It makes a refreshing change to be blogging about a new subject, in this post I will be explaining how we had the mickey taken out of us by a bunch of scammers branding themselves up as Mechanify.
I will start from the beginning…
They approached us in October of 2014 and required us to look at the KashFlow integration aspect of their new platform called Mechanify.
What is Mechanify?
It was supposed to revolutionise the motor repair industry by taking their old fashioned approach and bringing it to the 21st century. I dont think they actually asked any garages if this would be something they would want and just assumed, and pushed on regardless.
We were initially contacted by Lucky Garba, and dealt with their creative director Kevin Barton.
The main scammer here is a guy that goes by the name “Uvie Ugono” and as well as trying to destroy the motor trade industry he also has some renewable energy scam going off in Nigeria. He bats this about like he deserves a knighthood, but all he really does is sell solar panels to one of the most sun-rich (and cash-poor) countries in the world.
What went wrong?
Well, working for Mechanify initially started out OK, they paid their bills and all was well in the world. They got us to do more and more on the site as they were nearing the deadline they had set for themselves. It became apparent that the system was very incomplete – and with the deadline getting nearer by the day they started to panic and got us to do even more work. There were aspects of their overarching business plan that were just non existent within the system so we really had our work cut out for us. You could say we bailed them out the poop – BIG TIME.
Our team met all deadlines and managed to make Mechanify actually work, and all the time costs were increasing, we were telling them costs were increasing, and they simply told us to carry on; “it will be fine”….
Once we had completed the work, we then fought for over seven months to get our invoices paid. Then, after roughly eight months of chasing payments (and being promised them multiple times by everyone we spoke to) every single outstanding invoice was unnecessarily scrutinized so we had to spend even more time explaining exactly what each line on our invoices referred to – this would have taken five minutes if they had come back to us straight away, but eight months is a long time to sit on your hands doing nothing!
Once we explained the bits and bobs (again) and they once again agreed to pay their bills, things seem to settle down…
They agreed to pay within the next few days, but payment didnt arrive so I chased it again (bear in mind we’re over 8 months overdue already at this point)
Then another month passed…. No payment. I chased it once again but this time I bolded some words and said that I would potentially have to go down the legal route if we didnt have something from them soon. Uvie piped up again…
I felt he was being patronising here – but I let it slide as I wanted him to pay for the work we had done. However a few more days passed and I had to email them all again. I then got this gem from Uvie Ugono;
Buying sterling on the black market? Is that actually a thing? Also, if they had paid their bills when they were due he wouldn’t have been in Uganda or wherever the hell he claimed to be at the time – so I didnt give 3 shits about his convoluted process – PAY ME MY MONEY!
No-one gives a shit.
Then, a couple of days later TOTALLY out the blue, this essay arrived in my inbox. Maybe he was mates with one of the scammers ive pissed off in the past? His reasons are unclear, but he decided to erupt at us, blaming us for disabling his website (we hadnt – he is just a bit simple)
What a steamy pile of shit.
Again, he chose to be quite condescending in this email – acting like multi million dollar contracts are more important than the payments he owed to us? Money is money, debts are debts. Pay them and these situations magically dont happen!
I strongly believe that the reasons this pirate kept fobbing us off is that he was, and probably always has been penniless. If you are an entrepreneur, and do multi million dollar deals every day you dont argue over a £1,400 debt that is owed to a company that have created you your next online business.
Anyway, after we informed Uvie we hadn’t taken his shitty website down, he went all childish and refused to talk to us again, claiming we had insulted him and we were unprofessional etc etc. It amazes me that someone who is my senior, and is supposed to be some amazing entrepreneur tycoon, could act in such a childish, pathetic manner.
A few days after this email chain stopped, Lucky rang and apologised for Uvie being a childish moron, and explained how Uvie had reached his conclusion about the site being down, and how he’d decided we were to blame – Lucky then promised to get the debts cleared, even if it was £50 here or there. I was fine with this and thanked him for taking the correct stance on the situation and trying to get it all resolved.
Unfortunately, we had no further contact from Lucky, thankfully none from Uvie, and Kevin vanished into the fog.
Along the way Uvie also told us he had resigned from the company as he didnt want to deal with the mess caused by other people any more – yet as of today (15th July 2016) he is still listed as a director.
We’ve taken the matter to the small claims court and we’ll hopefully retrieve our money that way – but unfortunately the company is now in a position to strike off, according to Companies House.
I wonder how many other suppliers have been ripped off by these scammers? If you have been ripoped off by Mechanify.com or Uvie Ugono then post in the comments below.
The silver lining that came from this was in the form of our revised T’s and C’s that have stopped this kind of situation from happening again. We also credit and background check every new customer with the hope we can spot the dodgy ones before we start any work!
Be warned, peeps. There are scammers everywhere!