Tl;dr – Despite their apology, Headway still don’t provide support to customers. Scroll down for screenshots that illustrate this.
It is exactly one month since Headway Themes published a post on their site apologising for an absence of support, updates, and communication. Unfortunately, all of these issues still persist.
In the aftermath of their post, Clay briefly began replying to Headway support tickets but stopped again on September 16th.
It’s almost 4 months since Headway last provided the level of support they advertise on their site:
Our general support hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Central Standard Time. During this time, we can generally provide feedback on any support request within 12 to 24 hours.
If Headway is financially unable to hire people to handle support for them, and Clay is unwilling to answer tickets himself, then Headway need to inform customers that support is not available for the theme.
They continue to falsely advertise that support is available when they know it’s not. Similarly, they shouldn’t falsely advertise that Headway is 100% GPL when they know it’s not. Headway contains a non-GPL compatible script called redactor.js by Imperavi.
Below is a very small sample of tickets, forum posts, and Facebook comments from customers who have paid up to $199 for support.
In the screenshot above, Customer ‘A’ repeatedly fails to get a reply from Headway support
Since ‘Customer A’ couldn’t get a reply by contacting support directly, she tries to use the contact form on Headway’s site to check if Headway received her emails.
In the screenshot above, Grant Griffiths strings along ‘Customer A’ under the pretence that support is available. He knows her previous emails are languishing in Helpscout, he also knows that Clay is choosing not to reply to her. Presumably, he doesn’t tell her this because he’s worried she’ll request a refund.
Updated: below is a screenshot from ‘Customer A’ when she discovers what Headway have been doing to their customers.
Headway Reject Refund Requests
Following Headway’s “apology”, several customers requested refunds.
In the comments section of their post, Headway told customers that this wouldn’t be possible; Headway only offers refunds to customers who request them within 30 days of purchasing the theme.
Several users pointed out the hypocrisy of Headway sticking to its refund policy while failing to live up to their responsibility to provide support for several months.
It’s disappointing that in a post that apologises for a lack of communication, Headway refused to not only engage with these users, but they refused to even allow their comments to be published.
For the record, customers who want refunds can file disputes via PayPal or their credit card company, regardless of Headway’s own refund policy.
Below are a sample of the comments Headway refused to allow appear on their apology post.
I want to preempt some responses that I expect I’ll receive, particularly from other business owners who are friends of Clay and Grant:
Headway will never recover if you keep posting this stuff
Headway will never recover if they don’t provide support. Customers won’t renew their licenses if their tickets go unanswered, new customers will inevitably request refunds if their tickets aren’t answered either.
Clay is the only person left at Headway capable of answering support tickets, he chooses not to. This has been the case for several months. There are free themes that manage to offer more support than Headway does for $199.
I have a vested interest in Headway recovering, they still have outstanding debts to the former support staff. However, I don’t want to be paid if the money Headway sends me is obtained through ripping-off customers, rejecting refund requests, or (in my opinion) fraudulent behaviour.
Maybe Clay is working on updates instead of answering tickets?
It’s not an ‘either or’ situation. He should do both.
It should be noted that from May to August, Headway repeatedly told customers that updates were being worked on. In private, there was no activity on Github (with the exception of the rushed release on the night WP Tavern went to press with their first HW story). This was another attempt to intentionally deceive customers.
Running a business is difficult. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Running a business is difficult, treating customers and staff with respect is not.
People should be judged by how they react to these difficulties.
Clay and Grant reacted to Headway’s financial problems by tricking support staff into working for them when they knew we wouldn’t be paid.
When we attempted to contact them, they reacted with silence.
When we stopped answering tickets for them, Clay reacted by contacting another member of the community to inquire if they would be interested in helping with support.
The obvious question that needs to be asked is, how were Headway going to pay this new person if they didn’t have the means to pay the former support staff – were they going to dupe them into working for Headway without being paid for several months too? The person who Clay contacted in July asked what happened to the old support staff, Clay failed to reply.
When customers began to notice that they weren’t receiving replies to their tickets, Grant reacted by intentionally deceiving them about the availability of support.
When details about Headway’s behaviour first began to become public knowledge, Grant reacted by attacking WP Tavern and labelling it as being part of a “WordPress rumour mill”.
After Headway posted their apology, Clay answered tickets for a handful of days. Once the spotlight was no longer being shined on Headway, he reacted by ceasing to answer tickets again.
Multiple people have given Headway multiple chances for over a year.
Many would argue that Headway itself was Grant’s second chance. Grant was an attorney, but he was disbarred in Kansas a year before he co-founded Headway Themes/Vesped Inc.
At the time the respondent surrendered his license, there were seven cases pending and being investigated by the Disciplinary Administrator’s office. Four of the seven cases were set for hearing before a hearing panel appointed by the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys.
In the seven cases, there were numerous allegations of lack of competence, lack of diligence and failure to expedite litigation, lack of communication with clients, improperly contacting a person represented by counsel, failure to return an unearned retainer, and failure to cooperate in the disciplinary process.
In addition, the respondent admitted that he misappropriated trust funds which were being held in trust for minor children.
Unfortunately, that pattern of behaviour from his time as an attorney has been repeated with Headway – financial irregularities, lack of competence, and a failure to communicate.
This is a witch hunt
No, this is not a witch hunt as some have claimed.
It’s an attempt to protect Headway customers who have paid up to $199 for an unsupported product.
It’s an attempt to help Headway users obtain refunds if they want them.
It’s an attempt to alert others who may work for Headway (or other companies owned by them) in the future about the pattern of behaviour they need to watch out for.
Unfortunately, a majority of Headway customers have no idea what is happening.
Headway users have spent weeks and months trying to access support. If they eventually give up and request refunds, Headway tells them that they’ve waited too long – refunds are only offered within 30 days. Customers are being punished for their patience and willingness to give Clay and Grant multiple chances.
Updated: Clay restarted answering support tickets on the evening this post was published. If you haven’t received a reply to your support queries in recent months, now is a good time to resubmit them.
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