Gary Paul Corcoran’s Bummer Experience With Ripoffreport.com
“Things Are Not Always What They Seem on the Internet” – Gary Corcoran
So you were thinking to hire a ghostwriter, saw my ad, Googled my name, Gary Paul Corcoran, saw the ripoffreport.com complaint lodged against me and thought, oh boy. Next. This guy sounds like a real crook.
I can hardly blame you. Prior to my personal exposure to Ripoff Report, I would have had the same the kneejerk reaction. Ripoff Report. It sounds so righteous and well-meaning, doesn’t it? They’re off to protect every poor, unsuspecting soul in this world from exploitation. Then you start digging into the particulars and realize a person can be entirely blameless, yet have their reputation irreparably damaged by that site. All it takes is one vindictive soul, bent on character assassination. At ripoffreport.com, there is no one minding the store, not when it comes to fact checking. The more mudslinging, the merrier, or so it would seem, based on their self-avowed policies.
In My Own Defense
It goes without saying, the purpose of this blog is to offer a few words in my own defense, and I would start with saying, hogwash. I categorically deny the charges. Yes, this client and I have a contractual dispute but in reading the accusations leveled against me, you will not find one honest statement therein.
I challenge anyone to find one negative word written about me, Gary Paul Corcoran, on the internet or anywhere, other than by this person. I have been at my craft for over thirty years and have always been able to resolve the occasional differences in an equitable fashion. Fairness is the bedrock to all my personal and professional relationships and that underlying sense of ethics has never failed to produce peace and goodwill.
I trust you will read on. What I have to say here is instructive about character assassination on the internet, if nothing else, and makes for a hell of a story.
A Few of Gary Corcoran’s Character References
Before I get down into the weeds of that tale, here is a link to one of my literary platforms, should you care to look.
Consider it a character reference. I have not worked at this site in the past two years (virtually all new business comes in from my personal website) but I also have no control over what my former ghostwriting clients have said there. Those reviews were posted spontaneously and completely independent of my input.
Or look at the work samples on my ghostwriting website.
Just click on ‘work samples’ in the upper left hand tab. Or go to my Amazon page.
I prefer to let my work speak for itself but quite a few people think I’m a gifted writer, and of estimable character, contrary to the opinion of one.
A Brief Sketch of My Accuser
First, I had always puzzled over why this woman would file a complaint on ripoffreport.com and lead off with a giant whopper. If you read her initial hit piece, she claims to have been inspired to share her story by another complaint lodged against me on the same site. Only there ARE no other complaints filed against me on Ripoff.
It was some weeks later before I discovered the basis for this puzzling assertion: a ruse she had engaged in on Outscam.com, wherein she posted one complaint against me, then came back a week later, pretending to be a second person, piling on the first complaint. And, as if to prove that honesty, accuracy and fairness are not high in this woman’s playbook, she copied and pasted her original complaint from Outscam.com straight over to Ripoff Report without even attempting to tweak the content to fit the forum.
When I placed this brazen bit of deception under her nose, she told me never to contact her again, a response that has been reflective of her behavior from day one in this sad, sorry saga. I can come to no other conclusion than that we’re dealing with a pathological liar here, a deeply disturbed person who will do anything and say anything to get her own way, and then lie some more when confronted with her original deceptions.
What she won’t do is negotiate in good faith, to find an equitable solution.
As further evidence of her duplicitous nature, a month or so back, I thought we finally had a deal wherein I would return the lion’s share of the good faith deposit, in exchange for which she would take down her Ripoff Report complaint. Then, at the last minute, I received an email from her, insisting that I provide a signed statement, stating our contract had been terminated at a prior date. Smelling a rat, I called my attorney, who instructed me to do no such thing. What she wanted amounted to making a materially false statement, and in any case was legally meaningless. For two people to dissolve a contract and go their separate ways requires a signed, legally binding document or it is not official. If one person can unilaterally terminate a contract, simply by saying so, it isn’t a contract
When I informed her of this, she blew up the deal. Ultimately I learned via a message from Ripoff Report that they never take down a complaint, no matter how bogus it is, a fact that clearly this woman had already discovered. And, knowing she couldn’t deliver the goods, she attempted to extract a false statement from me so she could crow over the internet, “See, even HE agrees that the contract was terminated but still won’t return my deposit.”
The Facts of Gary’s RipOff Report Case
How these events got started is simple enough. A potential client was looking for a ghostwriter, saw my ad on the internet, Gary Paul Corcoran-Ghostwriter and called me. Following several phone conversations, we signed a legally binding contract and began exchanging documents.
I should point out right here, before I go on, that some of my clients insist on signing a contract, and some don’t. With a contract, a good faith deposit is standard. In other cases, a client, having seen samples of my work and keen on hiring me, will advance a modest sum, for which I produce a chapter or two, in order to make sure the relationship is going to work. I am more than happy to proceed on either basis. The foundation of my success is performance. If I provide gripping prose that jumps off the page, a client is more than happy to pay for my work. In the case of the woman in question, she had insisted on a legally binding contract, of which a good faith deposit became a part.
So, over the course of two weeks, as I moved forward with her manuscript, there were several email exchanges and two phone calls between us, in which we discussed the real life events behind her fact based historical novel, all of it done on a completely cordial, constructive and positive basis. In our last conversation, we went over the structure of the first few chapters and I was once again encouraged to keep moving forward.
