Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What do you think?

Has anybody used Brian Krouch also goes by Skooks design or Flaunt Books?

If so what was your experience like?

I haven't ever used them for anything because of what my friends have said but I'm wondering what you guys think.

55 comments:

jessica claire said...

The biggest mistake I've ever made in my business is hiring Skooks, which is a really hard thing to say considering how much I love my site. Here's how it went:

Last year, I hired Brian from Skooks to design my website. Here are the events that transpired:

Feb 7: I hired Skooks. Brian stated that the site would be done by Mid-April, end of April at the latest

March 21: Brian said that the site would be up soon, but he and his wife are both illl.

March 30: Skooks stated that the site will be up soon, but Brian said his hard drive crashed.

April 21: Brian said that he found several animators in the $150-$300 per image range and would let me know tomorrow

April 25: My site will be up soon but not yet because Brian stated he was launching another site.

May 3: Brian stated there would be a delay because he took a long weekend because he needed a break.

May 16: Brian stated that the site would be delayed because his family kidnapped him to go horseback riding.

June 3: Brian stated the site would be delayed because there was a death in his family.

June 6: Brian stated the site is not going live because I need to deal with the animators myself, although he previously agreed to deal with this issue and never mentioned to me again that he would need me to take over this aspect.

July 1: The site is coming soon but is delayed because Brian stated his wife was ill all week.

July 1: The site is not launching today because Brian stated he went to a baby doctor appointment.

July 7: The site is not launching yet because Brian stated that he and his wife are looking for a new home and must do so immediately

July 8: Brian claimed the site was 99% done and would be posted today

July 8: Brian stated he is busy with house purchasing and your sick wife

July 9: Brian stated his wife is sicker and might need to go to the ER

July 11: Brian stated he is on vacation for a week and the site will be posted upon his return

July 25: Brian stated his wife is sick, but the site would be up by the following day, the 26th

July 27: Brian stated he only works from 8pm to 2am and will call me this afternoon. No call was placed or received.

Sept 18: Site launches but is incomplete

Oct. 21: The remaining site is 90% done but won't be up yet because Brian stated he was heading to California for the weekend

The site was eventually completed in mid-November, 2005.

I hired Brian this year to make changes to my site (make the images large, add a few features), which were worked on and completed at a similar pace and in the same pattern as above.

Recently, I have had a problem with my website where clients with smaller monitors cannot click on my contact button, as a feature Brian installed for me several months ago was installed incorrectly. I have sent Brian numerous emails and called several times about this over the past 4 weeks and have not received a response since October 17th in which Brian stated he was looking into the issue and would let me know it has been fixes.

Brian never resolved the issue. Eventually Bigfolio was able to render a fix that allows people to see my contact information.

Anyone who hires Brian to do ANY work for them whatsoever is just running into a brick wall with spikes sticking out of it.

Michael said...

Wow, his wife get's sick a lot.

Daniel J. Watkins Photography said...

Wow...I finally have heard of someone who offers up more "why it's not done yet" excuses than me!! I bow to the master.

Actually...it sounds like the guy could do well to outsource some of his stuff. ;)

Jess -- I hope you reciprocated with an equal amount of procrastination when it came time to pay the bill.

Anonymous said...

so dj, what's the intent of this post? examples of how not to run a business?

amynave said...

I hired Skooks around this time last year. He seemed like a super nice guy and his work was amazing so I was beyond excited to be working with him. We had a couple of phone conversations and exchanged several e-mails and said he had an idea of what I was looking for in a website. From that point on everything went down hill. He had excuse after excuse of why I hadn't heard from him regarding my website. "Slammed with a project, wife had a baby, and slammed with more calls and e-mails" were just a few of the excuses that were used. He finally promised and said
"The proof will be to you by March 24th, and the site will be launched by the 14th of April guaranteed. "

On March 30th I finally received my first draft. Lets just say I was beyond disappointed and the design was so far off from what we had talked about that I knew there was no way my site would be finished by April 14th. When he presented the first draft he said

"I went a new direction from here this afternoon that I’m exploring.
Let me know what you think of these from earlier today.  It will help me gauge where you want to go."

