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Website Development Services

The first time I talked to Sonja regarding a redevelopment of the functionality on her website, she was very condescending and rude.  I take quality of life over work so I immediately told her that I don't want to work with her and ended up hanging up on her.  She called back and BEGGED me to take on her project.  She said if I didn't take on her project she would give up and throw out $1000s worth of previous work.  She continued to tell me how she would be a good client and is great at paying on time, would pay a little above my rate at $42.50/hour.  So I felt bad and accepted the offer.  I even said she didn't need to pay anymore than anyone else and declined the additional wages.

As a developer, I take care of the functionality first.  She complained every single day that she could not see any design changes.  Even after I explained that.  I completely removed the old functionality and rebuilt that from scratch.  All she did every day was complain about the looks of the new UI even though I only did the bare requirements for design in order to build, test, and complete the functionality.  

She requested that I sign a contract before the work started, which stated that she would make a payment at 1/3 done, 2/3 done, and a final payment when finished.  She paid the first payment, but it was like pulling teeth.  Then, at the end of the following week, I felt I was more than 2/3 finished and requested that payment.  She refused.  She said she's not paying anything until she sees progress on the design part.  I explained the design comes last, but again, she refused to acknowledge that.  I told her I would have to take on another client to make up for her refusing payment and that this would probably cause issues with the estimated deadline.  And continued working on her site along with the new client's throughout the week.  At the end of that week, I had much of the design complete and a little to go on the functionality.  Also, throughout that week, she called and emailed dozens of times complaining about tiny things not being pixel perfect.  I explained that the mockup she sent was so blurry that I could hardly read some of the text.  It had random borders and blotches of different colors randomly all over it.  A horrible mockup.  The complaints just piled up... complaints like "This is unusable... the text on the headers should be a tiny bit bigger".  Instead of working with me and saying [for example], "could you make the color of the headers slightly lighter", she would say, "I don't like it.  It's unusable with that ugly color on the header".  Straight up mean and condescending throughout the project.  Maybe that's just the demeanor of Peruvians... I don't know, but it's not the way ANY clients have ever talked to me or treated me.  I've never been so regretful for accepting a project in over 10 years.  So at the end of that week, I said, "there is only hours left on the project... can you make that payment now?".  Again, like pulling teeth.  She complained that it wasn't ready and she didn't want to pay until it was ready.  I explained that, according to the contract she wrote, that she was supposed to make a payment at 2/3 done and it was well past that point.  I had to get very aggressive to the point of being mean over the next day or so in order to get her to pay.  Finally a payment.  But then she refused to pay all of it.  She said she wanted to put $100 of it on hold until the final payment.

This level of distrust was conveyed by her throughout the project.  She said she was ripped off by several developers before I worked on the site and thus didn't trust anyone.  She made it so I had as much distrust in her as she did in me (and had no reason to distrust me other than bad experiences with other people).  Looking through the code I found references to 3 other developers that she had hired and apparently didn't work out.  After working with her, I can understand why they didn't work out - and I'm sure it's her fault if she treated them like that.

Back to the story... So the 3rd weekend, she started threatening me... saying that it's taking too long and her brother, a lawyer, is going to sue me.  She was calling me names, being extremely rude, and making random requests over and over.  For example, she requested that 2 maps on the site be replaced... 5 TIMES!  That's not the only request.  There are dozens.  And she doesn't realize that kind of thing will slow down production.  Then there was an issue with s2member plugin.  A key part of the functionality that they say is available, but didn't work.  When visitors to the site wanted to purchase several posts, the plugin only sent a link to a single post.  So I used my own time to research possibly solutions... both in coding and non-coding.  I found a solution where she could ask for registration (just an email address), which she had mentioned early in the project might be nice to have a record of users that made the purchases.  But, just because it was different than what I had planned for her, it made her angry and rude again.  She sent me an email at midnight saying that her brother was not happy at all (basically another threat to sue me).  I sent her back an email that was just as rude.  Like I said, I treat people as they treat me.  Especially at midnight, upsetting me and costing me sleep (and thus costing me work the next morning with the extension of my sleep period).  But I continued digging through the s2member code [again, on my own time] looking into a way to fix the plugin.  Just as I found a possible solution, she emailed me saying the relationship between us is not working out, she would like a full refund, and [again] that she would sue me.  I've never in over a decade and 100s of clients have been threatened like that.  All of my clients are happy clients except her.  I fully believe that it is not possible to make this lady happy.  I'm even on the fence as to whether the whole thing was a scam... and wondering if she did the same thing to the past 3 developers that I found reference to in the site's coding.

A day later, she disputed the PayPal charges and they put a hold on my account for almost $1000. 

On a side note, PayPal is no longer my favorite payment processor... I had already called them and explained what happened and their outsourced employee told me in broken English that I have nothing to worry about.  Said if she was to dispute it, that they wouldn't take any funds from me until they investigated.  I've been a customer of theirs for over 10 years, like mentioned had 100s of clients paying through them, and have had well over 6 figures in revenue go through them.  Then they did this.
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