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net-ARB Complaint

Site: scam.com July 1, 2011

Title:  net-ARB.com scam

URL:  http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?139963-net-ARB-com-scam


Client's Complaint

We are a US based small business which has just been scammed by net-ARB.com. We outsourced some work through a website called Elance.com and paid over $10,000 in fees. In the end, project was never delivered and we asked Elance's help in recovering our money from an indian company. Elance was quick on telling us that they didn't want to do anything with us and asked us to use a company called net-ARB. Even then they wouldn't guarantee that our money will be returned but if we didn't use net-ARB, they will assume that fraudulent indian company was right and will suspend our account.

Just come to think of it, you have lost more than $10,000, Elance won't come to rescue, make you pay another $199 to some scam business and will also suspend your account.

If you are looking to outsource, NEVER think of ELance. Go to Odesk or Getaprogrammer.com or another outsourcing site. Elance always sides with the provider and NOT with the buyer.

http://www.net-arb.com/ net-ARB URL

Now we are NOT sure if net-ARB is a legitimate company or a ploy by Elance to get themselves out of the whole thing. The other option we have is to contact the credit card company and do a chargeback on Elance for non-delivery.

Initial research on net-ARB is NOT very encouraging.

1) NO address on the website
2) NO phone number on the website
3) NO company details
4) Some really negative reviews all over the internet
5) From a review on another site, it appears that net-ARB is JUST one person and they always side with provider as that's how they get paid.
6) Another complaint on Webmaster forum suggests that net-ARB is fake entity and domain is registered NOT under a business but under some person which is odd. The phone number of domain registration is dead as I have tried calling it.

With all the experience on this website in spotting scam, I need advice on this company (if it is a company) and whether to just do a chargeback on Elance.

Also, what legitimacy they have when they don't even list their business name on the website?




Our Response


Case Synopsis

The parties began working together in early 2009 on a normal, 3-6 month web development project. As work progressed the parties mutually expanded the scope until 2½ years later they wound up in arbitration. The main issue was that in the 2½ years a lot of the software they were using (plugins, APIs, etc.) had gone through one or more revisions and that would all need to be updated before going live. The question was who would bear the cost?


Quotes from the Complaint

  • "Elance was quick on telling us that they didn't want to do anything with us and asked us to use a company called net-ARB. Even then they wouldn't guarantee that our money will be returned but if we didn't use net-ARB, they will assume that fraudulent indian company was right and will suspend our account."
  • Elance simply explained their dispute resolution terms to the gentlemen. If the parties can't come to an agreement with Elance's help, then they have to go to arbitration. Their rules say whichever party files for arbitration will win by default if the other party refuses to take part. If both parties decline to register for arbitration, the dispute is decided by default in favor of the client. If a party defaults, their account may be suspended by Elance. Completely fair terms in our opinion.
  • "Elance always sides with the provider and NOT with the buyer."
  • Over 7 years ago, Elance decided it was not in their best interest for them to decide their own user disputes because the perception of bias would be too great to overcome. Even without that burden, Elance even today suffers from the perception among some clients that Elance favors freelancers and just as many freelancers believe it's the other way around. Our perception is that they are neutral.

    In addition, it is a logical fallacy to think Elance would want to favor providers. First, there are a lot more providers than clients so why would Elance be concerned about losing a few, particularly the ones who that lost in arbitration. It's a way of weeding out poor performers. And it's the clients that bring the money to the table. If Elance wanted to keep anyone happy, it would be the people with the money.
  • "The other option we have is to contact the credit card company and do a chargeback on Elance for non-delivery."
  • Warning - this is terrible advice! Credit card chargebacks will not be successful against Elance. There are a number of reasons a chargeback will fail, chief among them is Elance's Terms of Use which require arbitration. At the end of your ordeal you will be left with no recourse at all because the time period for arbitration has expired.
  • "NO address on the website"
  • The company's founder resides in Atlanta, GA and net-ARB, Inc. is incorporated in Georgia, but we have no office space. Everyone doing work for net-ARB is doing it from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. We do not accept any physical evidence from parties and all communication is solely by email. We can't entertain visitors. Publishing an address is also somewhat deceptive, inferring we have physical offices when in truth we don't. We have an FAQ with more information on this topic.
  • "NO phone number on the website"
  • The short answer is that we cannot speak with potential parties by telephone. We must have a written record of everything we do or we would be exposed to all sorts of claims from establishing biased relationships to giving improper or illegal advice. This is a legal process and we are obligated to maintain a paper trail of everything we do. We have an FAQ with more information on this topic.
  • "NO company details"
  • net-ARB Inc. was incorporated in the State of Georgia (USA) in 2004. We do business as net-ARB.com. For more details, see our About Us page.
  • "Some really negative reviews all over the internet"
  • We know about 6 of them. This gentlemen is responsible for 2! This one and another posted the same day on ripoffreport.com. See our response to that one here. Please also see our gateway Complaint page here to understand why negative reviews are expected in our business.
  • "From a review on another site, it appears that net-ARB is JUST one person and they always side with provider as that's how they get paid."
  • Talk about chutzpah! This gentlemen is referring to the complaint he cross-posted on ripoffreport.com probably just minutes before posting this one.
  • "Another complaint on Webmaster forum suggests that net-ARB is fake entity and domain is registered NOT under a business but under some person which is odd. The phone number of domain registration is dead as I have tried calling it."
  • The domain name net-ARB.com is registered under the name of our founder, Marty Lavine. net-ARB was not yet incorporated when the domain name was purchased. The gentlemen must have found the 10-year old phone number that was provided when the domain was originally registered.

    Arbitrator's Explanation

    Under net-ARB policy, the arbitrator must provide a written explanation supporting the decision. Here is a copy of the explanation that accompanied the decision.

    The Panel finds no fault with the provider in this dispute. Few providers would even stick with an $8000 job for this length of time. Issues like needing to update plug-ins or other parts of the project are the product of an industry where as soon as something makes its way to the market it's already yesterday's technology. The provider didn't bid this as a 3-year job and should not be expected to incur the expenses in keeping old code up to date.

    The provider made no specific requests other than what the Panel decided was equitable and to protect his reputation. We award the provider $500 of the remaining escrow and will bar feedback for this project. The remainder of the escrow will be returned to the client. The Panel hopes he is able to complete his project with another provider.

    See the full List of Complaints we have responded to.

    If you know of one we haven't found, please let us know.

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