After the hours and detailed conversation of where I wanted to go why was he now asking this question. Funny how he had months to work on this site but threw it together in one afternoon. If I had only spent a couple hundred dollars for a template the site would have been fine, but for a custom site I was extremely disappointed.

He gave me my money back, which I am extremely thankful for because I hired the most amazing web designer soon after. Skooks definitely needs to take on less work and focus on the clients that he has. As of right now I would NEVER recommend him to anyone. Months after I received my money back I continue to hear the same stories about how he promises and never delivers. So until I hear different from photographers I will continue to share my experience.

......Amy

Major Molly said...

I have SkooksKart. My experiences have been similar, except my emails went unanswered.

It was interesting to note though that they were pretty good making contact when it was time to collect the last payment (my CC on file had expired)

I'm actually pretty sad about it because he seems like a really nice guy and the SkooksKart is a great product.

Customer service though is not good.

It would be difficult for me to recommend them based on my experience.

[ b ] e c k e r said...

anonymous, i think dj posted this to serve as a "buyer beware" warning to photographers because he is looking out for the community. so many people have been hurt by this guy. i too hired him last april in person when i was in pheonix. he is a super nice and charming guy in person, the kind of guy you'd just want as a friend and to watch a ball game with.

i had heard a few horror stories about him before i hired him, i called him on it when we met, and he looked me in the eye and swore to me things were going to change and that i should give him a chance. he told me he was aware of my "status" in the photo community and certainly didn't want my big mouth confirming the rumors that were piling up about him.

i had already come up with the overall design of my website, thanks to the guys at www.reddoorla.com, and i was simply going to have skooks program the site, since he has done such great work in the past. ( i will say the guy is talented, if you have a year or two to wait for your site and have the patient of a saint). he assured me it would be up at the end of june so i could launch it on the 4th of july.

boy way i duped! finally in december, after showing me a draft that looked nothing like my original design, i fired his ass. i could afford to eat the deposit, even though i didn't want to, but to his credit he finally sent me a refund a couple months later and i hired www.omatik.com on mike colon's suggestion and jon hit one out of the park for me!

the funny thing about skooks, he wasn't aware that jessica claire and i were dating at the time he was working on our sites. i didn't keep as detailed a log as jessica did, but on the same day he told jessica he was buying a house, the story i got was that his grandpa died, and when he told her his wife was sick, he told me he was going on vacation. i guess it's hard to keep track of the stories when you make them up in your head.

at some point, he decided to get into the shopping cart game, it was interesting at first to see several of his clients have code and meta data from my pickpic shopping cart on their servers? he blamed it on the people who worked for him (of course) and the swore to immediately remove it. well, he just moved it, and it was found on a hidden link inside of one of his clients server. thankfully the current version of his cart doesn't have any borrowed code (that i am aware of at least) but it just goes to show what kind of guy he is.

the thing is, his shopping cart is actually pretty slick for those who want to DIY, but don't count on too much customer service. (if you are coming from pictage... you'll be used to it so go for it! ;) ;) ;) that is just a joke to tease DJ!)

if i were you i'd wait until the end of january when the new PickPic is coming out. i've seen some of the things troy has in store and it is going to blow the kooks cart out of the water. it's actually pretty much done, but troy is working on a way to hide the source code so that no one is tempted to "borrow" any of his code again.

again, this is just a buyer beware warning. if you hire him to install a cart, i wish you luck and hope you have a good experience (as some have). if you hire him to do an actual website, i am just going to laugh at you because you deserve what you have coming to you.

character counts in business folks. the moral of the story is to under promise and over deliver. not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I must be in the minority. I ordered my Skooks Kart on 11/28. The Kart was installed on 11/29. On 12/18 my Kart was not working properly. I put in a ticket and it was re-solved the same day! On 12/19 the edit cart button was not working. Again, another ticket re-solved the same day.

