What was the scope of their involvement?
I worked with a gentleman named Jeff in Indiana who is in charge of all website maintenance and management from the standpoint of posting specials, making changes, and all SEO [search engine optimization] and Ad Words. He's my go-to person when it comes to anything online, Google, etc. I signed a contract with Forix in March or April 2015. From the get-go, I told them that Jeff will be the in-house person to contact and will be dealing with any templates. I wouldn't know what to look for or what's right or wrong. Consequently, Jeff was involved as my representative and looking out for my best interests.
It was almost 6 to 7 months before they finally had something we could launch. Jeff wasn't the one who had access to the contract that I signed, so none of that came to light after the site was launched. He realized he had no access to it. We didn't realize that Forix had complete control of the website. We had no management control. There were some codes or access numbers that only Forix knew and wouldn't divulge, so we had no ability to manage the site.
There's another term the Forix guy mentioned as an easy way to manage the site and keep it secure: WordPress. Apparently, this had no WordPress capabilities. He said we're going to be in trouble. It's not going to work out regarding management. It's designed for them to have control of and charge you. That was something I didn't know. I just thought they were building the site and then would transfer ownership to us, like "Here are the keys, you take over, we're done." That's not how it worked. All of a sudden, late last year, we get hacked. Our website is down, and it has this Chinese stuff all over it, under their watch. Apparently, they don't have updates. According to Forix, WordPress gives you automatic updating capabilities, so things can't be broken into like that.
We don't have any commerce associated. My understanding is the whole concept of WordPress is simplicity regarding day-to-day maintenance or management; putting things in, taking things out. We went back-and-forth with Forix again and finally said "Listen guys, we want control of the site. We want to own it, and take it out of your hands. I've already paid you $20,000, and I don't have anything that I own." They said "What do you want? Nobody mentioned WordPress in the beginning." Jeff never saw the contract.
They "rebuilt" it, supposedly under a WordPress setting, with the idea that we were supposed to be getting the keys to the kingdom at some point. Then, of course, they wanted more money. I wrote them another check, and this has been going on back-and-forth. Jeff still doesn't have access to it, and there are still some lock-in features that he can't get into. We got hacked again 2 days ago.
Something Jeff found out, which I didn't even know was someone hacked the site and deleted certain pages of our website. He doesn't know why or who would do this. I couldn't imagine why anyone would take the time to do that unless they were a competitor. He said they uploaded a bunch of data. I didn't have the stomach to go on the website yesterday; I was too busy doing other stuff. He supposedly band-aided it together.
We're supposed to have a fourth location on the website, and we can't touch it. The whole premise was that's what we want to do. The conversation started almost a year ago, and we finally realized that it was built just for them, with their codes and backdoor stuff that we can't see. Jeff said, "I might as well step out because I can't do anything with it." Every time we want to do something, we must contact them. "That's the contract you signed up for," Forix says.
How did you come to work with Forix?
Our manufacturer (which is the largest manufacturer of portable spas in the world) had a worldwide annual dealer meeting two and a half years ago in San Diego. One of their key speakers was a representative from Forix who talked about concepts of web design and development, assisting dealers and upgrading their websites. At the same time, he was representing Forix. He was very good and hung out with the dealers afterward to help with questions and give advice. I was impressed enough to want to redo our website from the ground up. I signed a lengthy contract (keep in mind that I am not an internet person at all).
How much have you invested with Forix?
If I remember correctly, it's $25,000, maybe a little more.
What is the status of this engagement?
We sent them an email to a guy named Henry, with whom we've been dealing for almost a year and a half, saying "Hey, we need to get in and post the grand opening of a new location and get it on the site." He doesn't respond for 2-3 days. We're done with these guys.