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Disappointment after a BIG WIN

Discussion in 'Contests & Events' started by CurMichFar, 25 July 2015.

  1. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    Ever had excitement and anticipation build sky-high, only to have it ripped away in a flood of disappointment. I'm quickly learning what that feels like. Some of you might recall a mobile photography contest I entered back in October 2014 for an app called Formattphoto. I put out a call for help in votes, which many of you firmly delivered and I really do appreciate all of the support. Although I didn't win for votes received, one of my photos was chosen by the judges as the 1st place Winner of the Fine Arts Category. The prize for this category was to be $1000 USD! I was ecstatic! For someone having only started taking mobile photography seriously for a year, this was the biggest win of any contest (photography or other) that I've ever won....not to mention that it was because someone liked my artistic abilities enough to choose me as a winner, as opposed to having the most people I could round up vote for me or having my name drawn from a bin. I had impressed the judges and felt on top of the world.

    I received an email a few weeks after finding out about the win that basically confirmed I was a winner and would receive my prize within 4-6 weeks. This was Feb.15 that I got that exciting news. I began picturing in my head how I would take a picture with the Formattphoto app of me holding the cheque just to post it on TheFiltersApp (Formattphoto)'s Facebook page and also to Formatt-Hitech's Facebook page (Formatt-Hitech was the sponsor of the contest and prizes would come from them).

    "Hello Curt Lypka !

    Congratulations again on placing 1st in the Fine Art category for the Formatt-Hitech “FormattPhoto Fall Contest”! Your winning prize of $1000 will be fulfilled and mailed to you directly from our factory in Wales. Remember, we will be sending your prize to the address on file as submitted on your registration to the contest.
    Congratulations again on your win!

    Formatt-Hitech Ltd. & FormattPhoto Support Team
    *Please allow 4 - 6 weeks for delivery of all prizes. " (Copied form email)

    4-6 weeks........of watching the mail man come and go without reward. (Somewhere between March 16th and March 30th) It actually became a bit of a game on the drive home between my wife, daughter, and I. Would it be in today?!?! No...I bet it comes tomorrow...

    Sadly, tomorrow would come and nothing would show. Then another weekend would arrive and would force me to wait until Monday. When late April came, I thought I should let them know that nothing had been received on my end, even though I knew 100% I had given them the proper address and thought that if it was "lost" in the mail, I would soon have to deal with Canada Post.

    -to support@formattphoto.com-

    "Hi Guys,
    Just wondering if prizes were sent yet. It's been about 9 weeks and I haven't seen mine come in yet. Please excuse my impatience, but this is the first photo contest I've ever won.
    Sorry for any inconvenience....I just thought I should let you know." -April 23/2015

    To my surprise, an email was sent very soon afterwards:

    -to ME from David- (subtext from GMail)

    "Hi Curt,

    No inconvenience at all! I have forwarded your email to Formatt Hitech. That’s the contact email that was sent with the congratulations email by the way.

    Hope that helps!" -April 23/2015


    "Thank you so much. :)" -April 23/2015


    This sounded promising. (I just realized now that it was "David" who had written this.)

    So, April 23 was a Thursday, so they should get the email the next day and, if prizes hadn't been sent out yet (although they totally should have been), they would send them on Monday, April 27. This would have another wait time of 4-6 weeks, putting a worst case scenario arrival of around May 25 to June 8. ***Sigh*** Wasn't extremely happy about another wait, but if that was the case, what could I really do about it? Right? Well....I never did receive any confirmation that the "forwarded email" was received, so back to waiting blindly and assuming the "worst case scenario" I mentioned above.

    During the next little while, I had congratulated another one of the winners while on Twitter and during those weeks of anticipation found out from him that he was going through the same thing, but eventually ended up receiving about a quarter of his total prize (with the rest to be shipped later due to a production problem). At least he got "something", but it began to sound a bit sketchy.

    On Twitter, I was already following @TheFiltersApp (formattphoto), @Formatt-Hitech, and @Stampyshortlegs (David Stamp - CEO of Formatt-hitech), to which I had already thanked for the contest/win, but no replies followed, nor did they once I asked if prizes were going to be sent soon.

