ONLINE COMPANIES I'VE HAD NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES WITH & MY REVIEWS OF THEM
Plus FRAUDULENT People

If you would like to list a company here that you had a bad experience with,
please e-mail me in confidence. Here is another site that may be useful in combating scams.


File Open

I purchased Sanford's Personal Publisher around mid 2002. At first his product worked fine until I started having problems. Then he wouldn't return my e-mails or phone calls. Sometimes it would take a week before he would respond.

Since than I have encountered a few more problems, but every time he e-mails me once, he stops communicating with me after that first e-mail. I have posted to various message boards looking for other similar programs & after posting my frustrations, a few people started e-mailing me with the same issues. There is little to no customer service or tech support.

07/21/04 - Update… Sanford is getting a little better in providing me with support, but I still have to hold my breath. Right now I'm trying to get him to send me the instruction manual on how to set up File Open because I'm reformatting my hard drive & it's been too long for me to remember. I'm still waiting & it's been 3 days.

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Shelltoys

On or around September 16, 2003 I ordered their personal assistant program that helps you to organize your daily reminders. While the product helped me a lot, I had problems installing it. Only once did someone return my e-mail & than refused to e-mail me again no matter how many times I tried tried to contact them both by e-mail & via the phone. I finally got the program to work, but one day it just stopped working again. Once again, no one returned my e-mails. I went through the company I purchased it from RegNow & they also tried to e-mail the guys from Shelltoys. I received one response back that was not customer user friendly & when I asked for more details, they didn't respond back.

I eventually got my money back from RegNow, but I went through a major hassle & spent countless hours trying to figure out the problem of their program.

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Cyberflowers

On or around January 15, 2004 I ordered flowers from them to be delivered for Valentine's Day. I was given the option to upgrade to a nicer bouquet of flower with more of them. They also said they honoured special requests, so I requested some herbs be placed with the bouquet. The woman who I talked to on the phone was somewhat condescending to me, but I really liked their site with their arrangements & vases. I paid for the "fabulous" upgrade plus a balloon which brought the total to $75 before shipping & tax. They did deliver the flowers on the day requested, but one of the flowers was broken at the top. Also, the arrangement looked exactly like the arrangement online & certainly didn't appear to be any more fabulous than the one in the picture although nice, wasn't the point.

Either they put up the picture of their "fabulous" add-on or they really didn't add anything to the bouquet to make it worth the $20 extra. There were no herbs in the bouquet. When I phoned, I got the same woman who made no apologies for what had happened & kept claiming I got what I paid for. At one point she made it seem like this was just my point of view.

I would not recommend this online flower site again. Now onto finding a flower shop online. LOL

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Executive Dating

Last year around January 2003 I had an arrangement with the above introduction service that I pay off the membership a little at a time.

I made 2 payments of $200 USD. Then I had some major financial problems & it became apparent by January of 2004 that I would not be able to pay off the remaining $500-600. I called & asked for my money back & the guy named Michael never said that is not our policy. He just stated that he would have to look in their records. I never heard back from him & that is after calling a few times.

I would NOT recommend this introduction service at all now. Who knows what they do with your money once they get it. It may not be their policy to return the money, but to ignore a customer's calls just to get out of paying is unprofessional & reeks of a rip off.

I recently talked to a friend that said he also tried to call several times & his phone calls were not returned. This company markets heavily through e-mail. I'm upset I lost the money, but I don't want you to loose your money either.

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Monster Templates

Although I did buy my first template from them about 3 years ago back in 2001, I had the feeling they weren't very good when it came to customer service or business. I was to talk business with one of the owners regarding a business deal I was interested in setting up & we scheduled a phone meeting but I never heard from him. I tried to follow up several times & he wouldn't return my Yahoo IMs or call me.

