Stuart Paskin – Serial Scammer!
Never before have I actually encountered someone with such a blatant disregard for peoples livelihoods as Stuart Paskin, from Lux Level Ltd. I have heard of Serial Scammers, but never witnessed one first hand.
We were contacted by Stuart Paskin – the conman – in November of 2016 as he wanted Opencart eCommerce work doing and that’s something we have specialised in, in the past. I spoke to him on the phone and he seemed like he may run a decent company and could have been someone we could have worked with reasonably well. However, from the 3rd or 4th phone call with the guy I started to dislike his tone and how he seemed to expect a premium level of “realtime” service from us pretty much straight away.
He would frequently call at 6pm and 7pm and even called me in the evening on a Sunday once, as the site (which we had not made, and did not host) got hacked and he *needed* it sorting there and then.
Everything he ever rang about was always the most important, business critical thing in the whole world. He expected me and my team to drop everything we were doing whenever he called. When we were working on his stuff, half the time he wouldn’t even know what he wanted and he continually moved the goalposts or “dangled the carrot” with comments like “ok thanks for that, can you now just…” which any web or IT professional will know is the start of the dreaded scope creep.
After a month of working for him, we sent our invoice which he instantly challenged – I had not clocked my time on the phone to him but it was upwards of seven hours, but in the rush to get the bits done for him I just didnt clock my time properly and I made him aware of this when he was questioning the invoice that I’d sent. From that moment I decided to clock my time fully and make sure I charged him the full amount of time we spent on his website(www.thewhitetent.co.uk)
The next month things went from bad to worse. Stuart just could not seem to understand we worked for multiple people, and whenever he rang with something that was “business critical end of the world I need it now” and I said we would look at it as soon as we could, either he would get someone that worked for him, his business partner Stewart Stalker (yes, thats his real name) or he would call himself, after 15 minutes from submitting the original request – asking if we had done it yet and how much longer it would be before we would have it done. It was infuriating.
I did give him a few times/dates when things would be finished and we did miss the deadlines, but this guy was a brand new customer and no matter how he spoke to us or how big a customer he claimed he was going to be – we already had big customers and im afraid they would always have come first.
We got through a second month taking his constant phone calls and emails, and I had to put up with him talking trash about my team and my company and how things were never right and always had bugs. The web industry and websites that you end up inheriting from other people often come with problems. The website we worked on had been with at least 3 development companies before us and everyone does things differently so we would often add things and it would knock other things out, or we would do the exact task and because we were unable to read minds and didnt do something he never asked for, but assumed we would just “do” – he was an impossible person to work with.
I sent his second invoice – despite his first one STILL not being paid – and he really kicked off this time. I put my hours on the invoice but didnt charge for them initially as by this point I wanted to get my staff members time and our direct costs paid for. I can live with a few hits to my own hours (even though I shouldnt have to!) and I knew by putting them on the invoice he would just throw his toys out the pram and vanish into the ether. I also wanted my first invoice paying so didnt want to rock the boat too much!
From this point we had a few heated phone calls and then they went quiet on me and stopped getting back to my invoice reminders. I went in one morning to finish something off and my access had been removed, and Stuart eventually got back to me to say they were getting someone else to finish the work off. I wasn’t upset to be honest, I just wanted my invoices paying and when I eventually got through to him on the phone he said his father in law had been in hospital, and that he would “pay what he felt he owed us” as soon as he was back in the office. Pay what he thought he owed us??? What the hell is that??
I decided to try and reach out to the guy that originally built the site, and sent him an email via his website. He got back to me and to my horror he had been screwed over to the tune of £4500. I spoke to another company that I found was linked to the website, and shock-horror – Stuart Paskin left them behind owing them over £1500!
As the days went on, I uncovered more, and more people that Stuart Paskin and Stewart Stalker at Lux Level Ltd had screwed over. So far, in the Paskin Fan Club there are 7 companies, 3 of them are full digital agencies and the rest are independents but we have all spent hours and hours and hours dealing with Stuart Paskin and his constant nagging demands, we had ALL neglected our core, existing customers to try and satisfy Stuart Paskins requests. And we had ALL been left behind, doubting our own capabilities with unpaid invoices on our accounts packages – I will blog about these stories separately.
A few months have passed now since we dealt with these con men but the pain of having to deal with them is still with us – A quick check on Companies House reveals he is still very much in business and is in fact linked to a children’s charity! INSANE!
Ourselves and some of the other victims have been paid (we never got what we were actually owed, we ended up being paid the bare minimum but technically we got our invoices paid) but there are still people out of pocket including the person who originally built the website for them.
I am going to do a series of posts relating to the brand & company names these scammers use, and also (with permission of the victims) I want to write about the individual horror stories left behind by Stuart Paskin’s devious business practices and his repeated attempts to rape and pillage small creative agencies all over the world.
If you’re contacted by this loser – then run for the hills!
Stay tuned for more blog posts about Stuart Paskin and his team of internet bandits.