Two businesses in north Scottsdale are accusing a mobile app developer of taking their money and never delivering the product.
Gina Johnson with Health Smile Dentistry says vendors come by the office to find clients all the time, but this time she was actually interested in what was for sale.
"He said it will draw the patients to you," Johnson said.
She says the man was working with a realtor in the area to develop a mobile app that would recommend services to potential clients moving to the area.
"He showed us another example of a dental office from Anthem," she said.
Dr. Chris McDaniel's practice is in the same business complex. He says he got the same pitch.
"You would be the recommended person of that profession in each of those areas," he explained. "With Desert Mountain and Silver Leaf down the road...and Pinnacle Peak, Grey Hawk right there, I mean it's kind of perfect for us to be in all those."
It sounded good, but he had reservations.
"That day I said 'you know I don't usually make big business decisions without really doing some research so it's Friday, let me have the weekend to think about it.' And he was fairly persuasive and like I said...charming."
He cut a check for $1,100. The dental office paid nearly $2,200.
They say the salesman, Ivan Richard with App City Media, was on top of things -- at first.
But after the launch date came and went -- without an app -- they got worried.
Gina says she followed up almost daily: "Hey where's the app? I asked who the realtor was that we were going to be farmed under and never got a response."
After a while, she got fed up.
"You know what? Cancel the app. We want a refund and he said, 'yeah I'm going to have Barb take care of you. I'm in Beverly Hills right now.'"
Months later, no Barb, no app, and no money has been returned.
Dr. McDaniel had slightly better luck. He says he ran into Richard in a pharmacy parking lot and forced answers out of him.
"He was not surprised that I was angry. He was not surprised in any way. He was like, 'it's been really hard for me and I'm trying to pay everybody back,'" he said.
We reached out to Richard several times. The company emails were returned. The company phone appears to still be working but we've gotten no response about what happened.
App City Media LLC has an 'F' rating with the Better Business Bureau for not responding to similar complaints.
"Maybe they're making apps for somebody but we didn't get ours yet. I say yet because I'm an eternal optimist! Hopeful," McDaniel's said.
He did eventually get a couple hundred bucks back, but he's concerned about other businesses giving money to App City Media.
"I don't want people to fall in the same trap. Do your research," he said.
It's great advice. And if your business is looking into an app, there are reputable local developers. Check with other small companies for referrals and make sure to check their reputations before paying for anything.
We're not giving up on hearing from Ivan and we will let you know when we do.
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