How Visiolist treats its customers

boozhloo2

Member
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Hello everyone,


This is just a personal share of my experience with Visiolist/OSempire. I'm writing this post as a public review & final recourse.


For anyone considering making a purchase (that requires on-going development) with Visiolist or OSempire, beware that the support/maintenance is very poor and you may be treated like dirt.

My experience was a 3/10 by far.


I've been waiting for 2 months (since March 10) to receive an advertisement part of the toplist which was included in my initial order. I have been postponed week after week after week since March 10. I asked for a deadline around 4 times which I never received, but kept being postponed and at times, received no responses to my tickets for a solid 2-3weeks until I send another one asking for updates. I was kept in the dark multiple times. I tried to be understanding and wait, figured out there might've been a delay in the work and things like that are bound to happen but it has really gotten over the top towards the end. I've been told that I underpaid (which by the way I had no clue if it were not for them telling me about it -honest mistake-) I accepted to reimburse the missing funds immediately. I searched for the past payments to checkout what the amount is (turns out it's a currency conversion rate difference of about 12$) so I sent a reply expecting a confirmation of the value in question and the payment platform I'm expected to pay on. I asked around 3 times through 3 tickets, I never got a confirmation reply to what the amount was exactly, nor where to send it, nor a deadline for when the next milestone will be completed. I've always felt like I have to follow-up on the project's development rather than receiving updates about it. I've made multiple purchases totaling around 300$. The graphics cost another 200$. The advertising part costs another 300$ which I never received, it was a big part of the whole sustainability of the project. Additionally, I've been paying 25$/month for hosting and the domain name costs 90$ yearly so it was imperative that the work is completed on time in order to cover the costs and keep the project on track. The project itself is pretty much useless without the whole. It was drafted that way for a reason, I never wanted half a product, since half is as valueless as not having anything in the first place. In short: the vision was about the whole thing and not 50% of it.
I tried voicing these concerns to no avail, there was absolutely no sign of care involved.


The work actually started out great initially. I would have never expected this type of treatment to randomly spring out one day. The work was clean, and they were quite cooperative and communicative; But after we finished about 50% of the project, they flaked off, barely answered and always gave excuses like "The project went out of scope", "We need one more week", "We've been busy". I well understood that the development process might've stretched, but I have asked over and over for an ETA, which was always ignored and met with more postponing. I have also urged them to let me know if they don't not wish to continue so that I find another developer, I was reassured that we'd get the work complete. It's been 2 months so far, I sent 3 final tickets, offered to pay an extra 50$ and have been waiting since mid-April for a reply, and since March 10 for the completion of this milestone.
I read a negative review on the forum before going for my purchase that I didn't take seriously, needless to say that was a grave mistake.


There's obviously activity and responses going out on the forums, but complete neglect through OSempire tickets. I tried to overcompensate, offering the extra 50$ to keep things moving forward.. but I also got no response whatsoever. Sad to say a huge disappointment and let-down.


To conclude, if you ever want to purchase something from Visio, either don't, or make sure ALL your product is ready to be deployed to you before payment (aka do not accept breaking it down into milestones). Those are just my two cents.
 
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Mark

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Marc, thank you for your feedback, I truly am very sorry our project turned out the way it did, I found our last few exchanges frustrating and exhausting as I'm sure you did as well.. and now here we are in public in our final chapter.

First, there is no "They" at Visiolist/OS its all just me, 1 guy dealing with many angles of many projects. While I usually handle that role well, this last year has been more hectic and stressful than usual. Here at Visiolist, Basti is a part time dev partner and has nothing to do with the transaction between you and I... I just wanted to clarify that.

I rarely take on new dev clients, but I have a soft spot for VisioList users (note: I bill a much lower rate for VL customers) and you came at a time when I had a small window available so I gave it to you.

Your custom skin was delivered on time, and I feel the communication and product delivery/support from that entire phase would be considered excellent. One might ask why all of a sudden did things change so drastically.

When the skin completion payment came through it was already at a discounted rate but sadly the payment was still short due to some currency conversion mis-calculation on your end (we are both in Canada and although I always bill in USD... I was ok with you paying in CAD... honestly, its really not about the money for me). I believe this was an honest mistake, I said nothing, it did not matter much at the time.

But then, on the next phase of your project, we had some fairly complex custom functionality to build, we got 80% done, and then you asked me to change payment gateways so I had to undo and re-code large chunks of the work. Not a huge deal, but now my schedule was full again, as it happens. So I explained I am working on it as time allows, your site was running, we are just rebuilding a new premium member/ad system so you had lots of work to do building your list with members while I worked on these final steps. 2 weeks gone by and I was at about 90-95% complete when the demands really started to turn the project toxic for me, it became frustrating to work on, but I was still determined to get it wrapped up, working on weekends when I could.

