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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:59 am

Annoying 'Customer?'

hello
I have a 'customer' who contacted me by email and phone to design his livery.... which I did after loads of 'tooing and frowing' tweeking this and changing that...needed cast material which was ordered in after he sent me an email telling me he ...and I quote "we will definitely be proceeding with order through you"
then silence.....called...left messages for him to ring me back on loads of occasions.....now im stuck with this cast of an odd colour and I must have spent at least 10 hours designing this thing and even posted colour samples on 3 occasions...
Ive just sent him an email telling him im sending an invoice for artwork charges.....do I charge him for all this cast material too?.....
its been months now and I am having a right rant...!!!
any advice please :evil: :evil: :evil:
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:14 am

i Cheryl,
Its a tough one. Obviously you know now never order specialised materials without a deposit! I would bill him for everything and then see if you can at least negotiate a figure based on a percentage of the invoice. That is probably the best you can do. More likely you wont get diddly.
Can you return the material or perhaps sell n the boards?

Good Luck

Peter
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:20 am

ill make a call to Hexis Peter...thanks for the advice.
you know when someone writes definately proceeding...youd like to take them at their word...
I am doing my best to not be so angry....all he had to do is say...im sorry I cant proceed, then I could draw a line under it. :evil:
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:37 am

Cheryl, I think you have committed the cardinal sin of going a tad too far on this one.
I have just been through a similar sequence; customer wanted to see artwork before payment to check I could produce what he wanted.
All artwork was copyrighted low res.
However, once submitted I pressed him to pay in full (direct Bank payment) before producing the sign, which he did.

I have never met this customer (web enquiry) but I have his money so he gets the job done.

So there are two issues;

1/ You ordered materials without payment. You're too trusting - get real.
2/ He emailed you a definite go-ahead. If this was in response to submitted copyrighted artwork and a written quote, then he is liable to pay, not just for the artwork but materials and loss of profit if you want to push harder.


Solution
If your artwork was copyrighted, check if he has had it done elsewhere using your design.
If so, sue for copyright and artwork plus materials.

If not copyrighted, and his "go-ahead" was in response to a written quote, sue for the materials and design time. You can also sue for copyright if you can prove the design was unique to you.

If his "go-ahead" was not in response to a written quote, take it on the chin.
A customer can't commit to something he doesn't know about.

In reality, you went down a route which we have all trodden at some time, and come to regret.

That's my quick take on it.
Good luck.
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:45 am

yep Peter he okayed on quote with artwork...I dont send arwork without copyright and GoGirl watermarks all over the place...got it all here in emails...
Thankfully this is the first time this has happened to me...I wont be so trusting next time...
Ive no idea how to find out if he has got them done elsewhere apart from camping out at his offices which are 50 miles away.
may go and have a look sometime if I get the time.
Thank you
the rant has helped and im still invoicing him..but how much now will be based on your suggestions....grrr
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:38 am

Put a covering letter in with the invoice along the lines of failure to pay within 28 days,or whatever, will result in you proceeding with an application to the Small Claims Court, and send by special delivery.
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:34 am

This is why I won't even turn on my computer without a deposit.
A deposit at the very least will cover your time if they stiff you.
Sorry you had to go through this, but I bet it won't happen again.
Love....Jill
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:52 am

If it's any comfort, I've made worse decisions - I spent time and money buying specialist equipment for a shop fascia that never happened :thumbdown:

The small claims option is the nuclear option, it's always best to decide how far you are willing to go in time and effort to reclaim a debt, whether it is worth the stress/comebacks too.

If you cannot return/sell the materials, you might want to have a word with your accountant about managing the bad debt. You might also be able to reclaim (some of) the VAT back on bad debts too:
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/managing/rec ... -debts.htm
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:13 pm

You could try a softer touch and write to the customer detailing the sequence of events that led you to order the material - detail the costs (selling price) of the material and also the value of your design time. Say this was all £500, ask for £250 as a good will gesture and see how it goes. I feel a more aggresive route may cause your customer to dig his heels in and you get nothing?

Also I would be wary of changing your working practices too much. How many times has this happened to you and how likely is it to happen again at any significant value? Enough to take an 'i don't trust you' attitude with customers? Your clients probably appreciate and like how you work and it is more than likely good for your business. I know plenty people want deposits and such like but what works for some may not work for all.

