October 28, 2010, 4:51 PM

An e-commerce technology provider folds, leaving irate retailers behind

One retailer that paid Devix $67,000 says it got nothing in return.

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Online retailer USCutter.com paid Devix Corp. $67,000 in September 2009 to develop a soup-to-nuts e-commerce platform. What USCutter got in return was nothing, says Karl Bowman, president of the retailer’s parent company, Selltopia LLC.

Bowman says he understands that Devix has dissolved, and that the chairman of its parent company is bidding $12,000 for the company’s remaining assets in the equivalent of a bankruptcy proceeding in state court in New Jersey. Bowman has put in his own bid for those assets, a bid he says is about double that of Suneel Sawant, founder and chairman of technology outsourcing company Software International, which owned Devix.

Sawant and Software International did not respond to requests for comment.

USCutter engaged Devix to provide a custom e-commerce site, a warehouse management system and order management and accounting software. “They didn’t deliver anything,” Bowman says.

All that Devix did do, after repeated threats from USCutter, is import data from one of Selltopia’s other sites, SignUniverse.com, to an early version of a new site, Bowman says. “They did a sloppy one-time import of data so they could say they had delivered something,” he says. “After that nothing was touched.”

Another retailer who asked not to be identified had a similar experience with Devix. She says she contracted with Devix a few years ago to develop a new e-commerce site. Work began, then she heard Software International had acquired Devix.

“The CEO I signed with left, and their technical support and development moved from Romania to India, and went to nothing,” she says. She says she paid Devix tens of thousands of dollars over a period of two and a half years, and would not be more specific. “We just never got finished,” she says.

Bowman, who subsequently contracted with CoreSense Inc. to develop his e-commerce platform, says the experience taught him to go with vendors that have a good track record, especially when contracting for custom software development. “You’re buying somebody’s time,” he says. “When that’s the case, their financial health is all the more important to them being able to stay in business.”

Meanwhile, he hopes to at least prevent Suneel Sawant from buying back the assets of Devix at a low price. “Suneel can’t just walk away leaving everybody, while he retains the code and assets of the company,” he says.

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