I have lurked on these forums for a long time and I got myself in a bad situation and just needed to post. I apologize if this may be the wrong category, but I figured this may be the best place to get some guidance.
I want to preface this post with these facts, so everyone doesn`t have to reiterate what I already know, lol:
I was a bit naive.
We never signed any agreement.
I have the invoices and email and paper contracts - no signatures
I spent around 7 grand.
I am screwed.
I have a web-based startup company. While searching for a developer at the end of last year, I was recommended through an acquaintance a company lets call "Laid Back Web Developers". They are located on the opposite coast (3 hour time difference is crucial when trying to pass info back and forth - something I didn`t think would matter).
I won`t get into the rocky road we had since November but being naive and anxious I stuck with them. Slowly but surely, they produced, the site was being built. It was never 100% the way I would have liked it and they always seemed to have an answer as to why. (Keep in mind, I wasn`t asking to boil the ocean, all of my features have been done on tons of other websites). But again, the longer it went, and the more money I poured into it, the deeper I got.
Even so, I was relatively happy with it. Deadlines came and went. I didn`t mind. I made some changes so I can understand the delays. But now, about 6 months later. I still can`t launch the site...It is 99% launchable. And quite frankly, I could launch it, BUT I haven`t been able to get in touch with my guy in 3 weeks.
I call a few times a day, I leave voice mail, email, etc...Sure I could launch, but I don`t have admin rights to my own site. I can`t make any changes. If something goes wrong my web guy is MIA. If someone has a question I can`t answer my web guy is MIA. If nobody goes to the site, I am screwed...If thousands go to the site I have no way I monitoring performance etc...I want my site. Sure, he showed me one or two things, but I still can`t operate the site from behind the scenes. I have things I would like to change and add (banners/photos etc...) I can`t.
I have an invitation email ready to go, and the core feature of the site still needs tweaking AND my guy is MIA.
What is my course of action? Can I get a lawyer? Better business bureau? I don`t want to threaten the guy, but I have to do something. We are going on 3 weeks. Should I wait longer, even if something serious has happened to him or his family is this how he should run his company? Do I try and find another web company to help me for a reasonable price (I do have passwords into the user panel, just don;t know how to do anything)? Do I tell every site I can, the name of the company and bash him?
Thanks for whatever suggestions or help I get...