Then finally, after another 10 days you had enough waiting and told me you were going to chargeback for all the work I did plus the software costs ($200CAD or so for the skin + $59 USD for Visiolist both of which were delivered smoothly)... this threat came just as I was wrapping up the very final parts of the system. At that moment, I lost it. Here I was, working hard to get you looked after and then you threaten me with chargeback for things that had already been delivered. I am out many, many unpaid hours of work, and you have received everything you paid for (you paid only upon completion as was my terms... the milestones you dislike so much).

My frustration of dealing with chargebacks was something we spoke about at length on our zoom calls. You certainly hit that nerve, and it was not the right way to motivate me to work with you further... there was nothing stopping you from taking my completed work and still charging back (not saying you would have, but you certainly could have). Remote freelancing is a game of trust and at that moment I lost it all... I have not, and will not touch your project since that threat. Honestly, I have not even looked at your last responses to the ticket it angered me so much. I don't deal well with threats like that.... its incredibly rare in my professional life a deal goes bad, 20+ years as a web developer I can literally count on 1 hand the number of unhappy clients.

Again, I am disappointed it turned out the way it did, we were off and running quickly and I was hoping things would stay within scope through until the end and we would enjoy a long and fruitful relationship as I do with everyone else. I realize all I had to do was just give you the final product and collect the payment for the work I had completed, but it became about principal for me. I'd rather cut my losses and lose money then give into threats.

For anyone curious, here are a couple screenshots of the custom dev work completed. Basically selling premium listings/ad spots at the top of each category.

Best of luck in your future endeavors.

premium.jpgads.jpg
 

boozhloo2

Member
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While all what you mentioned sounds reasonable, let's remember that you have ignored the fact that I asked you for an ETA/deadline over 4 times.
The work was dragged across 2 months, while ignoring my requests for a deadline (4 times) in addition to not responding to tickets for days on end. You ignored me on ALL occasions. I asked you to confirm the value that was underpaid so I can reimburse you, over 3 times, you also ignored me on all of those occasions too. This gave me a sense of carelessness, while you urged me to pay "in a timely manner" the first milestone of work. I did, and rightfully so which has put me in a very unfair position and I expressed that to you.

I well understand that you have other things to tend to and iterated those in my tickets. I've had my fair share of stress and costs that I've lost during that time and had a sense of urgency to cover for. The chargeback incidence was purely during a moment of anger, I reiterated that I have not and will not chargeback. That part of the project was vital for the whole, as mentioned if it's not fully completed it's as valueless as not completed at all.
 
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boozhloo2

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For anyone curious, here are the many proofs of the countless times I asked Mark for an ETA and the patience & understanding I withstood before finally "blowing up" in words about the chargeback which never happened. I actually offered to pay extra after apologizing for the outburst. A deadline was never given, even though I've asked for it over and over again. The project had an open-ended timeline, that was one of the major issues I had with the service that I have expressed as shown below.#1.jpg#2.jpg#3.jpg#5.jpg#6.jpg#7.jpg
 
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boozhloo2

Member
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After April 7, you did not bother responding after:

1) I iterated my apology for underpaying you without knowing about it and proposed to reimburse you
2) I asked you once again for a deadline/ETA

I have also offered to pay an extra fee (overpay you) as a courtesy for mistakenly underpaying you.


So please don't pin this on me saying I went around throwing threats when you've treated me like this for 2 months straight.

I'm a customer of yours. I made it clear that I felt undervalued, and kept in the dark, but pushed my understanding to its limits as a customer.

Either way this is out here, I believe others are free to decide for themselves if this is a service they'd like to receive when it comes to ongoing development as opposed to a one-time purchase. I personally rated it as a 3/10 and discourage anyone from moving forward precisely because of the way I was treated after 50% of the work was complete. Everything was great before that as I mentioned earlier, I was extremely satisfied with the service before it all went south.

Timeliness is obviously not an important factor at all here.
 
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Mark

Administrator
Staff member
Like I said, after your threat to chargeback for completed work, I read nothing further from you. I just don't need that stress, I cut my losses.
 

boozhloo2

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That wasn't the main point of the post, but it seems like you don't want to acknowledge the faults anyway.
 
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Mark

Administrator
Staff member
Faults on my end acknowledged, but there is nothing I can do at this stage.
 

boozhloo2

Member
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The faults are the reason for the outburst in the first place. It's been proven futile communicating with you past March 10 anyway, I hope others don't fall into the same predicament, all I can say is that I did my part here. You made it very clear that you did not want to put a deadline and that gave you leverage to keep dragging the project on. Most of what I invested were sunk costs since the work was never completed, I didn't opt-in and was never okay with receiving 50% of the product. I clearly told you that before we started working together.


How surprising and rather unusual that you -relatively- instantly responded to the post here within the same day while I waited weeks for a basic response through tickets.
 