Now it's 2004 & it seems things have gotten worse. I needed a new template for a complicated web site & I didn't know what to look under in their search box. I told them this & asked for someone to help me but I was told no one could. I even e-mailed them on their site where it says that a designer will help you choose a template & no one ever got back to me.

I finally got the technical support number from online support & spoke to a guy named Henry. He also seems to be the same person (or same name) who does the online support. He wouldn't put me through to a manager saying the guy left, but he did tell me the guy's name is David Brown. I left a message with Henry for this David Brown & never got a return phone call. When I started calling the number again a week later, I got a fast busy signal. Same thing the next day, so I went back to online support. Henry (I think they just use specific names for code) was there & when I asked if David Brown was in, he said no, he's on a business trip. I asked to speak to another manager & suddenly Henry wasn't able to type anymore. I starting typing "hello?", "hello?" & he still wouldn't say anything. I even logged back in & he STILL wouldn't say anything & I really hate being ignored. I told him I was going to out them & he still didn't respond.

A lot of these companies think that if they have customers, they don't need any more & what does it hurt if they lose one customer, but always remember, one customer who isn't happy & spreads the word, will put a huge dent in your profits plus, I feel it's immoral to conduct business this way. Oh & I almost forgot, a database programmer I spoke to several months back was trying to steer me away from buying a template from Monster Template because she said they give terrible customer service, so clearly I am not the only one who has had this problem with Monster Template.

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The Red Pages

April 15, 2004 - The Red Pages just launched a few months ago.

When I found out about them, I submitted my free listing they offered on their site. I ended up meeting an account manager named John Vuong at one of the Ryze mixers I went to & at first I thought he was nice & pleasant because he was speaking to everyone. After the Ryze mixer, I realized he was just working the room, but I really didn't care at this point.

About 2 weeks after the mixer, a woman (Deanna Phillips) called from The Red Pages trying to sell me an ad on their site & the prices weren't cheap let me tell you, especially for a new site that isn't even established. At first I thought she was cool, but than she started doing a really HEAVY sales pitch & this started to make me feel uncomfortable. I told her I didn't have the money right now, but maybe in a month or two she could check back with me. She wouldn't let me get off the phone which is a high pressured sales technique I don't respond well to.  She kept trying to sell me on a cheaper ad, than another cheaper ad & was also telling me if I don't advertise now & decide to advertise later, that I won't be at the top of the list because others will come before me. Anyway I finally got her off the phone.

About a week or so after that, an associate of mine & I were on the Red Pages site when I realized that my free listing was in the wrong category so clearly no one would be able to find it. I searched various different categories & still didn't find it. Then I e-mailed John since he was the one I knew from the Ryze Mixer & I thought he could help me. I never heard back from him, so I called him & he was in a meeting. I told him I e-mailed him & if he could just respond back when he had a minute, that would be great. He said he would.

After a few days I receive an e-mail back not addressing the problem, but rather he was trying to sell me on another paying ad & once again it was a heavy sales pitch. Now I was starting to get upset. He made it very clear that paying clients were top priority & that he didn't know when they would get to the free listing. Since he made me feel like my listing wasn't important because it was free, I wrote back stating that I already told his associate I wasn't interested in advertising at this time & that placing people in the wrong categories is just not good business. I was starting to get the feeling that they were unprofessional & I feel strongly that telling a customer that they aren't as important as other customers is not good business. It doesn't matter if the customer is paying or not because a non paying customer today can be a paying customer tomorrow. I feel it is arrogant to assume everyone should LOVE your offer today & sign up at the drop of a hat. Some times it takes days, weeks or months to close a customer. They shouldn't all be so easy to sign up right away.

