I had this brilliant startup idea for a while, and finally had some small funds to hire a programmer. It's been about two months now with no functionality results, and only design/theme drafts.
I have emailed him several times and called him with no answer for the past week. I outsourced it to a company in India. He said the company he works for is: virtualcorporates dot com and studioapp dot com.
I am very upset and frustrated because it's funds I worked hard to do this!
I've read your last question which I supposed related to this, What can I do to be sure that progress is being made on my web application? . The answers are very solid, though you may not have opportunity to apply them on this case.
I don't think his intention is to scam you, though the fact is you are scammed. He is just dishonest, strived to take all projects he thought possible, and deliver as he like or he is able to. After he designed the UI, he may find WordPress is not able to deliver what you like and then choose to hide.
Something like BBB can't help much on your case. A possible solution is to complain about the issue to Elance where you hired this developer. He'll risk losing all of his history and pending funds in Elance if he still refuse to respond. The history records are hard to earn, so he may pay attention to this. To my knowledge, this may be the best you can do now, maybe others have a better idea.
I've been in your boat: sadly, there's nothing you can do once the money's gone, especially if it's overseas.
Write it off and consider it a lesson-learned. I then came to the conclusion that you can't start an internet business if you don't know how to program. It takes about a year or so of struggling full-time to get up to speed with programming but the investment in time is well worth it! Ideas are not enough, you need to be able to program version 1 yourself or have considerable funds (ie 1Mio or more) to hire a team of programmers in-house as well as a CTO/QA person that you can trust.
I am a victim of Virtual Corporations as well. I put an ad on elance for services they responeded along with several others. I choose them they guaranteed they could deliver I would have my site up. They found every excuse not to have my site up.
They ask you to pay a low amount to start but then it ends up being more than they said you think well I have to pay it anyways later, so you do not think too much of it. Then they say okay we pay in milestones. So you start design phase.
They push those designs out like diarrhea or they will tell you something to the effect design is not that important. We can get payment for development? then we can pay design last because development is a bigger cash out for them. Then when design phase starts you get the ideas transferred to the server you really think okay my site is coming along.
Then after all your sites are up they start asking for more money. I said no what did I look like trying to pay my site off and it is not done? At this time they make up many reasons to get you to send more money like they are 80% done, they put more people to work on your site so you can pay now it will be done in a week. They think of anything to get you for every dime.
They send you THE SAME non-functional pages with the minor changes to make it seem like work is getting done. I was blessed to meet a person who does this for a reason and when they heard everything They told me to ask for things that would prove (I otherwise would not known to ask for) the site was getting done. They refused they got so mad because i was listening TO that person and not trusting him. So then cussed me out and IT GOT REALLY UGLY. ANYWAYS....
You can get the money back if you paid via your credit card through your bank the company got us both at the same time. Did they find you via Facebook, Skype? Then told you not to pay through elance because they take too much of the fees? So you have no case with eLance but I wrote them and told them about how they go and recruit and tell people not to pay on the site to avoid fees I sent dialogue as well.
They never responded they were probably mad I let them do it but if they like it I love will never use their site again if they can not protect my privacy before I submit my job. No one should have been able to find me on SKYPE, and FACEBOOK.
If you used Paypal you can attempt to file a dispute I figure for you to **call your bank first. You do not have to pay for services you never received is what my bank told me. I told my bank I think they intended to linger this out so I would look bad when presenting my case to the bank and they could keep my money.
MY BANK SAID WHY WOULD THEY THINK THAT you paid for services never rendered. You are entitled to a refund** Virtual corp said they do not issue refunds. Told me they was keeping my money and not giving me nothing.
That prompted to me to call my bank the next day so it takes 60 days. I told the bank to not inform them of the dispute because they made threats to me. I am also getting extra documentation to support my claim to the bank about their fraudulent acts. I know they tried to have me use XOOM.COM as well, But my bank refused to use that company and refused their attempts to transfer funds out my account so i had to use paypal.
That should have been a sign for me, but OI was acting good faith. THEY WERE NOT. This company has every intention to scame you. STAY AWAY FROM TONY PAUL, NATHANIAL PAUL, OF INDIA THEY DO NOT DELIVER!! I will then tell Paypal and Xoom.com that they are frauding HARD WORKING People using their sites.
We in good faith thought since they were signed up with elance it was okay but I do not think Elance screens their contractors. Due to I know these guys practices I know they deferred you from using elance to PROTECT yourself. Please notify your bank inform them no product was delivered do not listen they will threaten you but you do have to inform them if they do not deliver by agreed upon date then you will be requesting a refund. They will tell you they do not owe you one. Then they will send you some bs that is not functional and tell you that is your back panel.
I hope no one edits this information without reading it's content so they do not defer people to the wrong reporting source or give wrong information out to people really needing assistance. we should attempt to notify reporting websites about their practices so we can get the word if anyone Google's them. I know they can get another domain but at least if will take them a while before they do. I agree we need to learn basic programming skills.
I hope this helps DO NOT COUNT THIS AS A LOST BUT A LEARNING LESSON. I may owe the bank some fees but i rather have over 2K back and have something than nothing.
It sounds like the poster above is more across the back-history than I am, but indeed if you contracted via Elance then this is the best route. Quite simply you have no chance of recovering the money otherwise.
I do strongly advise anyone building software projects to build in-house, or at least with someone you can see on a day-to-day basis. This not only means you can meet them and build up a "real" idea of who they are and what they're like, but regular meetings on software projects are important to keep track and move things along. And from a commercial / legal point of view, if they're based in your locality, you can at least enforce legal rights against them if there is ever a problem.
Good luck and hope it sorts itself out!
One of the best things to do before hiring programmers especially in remote is to ask referrals from network of friends, family and colleagues, that allows can assure you that the programmers you are going to hire has the skills and experienced to do the job. Another good thing to do when hiring programmers to test them first even you got them from a legit site. It helps you to reduce the risk of hiring a person who is not capable for the job.
Know your right as a consumer. You can get your money back if you paid using a VISA/Mastercard/American Express credit/debit card. Just contact your bank (or, card issuer) for chareback transaction reversal.
If you transferred money using SWIFT transfer, you're out of luck.
I would suggest going to your bank and reversing any payments. However, I would strongly advise anybody without programming experience to tread VERY carefully when hiring someone overseas. Yes hiring someone local may cost a bit more, but the security you have in knowing you can visit their office if need be and see they are a registered business is worth much more than anything you've saved. I've never had to hire someone before in this kind of situation, but I wouldn't part with money from someone you don't know and have no means of contact with.