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Mark

Administrator
Staff member
Look at all of your tickets and you will see 99% of the time I answered you swiftly, usually within minutes not hours, days or weeks. Usually delayed responses come from demands.. For me, thats what makes for a toxic work environment. I send 50-100 emails every day helping a long list of people launch projects and build businesses ... I don't like to keep anyone waiting, I do the best I can, certainly not always perfect but I make best effort and take pride in what I do. But how do I prioritize when 20 people want deadlines hit? I need to focus on those who appreciate and understand the scope of what we are doing, and those who do not... well, they are super rare... but here we are.

Like I said, I'm disapointed it turned out the way it did, I lost a lot of time and wasted energy over this... even just communicating back and fourth was so much more than nearly any other project I have ever worked on in my lifetime (and here we are, still going strong). You and I are clearly not compatible when it comes to working together, and I have made peace with that. There is no point beating this into the ground any further.
 

boozhloo2

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Look at all of your tickets and you will see 99% of the time I answered you swiftly, usually within minutes not hours, days or weeks.
That's very true.. prior to March 10. The service was amazing before that 10/10 I've admitted to that without a doubt. All I'm talking about is after March 10, where the service suddenly dipped to a 3/10 and the project dragged. After that, what I asked for was a deadline + confirmation for the fees. Those are more of a request as opposed to being "demands".

I send 50-100 emails every day helping a long list of people launch projects and build businesses ... But how do I prioritize when 20 people want deadlines hit?
You haven't mentioned this. I expressed to you that the issue was twofold: your inability/unwillingness (?) to communicate, and refusing to place a deadline by passively ignoring my multiple requests for one. You could have at least given me some sort of timeframe.


I tried to compensate for my wrongdoings, specifically the underpayment & outburst, I owed up to them and was willing to overpay up to 100$ as a customer. I haven't seen any sort of action from your side as a service provider except "hey, you hit a nerve so I'm out deal with it". We might be incompatible, but then again all I asked for was a deadline which you passively ignored and kept an open timeframe for. None of what happened would have taken place if you responded with a simple reply like:

"hey dude, expect it by 01/05/2021, max by 12/05/2021"

Done! 1) It takes 8 seconds to write, 2) it doesn't keep me hanging, 3) It gives you a timeframe for completion, and 4) It reassures me that you're actually serious about this.

We're not really beating this to the ground, I just finally got a sense of resolution by having some sort of communication and voicing out my experience and concerns.

What am I supposed to do with 50% of the product now, which was never what I wanted to purchase?
The original screenshot is attached to this post, remember you broke it into 2 milestones, and I had put my faith & trust in your service that we would complete all of it. You mentioned lost energy and time, so far my sunk costs are energy, time, and over 600$ (300$ visiolist, 200$ gfx, 90$ domain name, 25$/mo for 2 months of hosting with the third one just started).


You've received the payment for the first part of the project, I'm left with 50% of a product because you decided to break it into 2 milestones and abandon the project half-way through. How is that supposed to make me feel?
 

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fyndler

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I´m sorry but i really have to put my 2 cents here. Mark and Basti has both been nothing then professional. I have asked so many question even the most easiest ones when i been tired and really could not figure out they have both helped and answered. From simple code errors to even fixing my code without taking charge. They have always answered my posts and PM´s, never been rude to me. Just felt i had to put in my 2 cent here cause i never seen any bad behaiour from their side. (sorry for my bad English, not my first language)
 

boozhloo2

Member
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I never worked with basti, he seems great. The only person I worked with was Mark, who was also great.

The service was perfect as I mentioned, but the problem here is I needed all the work done. He split the work into milestones, then suddenly flaked on me after I've invested 600$ refusing to put a deadline for the rest of the work or communicating. All I wanted was a deadline, it's really simple but was unfortunately never provided.

As a customer I tried to be understanding and wait it out, but it got the best of me after trailing for 2 full months for 1 feature (regardless of the work getting out of scope which was the reason pinned to justify the delay, I asked for a deadline to counter this from happening and reassurance that it will be completed by "X" date. He refused to place one, and finally blames me for the outburst while refusing to continue the work).


How would you feel if this happened to you?

You wanted "X" work done in 2-4 weeks, you made a deal with the company, and the work was split into 2 milestones by the company. 1 milestone was completed within the 4 week period, the other trailed for 2 months totaling 3 months.
1) The work exceeded the deadline (they said it went out of scope, and kept postponing you week after week without any updates unless if you pursued them)
2) You asked for a deadline 3-4 times, you were ignored on ALL occasions (aka the service refused to place a deadline)
3) You can't track the progress so you send 2-3 tickets to receive a response from the company

You get angry and outburst eventually after investing over 600$. You are blamed for the outburst and that's it. You're not getting the rest of the project - deal with it.
 
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