Then 9 days later he calls me out of the blue & leaves a message on my voice mail trying to sell me AGAIN on an ad telling me how I can get such a great deal etc. etc. Never did he mention anything about my free listing. I couldn't believe it. The message I was getting is that if you want your free listing placed in the proper area, you will have to fork over some money. You don't offer your customers something free & than revoke it & although technically he wasn't, that was the message he was giving to me. I called him back & we eventually spoke. Things got heated over the phone. Once again he started about how paying customers are their first priority & how Deanna was supposed to e-mail me back to find out which category I was supposed to be in (she never did) & how it was okay if I wasn't happy because they have other customers that want to advertise on their site etc. I told him how I felt that I was being pushed into buying an ad & that my free listing wouldn't come up properly because I'm not important. I told him how I started to tell my associates how I was treated & he seemed hesitant to let me off the phone even though he said it was okay if I told my associates as well as Toronto Ryze how I was treated. He also stated twice that it's obvious he can't make me happy & that he would be more than happy to just delete my listing altogether. I guess clearing up my free listing & leaving me alone was too simple a solution to making me happy & all this did was make me more angry.

It was clear to me he didn't know how to handle an upset customer because he was still on the phone trying to convince me that it's not good business to deal with free listing customers before dealing with paying customers & this was his excuse as to why their lack of communication or hard selling was not an issue. I tried to teach him that you don't treat any customer this way because even if they don't pay today, they may buy/pay tomorrow & that all he had to do was e-mail me telling me he was too busy to deal with it now, but he would get back to me in a week when he was free. He had no answer to that. In the end, I would have been fine with him letting me know when he would contact me & than following up or, just calling me or e-mailing me when the listing was fixed, but that is NOT what they did. Everything was about trying to take money from me.

I FINALLY got off the phone with him.  It was clear his customer service skills were extremely lacking & that he didn't care one way or another if I was a happy customer. I didn't have time to waste trying to teach this guy how to handle customers, that is not my job.

So, you can decide if you want to deal with a company like this.

Around the end of June 2004 a guy named Aaron Fedorowich e-mailed me from Red TO to tell me he was shocked to read my story & he wanted to right the wrong that had been done to me. I thought "wow", what a nice guy. I e-mailed him back & also left a message on his VM the following day, yet never heard back from him. I figured "typical of Red TO".

A month later I went to re-read the e-mail he had sent me & he he said that he doesn't read his sympatico e-mails too often, so I should e-mail him at his redto account. I hadn't done that, so I figured it was my mistake, but that didn't explain why he never returned my call. I e-mailed him again. He explained he had lost all his VM messages. I'm not sure why he couldn't have checked his sympatico e-mail account. Anyway he wanted to know what I wanted Red TO to do for me. I said I'll leave that in your hands.

Turns out all he wanted to do was put my URL in the right directory. LOL, not great customer service after what I went through, but hey, something is better than nothing. I told him the 2 sections I would like my free listing in AND, I never heard back from him.

So, I really don't want to deal with this company again. They are a waste of my time & energy & even though he did try to right the wrong, in the end he just further confirmed that in my opinion they are unprofessional & don't know what they are doing.

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Business Partners.com

July 22, 2004 - I will keep you up-to-date on what happens with this company. So far, it looks like they are a scam.

On July 9, 2004 I went to their site to place an ad looking for business partners. Stupid me should have known better since I've been on the net for so long. The warning was when it said the charge would be reoccurring monthly. I just figured I would e-mail them to find out how to cancel after a month or two when I found a business partner. I did e-mail them within an hour of placing my ad & paying. I never heard from them. I tried e-mailing them from my hotmail account thinking maybe my other e-mail was placed in their junk folder. Still no response. Then I went to Whois to see what I could find out. I phoned the 2 numbers there. The first number was now owned by an individual who said he's had his number for the last 3 years & has no idea where to reach businesspartners.com The next phone number was out of service. Then I proceeded to e-mail both of the e-mail addresses listed there. One came back undeliverable, the other one, no answer. Then I phoned Network Solutions and now there is a ticket open, but it could take a month before Network Solutions does something about this site.