    The other winner that I was conversing with gave me an email address of whom he had emailed. The email was to Cerianne, who is apparently the manger at Formatt-Hitech in charge of dispatching prizes. I wrote her as soon as I had the chance:

    "Hi Cerianne,
    I hope you don't mind, but I got your email from XXXXXXXX (another winner in the photo contest from Formattphoto app). I've been trying to get a reply back from Formatt-hitech for some time now, but have been rather unsuccessful. The reason I'm writing is, I was the winner in the Fine Arts category ($1000 prize) and received an email back in the middle of February saying that prizes would arrive within 4-6 weeks, but haven't received anything in the way of prize or update on when prizes would be sent out. Is there any chance you might be able to let me know the approx. date as to when prizes have been sent? If they haven't been sent yet, would a PayPal transfer work, as to eliminate the 4-6 week wait? Please let me know. I look forward to your reply." -June 10-



    "Hi Curtis,
    I will find out what has happened and get back to you.

    Best regards


    Cerianne XXXXXXXXXXX (last name was provided in email)


    Sales Office Manager


    Formatt Hitech Ltd"

    -June 10-


    "Wow....thanks for such a speedy reply. I truly appreciate it. Hope to hear back soon." -June 10-

    "Hi Cerianne,
    By any chance, were you able to find out anything?" June 15 (5 days later!)



    "Hi Curt,
    I have received notification that you were the winner of $1000 cash prize.
    Can you please advise by return your bank details for payment."



    (Well....that's great that I was able to notify them that I was the winner. Yikes! Now I started to worry a bit that this was a scam or con of some kind)


    "Hi Cerianne,
    That's awesome! Although, I've always been a bit skeptical regarding releasing banking info online....is there any chance of sending it as an E-Transfer to:


    XXXXXXXXXX@gmail.com


    Or to my PayPal (same email)


    Thanks again for getting back to me so quickly. Let me know. Thanks." -June 15


    Waited a few days for a reply....nothing came.

    "Hi Cerianne,
    Do you guys do E-Transfer or PayPal? If E-Transfer is available, you could make the password Winner. If not, let me know so I can get to the bank to inquire about the information we'll need for a smooth transfer. Thanks and hope to hear back soon." -June 18-


    "Hi Curt,
    We will make payment via paypal. Can you confirm your details.
    "
    [​IMG]


    (OMG!!! Really??? Okay, let's do this again....)

    "Sounds good. If by details you mean address, etc:

    xxxxxx Ave.
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

    PayPal address is:
    xxxxxxxxxxx@gmail. com

    Anything else needed?" -June 18-


    No reply......waited and waited.

    "Hi Cerianne,
    Haven't heard back in over a week, just wondering if I've sent all the required details. Hope to hear back soon." -June 29-



    During this waiting time, I decided to recontact Formattphoto on Twitter:

    (on Twitter to TheFiltersApp)

    -Me-
    Got a hold of Cerianne. Told last Thurs payment would be made thru PayPal....sent details, but back to waiting.
    -June 23-


    -TheFiltersApp-
    "let me know when you get updated. Just so I know you've been taken care of. I'm following up with winners. Delays with filters I know"
    -June 24-


    -Me-
    Thanx. No word back yet. Not sure when they plan to make payment. I would have thought this week as it's just a paypal transfer.
    -June 24-

    -Me-
    Still no reply back from Cerianne. Hoping I sent all the details needed.
    -June 30-


    I decided to message Formatt-Hitech on Facebook:

    July 2 5:30am
    Why is it taking so long for prizes to be delivered/transferred ($) from the Formattphoto contest? It's now been 2 weeks since Cerianne and I last talked via email. Last I heard from her was that a Paypal payment of the prize money would be transferred and to send my "details", which I've done now numerous times. It's sad and disappointing that I even have to keep "begging" for it, but it was back in February when I received an email stating I was one of the winners of the photo contest and that prizes would take 4-6 weeks (not months) to be delivered. Sorry for sounding upset, but this has become disappointing and I'm starting to feel as if I'm just getting the run-around.

    [​IMG]
    Hi Curtis. this should have been done, and I apologise for the dealy. I am out of the office today but will deal with it this evening and ensure that payment is made within the next 72 hours maximum. Best regards, David Stamp, CEO Formatt Hitech.

    July 2nd, 8:04am
    Thank you so much, David. I really appreciate it.

    July 6th, 12:08pm
    Hi again, David. By any chance, were you able to resolve this?

    July 7th, 7:32am
    [​IMG]
    Yes I have authorised payment and it should be sent to you tomorrow.
    You're awesome, David. Thanks. I'll send confirmation once received. Have a great day.

    July 10th, 8:20am
    Nothing as of yet (Friday).