G
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:47 pm

Thanks everyone
I do like Gavs approach, that is more me I suppose.
Anyhow a chance has arrived to take the gentle explaining approach...

I have just received an email from him....the first one he has replied to in months is the one where I told him to expect an invoice.
no hello or name signing ...........just the words
Please can you explain?

oh hum....least ive got his attention....
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:17 pm

much more like you to be gentle Cheryl, as Gavin say's I think it's better than aggressive I'm sure you will be able to think of the right words to use.
Good luck.

Lynn
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:01 pm

I find that starting a letter/e-mail of this nature along the lines of. "On taking advice from (FSB, Local Business Network etc.)..... and then provide a chronological series of documented events that build up the costs in your invoice.

If everything adds up to a worthwhile sum, then finish off with notification of small claims proceedings in 15 days if the invoice remains unpaid.

Hope it goes to plan for you.
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Post Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:26 pm

Usually I just wear a low cut top when explaining about the deposit.
:D
Hey at least you got his attention now.
:wink:
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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:02 am

I sent a nice email:
Good Morning mr sir,
I hope you are well and business is good,
Thank you for your reply.
It is usual practice to charge for design time. i.e for the hours spent revising and re designing the layouts and colour ways and materials under the instruction of the customer. This cost is usually ‘swallowed up’ in the end invoice with delivery of the finished sign written vehicle(s) after the order is placed. In this case; emails to me dated the 9th of April and the 28th of June, in which you wrote you definitely wished to proceed. Under this order I bought in the high grade wrap materials specifically for this job, which remain sitting in my office, ready to fit.
After speaking to you on the phone, you made it clear that you were very busy after the opening of your new office, so I have made a point of not pestering you, only sending occasional reminders in the trust that you would call me when your minis were able to come to my workshop to fit.
Unfortunately, since June , I have not had any of my emails or phone calls answered and I have been left to presume that you have changed your mind, I will have to invoice you as explained above.
If this is not correct and you still wish to proceed with the works, by all means let me know.
Regards
Cheryl

Ive sent it now...so lets see...
maybe I should have put God Bless you on the end...
:)
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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:06 am

I like it, just the right note struck I'd say.

Nothing wrong with how other people operate but for me Graeme's solution starts from too strong a stand point, if that gets someones back up they could be completely stubborn and then you get nowhere. Different if it's failure to pay for work carried out but when it's more of a grey area I like a softer approach better.

G
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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:08 pm

good old Hexis are taking back the cast material...
The customer told me I was using underhand tactics..
Wish I didnt care sometimes.
anyhow onwards and upwards..ho hum
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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:26 pm

Do you think he has had someone else do the job using your artwork though?
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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:30 pm

He said he hadnt used the design...was just waiting til he could afford to do it. Oh well, there you go....what happens when there is no communication.
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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:43 pm

Ive no idea how to find out if he has got them done elsewhere apart from camping out at his offices which are 50 miles away.
may go and have a look sometime if I get the time.


I expect Rich has done it by now :rofl:

name and shame the client anyhow

John :D :D
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Post Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:18 pm

Make sure that he is aware that the work is copyrighted and if he no longer wishes to use it (the time frame is rapidly disappearing) you have another client that would be able to use the 'stye'/ artwork, and that you are now going to use it with them. He will no longer be able to use after the end of the week. Of course it does depend on his logos etc.

I can't be bothered with people like that, if he doesn't pay for your time use the work elsewhere. He'll soon pay up.
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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:20 am

I would still send out an invoice for design time Cheryl,
Can't expect to do 10 hours design time for nought.
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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:10 am

Thats a shame Cheryl. He could have contacted you and told you he was tight on budget. At least Hexis have taken back the material.
Onward and upward, another experience under the belt. :(

Peter
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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:15 am

The customer told me I was using underhand tactics..

Remember no good deed goes unpunished.
That after you were so sweet to him.

How is giving you the go ahead after being picky about revisions and making you bring in specialized materials, then not calling you back not underhanded?

Deposit deposit deposit.
And when you see your design rolling down the street on his van, and you will, sue his sorry @ss for copyright infringement.
Save every email as proof.
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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:47 pm

I know you said you watermarked the files - have you tried sending artwork as PDF's? You can lock them and let them be printed in low resolution, this coupled with the watermarks should help your artwork being stolen
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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:50 pm

Or not being stolen :P
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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:06 pm

Chris Key wrote:Or not being stolen :P


good idea too...

thanks Everyone
I feel the same as Fred...
I am going to tell him Ive sent back the material and send him an invoice for the design and time used designing it, if he pays up I wont care if he gets it done elsewhere.
You are right Peter and Jill,
it was like a slap in the face...now I wouldnt want to do his cars even if they turned up tomorrow.