I also received an e-mail from someone who saw my ad. When I talked to him about it, he said he's been on there for 2 months & they also haven't returned his e-mails. He also said that one of the ads he responded to was placed many years earlier & they gave him attitude asking him why he's contacting them when their ad shouldn't even be on that site.

Berman, Greg (GB6943) [email protected]

EFI International
4577 Gunn hwy Suite 1114
Tampa, FL 33624
US

813-269-0017 fax: 813-269-0017

Technical Contact:
Pedersen, Linda (LP253) [email protected]

5450 COUNTY ROAD 581
WESLEY CHAPEL, FL 33543-9242
US

(813) 991-7979 fax: (813) 994-8181

I finally realized there is a link that allows you to unsubscribe. It was so small & hidden, or they added it in after I started to complain, that most people don't notice it. It did work & I wasn't charged on my credit card again, BUT, this company still seems to be missing in action. The Better Business Bureau did write to me & told me they are also getting no response from them.

11/08/04 - update… now they private registered their name so you can't talk to someone live at all. They continue to show signs of unprofessionalism in my opinion.

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Primus.ca

11/02/04

Well, my story is kind of lengthy, but I really feel you need to be aware of this company that I consider to be a joke. I don't even feel they should be in business. I'll be surprised if their company doesn't go out of business in the next few months.

Around September 6th, 2004 we decided to switch from Bell Canada to Primus as Primus was offering what I thought was a good deal. Residential service with all of the smart touch features which I was willing to go without PLUS, free long distance to anywhere in Canada and the US. I phoned up the week prior to find out what the deal was all about. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with a CSR that I soon figured out didn't know what she was talking about. In the end I ended up instructing her on her own job. Because I was nervous about getting misinformation, I called back on the 6th to see if someone during the day would be more well informed. I phoned and had to wait on hold for like 20 minutes. When I made note to the CSR, he told me they are receiving a lot of calls & are in the process of hiring more staff. This CSR seemed a little more on the ball, so after confirming what I needed to know, we went forth to sign up. He told me that within the last week, Bell Canada had now informed Primus that it would take 25 business days to transfer over, not the original 20 days I was told I'd have to wait. I sighed, but went ahead anyway.

After 2 weeks, I decided to phone Primus again hoping everything would go through before the 25 days. I had to wait on hold for a long time again. On one of my calls I waited over 60 minutes & finally hung up. On this particular phone call, I was given a number to call & check if my long distance had been switched over yet. From that day forward, I kept checking that long distance number every day. A few days before the 25th day I phoned & spoke to a manager who said it still hasn't been switched over yet.

On October 12th I was told my Primus service was all switched over. Then on the 25th day I called asking why my service wasn't switched over. I was told by a CSR (now get this), that the long distance portion was never switched over. Well needless to say, I freaked. That's the only reason I switched to Primus in the first place. The CSR said no managers were available to speak to me & he gave me a credit. A credit mind you, that is worthless because I still wasn't on Primus. Not for my residential portion either. How did I know this you ask? Because I didn't have to redo all my voice mail messages. This CSR told me that it would take 5-7 business days to transfer over the long distance portion. I wasn't happy, but I decided I had already waiting this long, why not another week. I was given the impression within 2-3 days it should be moved over. 2 days later I called & spoke to another manager who gave me another $20 credit & apologized.

Then my partner called a few days later & they told him something else. Finally I went to the President's office & got a not too friendly Executive Assistant who wouldn't return my calls. Then finally she had someone else call me & that woman who was very nice & professional gave me a code to use for long distance until I was switched over on December 12th or in around there. Do you know when I finally got my service? March 11, 2005. I'm still having problems with primus, I can't call a person on my caller ID list because Primus puts brackets around the area code, I have been told on numerous times that the circuits are busy when I dial out & now I found out they don't have visual call waiting.

I also found out that they have been charging us for long distance charges as of January after I was told I would get this code to make as many long distance calls as I wanted because of their screwups.