All these negative posts are making me nervouse.

Shane Snider said...

Wow, anonymous, you must have been so thrilled by the design, you forgot to add your name.

Chris Parker said...

Shane, Actually I am thrilled with the design/features. Anonymous=Parker
http://parkerphotographic.net/kart_home.php
Sorry selected wrong identity for leaving comment.

Jasmine said...

I learned two things from this post:
1. Don't hire Skooks
2. Don't mess with Jess...she keeps logs :)

Anonymous said...

The only thing I've ever heard about Skooks cart is "STAY AWAY!"

-Leon

Eddie Scheffer said...

jasmine, of all people you should know, woman are far better remembering this stuff, my betterhalf has a built in database, she remembers things i said like 3 years ago! scary stuff...:)

Anonymous said...

Have never used them but after looking at the portfolio, I am not impressed.

allan z. said...

i'm glad you posted this..i was thinking of going w/ skoots in the future...

Johnny said...

I was about to buy the Skooks Cart since I want to move away from Pictage and be a DIY'er again. But I was unsure... I had a funny feeling in my gut that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

So to get started with the DIY online proofing and ordering, I went with EZphotosales (thanks for the heads up on them Melody!) and for the money, I am pretty happy.

But, I CANT WAIT to see the new PickPic system... those screenshots are yummy [b]!

Looks like for us DIY'ers, PickPic is the ... pick! ; )

Damion & Julie Hamilton said...

Hope you don't mind but on the topic I'd love to send out a great referral if your interested. We are currently having our website design done by Artesian Design Group (www.artesiandesigngroup.com) and they are the nicest if not the most accomidating people I've met...(well..except you DJ of course :)). They have stayed involved thru the entire process. They even made a point to show up and art direct for our video shoots to keep consistancy.

We have been pretty picky clients, making changes in the middle of the process continually and they have been so accomidating. They operate with integrity a really do fine work.

Just thought I'd throw a positive referal out there for those that have had a bad experience with Skooks.

Our Site will be live here soon and I will throw the link out on OSP so you can see their final product.
Blessings,
Damion

Skooks Designs said...

My problem over the last 2 years is very simple. I've over-promised and under-delivered. I've bent over backwards to meet my customers needs and demands. In doing so it was like a domino effect.

Any client who has ever asked for a refund has received it back without any questions, regardless of how far along the project was completed.

As you know in growing a business there are a lot of challenges. I'm a perfectionist so it's been hard at times to outsource, hire, & train professionals to work with me at the standard I want to achieve. I've also had a hard time letting go of any project and letting others design & construct it. I guess that makes me a bit controlling but the produced work should speak for itself.

We offer a 30 day money back guarantee on the Skooks Kart and we've never had a client using the Skooks Kart ever ask for a refund.

Some Photographers above or below may want to bash & trash me everywhere they can but I won't do the same to them and disclose our private professional dealings. We are not currently taking on new design clients and stopped over 6 months ago to resolve my problem of overcommitting.

I have and will continue to make changes to resolve the issues with the way I've conducted my business. I am not going anywhere and will continue to be a major player in website design & software development within the photography community.

I appreciate posts like this as they give me a nice shot in the arm to further impress upon me the need for great change in my life, business & attitude.

I apologize to those of you I've dissappointed, frustrated, or that have been effected by my business coduct.. I do assure you that you will see drastic changes in my business conduct as well as the quality and caliber of sites we are about to start releasing.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions feel free to call me.
Best Regards,
Brian Crouch
Skooks Designs & Skooks Kart
1-877-659-1655

Rick Rosen said...

I am always a bit skeptical whenever I read a "trash and bash" thread on any supplier. I do not use Skoots and have never had any dealings with them.

What I have seen on many forums though is a one-sided bashing that in my opinion was not deserved. Of course I have also seen incidents in which the complaints were warranted and hopefully the company in question can benefit from that reality check.

