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Headway Themes Update #3: One Month Later, Still No Support

Tl;dr –  Despite their apology, Headway still don’t provide support to customers. Scroll down for screenshots that illustrate this.

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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.

It’s ironic that Headway decided not to email customers to inform them that they published an apology for heir poor communication on their blog

A majority of Headway users are still in the dark about what is happening as a result – they don’t know that Headway 4 has been moved back to beta status, and they don’t know that no support is available for any version of Headway. This is despite Grant repeatedly saying that all customers would receive an email.

It should also be noted that their post failed to acknowledge Grant’s repeated attempts to intentionally deceive existing and potential customers about the availability of support for Headway’s financial gain (i.e possible fraud), that the absence of support is because they failed to pay staff for several months, and that the lack of updates was because Clay chose to focus on Pressmatic instead.

In the aftermath of their post, Clay briefly began replying to Headway support tickets but stopped again on September 16th. He has however been active in replying to support queries on the Pressmatic Twitter account during this period.

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.

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In the screenshot above, Customer ‘A’ repeatedly fails to get a reply from Headway support

Since customer A couldn't get a reply by by contacting support directly, she tries to use the contact form on Headway's site to check if Headway are receiving her emails (they are).

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.

Grant strings along customer A under the pretense that support is available. He knows her previous emails are languishing in Helpscout, he also knows that Clay won't answer them. presumably he doesn't tell her this because he's worried she'll request a refund.

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.

customer-a-update

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christie

marcy

matt

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.

A former customer obtains a refund via PayPal.
A former customer obtains a refund via PayPal.

sophie-refund

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Below are a sample of the comments Headway refused to allow appear on their apology post.

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refund-joel

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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.

Clay and Grant have done everything they can to keep their customers in the dark. They only published a token apology because they were forced to.  Then they deliberately chose not to email that “apology” to their customers. Clay is still choosing not to answer support tickets. Grant is still choosing to string along customers under the pretence that support is available.

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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13 thoughts on “Headway Themes Update #3: One Month Later, Still No Support

  1. Thanks for keeping on this Gary. I noticed that for a few days after their blog post they stopped responding to comments. And there has been zero communication since then. It’s time for them to just admit they have no plans or desire to keep Headway alive. So tired of getting my hopes up for this company. What they have done and continue to do is shameful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Mike,

      It’s incredibly disappointing to have to post something like this again.

      A few weeks ago, I asked Clay and Grant when they would restart answering tickets. Instead of answering, they removed me from their Slack channel.

      I waited 2 weeks to see if things would improve. They didn’t, so that’s why I posted this update with screenshot as proof of how they’re misleading customers for cash.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have submitted numerous requests for support via the dashboard, facebook, direct emails, and not one has gone answered.

    Don’t buy Headway. I am slowing migrating all my sites to something else. It’s sad because it WAS a good product.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha – you posted one of my MANY emails to them though not the most interesting one where I fully called him out on playing dumb and then he still tried to play bumb. I was able to get some support in the forum from the very generous peeps who continue to hang out in there. What a nightmare. I’ve been using Headway for my web design business since 2011 – it’s too bad that they couldn’t get their shit together.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just hearing about all of this HW drama after being on WP hiatus since June. Wow.

    Gary, thank you for your honest, candid accounts of the situation. I tried following along on the Slack channel and in the HW customer forums, but this blog has been the best source for info.

    And thank you for all of the work you did as a HW support guy. You helped me out several times over the years.

    I’m off to check out alternatives so I can begin the HW cleansing process. (I’ve read that Blox, Beaver and Divi are good places to start. Any others?)

    Like

  5. Headway has joined forces with a support company, and I think responses have started to come from Headway. If you have questions and you’re still using Headway you should go ahead and try again. I’ve sent in a few and have gotten replies.

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    1. They restarted answering tickets after I posted this, but people still appear to have problems.

      Click the Twitter links below to see the full threads.

      Diane

      Ron.

      I know that Headway still send out renewal notices for third-party blocks, but they don’t send devs the cash they make from those renewals. Here’s what one 3rd-party dev wrote on Facebook today.

      Headway still owe the old support team thousands too.

      Like

      1. So awful to hear about the dev and support teams being stiffed.

        Has anyone visited headwaythemes.com lately? I got database errors all day.

        Like

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