Case Study

How to deal with a troll - Business case study

We received a referral from a friend that in January with regard to a website design, we asked how well he knew the person he replied I know his mother she attend church. I replied give us the number and we take it from there. On the 08/01/18 we invited the person to attend a meeting. Prior to this meeting he was issued with our details and I received an email with the development document of his social website - journal entry website including picture folder through my Google drive. 

We looked at what he wanted to do, after reading the 32 pages development document we emailed him that he wanted a Social Website like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and Quora mixed together and it is a categories site which enable user to connect with each other and post pertaining content on the site. I added that we can do that and it is exciting to be chosen to design such a grandiose project and it will be the next social website online.

on the 8/01/18 we had our first meeting he signed all required document and told us that we understand his site so well and he is amazed that we do. We replied thank you and the best platform to design your site is Joomla as it enable user and user group plus access level and we can build a social site with this CRM platform easily. We added we will use a template for this purpose and customised it to your layout and what you want, we added if the plugin needed does not offer what you want we will code in JavaScript the bit needed in your site. He replied that fine I want the site in every language for people to post in their own language. I replied that fine and it will come with a language translator.  We discuss cost we charge him £2200 for the job and added any out of pocket cost will be recharge to you. He replied that fine we added that he benefit of £625 discount as he hired us when the discount offer was still on for website design 20% off.


We provided him with an Excel Plan of his website and link structure, menu placement, categories and subcategory required, plus user group required  Profile voice and Project voice, the media centre link and the sub-option plus link back to the main central page Public Magazine. When he got the plan he was amazed and said oh you got it so well I can't believe you understand it so well and the pages design would not look like that they be my layout provide. I replied yes this the mechanism of your site the navigation link structure and you want a black site he replied yes I do. I replied some of your development such as live podcast cannot be done the way people will be able to do this his they have their microphone and do their podcast them post it on your site. For live video they will need their phone to do so and we will be adding small description as requested. Your document have error in it and some of the categories are not needed it will be too much for the users. He replied my site is different and unique is a public magazine so we need these categories like a magazine I replied I understand. 

He paid his deposit on the 29th/01/18 £750 but £20 was missing so we told him it is fine we will added to the reminder bill, he replied thank you and we started his site. We purchased all plugins required for the website has we were designing it. The design was not plain selling we develop a lots of issues first the video placed where fine then an XML Tag error developed, we contacted the host because no space left on his free hosting package and we had told him for the size of his website he needed the unlimited package at £23.95 per month. He ignore our request to upgrade so when the language pack was installed we run out of space we then had to purchase 1 month hosting upgrade of space and he was put on the starter package it cost us £6.94 and we told him he said thank you I repay that and he agreed to pay £116 for the language pack plus £44 installation all cost to be added to the remaining bill.

The site crashed on the 13/04/18 when we were closed to completing the website we told him that we lost everything and we found out that the error was due to the video which developed an error in their code if he could provide us with new video and give him the list of the one who caused the issues we also added the crash his due to lack of space we have 154 MB  left out of 2 GB storage allowed by your host. The template has been re-installed he them finally moved to cloud hosting unlimited package who caused the site to go dark and the host retrieve the site but no backup were available. My customer replied it OK you have not lost everything I replied I have except the picture in the media folder. I re-started the site from scratch and incurred £384 plugins cost which we told him he will need to repay he agreed and say I will do.

we worked tireless on his site from 6.30 am to 3 am daily 7 day per week barely no rest which nearly killed us but we catch up on the development and nearly finished the site by this time we had completed over 150 pages and a few 50 more were needed. we told our customer to come for testing on Friday 20th /04/18  he attended and said it is exciting isn't it I can post. At that point I replied no it not. Let get on with the test create an account and request to be my friend and use the category to  post. He noticed that when you go to audio MP3 I had only put one category group single, album, mixtape I explained that people do not need 37 categories there and it is best to let people put music without joining group to do so it does not make sense and news music so people go in the news group in album and upload a news album them or a sport album or a single news I believe that is confusing for users so it is best one category group and people do what they want and create their own music group. I did that for several part of your site and it is more user-friendly and easier to access. The category group are were they supposed to be Public Group and Public Voice Out and Article that it. the rest are single group that people can join. He replied oh I am in music sport I want to post in this category but it not there.


He added I want you to added all category group wherever it  says categories. I replied it will only be general and not specific to the options name as the pictures of the categories are the same pictures and used in several options or feature of the site. He replied I want all categories where they supposed to be. I replied I do it and it will take me another two weeks as it is a major development of the site. 

The build up to non-payment, unfair criticism, derogatory comment and unfounded allegation 

It is a lot of comments and unfounded allegation such I am dishonest on the 23/04/18 and he will not accept any short coming or cutting corner you told me that you completed the site here the amendment I send you an email 30/04/18 . I replied we do not appreciate to be called dishonest you text me saying you will only wait to more week and that it. By this point we had included all categories group has requested and also where about to complete the welcome page options.


As all bad customer or scammer they all bare the same pattern a deluge of information with supposedly thing not completed and message I will not pay for an uncompleted job followed by I will pay only when you completed all amendment sent. Which we replied at any point we told you that we finished and when we finished we will send a final letter with an offer of amendment once all payment are received and we sent him the final invoice remaining to be paid. He subsequently proceeded to say remove all text including policy written, FAQ, term and condition, we informed him that his develop stated policy term and condition, privacy and small description therefore we will not remove any text our invoice is due on the 23/04/18 for £1491.93 all cost has been listed to you and you agreed on all of them.