For example, I can relate an incident in which a photographer had been using Pictage and then stopped due to financial problems in their studio. She went all over the web and attacked Pictage every chance she had. About 18 months later she was in a real jam with her clients again and approached Pictage to help her deliver product before she got sued by many of her brides. There was a mutual hug of forgiveness and Pictage agreed to help. The concession they gave her required a payment plan that she did not honor. After she had ordered tons of products and not paid her bill and they were unable to collect from her, Pictage again stopped her from ordering additional product. Well, you guessed it, she was back once again bashing Pictage all over the web for screwing up her business. I know this personal info because she actually posted her story in detail on DWF. Even with her failing to pay her invoice it seemed that she still felt that Pictage was at fault and deserved the bashing. Strange.

Many web design companies become the victims of their own success. They grow by delivering a good product but then they get bogged down in delivery because they cannot handle the increase in volume with the infrastructure they have in place. Unfortunately many just go out of business and disappear with their clients money and no web site. I'd guess that was the case with DJ's problems with his hosting service that screwed all of us.

My point is that there are always two sides to every story and while I do not mean to imply that the stories of problems are not totally honest and valid I do commend the company that steps forward, admits to their mistakes and apologizes.

Rick

jessica claire said...

Promising not to take on new clients does not excuse not taking care of past and current clients. This apology, while nice, isn't the first of it's kind. Apologies and words have no meaning if they aren't followed with truth and action.

Lisa said...

Well said Jessica-
"Apologies and words have no meaning if they aren't followed with truth and action."

I too am impressed by your log-
and I know why you have it-
I unfortunately had a similar log when I was was with Pictage for a month last year. When I started to keep track of it all, and then read back instance over instance of "not getting the job done" (in my opinion, of course) my lil' log was the only confirmation I needed to move on along....and find a better solution for my business.

Lisa said...

...though , to keep the glass "half full" apologies are a good start-

Cheers

Eddie Scheffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eddie Scheffer said...

He Brian,

thanks for coming along, i hope for you and your clients sake that
you are able to work things out,
and i wish you every succes to do so.
This post has showed us once again how bizzniz has changed over the years, word of mouth, can travel so fast in communities like these, it can also bring you down...:(

One thing i just have to say, if you make an excuse dont involve other people in it, like my wife, my dad and stuff like that, i am a believer in karma, and it just certainly messes things up, it aint worth it my friend!

2:19 PM

Lawrence Frank said...

My website is currently under developement by Brian at Skooks Design. I am very frustrated indeed.

I signed with Brian over a year and a half ago with an upfront deposit. Soon after we experienced a serious accident and illness in the immediate family and had to put the project on hold for about six months or so. We recontacted Brian in March '06 to resume the project with a promised completion date of October 06.

I experienced the same string of broken promises, excuses, unanswered email, unreturned phone calls a site finely launched at the end of November which is bugy and incomplete.

We had one phone conference Brian stating he was taking notes but has not implimented my requests so what was the point of discussion.

I have been told so many times things would get fixed by such a date which didn't happen. And many times that I would I receive a call which never came.

I also received the sick excuse, out of town excuse, bugs in the code , code is too old so I have to rewrite, I'm working on it now but no changes were made and it goes on and on and on.

This is still going on now. Last friday he called to ask if I'd be around in an hour to discuss the site. My reply was sure. The call was never made/received.

Todate I have paid Brian $2700. Todate I have a website with a slide show I loaded myself. A contact page which needs work and an empty incomplete gallery. This is not a custom site not even close.

Until speaking with you DJ at photo expo I had no idea this was so pervasive. I had been giving Brian the benifit of the doubt which seems misdirected in hindsight. I had experienced illness and been overwhelmed myself so I had compassion and patience.

But this is rediculous and I definately feel I've been had. I certainly have had it! It's one thing to get into a bind and need a bit more time it's quite another to mislead and lie.

I also agree that Brian is talented and charming but maybe like a fox.

