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Question - what would you do - difficult customer?

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Lee Harris

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:59 pm

Question - what would you do - difficult customer?

What would you do about this customer…..Back in January a customer wanted some epaulets embroidered with there logo. We did them, after giving our customer a sample pair. Chased customer today regarding payment of other outstanding invoices and they informed us - after 4 months - that the epaulets were wrong.

Went to see customer today and they have given us an ultimatum. Replace epaulets…..or lose there further business – 5 x 56 seater coaches – cost about £500 each. Cost of replacement epaulets …£30.00

I know what you’ll all say….for the sake of £30….replace them…..our problem is that our customer saw the sample and was happy with it……now after 4 months she says they are wrong.

If we were told at the time of delivery that they were incorrect, we would have replaced them without question.

Question. When does responsibility for incorrect goods end and the customer taking the p*** starts

Regards
Lee
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Nigel Fraser

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:03 pm

Lee, that's just taking the P too much ! Call their bluff and say no to free replacements (:) or if you really want you could do my favorite and compromise on say half price.
But you have to ask yourself do you want a customer who treats you like that and doesn't pay you for months anyway ?

Nigel
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Lee Harris

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:09 pm

Hi Nigel

We have tried that. Offered to replace, with a good discount but got a resounding NO

Lee
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Roy Roffey

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:12 pm

seems to me lee someones taking you for a mug.

if it was me ( and only me ) i would say that seeing they agreed the job / artwork was correct before you done the job then you have honored your side of the deal, therefore offer them a "discount" on said item ( say 15% ) for there inconvenience and in future request a signature of approval when ordering.

you may find that the company may have some cash flow probs and are trying to stall you before paying.

isn't it a pain in the ar*e when you got to spend valuable time covering yourself at all angles.

At the end of the day mate, if they are stalling at this job - do you want to do £500 worth of job and have the same probs???

Nip it in the bud now

Good Luck

roffs
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Nigel Fraser

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:12 pm

In that case I'd definitely tell them to take a hike if it were me - specially with their payment track record :evil:

I used to feel really bad when I was running the risk of loosing a customer through my own actions but not any more. There are too many idiots out there who will take the P if you let them. Funny how they always seem to be the ones who promise the earth if you sort their problem and then nothing turns up :-?

Nigel
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Nigel Pugh

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:22 am

Lee just mention the rising cost of oil, therefore your vinyl costs have gone up and so each coach will have to be £510 each, small increase to your customer per coach and you have covered the cost of having to do the epaulets again. :D

Nigel
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Lee Harris

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:41 am

Hi Nigel

I know what your saying, but do I really need that type of customer. I will not be held to blackmail.

Had another customer yesterday who I was chasing payment from, who said 'I'm your customer so you trade on my terms and I pay on 30 days' When I tried to point out that in December last year they had a letter saying 'payment on collection' he put the phone down.............need I say more

Regards
Lee
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Phill Fenton

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:59 am

Sometimes you just have to be prepared to walk away.

The time you will spend doing these coaches could equally well be spent doing some other work. I would call their bluff and be prepared to lose the further work.

I used to supply signs to a Nationally known house building company. The problem was after supplying them for some time, they began to "lose" every third invoice, and it was only when I chased these payments that I discovered the invoices hadn't been received (yeah right :roll: ) This further delayed payment as I had to re-issue the invoices to get these back into their "system". (Never Mind that I had always sent statements each month which should have made them aware of "missing" invoices).

I got so cheesed off with them I refused to do any further business with them. If you're a relatively small business like ours is - it's easy to keep a full order book and pick and choose the work you want to do.

That House building company was in the papers recently having recieved an award for their support for a major charity - I just wish their readers knew how that company treat their suppliers.
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Moonsmurf

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:57 am

Hi
Is there anyway you can tell if they had or have used them??

