evening :)

I got super excited to see that she actually wrote me back herself, and that she was working on mine. Then she wrote me again! She sent me a link to look through her stock images and choose some final touch ups. I was overwhelmed with happiness that she was contacting me so much, and that my design was going to be on my screen for my approval shortly. Then I got this automated email.

Thank you for your e-mail! I appreciate your inquiry and will respond as quickly as possible. :)

::project status//details//notes::
sent mock ups, working on final edits & installations:
kathy, marci, shari, april marie, tammy.

current projects for July 6th - 11th:

(finalizing mock ups for review)
andrea, asmah, karmeka, shannon, summer, michelle, stephanie, katie,

steph, abi, leoni & tonia.
Friendly Reminder: I will be away from my desk Sunday, July 12th - Wednesday, July 15th and not have access to my e-mail.

So now she's out of the office and not going to send me the mock up she had just promised? Since it was July 10th, and I saw she was going to be out of town, I decided the next day to write her this email.
The main goal of this awareness day, is so that it doesn't happen to others. Please tweet about this, repost it, whatever you can to help spread the word. We've been told she's still doing blog designs, but under a different name. Be cautious of who you give your money to! We learned the hard way.

Hello lovely lady :) wondering how the process is coming along. I know you will be out of the office starting tomorrow so I wasn't sure if you'd be finished with my mock up by then or not. I hope everything is going well, I know you are very busy...just checking in :) thanks for your time and always being so sweet!

Love,
Shannon

July 30th rolls around (more than 2 weeks since she had been back from "out of town")...yes I let it go that long.

I don't mean to sound rude, but I was under the impression my mock up was supposed to be sent to me by the 11th this month, and I haven't heard from you at all. Bills keep popping up and it's getting kind of difficult to watch the money sit there. Should we reschedule the date or will it be ready soon? Just let me know. I hope you and your family are well!

Love,
Shannon

Hey Shannon -

I appreciate your patience. I got so wrapped up in my last design that I got sidetracked. Don't worry about the final payment. I will not expect it since this has taken a little longer than expected.. I will finish this up at no charge. :)

Jess,
That would be SO helpful. Thank you!

And like a sucker, I believed it. I got happy again, and was so excited to know that I wouldn't have to pay the 2nd half. As it turns out, I never got my design, or even a design worth at least the money I paid. I never got my money back, and I never heard from her again. I truly thought with so many bloggers I read that had her designs, that I wouldn't get treated like this. And furthermore, how does she choose who she rips off? After all the frustration and disappointment, I was too drained to even try and get my money back. I have recently found out that it wasn't just a couple of people that were scammed by Jess. It's much more than that. In fact, there's reviews written about it here, here, and here. Even a blog site dedicated to it here. That's not including all of the comments left on those reviews by people in the same boat! I understand I should have done this research before hand, so it's my loss. But that doesn't make what she did right.

I hate having something so negative on my blog, and bad mouthing is just drama in my book that I want no part of. However, this is different. This is a crime. $5, fine keep it. $10, $20 even. But money that could have been used to pay a bill if I would have known I was going to get nothing in return? That's just wrong.

I don't know about y'all, but I'm all for getting a mob together to hunt this so called "Jess" down. Wrong-doing hussy! Feel free to pass this along. Awareness is totally the key.

8 comments:

  1. You are just totally amazing in every way. Why can't you live near me so we can be besties in real life?! Thanks so much for spreading the word, and I'll link this post to the one I wrote.

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  2. Oh, my hiney is *going* to make it to North Carolina sometime in the near future, and I *will* get to hug you and Megan. It. Is. Our. Destiny. :P

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  3. That's craziness!!Some people have no soul.

    I wanna come with, Heather!!!

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  4. There are many things you can do.

    My recommendation would be to lodge a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau and/or the California Department of Commerce.

    If not with them, go to the FBI Internet Fraud/Crime division website (http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx) and submit the form on there. Since there was indeed monetary loss, they will take it as a serious complaint.

    If the business has a license they will be investigated.

    If they aren't listed, perhaps they are operating illegally and maybe you could get them in legal trouble or shut down.

    At the very minimum, I would contact Tiger Technologies (the web hosting company) and inform them of the website's fraudulent activites, and state that you need the owners name and address so that you can send them a Letter of Intent to Sue.

    :) Just my thoughts.

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  5. Woa, that's incredible. I'm shocked. That's awful. These times are so hard on everyone & to be taken like this. Ohh geez. Woa. I hate to say it but I'm very skeptical about online stuff when it comes to "real" sums of money. I even work for an online website & people call me ALLLll day long asking if we're real. lol. I hope Shannon's okay, & I hope there is a filter for this type of stuff in the future.

    I'm a real person girl, just to let you know. I love your comments. I really wish you lived somewhere just a wee bit closer to NY. I'd so tell ya let's go do lunch. Thank for your comments the past few days. Really, thank u! *Hugs*

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  6. oh my, i'm so sorry for Shannon. Thanks a lot for sharing this. We should all be careful, especially when it comes to money.

    xx,
    betz
    http://herarmoire.blogspot.com

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  7. Ari- You know I'm not going without you! You and Pepper Pots are running away with Mr. T and I.

    Iva- I know, right?!

    Shane- Thanks, Shane. I'll pass your comment onto Shannon.

    Melodie- If I ever get to New York, which Ari and I have talked about, we'll look you up! We have a good friend that lives there. Someday!

    Betz- For sure. There are too many creepy people out there.

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