Brian I would like my site completed by January 6
or I'd like a FULL refund of $2700 like you stated above you would do.

Hiring someone sight unseen is a leap of faith and trust you evidently do not appreciate.

I don't think anyone enjoys calling you out but you leave us no choice when you don't even have the courtesy to keep your word or communicate with us responcibly.

Brian have you ever stopped to think about the imact your actions have on all of us or are you too wrapped up in your own trip? I have a wife and two kids, you know, trying to provide like everyone else.

At risk for me as a wedding newbie is not only the borrowed money I have given you but many thousands more in advertising dollars spent based on your promise to have a completed site up which is fully functional.

Without a website I doubt whether I will receive much benifit from my first featured editorial exposure in January. This is NOT how I planned it when I contacted you in March...so much for the holiday spirit an good will toward men and women.

Think about it Brian.

Lawrence Frank
www.lawrencefrank.com

Faith said...

skooks? just doesn't sound very trustworthy to me. Its too close to kook or screw.

[ b ] e c k e r said...

folks, brian logged on a wrote a very thoughtful, well written, nice sounding explaination to defend his "good name". that what he does. he's awesome at making excuses and he is truly a nice guy at heart so you want to believe him, but don't fall for it folks. i wonder how many clients emails or calls he could have returned instead of spinning the story here.

i wonder if david beckstead is reading this. as of last night when he emailed me, he was still waiting for a refund from brian for over 8 months.

i know it makes me look like a jerk to heap on an bash him, but i assure you, it's nothing personal, i just am trying to help people avoid making a costly, poor business decision, or at least warn them what to expect if they do deal with him.

OpenSourcePhoto said...

Thanks for the posts everyone. I think it's important that we share information and make this industry better.

It sounds like the amount of people that have been disappointed with Skooks is significant and I certainly don't wish anybody the frustration that Becker, Jessica, Beckstead, Amy, Lawrence, etc... have had to deal with.

Cheers,
DJ

Rick Rosen said...

I think the man and his business certainly have some serious issues that they need to address quickly. Hopefully, for both sides, they will get it done.

I hope that no one thinks that I was in any way supportive of Skoots. I don't even know the guy. I was just a bit surprised to see the discussion happening in the manner that it was.

Rick

Anonymous said...

I for one am very appreciative of the discussion. This kind of stuff with Skooks has been going on a loooong time, and for political reasons, open, honest dialogue has been discouraged elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I also use EzPhoto Sales- they are AWESOME! Best customer service!

Just thought I would add my positive here for them.

T*

David Beckstead said...

"Any client who has ever asked for a refund has received it back without any questions, regardless of how far along the project was completed." Skooks



So far this is not completely true. Brian owes me over $2000 (for work not done) and has not paid what he said he would pay since April 2006. This was for work promised to be done by April. I asked for it back and he said he would give it back. I would love to post again on this blog that he has paid me but we will see.

David Beckstead

Skooks said...

Thank you all for this feedback. I will continue to read this post and take even deeper to heart what is posted here.

As stated before... I have always given clients refunds when they were asked for regardless of the amount of work or design done.

I'm learning a very hard and painful lesson and have obviously caused a lot of pain as well.

2007 New Years Resolution:
Under Promise & Over Deliver... among quite a few others.

DJ please post this identical post in April or May. I assure everyone that the response will be entirely different. If any former clients are still angry I'll make myself available to be the comments (anonymous allowed) punch bag again.

If you would like to speak with me directly or have any questions please feel free to call or email me.

Have a Merry Christmas & Best Regards,
Brian Crouch
Skooks Designs & Skooks Kart
brian@skooks.com
1-877-659-1655

russ tyler said...

The guy certainly has an impressive list of duped clientelle!

Anonymous said...

I think what's very telling here is the fact that there's an actual post in the News section of his main site that alludes to "some very necessary growth pains" and how calls are now getting answered again.

That post was made in September '05. (Not that I expect it to be there much longer now that I've mentioned it here.)