    [​IMG]
    Hi Curtis I am out of the office today but will trace it when back in Monday. Cheers David

    July 13th, 10:07am
    Thanks, David. Please keep me posted. Hope to hear from you soon.

    July 17th, 9:35am
    Hi David, unfortunately I never heard back from you. I'm sure that you're a very busy man, but I'd really like to resolve this. If it's a matter of not knowing my PayPal email, it's: XXXXXXXXX@gmail. com

    Tuesday 8:15am (July 21)
    Hi David, were you able to trace it back yet?

    Chat Conversation Ends and no reply since.

    Since this is the CEO of the company, I would have thought he would have a bit more pull in getting things done, but I guess ignorance is bliss. This past month, I was also able to find another one of the winners of the contest, whom again hasn't received anything other than an email saying that prizes should were being shipped. My frustration with the lack of replies started to increase, so I thought I'd send out another email to Cerianne:

    "Hi Cerianne,
    Just wondering what has happened? I've gotten confirmation from you and from David Stamp (though FB messaging) that payment has been authorized. Heck, on July 2, he even told me that I'd have payment within 72 hours. I don't mean to sound upset, but this is getting a bit frustrating. I purchased the FormattPhoto app to enter the contest, got all of my friends and family to vote DAILY for almost 4 months, was chosen as one of the winners, and now have to jump through hoops while getting the runaround (and being ignored) just to get my prize. Sadly, it's not only me... I know of 2 other winners who haven't received their prizes either. I've had nothing but patience this entire time. It's a very exciting thing to a person to win a prize and the anticipation of receiving it is wonderful, but to have to watch the 4-6 weeks for arrival come and go (it's now been over 21 weeks), began to get pretty disappointing. But, to be required to have to contact numerous people in a reputable company that sponsored the contest to remind them that there are prize winners still out there waiting and to be lead on to believe that prize would be sent soon by a couple people, but then not receive anything (not even a reply back), is truly discouraging and frustrating. Sorry you have to be the one to hear me vent, but put yourself in my shoes for a moment.....Truly hoping to hear back from you." -July 18-


    Big surprise....no replies. Also attempted to sent out a FB message to FormattPhoto (TheFiltersApp):

    July 14th, 12:26pm
    Hi (not sure of your name),
    Just thought I'd let you know that I was, at one point, told by Cerianne that I'd be receiving a payment via PayPal, but when that didn't come and no reply was given back by her, I contacted Formatt-Hitech's FB account. David Stamp (CEO) wrote back and said that he'd look into it and I'd have payment within 72 hours.....that was a week and a half ago. Wrote him after a week to which he replied that he'd look into it on Monday (yesterday).... Still no word back even after me sending him a quick message yesterday to please keep me posted. Really beginning to feel like I'm just getting the runaround.

    Tuesday 1:20pm (July 21)
    So, still no reply from David (FB messaging) and nothing back from Cerianne either after numerous attempts. It's great Filterapp had a sponsor, but looks bad for both parties when winners are chosen and have to keep reminding about the prizes....not to mention the failures at replying to messages\emails. What the real tease is, Cerianne had written telling me that she has confirmation that I was one of the winners and would be paid through PayPal and also David's reply saying I'd have payment within 72 (July 2). And now......nothing and no replies. Truly sucks and is completely unwarranted with the patience I've had.


    This brings me to now (July 25) 5 MONTHS + since I got the exciting email. I find it horrible how a company would make people purchase an app to enter a contest ($2.99) and then invest 4 months of time into collecting votes and uploading new shots, not to mention the glitchy app would crash and some filters wouldn't work on the ipad mini, and then completely ignore those asking for a prize that they were giving out to the winners. Seriously pathetic and really makes me second guess entering photo contests. Thanks for building me up and then knocking me down, Formatt-Hitech and Formattphoto app! Disgraceful and shame on you!

    ---Curtis Lypka--- "Winner" of Formattphoto contest Fine Arts Category
     
    Last edited: 25 July 2015
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  2. Venomator

    Venomator MobiAdmin Admin Site Staff

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    Sounds like a real nightmare Curt, we are so sorry to hear of your woes following the highs of a major prize win in this Mobile Photography Contest, for which big congratulations are in order... :thumbs:

    So, if you think it is likely to be of any assistance whatsoever, if you care to DM me with all the contact details you have I will be happy to drop these people a courteous note asking them to sort you out without further delay and promising them wide and extensive social media coverage, for their kindness and consideration, from the leading Mobile Photography Community on the planet... :D
     
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  3. lisamjw

    lisamjw MobiStaff Site Staff

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    What a nightmare! So sorry you're going through this. I'm glad that you did not give out any of your personal banking/PayPal information!
     
