Designers Beware!! Larakroft Gin Club-www.myleague.com/lgc

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#1   Designers Beware!! Larakroft Gin Club-www.myleague.com/lgc
Kelly_Hero
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Occupation: Web Developer
Age: 53
Website: www.myleague.com/bandr
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Joined: Aug 20, 2003
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If you are a designer of league pages, we advise you to never ever do any work for Lee Hellman aka Larakroft. She will promise to pay you and then tell you lie after lie about why she hasn't paid. We have been going through this for over a year.

I started designing pages for her two leagues - Larakroft Gin Club and Larakroft Yahtzee World - back in October 2006. I designed a system for her that would allow visitors to change themes on a plus league page, along with 8-10 themes for each league over the course of the past year. No other league page has a system like the one I created. I was made an Admin in her leagues so that I could maintain her pages. I also created a weekly newsletter for her to send out to her members. Since she had very little knowledge of HTML, I usually ended up coding the newsletter for her each week at no charge. If something went wrong with her page (usually caused by her messing with the code) I fixed it, again, at no charge.

In the beginning, we hosted all of the pages and graphics that we created at no charge. Several times we were forced to "take down" her pages after warning her we would do so if she didn't pay for work we had done. In March 2006, she procured her own hosting and demanded that we move all of her pages to that server.

Once everything was on her server, we would not be able to access her pages whenever she didn't pay us because she would change the FTP password and limit my access in her MyLeague admin. This happened several times.

We realize now that we should have washed our hands of this woman a long time ago, but we let our personal feelings get the better of our business sense. We thought she was trying to run her league without any help from anyone and we wanted to help her in whatever way we could.

The real kicker came in October/November 2007. The last work that I did for Lee was the league newsletter on October 13th. As soon as the newsletter was complete, we sent Lee an invoice. After 2 weeks of getting excuse after excuse of why she hadn't paid (including that she was in the hospital), she agreed to pay on October 30th. We sent her another invoice.

On October 30th, she informed me that she couldn't pay the invoice because her computer got hacked and she had cancelled all of her credit cards. On November 1st, I received chargebacks in my Paypal account for 6 months of invoices, totaling more than $1400. The chargebacks not only wiped out every penny we had in Paypal, but left us with a huge negative balance, rendering our Paypal account essentially frozen. With clients all over the USA and in other countries, this caused a great hardship on us when it came to doing business. While the disputes were open we could not take any payments via Paypal because of the negative balance.

Because our Paypal account is a business account guaranteed by our bank account, Paypal tried two separate times to withdraw the money from our bank account. Each time they did this, it wiped out all of the money from our bank account and caused us to have a negative balance there as well. Each time Paypal tried to take the money from our bank account, we were charged NSF fees. The negative balance in our bank account caused several checks to bounce so we were charged NSF fees for those, along with the return check fees we were charged for the checks that bounced.

On November 19th, Paypal's dispute resolution team ruled in our favor on the charge backs and contacted Lee's credit card company to repay the money they had taken from us. According to Paypal, if a dispute is resolved in the favor of the seller or service provider, the credit card company has 75 days to pay the money back. Lee's credit card company finally paid our money back to us on February 2nd, 2008 (exactly 72 days from the day the disputes were resolved in our favor and 92 days from the day our account was frozen).

During the time that our Paypal account held a negative balance, we were harassed constantly by Paypal's collection department. They sent us emails, they sent us collection letters and they called us several times a day.

On the day that our Paypal account was cleared (February 2, 2008), we contacted Lee and informed her that we would be sending her an invoice for the money that she still owed us from October, plus the fees that we incurred as a result of her cancelling her credit card. She agreed to pay the invoice. Over the course of the next week or so, she gave us excuse after excuse for why the invoice hadn't been paid. She would say she didn't get the invoice. We sent it at least 6 times to different email addresses that she uses. Then she would tell us she forgot to pay because she fell asleep. She even used the "I was in the hospital" excuse again.

On February 10, 2008, we sent Lee notice that due to her failure to pay us, we were withdrawing our permission to use our copyrighted work on her site. Our copyright is cleared noted at the bottom of each and every page of her site. She again promised to pay and over the course of the next few days gave us more excuses about why the bill hadn't been paid. The latest excuse was that she refuses to use Paypal anymore because of all the trouble THEY caused her!

On Sunday, February 17th, the invoice still had not been paid. We again sent her notice asking her to remove our copyrighted material from her site. In return, we received an email, written by someone on her behalf, stating that she had paid the invoice to our Google Checkout on Saturday, February 16th, and that she had a receipt for her payment. She then threatened to get her attorneys involved because we were "harassing" her. We asked for a copy of her receipt, which of course, we never received.

Today, February 18th (when the payment to Google Checkout was supposed to have shown up in our account), we received an email from Lee (again written by someone else on her behalf) stating that she is not obligated to pay the fees that we incurred and we have overstepped our bounds by asking her to pay them. Therefore, she is rescinding her agreement to pay us. Again, she threatened us with her attorneys if we try to pursue this matter any further.

We again informed Lee that the current invoice includes charges for work we had done back in October that we were never paid for. She then sent me a message on Yahoo Messenger asking me to send her an invoice, minus the amount for the fees. Figuring we would at least get what was owed to us, we sent her an invoice via Google checkout.

She has now tried twice to pay it. The first time, the credit card was not authorized. The second time, Google marked the transaction as "Review in Progress", meaning that they are putting a hold on the transaction because it seems suspicious.

I guess we will never get the money she owes us.

The long and short of it is that anyone who does business with this woman will end up with nothing but hardship and heartache for their efforts. I strongly advise everyone to steer clear of doing any kind of business with her.

By the way, if anyone (even attorneys) has any doubt that any of the above stated is true, I can and will provide documentation in the form of emails, Yahoo history archives, etc.



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