Skooks said...

Unlike your name Mr Anonymous... I've got nothing to hide and don't have time to change my blog or remove posts.

I'll leave it just as it is in case anyone would like to see it.

Ashley said...

My experience with Brian and the Skooks Kart has primarily been positive. My install went smoothly and my questions were answered in a timely manner. And, I received a follow-up call a couple of weeks later making sure I was pleased with everything.

Ashley Langford
www.ashleylangford.com
www.clients.ashleylangford.com

Christian said...

I'm grateful for the feedback! Was *this* close to signing up about a month but didn't.

Looking into using Candid Color Systems. If any of you have feedback on Candid Color, I would be very grateful if you'd drop me a line!

Billy said...

I think this is all too common. I know many of you are in love with BluDomain and Pictage, but I've run into many of the same issues with them overselling and not able to keep up with their current clients.

I'm not a difficult client to keep happy - but I can never stand by a service provider who continues to take on new clients when it can't provide acceptable support to it's current client base.

I think this is a lesson that can be applied to any business - including our own. Don't book every weekend of the year if you can't get your albums out on time. Don't offer 10,000 self-fulfilled products if you're too backed up to fill a single 4x6.

It's about more than your bottom line. People talk. Photographers talk. Brides talk. Agencies talk.

Your reputation will eventually catch up with you if you build a business that can't keep up with itself.

-Billy

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Skooks Kart a DIY solution for proofing? We use it and love it. Any bugs that we noticed after installation were fixed in a fairly promptly manner. I think everyone should remember that Brian and his staff of 3 or 4...are human. I have noticed the same thing with Blu Domain. Great product + huge demand + small staff = slower than fortune 500 company customer service. I have spoken with Brian on a few occasions now and I can sense that he is a very ambitious person. Why don't we cut this guy some slack and let him keep growing a Strong product. After all...he isn't trying to sell fake tickets at Madison Square Garden...he's developing products for us photographers. I'm sure if he was trying to screw people over...it would be simpler to just sell some fake concert tickets. (or maybe he does that as well?)Sorry to the people who got the shaft while Skooks was becoming a great product...thank you as well.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Yes, Skooks Kart is a DIY proofing solution developed by Skooks Designs.

Fact: Skooks Designs has a very questionable record in the areas of customer service and support.

If you look around, you'll see all sorts of complaints. I would be VERY careful about making a recommendation without first acquinting yourself with ALL of the facts about his business. We have recommended Brian in the past and been absolutely stung by the backlash of people asking why we sent them in that direction.

The guy absolutely has a record of screwing people. I've seen it firsthand myself and through my colleagues.

Is that REALLY the type of person we should be supporting within the industry? Especially when there are others who are more deserving???

Ralphie said...

Anonymous 10:17 pm: Looks like all signs of that blog have been removed. Does anyone have a direct URL, or is it gone for good?

MarkWangerin Photography said...

Folks, I paid Brian for a web site well over two years ago and he has YET to deliver it. I have heard all of the same song and dance that you all have and still he will not deliver.
My course of action now is to file a complaint of criminal fraud this Monday, December 24th with the Phoenix, AZ District Attorney's offce. I have simply had enough of Skooks. He will find it would have been cheaper to either deliver my site or refund my money (which he refuses to do)than what it will cost him to fight a criminal fraud charge.

MarkWangerin Photography said...

Folks, I paid Brian well over two years ago for a site he never delivered. I have heard the same song and dance you all have.

This Monday, December 24th 2007 I will begin the process of filing a criminal fraud complaint against him with the Phoenix, AZ District Attorney's Office.

He will find that delivering my site or refunding my money (which he has refused to do) would have been much cheaper than what this process is about to cost him.

Mark Wangerin
Mark Wangerin Photography

MarkWangerin Photography said...

P.S.

Skooks (Brian Crouch) wrote... "Any client who has ever asked for a refund has received it back without any questions, regardless of how far along the project was completed."