I have came across this a few times and had to go see for myself!
:evil:
If they are a good customer and normally pay promptly then i would replace them, and ensure in the future that they sign off on samples they see, stitchouts they get etc etc

If their payment history is rubbish then i would draught a letter, telling them you have offered 'x' number of solutions and feel that you have been more than generous since such a large amount of time as past from them receiving the goods until you found out there was a problem. Give them 7 days from receipt of the letter to either pay in full or accept one of your solutions.

Then sit back and wait, then you'll know whether they are worth your time, hassle and grief. As scary as it is right now, if they were not great payers to begin with, I would not let them have the 'power' in this situation and be willing to lose a bad payer even if its only over £30

Hope this helps

Lanie
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Shane Drew

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:59 am

Lee, been there done that mate.

For what it is worth, I'd cut my losses and walk away.

If you buckle on this one, they will treat you like this everytime they see a reason not to pay.

Did they sign for the goods originally? If they did, they don't have a leg to stand on. It is a matter of principal Lee, if they are not prepared to take some responsibilty who says they are going to pay you when the buses come up, or even get you to do them at all.

I did a lot of work for a company here, averaged $2000 a month. They started stuffing me around, making delivery demands that were outside my terms, threateneing to get another sign guy in if I didn't trim my prices. They started losing my invoices, stretched payment out to 2 months, etc etc. i knew my prices were competative tho.

I rang them up one day and said if they did not want to trade on my terms, I was not interested in anymore work.

They told me that basically, if I walked, I'd never get back in.

I called their bluff, because frankly I couldn't afford to go back on their terms.

That was 6 months ago, and they rang me last month to see if I'd come back. I outlined the terms again and they agreed.

Point is, when I walked out, I was able to concentrate on other business that would work within my terms. I didn't expect them to come back, so I just moved on to find another contract to fill the hole.

I know it is easy for us to advise you on this, when it is not our income being affected, but you have to ask yourself if you want them to dictate their terms on you, or you dictate your terms to them.

I hope whatever you decide works for you mate.

Cheers
Shane
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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:39 am

Lee, I would listen to Nigel and Shane.
Something just seems fishy to me about the whole deal.
Is it really worth all that stress?
I'd fire that customer, but only after I'd crammed one of their epaulettes where the sun don't shine. I don't think they could see the mistake from that angle. Or you could just embroider "Jagoff" on their foreheads.
(hot)
Love....Sweet Little Jill
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Shane Drew

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:49 am

Jillbeans wrote:Lee, I would listen to Nigel and Shane.
Something just seems fishy to me about the whole deal.
Is it really worth all that stress?
I'd fire that customer, but only after I'd crammed one of their epaulettes where the sun don't shine. I don't think they could see the mistake from that angle. Or you could just embroider "Jagoff" on their foreheads.
(hot)
Love....Sweet Little Jill


:oops: Such a delicate way with words Jill.....
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Simon Clayton

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:51 am

I would replace them... do thier coaches, once paid for the coaches, send them an invoice for the new sepaulets.
If they don't pay epaulets take them to court..

Simon
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Lee Harris

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:01 pm

Hi All

There payment history is not that bad, its there attitude that is getting at me. The lady of the business - who runs it, her husband just does the driving - just once it all. To her it dose not matter that the goods have sat in a box in a cupboard for the last 4 months, not seeing daylight. It's still our fault.

She will not compromise, so we have sent her a letter just pointing out, that if she had told us when we had delivered the goods, we would have replaced them but not after 4 months. Also said that they can take there business else where.

Thanks for all your views and the very nice way that Jillneans put it.....

Regards
Lee
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Adrian Howard

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:19 pm

Its not Unicorn is it........... i fell out 4 years ago over payment
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Lee Harris

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:49 pm

Hi Adrian

I was not going to mention names...............but seeing you have.......yes it is. Did you have any other problems with them. PM me or email me if you want to tell me.

Regards
Lee
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Phill Fenton

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:12 pm

Just like customers - sign makers can vote with their feet.

Pretty soon these businesses will run out of suppliers they can turn too.

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