At the end of that second week, having delivered 10,000 words of polished content, I received an email from this woman, completely out of the blue, stating that she wanted to terminate the contract. I inquired as to why but she refused to offer a reason. She wanted to terminate the contract and that was that. As best I can guess, she woke up one day and thought, I’ve hired the wrong ghostwriter. I don’t know, but meanwhile, I had two weeks of my life invested into this thing, all at her behest and with her encouragement.
Well, never one to hold a gun to someone’s head, I politely acquiesced and sent her a bill for services rendered. She shot back that she did not owe me a thing and demanded the return of her entire good faith deposit, that or she would take legal action; an unyielding stance which of course required that she both denigrate my abilities as an author and portray me as some sort of Snidely Whiplash character in order to make said position seem justifiable.
A clearly accomplished writer, with a fine reputation and suddenly I’m a crook and a hack.
For the record, the initial sketches I sent this client were in a terse, Hemingwayesque style. It’s a war novel and that seemed to me the appropriate direction. She, however, wanted something more along the lines of Howard’s End literary so I redid everything to suit her tastes, a fact that she has never disputed, but never bothers to mention.
The larger point I want to make is this. I would never take a person’s money and fail to deliver a publish worthy manuscript. Whether in a clearly defined contract, or on a chapter by chapter basis, I make abundantly clear to every client that we are to work together, hand in hand, steadily honing a manuscript over the course of three drafts, until it is something worthy of being called literature. Unfortunately, this woman never once rolled up her sleeves and engaged in this clearly delineated process. I did not receive a single note from her on the manuscript, offering specific feedback on the characters or settings. Perhaps she expected a completely polished manuscript in the first draft but that’s not the way it works. Just ask Hemingway.
Not to beat a dead horse, but I must emphasize the concept of fairness again here, for it is at the core of everything I do. Thus, if someone is suddenly faced with unexpected financial hardship, as has happened once or twice in the past, of course I will graciously step aside, but it is worth noting that in the few cases where this has happened, not one person has failed to compensate me something for the efforts I made on their behalf.
Let me state it another way. If I used up two weeks of your life, I should be willing to compensate you something for that time, right? And I would be. It’s that simple. The Golden Rule applies to all. As a guiding principle, I find that most people on this planet understand the concept intrinsically. But not this woman. When the threat of legal action failed to bully me, she threatened to file a criminal complaint. Preposterous. It’s a civil matter, but by that point I had spoken again with my attorney and was advised to do nothing until this legal cloud was lifted from over my head. I made this position clear to the client, explained that we would need to sign a proper Release & Termination Agreement in order to dissolve the contract and offered to negotiate the amount of my invoice.
Choosing War Over Peaceful Negotiations
The next thing I knew, this woman had filed her complaint on Ripoff Report. What she hoped to accomplish by that course of action, I have no idea. It’s like shooting someone in the head and then threatening them with the gun. The peril has lost all its power of persuasion by that point.
Nonetheless, I continue to reach out to this woman on a regular basis, reiterating my position. Let’s settle on something fair for the two weeks I worked on your book, sign a proper Release & Termination Agreement, you forswear any more threats of legal action, post an addendum to your ripoffreport.com complaint, stating that we ultimately settled our differences in an amicable fashion, and I will return the remainder of your good faith deposit. She has ceased to acknowledge my overtures.
I would also wish to make it clear that I have been consistently measured, respectful and professional in my conduct throughout, whereas she has been petty, vindictive, condescending, disparaging, shrill, capricious and deceptive, and I have the emails to prove it. Repeatedly, this woman broke off our negotiations and ordered me never to contact her again, yet made claims that I ‘stalked’ her. Everything she says and does turns out to be one more brick in a growing edifice of lies, deceptions and misrepresentations.
Never Second Guess Your Own Beliefs and Principals
One can easily argue. Well why didn’t you just give her the money back and move on? Look at the mess you’ve created for yourself. But this is bigger than one person. If every time someone tries to bully us in this way on the internet and we acquiesce rather than stand up for what we believe is fair and right, what kind of internet (or world) would it be? I strive every day to foster peace on this planet but I’m not going to become the world’s doormat, either.
As to ripoffreport.com, Google ‘lawsuits’ against them and see for yourself. I have no interest taking on this behemoth of the internet, nor do I have the resources. Suffice it to say that we enjoy a legal principle here in America, that of being innocent until proven guilty, and one could hope for the same when it comes to this sort of attack. If you run a website like Ripoff, why not have the decency to take down any crap that can be proven to be patently false? Wouldn’t it make you that much more reputable?
No doubt there are some very unethical individuals out there who deserve their moment in the public stocks but I’m not one of them, and I’m not alone in having been vacuumed up in a forum in which you are guilty until proven innocent, and where your only avenue of recourse is to pay the messenger who has helped to bring this unwarranted grief down upon your head. Thus, those of us who have been unfairly accused in this manner can be forgiven if, after all is said and done, we feel an urgent need to place said messenger in the public stocks instead.
Meanwhile, my name, Gary Paul Corcoran, the foundation on which my business and all my online searches is founded, has been now and forever after tainted. Or so it would seem, given ripoffreport.com’s stated policies. They never take down a hit piece, so a potential client, searching for writing services, is now greeted on page one of a Google search with Gary Paul Corcoran, the rip off, no matter how erroneous the charges against me actually are.
Thank god for the discerning public. I still receive regular calls and emails, inquiring about my services, business is ongoing and more than one new client has made it clear that they could see through this woman’s cartoon like characterization of me but, oy vey, what fun to be flogged before family and friends, peers and strangers, wrongly and without a proper trial.
I can only wish this never happens to you.
– Gary Paul Corcoran