This is a lie. I have asked several times and he refuses. No site and no money.

MarkWangerin Photography said...

"Anonymous 10:17 pm: Looks like all signs of that blog have been removed. Does anyone have a direct URL, or is it gone for good?"

My wife has saved screen shots from his blog (suspecting that he would likely attempt to cover his tracks at some point)as well as a cmplete record of all correspondance with Brian. I'll ask her to find it and I will have it forwarded to you.

MarkWangerin Photography said...

December 26th, 2007

Skooks Update:

Today I have officially contacted the AZ Attorney General's Office as well as logged a complaint with PayPal (through which Brian was paid nearly $2,000). I have also sent Brian a PayPal invoice for the amount he was paid.

PayPal informs me that the time period will "officially" be too long since it has been well over two years since Skooks was paid, but they requested the complaint be logged anyway since they can take action against him if any further complaints are logged. I'm sure most of us paid Brian through PayPal, including those of us whom have been defrauded by him.

I think most of us realize how important it is to nip this issue in the bud. Otherwise Mr. Crouch will continue to do this to other unsuspecting customers.

I will continue to update here with David's permission.

Mark

MarkWangerin Photography said...

June 8th, 2008

I wanted to follow up on my situation with Skooks, aka Brian Crouch.

I want to say here officially that Brian has come through and my issue with him has been completely resolved and I have no complaints against him whatsoever at this point. He finished my website and I am satisfied with the results.

To Brian I want to publicly thank for his taking care of business in the face of the pressure I had put upon him and in light of the negative input that has arose as evidenced by this entire Blog.

To echo the words of another poster above, Brian is truly a likeable guy... who likes to say YES to everything. I have personally learned the hard way about getting over booked. People get bugged and ugliness, in time will no doubt ensue when resolution is slow to come.

Let me say here in conclusion that I ask for forgiveness from Brian for any hurt I have brought upon him in this thread. I know that Brian and I share a common world/spiritual outlook and I shamefully confess it was wrong of me to complain in public when we should have been able to reconcile our problems in private.

Thanks Brian and God Bless.

cindydyer said...

Sigh. Wish I had seen these warnings before I hired him. I 99.9% certain that I won't ever see my site completed nor a refund of any amount (despite his comments to the contrary on his response to the complaints in this forum).

There is no excuse for that poor customer service when he obviously has the skill to do the job. I hope he's proud of himself---I do think he's actually the first person in my life that successfully duped me and made $750 in the process...what does this say about me? I've gone many decades without ever being duped. Murphy's Law...it had to happen sometime. Congrats, Skooks! Aren't you proud to be my first (and I pray the last) duper?

The complaints in this forum apparently go back to 2006. Here it is, three years later, and he's still singing the same tune. I got many of the same excuses listed here, and like Jessica Claire, I have a long list of dates and I've saved all the e-mails. Last I heard from him is he was "moving Tuesday and Wednesday" and I would see something by the end of this week. Never mind the first "draft" I saw wasn't even close to what we discussed. I finally had to whip up some layouts to show him what I THOUGHT he was going to do. I had those done in a hour!

Before that, I was so frustrated that I didn't want to work with him anymore and that he clearly didn't have time for me. I told him he could keep $300 for blog migration but to please call it a day and refund me $450). He said it was "too late to refund," even though he hadn't done ANYTHING else to earn the remaining money. When he wrote in this forum that he would "refund a customer no matter how far into the process," that was an outright LIE.

I started out getting extremely good vibes from this young man and his skills (and the reasonable pricing). I am so far at the other end of the spectrum that I can hardly believe it. I even did some free proofreading on his site and told him what to correct. I also told him I would be happy to look at his marketing letters (for free) before he sends them out. He seemed appreciative of the help. Looks like at least someone is getting something. It certainly isn't me.

If he does finally deliver a product (or refund me partial payment), I will be happy to come back to this forum and write a glowing apology. Until then, I consider myself royally duped.