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EHarmoney

01-07-06 - Well I meant to write this up before, but I've been really busy.

I joined Eharmony's Introduction Service http://www.eharmony.com about 6 months ago for their 3 month special. After taking the time to fill out all the long questions, I realized a month later that, that I had still not been introduced to anyone & time was running out. Actually I was introduced to one person & the guy said the distance was too great & he was right, he lives in NY & I live in Toronto. I e-mailed eharmony after 50% of the time had lapsed asking what is going on, that I wanted a refund if they weren't going to introduce me to anyone. It wasn't that I was expecting a miracle, but they hadn't introduced me to ANYONE within my own city or surrounding areas & although I am open to relocating & I know other people are too, come on.

I was told according to eharmony's terms & conditions, that I couldn't receive a refund because the one week time had lapsed. One week??? How can you tell if a introduction service is working within one week? I belong to tons of dating sites, this is the first introduction site I've ever joined. I get tons of people responding to my ad & yet here, I get no one. Then not only would they not issue me a refund, they started telling me I shouldn't change my profile/questions.

Clearly whoever answers the e-mails doesn't understand English very well. I NEVER said I wanted to change my profile. Then they stated the reason I wasn't getting any matches is because I smoke & I want a non-smoker. I told them that I'm trying to quit, so why would I want a smoker. I don't even smoke around people who don't smoke & I've had tons of people from other sites contact me who were non smokers. I suggested they add in "trying to quit" in their questionnaire, but they didn't seem to care about my suggestion. I told them that if by the end of the 3 months, I wasn't going to get any introductions, I wanted my money back & I was going to let everyone know what eharmony did.

Do you think I got a response back? Nope.

Now it's the beginning of January & guess what… My membership expired on Jan. 2, 2006 & today is the 8th & guess what I get in my inbox. Yup, you guessed it, an introduction that I can't do anything with because I'd have to pay to be able to contact them. So, 5 days after my membership cancels I conveniently get an introduction.

In my opinion, this Eharmony is a SCAM!!!!

Oops, Michelle did a no no & didn't research eharmony before I signed up. Look at this site... http://www.rateitall.com/i-26657-eharmony.aspx Oh well, I live to learn

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Bill Farrar - [email protected]

Well after trying to screen Bill to be my new programmer, I hired him back in September of 2005.

What I really liked about him was his ability to communication with me. Unfortunately as I learned just recently, 04/03/06, if one doesn't know what they are doing, no amount of communication is going to help matters. Bill disappeared right around Christmas time without a word & wouldn't return any of my phone calls or e-mails. I knew this was coming because I was having increasing problems with him not doing the work on time, making excuses, constant personal problems etc. I just hired a new programmer & here is what he said about Bill's work in MySQL/PHP...

  1. I also found a massive security hole in the code
  2. heavily bloated, somewhat crude.. very inefficient
  3. a lot of overkill, redundant functionality
  4. especially data validation - seeing those huge security holes scared me almost to thee point that "hey, we'll fix this for free, just let us fix it"
  5. no data validation whatsoever
  6. just so they can get in to the machine later on and exploit something
  7. this is a test entry to demonstrate poor data validation. not a security risk per se, but allows invalid(empty spaces) data to be sent , and it is never caught so required form fields can still contain nothing

Just thought I should forewarn everyone about this person's behaviour, work ethic & quality of work.

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Lisa Peterson - [email protected] - http://www.6sense.net/web/index.html

Well I made a HUGE mistake with this desktop publisher.

I hired Lisa Peterson back in September of 2005 from Elance to redesign my e-book with InDesign & she was supposed to also know Quark. I should have known she Lisa Peterson fishy because before I even spoke to her on the phone, she was already trying to get me to hire her to do future work instead of concentrating on the matter at hand, which was to redesign this one e-book. She even started trying to sell me on web design services when I'm not even sure http://www.6sense.net/web/index.html does web design services. It sounded like she farms out the work & she was just trying to get work for her friends or people she knows. It was my fault for hiring her, I admit it. She was a basketcase on the phone & that was my second clue, but her price was right & I felt her samples were good enough, so I hoped it was just her artistic side that I would have to deal with.

