What was the scope of their involvement?
Kapil [Managing Director, Nine Hertz] is a good salesman. He made us feel like the app would be easy to produce, claiming that it was definitely in their scope and that they could do it quickly. He gave us a timeline of 6 months to a year. That was 4 years ago.
When we started going through the stages, they were hitting our benchmarks at first, which was great. Then, they wanted us to pay the final benchmark so that we could receive the final product. We put the money in escrow, and Kapil said the final step would be done on a certain day and wanted us to release the funds so that they felt confident releasing the app. We released the funds. (We learned through this experience never to do that again.) Then, Nine Hertz kept telling us that the app wasn’t done yet. The experience dragged on, but they wouldn’t make any changes. They had their money, but we were stuck.
We went back and forth with them. They would send us pieces and changed some things, but they stopped focusing on the app and refused to put any more work into it. We tried to remain patient and worked on other things associated with the app.
At this point, I’ve had many calls with Kapil where he’s gotten aggressive, which is a huge change compared to before they had our money. We tried to talk to other people, but that didn’t help. We sent stuff to and called their office in Ohio, but it’s been a miserable experience.
We are now at the point where they’re walking away from everything. After we mentioned that we would have to review them, they started trying to work with us a little bit. We want people to know that Nine Hertz hasn’t done anything substantial. We feel that if they’d focus on the project, they would’ve had a great thing for their portfolio. They just didn’t want to see it through.
At this point, they have the app that they wanted to make, which is not the one we agreed on. We tried to have them make changes, but it’s a battle every time. The total scope was to develop the app that we’d specified. That included the design and functionality of a simple picture-sharing app that breaks images down into puzzles. Currently, the name of our app is PixxedUp, but the original name we had chosen was Pixel. We found out that someone else is already using that name, so we changed our idea. Two years ago, another company in India produced a similar app concept called Pixel. We brought this up to Kapil and let him know that his team had taken so long that someone else made our app. He denied everything. The fact that a company that’s also in India is using our original name makes us feel terrible. Our whole idea is gone. We signed NDAs, but when working with people overseas, there’s nothing we can do legally to protect our idea.
The final app we agreed on had many different functions that were never put down. Part of the agreement was that once the app was finished and we got to a certain amount of users, Nine Hertz would get incremental bonuses. For a year after the app was on the App Store, they were supposed to provide tech support. We never got to that point, and now they are walking from the project.
Kapil sold us on everything, but he’s stopped responding to my emails. Until recently, he would respond to WhatsApp messages from me but would not respond to anything from my partner. There was a huge breakdown in communication and follow-through. When I looked at their reviews on other sites like Facebook, other people have had the same experience. They also have a lot of good reviews, but most of those are from people in India.
The app is 85% done, and it’s been like that for 4 years. They said the app was completed and they’d release when we provided the final payment. But, when we released the payment, the app actually wasn’t complete. We would give feedback about something that wasn’t working in the app, and they claimed they’d fix it, but months went by with nothing. Then, they told us the language changed and we needed to do something totally different. We’d get the app and try to download it, but it wouldn’t open. We asked for at least part of our money back if they weren’t going to finish the app, but they didn’t do that.
I think the breakdown happened once they got the money. They have never had a successful app. When I went back and looked at their portfolio, they had a couple of apps listed, but nothing over 500 downloads. Maybe they can make a functioning app, but when it comes to finishing it, they don’t seem to pull through. I’ve seen other companies on Elance (now Upwork) write this. The platform shows they have completed 100% of their jobs, but the reviews don’t say that. I have some appointments with some other people to tell my story because this is the only way we can get the word out about Nine Hertz.
My partner runs a website company where he works with other people in India. We told Kapil to hand off the code to someone else so that we could go our separate ways. But, Kapil won’t honor our request.
We wanted Nine Hertz to talk to our new developer and explain certain things about the code, but Kapil would not agree to that. We sent an email that had some specific questions, but he ignored it. When I reached out to him on WhatsApp, he said that he wasn’t responding because the questions were too general and he didn’t have time. He did do some things after I threatened to give a bad review, but then he said to go ahead with the review.
Once they had their money, it was a drastic turn. We were very patient at first, thinking they were finalizing everything. They claimed that the app works for them and it’s too bad it doesn’t work for us. We’ve had a couple of phone calls that got heated in which Kapil called us “idiots.” In the end, they said they could build the app we wanted but called us "dummies” when it didn’t work.
How did you come to work with Nine Hertz?
We needed to find an affordable firm, so we went to Elance. We interviewed many developers. After meeting Nine Hertz, they promised us they could make the app.
How much have you invested with Nine Hertz?
We agreed on paying them $7,000 to do the app and had benchmarks for releasing the money.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in 2014.