Craig said...

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING WITH BRIAN CROUCH, SKOOKS, RUN FOR THE HILLS !......he is the worst excuse for a professional or business person, rather a common thief.....just took my money, and never delivered services contracted for, and insulted and ignored me and many others i've contacted.....I filed a BBB complaint, and would STRONGLY suggest everyone do the same to ensure future victims aren't subject to the same loss of payment....as the many negative reviews here have stated, he is NOT TO BE TRUSTED, rather makes his living off unsuspecting clients......

craig said...

update to my situation with Skooks Designs.....although it took over a year, and a lot of effort on my part, I was finally returned my deposit from Brian, which concluded any business between us

Gray Photography - Zach and Jody - Nashville Wedding Photography said...

PEOPLE CHANGE - WOULD RECOMMEND SKOOKS DESIGNS

Hmmmm... so this comment comes 3.5 years after the initial posting of this blog and we wanted to go ahead and add our two cents of what it has been like working with Skooks starting early 2009, for whatever it's worth.

As Brian mentioned above, he was learning in business that you don't over promise. I'm sure we all have stories from clients when we were first getting our business footing that we would rather forget. It's a learning process.

We contacted Brian with Skooks Designs about a year and a half ago and our experience was nothing but great. He was super professional, and did everything we asked of him and MORE. We have absolutely no complaints whatsoever and have recommended him to many friends who have been completely happy with his services as well. If you would like to reach us more information you can.

Blessings,
Zach & Jody Gray

Info@grayphotgraph.com
www.grayphotograph.com

Ron ( Southern Wedding Photography ) said...

Zach & Jody ( When I saw your blog, I loved it, and that is how I found Brian) I have had major problems with him too...

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate to do this, but here goes... Photographers Beware. I hired Brian Crouch with Skooks Designs back in January to make a website for our new name. After extreme patience, and accepting excuse after excuse on why the project was not coming along, as of July he had not come through. I requested a refund, to which he said that I would receive a refund within 10 days (That was on July 19th). I still have not received my money back, and now he will not return my calls or e-mails. Just wanting to vent a bit, and warn others about this so that no one else has to go through this : )

The sad part is this...

1.) In chatting with Brian prior to hiring him, he was extremely courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable. He apparently knows his stuff, but suffers in the ethics department.

2.) Here is a message I sent his, urging him to provide me with good support, as I patiently waited on my site...

"Brian,
I never received a call back from you, and I didn't get an e-mail with any additional information. I look forward to every meeting, and intend for it to be a real progression on the site, but when you do not call me back, or we don’t stay in touch, it tends to push the site further into the future.

I realize that you may be a very busy person, but believe me when I say this for your own benefit... If you tell someone you will meet on a certain day at a certain time, or say that you will call them back within 10 minutes or so, you should do it. I don't want to see your talent, innovation, and beautiful work be hacked down by people who cannot enthusiastically refer you because you didn't give them excellent service. You have some GREAT products, and I know that if you work on your client relations a bit, you will go VERY FAR!!!
Please take this to heart, not for my benefit of getting my work done quicker, but so that your business and reputation will thrive.
Sincerely,
Ron Anderson

Ron ( Southern Wedding Photography ) said...

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate to do this, but here goes... Photographers Beware. I hired Brian Crouch with Skooks Designs back in January to make a website for our new name. After extreme patience, and accepting excuse after excuse on why the project was not coming along, as of July he had not come through. I requested a refund, to which he said that I would receive a refund within 10 days (That was on July 19th). I still have not received my money back, and now he will not return my calls or e-mails. Just wanting to vent a bit, and warn others about this so that no one else has to go through this : )

CT said...

I WISH I HAD SEEN THIS PRIOR. I hired SKooks last year December because he came recommended on a photographers site-.

Now I'm $800 out cold (50% down) and haven't seen a thing. Am trying to get my money back after countless unreplied emails and phone calls.

ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE WORKING WITH THIS GUY.