Having an issue with your website project that you cannot resolve with your supplier? We’re very sorry to hear. Here are a few steps to consider in this sticky situation.
Firstly, review the contract. Every project should come with a detailed contract or proposal, outlining the tasks to be completed, the timeline to be expected and the costs involved. The worst thing for either party is a vague contract; ensure you understand what is and isn’t included.
Secondly, escalate your complaint up to management. The senior management or Directors of the supplier should deal with your concerns in a mature and resolving matter. Keep personal feelings out of it; dispute resolution is about facts; getting personal ensures a messy and potentially unresolved issue. Ask for documentary evidence of all disagreed elements, and put yourself in the suppliers position; are you being unreasonable or difficult? Be honest with yourself - have you made assumptions you haven't communicated to the supplier?
If you still have no success when dealing with the owners or managers, review your contract for contract cancellation or mediation clauses. If there are such clauses (many contracts state mediation with a third party, such as a state Law Society), then ask for this process to be undertaken. Mediation costs are often borne jointly by the parties.
If there are no mediation processes in place, or your supplier is being unreasonable and you feel you have exhausted every other avenue, get in touch with your local Fair Trading agency. These agencies can work as informal mediators or at least give you some advice for free.
Here's a list of Fair Trading agencies in each state and their websites.
If this still does not resolve matters, then Fair Trading can point you in the right direction of legal action. Legal action should really be an absolute last resort, once you have exhausted all of the above. It normally involves starting action in a small claims tribunal.
All the best with resolving your issue with your supplier!
- Miles Burke.