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  4. Mik

    Mik MobiLurver MobiSupporter

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    Sorry to hear that! Was it a fake contest?
     
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  5. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    I don't think it was fake, or it sure didn't seem like it. The company and app are real and they would reply and help out with questions during the contest, but I don't think it "took off" like they had hoped....not many people joined it. The filter packs they sell are very expensive (Firecrest) and seemed to be fairly reputable, especially in Wales area.
     
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  6. RoseCat

    RoseCat MobiStaff Site Staff

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    UGH.
    Seems a very unfortunate lesson learned...luckily only costing you $2.99 (and lots of emails, and dashed hopes.) :( So sorry you experienced this!

    I have learned, the hard way too, that sometimes it's better to watch from a distance and stay out of some of these contests.
     
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  7. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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  8. carlos

    carlos Wheeee....

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    What a bummer. Looked at their page and they sure gave out a lot of money or not. The portrait section was not anything that I will remember for the rest of my life. Pretty much snapshots. I hope you get your money but I would not hold my breath. It is amazing how many contest are out there and how many people want you to give the money to post your pictures. As you can tell from my experience I am not thrilled at these contest. Nevertheless I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that they do come through.
     
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  9. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    Thanks Carlos. I'm still randomly dropping by Twitter to ask David Stamp why he isn't replying, but no big surprise....no replies. I did, however, get a reply from TheFilterApp through Messanger:

    "Hi Curtis - I got a response from them and I was told you should hear something soon."

    Sure. I won't be holding my breath on it though.
     
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  10. davideroccato

    davideroccato MobiAddict

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    Well, I'm sorry you went through this but I don't feel they're gonna pay you.

    The website is not updated since fall 2014, there is still the message to enter their last contest where the top price for winners was $2500.

    Now, if I go to the winners page, where there is your picture, one of the really few valuables, I can see all the other winners with all the different prices. I don't think they even invested in advertise their contest with those prices properly and probably didn't have many participants at all. They hoped to have the money to pay the contest but they didn't.

    LOL, there is no way they are gonna pay $1000 dollars for that portrait, and so on.

    The fact that they don't answer to you, or they just delay and delay, it's because is a technique to get you so tired that sooner or later you will drop the cause.

    Venomator: I'm sorry but you shouldn't promise any kind of social media coverage or anything at all to a behaviour like this. On the contrary, you can write them that this went public on your forum and if they want to answer officially and pay the money. No further delay.

    From here, CurMichFar you can think to write a shorter message to Apple to make them remove the app for scam, and write to a few photography blogs to see if they are interested in covering the news.
     
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  11. GroovyGouvy

    GroovyGouvy MobiLifer

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    Bummer! I admire your patience. Would it have been me I've alerady started with harsh words and that much earlier. I know you still wouldn't mind to receive your win, but I, though I am patient quite long, would have finally gave a damn on the prize and rather fill their different sites with warnings for any future contestants and hopefully mobilise all Mobitoggers to second this, as well as all facebookers I know. :)
    Maybe it helps if you threaten them with such things?
    I mean if all was fake they could have pretty easily announce a winners that they put in themselves. I mean who would/could check that?
    The only other thing is that the company is bankrupt meanwhile - but not for giving out prizes.I mean when one hand doesn't care what the other does it's no wonder if its true.
    Anyway I wish you all the best that soon a miracle happens and you receive the money!! *crossing fingers*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  12. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    I don't think they are bankrupt, nor do I think they don't "care", but, I do believe they had high ambitions regarding the amount of people that would purchase the camera/filter app and sponsored something that failed out of their favor. When a person spends $3 on an app along with 3 or 4 months of posting and getting votes, I believe they should be entitled to the win if the judges have chosen them. I'm not one to name call, but this is getting ridiculous. Now that I've been told that I will be contacted soon only leaves me to believe it's another hold'em till we lose'em type ploy......I don't give up that easily. I'll be posting the link to this thread on to the CEO's facebook and Twitter. Yes, this could definitely hurt any chance of actually receiving my prize, but at least it would make them more aware of the what their poor choices in dealing these types of matters does to their customers. Shame Shame, know your name. Truly misleading and very shady!
     
