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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Apologies in advance as this is somewhat winded, but it will

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Apologies in advance as this is somewhat long winded, but it will be helpful for you to understand the circumstances in full.
Website developers were employed to build a new website, which would be used to update an existing airport transfer site we own, and would then be replicated across a further 5 airport transfer websites we own (different sites for different cities). We signed a specific website development company and we advised them we required an ongoing working relationship for further website maintenance etc.
We were verbally advised that the initial site was due to be completed by the end of January 2016 - the company stated that it had to be completed by then as they had a lot of work beginning in February. This was ideal as we want the first site to be finished and tested by February so that we could update the other websites one at a time, allowing for testing etc. Our hopes were to have all the websites updated by May.
The initial site was continually delayed, although no changes were made to the design specification, and was eventually 95% complete in June 2016 when we gave approval for it to be uploaded to website servers, ready for customers to use online.
We now face the problem that the website development company did not check the specification of the server and they have created the website in a programming language that is not compatible with the server it needs to be uploaded to. We are now in the process of trying to resolve this latest issue, which is adding to the delays and we will incur further time and financial costs.
These ongoing delays mean that we are far behind our schedule and have potentially lost revenue, although hard to prove, because the new websites will offer additional services to our clients, and be easy to access and make bookings on a mobile phone, so in theory this would mean a higher rate of bookings being made through each website.
The delays also mean that at least one of our existing websites cannot be updated with the new design until next year as we are entering into a busy period and it would be high risk to update a website at a time when we receive a lot of our bookings.
Unfortunately, website developers all have different ways of designing websites, so it's often difficult, time consuming, and expensive, to employ a new developer to work on an existing website.
The ongoing delays and lack of attention to detail, mean we now have so little confidence in the web design company that we do not want to continue working with them. The website itself, if it is ever working on the internet, is acceptable, but we don't have any faith that the company can deliver the future sites on time, or make amendments and updates in a timely and professional manner.
We would now like to know if we are within our rights to cancel the project and receive a refund. Or if we can take the development company to the small claims court and receive a full refund due to the incessant delays etc and break down in working relationship that means we can't continue working with them for the future projects.
The total cost of the development was £9500, and the design was made on the understanding that it would be easy to replicate on our other websites.

Hello Phil my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

What is it you want to achieve?

Did they ask or know what your servers were in advance? Do you know how long the fix will take?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,We view the new site development and updates to all our websites as one project as we require the services of the same company to complete this work.As they have taken so long to complete the new site we have no confidence in their ability to replicate the new site to our other websites, or to provide suitable technical assistance.Therefore, we would actually like to stop working with them completely and receive a refund on the money paid.The reason for this is the last 6 months have caused us to lose all confidence in them which means the thought of using their services for future site updates fills us with dread. They seem quite unable to work to timelines, communication is shocking, and attention to detail has not been good - some of the delays are because they didn't follow the specification as the switched developers half way through the job. All of these issues have been addressed with them, but with no positive change to the situation.As it is difficult for a website developer to take over another site developers work we feel that even once one of the sites is eventually uploaded and working, we will have difficulty finding a new developer to help us with future duplication of the new site, and ongoing website maintenance - One of the main reasons for hiring this specific company is because they appeared to have plenty of people working who would be available to assist us with the future updates.I have spoken with them on quite a few occasions regarding the delays and have been assured the website was 'almost complete' since March. In May, as we didn't feel that any of our previous conversations had made any difference to their sense of urgency, I sent an email stating that we would not make any further payments to them until they could show that the site was being completed. I then received a very angry phone call from one of the company partners who simply could not understand why we were annoyed at the lack of progress.We have since made payments totalling 90% of the development costs, and are now confronted with the latest problem with the servers. The initial new site development should have taken 3 months, it has now taken over 8 months.It will most likely take another 3-4 days for us to fix the problems with the servers, and will require external technical support and risk that the changes we make will impact our other websites that use the same server, causing loss of earnings. It could also impact our search engine rankings, which will mean that customers won't be able to find us when they search google etc, which could reduce our earnings by 90%.Had the development company undertaken very simple research using google, or asked me, they would have known our servers are not compatible with the programming language they've used to develop the site. Around 80% of servers are configured the same as ours so our configuration is certainly not unusual.Thanks

OK - so if its another 3-4 days, you want a refund although it will work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The problem is that we don't feel we can trust the company to complete the other tasks we expect from them once this aspect of the project is complete. And it will be difficult for us to find another development company that will be able to easily take over the future tasks as they generally prefer not to work with another site developers development style, or they will charge a large premium to work on an existing site - we have experienced this in the past which is why from the outset we made it clear we wanted to develop a good working relationship with the current company developing the new site.Our impression is that the development company knows it will be difficult for us to take our business elsewhere without starting all over again, and are therefore not taking due care or in any hurry to complete the work.The changes to the server that will take 3-4 days will come at some risk and expense to us and could have been prevented if the development company had simply asked what type of server we use - this is one of the very first details most website developers would want to find out before they start building a website and I foolishly assumed they would have found this information prior to starting work on the new site.

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's fine. Thank you. I have details of most conversations and have kept a copy of all email correspondence, so I will send a detailed letter to them tomororrow.Thanks for your help.

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