The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Direct Web Design — website & email hosting & set up
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
On Tuesday 6 June 2017, I, Lauren Smart, employee of Stacks Family Law, received a quote from Direct Web Design in response to my request regarding website design for our family law practice. Part of the package as advertised included setting up email accounts.
Our practice uses the Microsoft Outlook program for managing email correspondence. As such, engaging a web-designer whom had the capacity to use the necessary Microsoft Exchange hosting service was a condition precedent to any agreement.
On Wednesday 7 June 2017, I received a link to an online deposit invoice totaling $300.00 including GST, representing a 50% deposit on the website design.
Attached is a copy of Direct Web Design's Terms and Conditions.
On Thursday 8 June 2017, prior to making any deposit, I inquired with Mr Roman Shashkov of Direct Web Design whether the email hosting was through Microsoft Exchange. Mr Shashkov responded via email, stating "You can set the email up in any email program you like, such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office…".
Attached is a copy of the email correspondence chain between myself and Mr Shashkov dated 8 June 2017.
On 22 June 2017 our office made payment of the $300.00 deposit via cheque.
On 29 June 2017, our office made payment of $70.00 including GST for the 2-year registration of a domain name.
On 30 June 2017, Mr Shashkov confirmed with myself that the domain name and web hosting had been set up, and that I could log in to create email addresses. I responded, and once again requested confirmation that these email accounts would work with Microsoft Outlook. Mr Shashkov responded "Yes thy (sic) will work Microsoft Outlook".
Attached is a copy of the email correspondence chain between Ms Smart and Mr Shashkov dated 30 June 2017.
On 4 July 2017, I became aware that a number of emails were remaining in my outbox and not being delivered to the intended recipients. I contacted Silicon Beach, our IT support, to assist. Silicon Beach advised via telephone that the email accounts provided by Direct Web Design were not Microsoft Exchange accounts and thus were not compatible with our existing office structures. Our office subsequently engaged Silicon Beach to organise email hosting services.
On 19 September 2017, Lesley Young of our office sent a letter via email to Mr Shashkov, explaining that we had been misled as to the capacity of Direct Web Design to support Microsoft Exchange, being essential to our agreement. Ms Young requested that our agreement be immediately cancelled on this basis, and that the deposit and domain hosting payments already made to the sum of $370.00 be refunded. Ms Young provided her bank account details for this purpose.
Attached is a copy of Ms Young's letter to Mr Shashkov dated 19 September 2017.
Our office received no response from Mr Shashkov.
On 20 October 2017, Ms Young again sent a letter via email to Mr Shashkov, attaching our letter of 19 September and advising payment of the sum of $370.00 had not been received, and that should reimbursement not be received by Monday 23 October 2017, this matter would be taken up with the Department of Fair Trading without further notice.
Attached is a copy of Ms Young's letter to Ms Shashkov dated 20 October 2017.
To date our office has received no response from Mr Shashkov and no reimbursement of the funds.
My request for clarification as to Direct Web Design's ability to provide the Microsoft exchange service on 7 June, prior to payment, and 30 June, when the hosting service was first activated, indicates the essential nature of this aspect of the service to our firm. As evidenced, Mr Shashkov on both occasions made misleading statements as to Direct Web Design's capabilities, and accordingly induced payment of the deposit and hosting sums.
Moreover, the firm had a four-day period in which emails were, until my discovery, not being delivered, thereby compromising our relationship with and obligations towards our clients.
To this date, we have never received any response or reimbursement of our funds.
This complaint is to warn other consumers not to proceed with Direct Web Design for creating websites or using them for email hosting.
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer's satisfaction.
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