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  13. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    I don't think Venomator meant positive exposure....I get the feeling it was sarcasm.

    I'd have to agree that some of the choices were a bit off on the "winners" (or suckers, like myself), but if you were able to look at the other entries, you'd see that numerous entries were from James Stamp (son of David?) and were meant to be examples.....more like fillers for the contest......probably to make it look like more people had entered. I had actually questioned them on this during the contest early on. lol
     
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  14. GroovyGouvy

    GroovyGouvy MobiLifer

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    Pest them until they give up and pay. :thumbs: crossing fingers even more they'll get cracked pretty soon and double it up to stop you. :)
     
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  15. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    Truly doubt they'll double it up, let alone pay, but I'm persistent....or should I say pestistent. I wrote to a few of the "higher ups" and sent them the link to this thread. Haven't received any replies (shocker) but hopefully opened their eyes to the decisions being made by the CEO of the company. Tonight, I wrote to David Stamp (CEO) through his personal FB page:

    "I hate that I'm forced to contact you through FB, but for some reason you fail to return any messages through the Formatt-Hitech FB anymore and Cerianne doesn't reply to any emails either. I'm just curious as to if I'll actually receive the prize that Formatt-Hitech and Formattphoto had awarded to me for my participation in the Formattphoto 2014-2015 photo contest or if all of my attempts at contacting you are a pointless effort? If it's the latter, I'd love to know why. I imagine you to be a kind hearted and intelligent person, so please forgive and understand my next comment....As CEO of a company, shouldn't matters such as this be dealt with promptly? Your actions (or lack there of) have truly disappointed, not only me, but probably every other "winner" in this contest. Be a MAN.....a true CEO....and reply."

    Calling him out!
     
  16. GroovyGouvy

    GroovyGouvy MobiLifer

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    Still keeping my fingers crossed for you!!!
     
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  17. davideroccato

    davideroccato MobiAddict

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    trade for a lower reward if they ever have the intention to give you something, which I doubt.
     
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  18. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    As much as I love a good trade, I prefer to trade up to Bigger & Better things.....The Penny Race (Pennies To A Dream).
    In a situation such as this, however, I think the amount being awarded is perfect.
     
  19. CurMichFar

    CurMichFar MobiLurver

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    So, the message got through and I had a reply the next evening from David:

    Dear Curt

    Thanks for contacting me via Facebook yesterday.


    I apologize most sincerely for the fact that you haven't heard back from us. I had understood that this matter had been dealt with by my staff. Unfortunately, I have been involved in some major transactions recently and have not had time to keep an eye on it myself.


    I will ensure that payment is made to you today. If you have not received the funds within 24 hours (via paypal) please contact me again by email.


    Once again my most sincere apologies.


    Best regards


    David



    Judging by the speed and tone of the reply, I could feel myself gaining a little bit more hope in receiving the award money still. But, I've heard this song before somewhere so, I didn't want to get my hopes up too high just yet. Fortunately, before lunch, I received another email stating that payment was now made. I checked my account and, sure enough, the money is now there. I wrote a quick email back to David, thanking him and also throwing in a brief congrats on Star Wars using their filters....something I had seen in their tweets a while back.

    Being persistent has truly paid off! Thank you all again for the continued support in dealing with this. I will definitely think twice and enter with caution when joining these types of contests in the future, or just avoid them completely.
     
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  20. RoseCat

    RoseCat MobiStaff Site Staff

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    WOW!!!! Finally!!! I truly thought this was a lost cause, and it's good to see that the right thing was done, in the end. Congrats!!
     
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  21. Venomator

    Venomator MobiAdmin Admin Site Staff

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    My MobiTog 365
    Huge well done for your persistence and determination Curt, a lesson to us all... :notworthy:

    You did better than us, we never did hear back from any of the correspondence we sent... :rog:
     
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  22. zenjenny

    zenjenny MobiStaff Site Staff

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    jen
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    Curt congrats again! So glad the forces of good have won the day!
     
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  23. lisamjw

    lisamjw MobiStaff Site Staff

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    Lisa Waddell
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    Yay!!!!!! Good for you for keeping at it.
     
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  24. davideroccato

    davideroccato MobiAddict

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    That's great news for you, well done.

    I guess the fact that this thread was public with many of us writing on it helped a bit. So, takes some indirect credit as well. :)
     
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  25. carlos

    carlos Wheeee....

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    Carlos Austin
    My 365:
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    It's time to celebrate get the margaritas rolling.
     
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