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Concerns raised over website company


Concerns have been raised by breeders over the operations of an online graphic web design company which offers website design packages specifically for dog breeders and dog companies, with the aim to develop ‘high quality yet affordable websites’ that are easy for their customers to update and maintain.

However, it has been alleged that the websites on the Pick of Litter portfolio pages do not always function as advertised; many are incomplete and the photographs, which have been submitted by breeders, cannot be seen.

Breeders contacting OUR DOGS have voiced complaints after being promised a cheap website by the company, run by Mr Richard Bailey, due to the length of time they had to wait to see their websites up and running. This has been varying from six months to almost one year, and in some cases the breeders still have nothing to show for their money. There is no obvious telephone number on the Pick Of Litter website to contact the company, so its customers for the most part have had to rely solely on email.

David and Lorna Tilley, of Mossport French Bulldogs, first contacted Pick Of Litter because the online host of their original website was closing down and they had hoped to transfer their domain name over to Mr. Bailey’s company. When communications ceased, the couple began emailing Pick of Litter once a month over a series of months about their missing website, although they still have yet to receive a response from the company. This is despite their home page being featured on the Pick Of Litter portfolio pages. They have since set up their website elsewhere.

One individual contacted OUR DOGS regarding her experience with the company: ‘I think it's one of those things that people get duped into, then are too embarrassed to admit that they were so silly as to part with their money before finding out anything about the terms. A lot of these (breeder’s) sites are now up; however they do not seem to be the recently updated sites. One person I know put a lot of material on their site, and now it all seems to be missing. The last update is registered as 12th May 2008!’

Unhappy

On the 15th July, Mr. Bailey wrote to Tracy Hill (Parhileon German Shepherds) to assure her that he would be able to transfer her domain name to his company and would set up a new website for her. Tracy wrote to him on the 17th July asking for confirmation that he had received her money for the changeover and did not receive a reply. She later received confirmation that her domain name had been successfully transferred on the 24th July.

Another unhappy customer was Linda Phillips, owner of the Bulldavlin Bulldogs and GSD. She recently wrote to Mr. Bailey in order to make it clear that she required a refund, along with a full explanation as to what was happening. Linda sent OUR DOGS an email that she had received from the company, Bailey Tech. In this email Linda wrote, ‘Hi, below is the only response I have had since asking Richard for a refund. As you can see, it is from Susan Michaels, and not Richard himself. I paid £99.00 for the website and at one point I told him I thought it was a scam. To which he replied, "A scam? Not at all, we’ve just got a lot on!".’ The subsequent reply from Susan Michaels, a Bailey Tech engineer, was apologetic: ‘We are slowly working through our backlog.’ In response to an earlier request for information as to the progress of her website, the reply Linda received read, ‘Sorry, the person responsible no longer works for me. All 150 sites are currently down and we are working hard to rectify this at present. Sorry. Bad times :(.’

Sacked

Despite several people sending emails to Richard Bailey asking when their websites would be ready, few received any form of reply. Some customers did receive an email explaining there had been a problem with an employee, who had since been sacked. The general explanation offered seems to have been that this ex-employee’s activities had somehow caused the delay. Others have also been told that the problem had arisen due to the aforesaid employee and that the company now had to change servers.

However, many breeders still waiting for their newly designed websites to be accessible online have now gone on to report the matter to Google Trading Standards, in the hope that if enough people complain then Google Trading Standards will investigate the matter. Disappointed customers who have requested a refund haven’t yet had any money returned, and in many cases the customers have yet to even receive an email confirmation to acknowledge this request.
When OUR DOGS tried to contact Mr. Bailey, we received an email advising us to look on the Pick Of Litter web forum, www.pickoflitter.co.uk/forum for more information as to what the problems were. However, as we do not have a registered user name, we could not at first read the forum, and the registration process was not explicit. Subsequently, at the time of going to press, OUR DOGS has not had any other contact from Mr. Bailey, or anyone else at Pick Of Litter. The web forum is restricted to general updates from Pick Of Litter only, and people waiting for news cannot ask questions about the progress the company is making with individual websites.

Other web design companies we spoke to, who all host dog breeder websites, assured us that £99.00 was at the lower end of the price spectrum for this particular service, and so queried how the service could be offered at that price. They also informed us that after the breeder submits all the text and photographs for their websites, it should take no longer than four-to-six weeks to complete and go live on the internet. These companies also raised questions regarding the domain names already registered with Pick Of Litter, suggesting that if the breeder had allowed Pick Of Litter to register their affix under the company name, then they might find it difficult to get access to that domain name for their own use with another server as it will already be recorded as ‘in use’.

A reader who contacted Our Dogs last week, who wishes to remain anonymous, has told us that she feels that she stupidly allowed Richard Bailey to purchase her domain name and she is worried she will not be able to buy it back. She added, ‘This man has no idea of customer service, he does not reply to emails and the telephone number on the subsequent communications connected to the transfer of my domain name does not work! I have been using www.pickoflitter.co.uk to host my website since September 2008. I have been extremely disappointed in this company’s ability to host any site with professionalism. It took three months from the time of purchasing, to my site actually becoming live. Then that was only after I threatened him with legal action! Once live, I was quite shocked to see it was the same template as everyone else’s’, and not individually designed as he advertised.’

The Pick Of Litter website portfolio shows a number of example homepages, all of which could arguably have been made using an identical template. Customers were advised that they could take over their newly created home pages and develop their site further if they so wished. This was an option our reader felt she had to take up, and as an offer of a regular 24/7 advice line was available, she felt she would be able to manage the site on her own.

Going on to describe Mr. Bailey as ‘a complete cowboy,’ she continued, ‘I then proceeded to design and add all the pages, literature, photographs and links myself. It took an awful long time as I was not too good in this area. When I asked the hosting site for help and advice, my emails were completely ignored. No customer backup or advice has ever been given, despite the promise on Mr. Bailey’s original advert that 24/7 advice was always available; no matter how big or small the problem. I dread to think how much business I have lost through this man's unprofessional approach to handling this whole disaster. He seems to be happy to just take your money and run! My biggest concern is the fact that I signed over my own personal domain name, which is used in my email as well as my web address, because he said that was the only way to get the same name in both. Will I get this back? The name is personal to me as it is my kennel name.’

OUR DOGS continues to investigate these claims and encourages any of our readers who have suffered a similar problem linked to the company Pick Of Litter, to contact us immediately.

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I had my website from Pick Of Litter and have had nothing but help from Richard Bailey all emails were answered and i have had some very nice comments on the layout of my site
adevaspaniels.co.uk

glenys harrison

 

 

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