Jump to content
Killersites Forums

Client Asking for Refund...


jsarber
 Share

Recommended Posts

A client on a tight budget wanted to start an online store selling jewelry they already sold from their physical store. Long story short, they hired me to modify a Joomla theme, set up VirtueMart, do everything else that needed to be done, and submit their site to search engines. They really wanted good search engine placement but I told them there was more to it than just punching in some keywords. I said I'd be more than willing to work on it but it would mean hiring me beyond the initial price I gave them.

 

Six months later, they are demanding a 50 percent refund because they claim their search engine placement is poor due to me. They believe they should have that money back to hire someone who can improve their placement.

 

What would you do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, they never paid me anything beyond the initial price though I did a few "favors" for them since then. Nothing I charged for.

 

It was well established in the beginning that I was hired to get their store up and running, submit the site to search engines, and ask for a link exchange with a list of sites they gave me. The problem is there was no contract written up for this deal. A mistake I have learned from.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, they never paid me anything beyond the initial price though I did a few "favors" for them since then. Nothing I charged for.

 

It was well established in the beginning that I was hired to get their store up and running, submit the site to search engines, and ask for a link exchange with a list of sites they gave me. The problem is there was no contract written up for this deal. A mistake I have learned from.

 

It would help if you had a contract, but I think you are within your rights tell tell them no. You did what you agreed to do. As long as you specifically told them that you couldn't guarantee search engine placement (I ALWAYS specify that, just in case) I think you are in the clear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd bill'em. They want a refund, so write up an invoice that details what you have done (include all the free favors) and bill them. Be sure to add in what those favors was worth to you show on paper that they have already received a discounted job and demand your payment.

 

Non negotiable non refundable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd bill'em. They want a refund, so write up an invoice that details what you have done (include all the free favors) and bill them. Be sure to add in what those favors was worth to you show on paper that they have already received a discounted job and demand your payment.

 

Non negotiable non refundable.

No..no..nooo. You just can't do that. This will certainly upset the customer in which they might start giving bad reports to friends, associates, etc. He can state all the work he has done but he has already done the work with the agreed price. You just can't come back months later and say.."Oh...by the way, I forgot to bill you for this stuff." especially if the contract/agreement has been completed.

 

I do not know the full extent of this store using Joomla but if you are not careful you can leave many remnants of the word "Joomla" or credits which could appear in Google/Yahoo. This also includes any components or modules.

 

As a web designer, I would provide your client all the resources they need to help improved their sites ranking. The way I do it is that I have a set of url bookmarks to SEO sites that has tips, tutorials and even software download. I just zip the bookmarks together and email them to my clients. Normally this should be done when the project begins but sometime it helps to send them at the end of the project as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK. I might not "demand payment" But I would still hand them an invoice listing the work done both charged and free. along with newseed's idea about the list of helpful sites. It maybe the wrong thing to do but, I'll be damned if I'd give any kind of refund to a client I've already done favors for. No. Nope, Nada.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lawyer

 

But I agree, in my position, no, they wanted and original design and I delivered. Search engine placement is as much content as design, maybe they need to improve their content.

 

That was actually something I explained to them in detail at the beginning. I knew from my own experience that more content equals a better chance of search placement simple because there is more content for search engines to "choose" from. They have very little content and I explained that would be a factor.

 

Honestly, I know what this is all about. They are not generating the sales they wanted from their online store and, unfortunately, they have chosen me to blame for it. I can hardly see how it's my fault that we're in an economic recession and people are not searching for or buying blueberry-themed jewelry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well - I googled 'blueberry themed jewelry and got 2 hits - some other site and yours. And when I go to yours, where I find their site, I notice that it's all images - and not a thing for search engines to find. Even that short little paragraph, which is the only thing that's left after I disable images does not have any good and relevant key words in it.

 

I hate to say it, but as a webdesigner, even if we're not SEO masters, we need to be aware of the basic SEO requirements and design with them in mind - I think the site is beautiful, but for search engines it's useless. I mean with 2 results for that key word - they should be nr. 3 the least.

 

Now as to who would ever have the urge to google 'blueberry themed jewelry ---- there I have no answers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What terms do they want? Jewelry and they want to be Nr. 1? Hardly and they have to pay Google big bucks. So are their expectations even reasonable for the keywords they are checking for? I have no idea where I am with web design, but look for LSW and I am usually page 1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That wasn't the original intention of the homepage. It originally went straight to the Joomla store. A graphic designer did that homepage graphic and asked me to make it the index page after the fact. The cost to replicate his graphic in a web-friendly page was too much additional cost for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I looked at that site and yes it looks nice but Thelma hit the nail on the head that it is severely lacking content.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words to human eyes but it's worth nothing to search engines.

 

If you have given them this information at the beginning or even during the project and they didn't want to foot the bill to do the SEO then you can wipe your hands clean of their negligence.

 

For any serious business owner that wants to sell online needs to make some kind of commitment to SEO whether they hire someone or they do it themselves.

Edited by newseed
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input. I have tried to practice as good of ethics in business as possible and felt I was right in telling them "no" on this matter. I just wondered your thoughts. Thanks.

This is the part of business that no one likes but it's going to happen. Most can usually be worked out but their are some that are just a pain to deal with.

 

What you can do is offer up a suggestion on how to get more content on their website. They won't admit that they made a mistake but sometimes if you give them a good example on how to get started by demonstrating how to do one of the pages you might end up with a satisfied client and possibly generated more revenue in the process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Always trust your gut. You will have clients you cannot make happy or expect allot but want to pay little. You have to be able to say no if your gut is uneasy. Bad clients can ruin your love of web design and you will not do your best work for them so maybe hurt your Portfolio. Always be ready to say no. Those bad clients are never worth the money they pay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to my last post, one thing you should always include in your contract/agreements is that you should make the url seo friendly. You can find several good SEF mods for Joomla that will work. If you are using Joomla 1.5, you can simply turn on the rewrite and modify a line or two of the .htaccess file.

 

I think it will be good business for you to offer that to them free of charge. Still, they need content and that's their responsibility.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Ah....tell me about this budget websites deal...sometime it seems people are trying to do business by not spending money on anything. I have clients asking me to design an online shop for $350 (and that's in AUD!!!), I almost ripped my own head off! Even if I did accept, I will have sleepless night, as he would constantly called you with 'advise' and 'favours'....oh gosh...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends what your contract says.. I mean if you did not promis any specific position (which would be very stupid to do) then they can't really argue with you.

 

Also try to add as much as possible in the contract you sign with the client to minimize the risk of hitting one of these roadbumps that sometimes are a real pain in the ass to fix. You should also consider the shit throw effect this can cause, especially if the client is an important party among your potential future clients as a bad word could shut you down.. that's another reason to have good contracts that cover most of it, so your client and you can refer back to it when questions or arguements break out.

 

Any way I would do it this way, contact the client. Have a meeting with them where you present what you have done explain it fully then bring up how much it costs to hire full time real SEOs and why they are not on position 1.

Then ask them what their goals were with hiring you? And why they feel these were not met. Use their explanation of goals to show them that you actually achieved what they were asking for and be amazed that they reacted this way.

 

Then tell them that in the future to not get into these situations the client should put down all their requirements written on a paper, you will then check them and send back feasible tasks that you can accomplish. If they accept what you can offer then write a contract where these points are included a long with terms and conditions and everything else that can save you later on, Then send it to them to sign (accept).

 

This business can be nasty and one idiot who has dreams and goals set somewhere high above the moon and that only tells you one per cent of them can really destroy your reputation in the worst case even though the blame is not on you.

Edited by krillz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...