Did a web site offer value for money?
A construction company (the Defendant) had commissioned a company (the Claimant) to produce a web site for them along with a few other minor jobs and some SEO. The Claimant had proceeded to do this at the offices of the Defendant and had billed them for work done on an irregular basis. Bills to the value of around £30,000 had been issued with over £20,000 having been paid. The Defendant felt that the site represented poor value and had refused to pay any further invoices.
I was engaged by the Defendant. I was horrified by what I saw. The Web site that had been produced was one of the worst I'd ever encountered, at any price. The fact that the Claimant was seeking around £30,000 for the work was staggering.
However, one of the interesting things about this work is that one must be logical and dispassionate about the evidence. I therefore set about showing why I felt the site was so poor. I compared it to other Web sites for construction companies of a similar size in the same area. I listed the errors on the Web site and gave my opinion on whether they were of a reasonable nature given the work involved (I felt they were not).
I looked at how many hours it would have been reasonable to take to produce each aspect of the work carried out as well as investigating typical hourly rates for Web designers in that area of the country. Whilst the defendant's hourly rate was reasonable, the time taken for the work was most definitely not.
I looked at the few time sheets that were available to try to ascertain how much of the work had been used to build the Web site and how much was taken up with other minor tasks such as sorting out a few hardware issues and email problems within the office. It was my opinion that very few hours had been spent on task outside of the production of the Web site.
The minimal SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) that had been carried out on the site had been of a very poor quality and examination of the traffic logs for the server indicated that it had not benefited the company at all.
My conclusion stated:
- I consider the web site is of poor quality on a number of counts, principally design, navigation, written content, search engine optimisation and photographs.
- I believe the time limit imposed on the Claimant by the Defendant was reasonable and that a significantly better site could have been produced by a competent web designer in around two weeks.
- I do not believe that the Claimant met the standard expected of a reasonable web site designer in respect of the work undertaken for the Defendant.