How long do you have to deliver a service?
January 25, 2007 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I purchased a service to deliver traffic to one of my web sites. I know it reeks of scam, but I was curious. That's beside the point. The terms of service don't state anything about the timeframe in which that traffic will be delivered. It's come in dribs and drabs (then entire purchase would take years, literally, to be delivered). And their stats do not match mine. Every single day shows them delivering more traffic than my whole site gets. That said, I have two questions. 1) What is the legal basis for timely delivery of such a service, given that timeliness is not discussed in their terms at all. There ought to be a reasonable assumption of how long they have to perform their service, right? 2) Since legal action is not a reasonable option (it would cost more to get a refund than the refund is worth), what are some ideas for completely legal ways I could put a spotlight on this company's potentially fraudulent but certainly terrible service?
posted by JWright to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I know exactly what he bought.
posted by unSane at 12:58 PM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Call the media's attention to them. Don't frame it as a complaint -- contact a tech or business journalist, pitch the story including your own experience and mention some other services that seem to do the same thing. You'll probably strike out, but you can always give it a shot.
posted by brina at 1:11 PM on January 25, 2007

If yours is a commercial/professional site, and if what you're trying to do is gain revenge, I would advise against it.

I think it's more likely to rebound against you by making you look like a gullible fool.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:33 PM on January 25, 2007

How do they measure the stats? If someone is routed to the site, but then there is an error and the site doesn't load, do they count that? Do they give a breakdown by how many visits per hour? Are the visits they claim all clumped around certain time periods?

As a test, I would be tempted to set up a site that is up for only one hour a day and then see what stats they are giving you for it.
posted by troybob at 1:35 PM on January 25, 2007

I doubt it's worth bothering to draw attention to the company. It reeked of scam but you paid up anyway; what makes you think other potential customers for those kinds of services will do sensible research?
(I don't mean that to sound insulting, it just seems to me that people don't sign up for "GET MONEY/TRAFFIC/EMAIL ADDRESSES/SEO FAST!" stuff based on rational, informed decision-making)
posted by malevolent at 2:58 PM on January 25, 2007

Scamsters like this live and die by the amount of traffic they manage to drive toward themselves. Since almost anything you do in retaliation against their shonky business practices is just going to raise their profile, I'd just chalk it up to education and leave it alone.

You don't want your pig in a poke to turn into a tar baby :-)
posted by flabdablet at 3:00 PM on January 25, 2007

Response by poster: Heh. I'd be writing the same replies. No, I knew it was 99% sure to be a scam, but I wanted to see.

And I didn't link to them specifically because I don't want to cause them any negative press - at least not until it's calculated.

My goal is to see if I can be annoying enough that it's cheaper for them just to give my money back than it is to deal with me. It's about the only recourse you have with organizations like this. And, at this point, I'm doing it because I can, not because I expect to get the money back.

But, since their terms do not reference a timeframe for delivery, I'd like to press that point. How long does the law allow for a reasonable time of delivery for such a thing, when it's not specified up front. Certainly waiting years for delivery is not a reasonable assumption. Any thoughts?
posted by JWright at 3:52 PM on January 25, 2007

Write to The Consumerist.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:49 PM on January 25, 2007

"My goal is to see if I can be annoying enough that it's cheaper for them just to give my money back than it is to deal with me."

Wow best of luck guy but I've seen situations like this turn against people pretty quickly; what are you going to do if they - and perhaps the law - perceive the various annoyances you engineer as harassment?

I wouldn't even let them know you're upset; just walk away.

On the other hand, you can certainly comment on their service, should you be given the opportunity via web forums and the like.
posted by Mutant at 10:18 PM on January 25, 2007

Digg might eat this up -- try writing up this story and submitting it there. Digg is full of stories like this with the blogosphere spotlighting and destroying dishonest or scammy companies.

Or, appeal to an A-list blogger to take up your cause. Point is to prove to the blogger that your story is entertaining and of value to his/her audience.

If you're really motivated, take out a Google ad and use the company's name as the keyword. You can do this pretty cheaply.
posted by JPowers at 12:20 AM on January 26, 2007

Also, writing to the Consumerist, as suggested above, is a very good idea. In fact, that's probably the best idea here. This kind of thing is their bread and butter.
posted by JPowers at 12:21 AM on January 26, 2007

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