I paid her 50% down, $600 & I told her I had hired an editor to go through the entire manual & as the files were done by the editor, I would send them to her. She never said this was an issue. I told her in the meantime, she could start working on the covers of the larger text files & create general layout for the template. She sent me some covers with a few different fonts, but misspelled one word. I didn't like some of the photos or some of the letters of the font she picked, so I spent hours going through photos & fonts to show her which ones I liked better because I didn't feel she was getting it. After I sent her all the work I had done with my researching photos & fonts, she never ended up showing me more samples with my suggestions. She did send one general layout for the template which was ok.

Then she started saying that she didn't want to work on anything until she had ALL the files & by this time I had already started sending her each file one at a time as I was receiving them from the editor. I told Lisa we didn't agree upon waiting until she received all the files, but she was claiming it would be faster for her to do it all in one shot. While this maybe made sense on one hand, there was no way I was waiting that long to get any work back from her, because I knew it was going to be another several weeks before the editor was completely done & then I'd have to review Lisa's work & the one month time line would have stretched into 3-4 months. I started having problems with her even before she came up with this request.

One week she claimed her e-mail server was down & never gave me, the customer, any alternate way to contact her, so e-mails were not returned. I guess it's very difficult to get a backup e-mail in place. She missed several days because she was sick, but that didn't concern me at the time & I can't fault someone for getting sick & I didn't know Lisa well enough to know if she used this excuse often. Then there were a couple of times I'd call her & she would never call me back when I wanted to speak to her on the phone. She also IMed me before I hired her & the minute I hired her, she never came online so I could IM with her in real time. After I complained that we didn't agree on her waiting until she had all the files, she told me that if I wasn't happy, we could terminate the contract. Also in the contract she had created herself, she stated she would keep me up-to-date daily, but she never did.

After trying to get in touch with her one last time to see if we could salvage the relationship, I finally had to accept the fact that Lisa was irresponsible & it was clear she didn't care about doing the work. So, I spoke to Elance saying I wanted my money back & I wrote to her asking her to put the money back into her Elance account. After I evaluated what I had received from her, I had nothing. Everything she sent me was in PDF format, so nothing could be edited by the next desktop publisher & even though I asked her to correct the covers I did like, she never did, so they were useless because of her spelling mistakes. She actually did create 2 form files out of the numerous that she never even touched & she made mistakes on those too. She copied text from one file into another different file because she assumed they were exactly the same when they weren't, so they were useless too.

She then started telling Elance she wanted $200 for all the work she had done & I said no way. Elance said they couldn't handle this problem anymore & directed me to Square Trade a mediation company. I submitted my claim to them & guess what, never heard from them & they have no phone number on their site & there's no way to e-mail them. My understanding is, if they don't get a response from Lisa Peterson, I never hear back from anyone.

So, she got the entire $600 for doing no complete work I can use & now I'm fighting with Elance through my credit card company to get my money back. They are saying they aren't responsible for the money once it's been handed over to the contractor, so in affect, they allow these contractors to rip people off if the get the 50% deposit, which is so common a request, & then never do the work. Guru.com is at least better in that they will hold the money in escrow until the company says the work was done properly.

You can make your own judgment on Lisa Peterson from http://www.6sense.net/web/index.html

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This site is written solely by Michelle & is only my point of view based on my experiences. If someone else's experiences are posted, it will be duly noted.

I feel everyone should speak up when they feel they are wronged.

All the best,

Michelle

Quote

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

— Helen Keller

If you find any errors, bugs, typos etc., please contact me giving me the URL of the page plus copying the paragraph where the error is.

Thank you so much for letting me know.

Last updated 28-Jul-08