I'm sorry to hear about the terrible way you have been treated Mark and I don't blame you in the least for looking elsewhere for your cover designs.
Graphic design is my dream job and I thought 99 Designs would be a good way to start but because of what I've seen and experienced on the site, I'm losing faith in it. I certainly don't want to be associated with such shady and underhanded dealings. I'm just amazed at the way the staff at 99D have reacted to it.
I would NEVER recommend this site to anyone - both potential CH's and good honest designers.
I wish you all the best with your books :)