As he noticed I refused so by text I received we were dishonest and send him an email explaining how his website work and some pertaining screenshots of his development which was part of his e1referral folder images.

He proceeded not to reply and ignore me for a few days them another deluge or text message even when we were away to visit my cousin which I replied all message will be dealt with by Monday, but he carried on.  We received an email from him on the 30/04/18 and another one on the 2nd/05 and we replied to this one we cannot do that as he was requesting additional work not part of his development document (to add a shop for user to sale their products or services and he was offering £50 more). We informed him for we will not add a shop for user as it is not part of the development document or design information or E1referral image order folder plus offer too small for what is requested. We arranged a meeting for Saturday 5th he did not attends so we re-arranged for Tuesday 08/05/18

On the 3/05/18  we received a text message stating can you not send me the final letter to my address as that's not my address anymore, we replied please provide us with a new address as we need to update your document, which he replied it's a temporary address. Which we replied as per policy we require a valid address even if temporary we can send your final letter via email attachment but we also need your current address. he replied apologies can't provide the address I'am moving from it that's final.

On the 08/05/18 we send a letter informing him that all his point where completed and at the time of his email we did not stated that we completed the website either and replied to his point via formal letter 07/05/18. We completed the site on the 07/05/18 and we emailed him his final letter plus amendment and reminder of payment overdue of £1491.94 no replied to email.

So we texted him on the 08/05/18 that he was running late of 2 hours and we are expecting him to attend so we can show him how his control panel work and access level for admin and moderator. He telephone proceeded to say that I have not completed the amendment send via email and I did not do the work. I replied it is all done have you checked. He replied you removed the home page. I replied you told me to do so remember you texted me it all on record and Ivoice is your home page.


I told him to attend he replied his coming. He phone to say he was at our office door. He requested that I login with his login as Easy I replied no I will login with my user details not as the admin of the site. He login and was on Public Magazine he posed for a long time he was supposedly checking. He picked any points and categories and I demonstrated that was part of his document and proceeded to say I never said category group and I provided you picture for my options. I replied all your picture provided are on your site and linked to relevant pages.


I read his document to him where ever he denied that he wanted these feature and even added that he did not write that. I replied you told me that you wrote these documents and now you saying you did not, he replied oh I remember what I wrote. I replied these are your development document isn't it, he replied yes.


He proceeded to lies and say that he does not want the categories across the site as he does not want people to join the public group and to only place the categories in Public Group and Public Voice Out. I reply I had your site this way before and at testing on the 20/04/18  you told me to put the category group everywhere where you specify categories. I am not changing anything back to what I have done two months ago and showed you and agreed. He replied I want you to remove every categories group and I will only pay you when you done the amendment sent in my email to you.


I replied you saw all amendments completed and used the links to view the sub-categories, you received a demo showing you how to use your social website, You know full well that I have completed your website and added if you have difficulties to pay just let us know we can come up to an arrangement. He replied oh I have the money I will not pay you until you removed the categories group.


I replied Emmanuel you requested two weeks ago sitting at the same place that I put the all category group where ever it state categories you can see we finished all your welcome page option public magazine has content as I have created users so content appeared. I had the website test by outsider who stated it a social media site but too much categories but you done well very good job.


He replied he did not want a social media website anymore but a site only for him and to removed all categories groups and added my site is not Facebook, I replied it works the same as Facebook in every way, down to reaction, statistic abilities, rating and custom rating coded for you on your request. You wanted a social media website I believe a Public Magazine where user can participate in categories group, create their own group, make friends, view each other profile, privacy to profile, edit their account setting, rate each other post, chat room and plus your own customisation calling user voicer, have the word username changed to voicer, like into surf more and now you saying you never wanted a social media website.

He re-iterated my website is not Facebook I do no want to see your post I can see them on the sale group. I replied I am not allowed to post in this group he replied no it just for me. I replied but you want user to use your site and it a Public Magazine and you can put the post private your whole profile just for you only. He replied there is no template for Article I want to see a title and subject repetitively, I replied Emmanuel your site worked as intended and has all social media function requested in your development document.


I added you can see who online so you can see the users, and you are currently lying to me to my face. I showed you and read your own document to you and you confirm you wrote that so I suggest you get out of my office right now. He replied this what I do I put bad review for businesses do not expect a good review you have not done what I wanted, he added take me to court the judge will laugh at you as you will not have anything to show him. I will call the host in front of you to stop you from accessing the site and do not change anything on the site.


I replied I have no intention to change the site at all Emmanuel I want my payment for work carried out. He pretended to contact the host but never spoke to them I said can you please leave my office. He replied can you accompany me to the door at least. I replied sure and he left within less than ten minutes we received three negative reviews which he posted on, Google my Business and Google question plus he stop access to his host then proceeded to text me he wanted his deposit back, which we replied no and you have ten day to settled invoice due.

We will contact the authority has we've been told that what he does to businesses and we will not tolerate false allegation against us or freight either which was received by text message. Also his website has about 200 pages due to all the repetitive categories across the site, however we completed a Social Media Website which work just like Facebook and you can do the same as if you were using Facebook or any other social media website.

We have reported our customers to the police on the 10-05-18 who advised us that it is fraud what he done and informed us of the type of fraud it is and told us to report him to Action Fraud and the fraud type is "Fraud that happened when victim was selling a product or service" plus advice us to seek legal advice through Civil Legal Advice or the Citizen Advice Bureau.