AD Agency Publicly Shames Haleeb Foods on Social Media for Payment Dispute

Yesterday, a unfortunate precedent was set in Pakistan when a Karachi based ad agency overtook the Facebook page of Haleeb Foods and publicly asked the company to clear its pending dues.

Note pasted on the Facebook read:

Dear Fans, please help us in recover our payments due since more than 7 months on account of Haleeb Foods.

Kindly re-share the page on your profile to support the cause.

Below was the image shown on Haleeb Food’s Page that has over 100,000 fans on it.

Background

ProPakistani thoroughly investigated the matter and found that this is a typical case of a dispute that arises for IT services every other day.

Here’s what really happened:

  • Haleeb Foods Contracted the ad agency for the development of two websites (One of Haleeb Foods and another for a sister concern)
  • One proper contract on legal documents was signed
  • Ad agency developed both the sites
  • Haleeb Foods made a partial payment
  • Somewhere before the final delivery, the disagreement arose, and Haleeb told the agency that contract has been terminated
  • Agency claims that they offered revisions but Haleeb Foods didn’t respond to any emails

This happened a few months back and the matter lingered on with both Haleeb Foods and agency failing to resolve the dispute and pending payments.

Interestingly, the contract didn’t contain any clauses for any damages in case of termination. However, Haleeb failed to amicably resolve the matter before parting ways with agency.

Agency kept sending them emails that went unresponded.

Another mistake on Haleeb’s part was that agency had control of Haleeb Food’s page through their business manager account.

Three weeks ago, agency removed Haleeb Food’s officials and current agency from the page and took over the control of Facebook page.

Agency showed ProPakistani an email they sent to Haleeb Foods officials telling that they would publicly shame them if their payment matters were not resolved, but that email went unresponded as well.

Ultimately agency, out of sheer desperation, uploaded above images to publicly embarrass Haleeb Foods.

Mistakes on Haleeb’s Part:

  • They didn’t amicably resolve the matter, as they failed to terminate the contract in a manner that’s acceptable to both the parties
  • They failed (maybe forgot) to remove agency from their official pages
  • They didn’t respond to agency emails to at least tell them that they wouldn’t be paid

Mistakes on Agency Part:

  • They didn’t include the possible outcomes of contract termination. Its always advised, especially in IT services business, to mention what would happen if the client terminates the contract prematurely for whatever reason. Provisions like a percentage of the payment being made could have been included for instance.
  • They didn’t engage Haleeb Foods legally
  • Agency could have gone to the media — without taking law in their hands — to pressurize Haleeb Foods if they weren’t responding at all
  • They took law in their own hands and committed a cyber crime by changing the content of digital assets of Haleeb Foods.

As of now, Haleeb Foods is perusing the case legally, and outcome is yet unknown. Facebook pages of Haleeb Foods are still under the control of agency.

Brands in Pakistan also need to understand that vendors are partners (and not subordinates) and any transactions with them should be fair, timely and on merit.

This incident will hopefully serve as a lesson for everyone in the industry.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


    • hahahahhaha.. looks like they got in real quarrel. May Allah bless both of them, none of them showed professionalism which is the key factor ought to be imaged by Viral Edge.

  • It’s a well known fact that Haleeb owes many agencies in Pakistan money and has been blacklisted by APNS for failing to pay their dues. So another fault of the agency is signing on a client that has a reputation for missing critical payments ergo poor lead qualification.

  • According to Awais Akhtar Chaudhry, the strategy lead at Maxus:

    “A big brand hires a small agency to save money. In a few months the high ups conclude that digital didn’t add any value in terms of sales or brand health metrics.

    The agency was just doing its job and because it was a cheap cost saving solution with a small agency, the guys at the agency have a hard time connecting brand objectives with digital marketing, owing to that they also have a hard time defending their case.

    The payment cycle for bigger brands can literally kill a small agency (45-90 days). Post 90 days when the actual time of payment comes the brand decides to hold payment because of seeing no ROI or other reasons.

    Knowing that a small setup can’t afford a lawyer or worst doesn’t even know how to go about it for a legal procedure because of a few young fresh graduates are running the business with no mentor or guidance the brand conveniently steps out.”

  • Whoever is to blame, we would never use this agency again. God Forbid there is a dispute (of any sort) even in the case of genuine misunderstanding, we would fear the agency would use such tactics to try to destroy our brand image. It is over for the agency.
    If Haleeb is at fault which very truly can be the case here, the agency should have followed the legal process and gone to the court. It could have notified any regulatory agencies but to shame the company publicly is an extreme and stupid mistake.

    The agency is toxic! Don’t go anywhere near it!

  • an ad agency once put up a billboard on main defense road in Lahore, which said Samsung was a defaulter, so it’s not unprecedented

  • No surprises there. At least they had control of the Facebook page. We developed website for a new e-commerce store for an established brand that wanted to expand into digital space.
    We received 50% advance and completed the project in time to start promotion for Black Friday. 3 weeks after launch we were informed they weren’t happy with the website and other IT companies said they can makr better better website for just 20k.
    Long story short, there was no way we could recover the remaining amount. The legal course would have taken more than the remaining amout itself.
    And as things happen, the company closed down the store because they didn’t see ‘profit’ if the few weeks the website was operational.


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