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone, big hugs to you all.
Cxx
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Post Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:24 pm

Cheryl, isn't there a sign group member near where he is that could have a quick check to see if he has had the vehicles done or not. He isn't going to be honest with you and say he got someone else to do them cheaper so telling you he was short on budget is the easiest way to stop you contacting him.
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Post Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:44 am

Would you believe it. I just got sent PDF artwork from a new customer asking if I could do the job at a better price than the £440 quoted.
Before I even saw it I said there could be copyright issues to which he said that they only drafted it up as a design idea so it could be used.
On seeing it, firstly the price was fair but the design was awful.
I told him my feelings - declining the job. To me he would never be a loyal customer.

Stupidly, the other sign company had sent him full size PDF artwork which I imported straight in to Signlab - ready to cut. No copyright notice to be seen so they wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.
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Post Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:05 pm

Hi Peter,

You mentioned in your post above about no copyright notice meaning that they wouldn't have had a leg to stand on. Someone else may be better placed than me to advise, but I still think the lack of a copyright notice doesn't mean that you cant still claim that copyright still exists.

Martin
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Post Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:46 pm

Martin wrote:Cheryl, isn't there a sign group member near where he is that could have a quick check to see if he has had the vehicles done or not. He isn't going to be honest with you and say he got someone else to do them cheaper so telling you he was short on budget is the easiest way to stop you contacting him.


it doesnt matter to me if he has got them somewhere cheaper...
im still charging for all the artwork time.
I wouldnt be surprised if he hadnt got the money...hes an estate agent!
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Post Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:38 pm

This is exactley the reason why I get frustrated because design is one way customers will always try and fleece you. I regularly ask the way forward for things like this. never click a mouse without a deposit and I will soon be uploading an order sheet with payment terms and conditions. hopefully with all our expertise and experiences we can use an order sheet fool proof for everyone.

sorry to here about it but as said on the boards we have all been through it.
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Post Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:39 pm

Cheryl Smith wrote:
Martin wrote:...hes an estate agent!


That explains everything..... (:) (:) (:) him
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Post Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:08 pm

Roger Clements wrote:
Cheryl Smith wrote:
Martin wrote:...hes an estate agent!


That explains everything..... (:) (:) (:) him


....take it you have never seen the movie 'The Fisher King'? Roger? ;)
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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:26 am

Peter Dee wrote:Would you believe it. I just got sent PDF artwork from a new customer asking if I could do the job at a better price than the £440 quoted.
Before I even saw it I said there could be copyright issues to which he said that they only drafted it up as a design idea so it could be used.
On seeing it, firstly the price was fair but the design was awful.
I told him my feelings - declining the job. To me he would never be a loyal customer.

Stupidly, the other sign company had sent him full size PDF artwork which I imported straight in to Signlab - ready to cut. No copyright notice to be seen so they wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.


In my email "signature" I have a little disclaimer - saying any artwork received from my email address is property of our company unless stated. Probably wouldn't "stand up" but something, at least.
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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:38 pm

I've only briefly flicked through this, but how many others have noticed that there really are specific customer occupations that make them far harder to deal with than others. Estate agents, independent car dealers, medium sized building companies, restaurants and hairdressers.
Some other trades seem to be just 100% easy to deal with. Plumbers, carpenters, small or large building firms, majority of general shops.
I'd sooner deal with a hundred plumbers than one estate agent. Really shouldn't generalize, but honestly think you can sometimes.
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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:26 pm

I tend to agree Bob - for instance - I find "snack bars" difficult.
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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:36 pm

Phill Fenton wrote:I tend to agree Bob - for instance - I find "snack bars" difficult.

oh lol!! :lol1:
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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:15 pm

Roger Clements wrote:
Cheryl Smith wrote:
Martin wrote:...hes an estate agent!


That explains everything..... (:) (:) (:) him


....take it you have never seen the movie 'The Fisher King'? Roger? ;)


Good memory Nigel....though I don't think Cheryl is a psychotic depressed murderer... :roll: :lol1:
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Post Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:16 pm

Roger Clements wrote:
Nigel Hindley wrote:
Roger Clements wrote:
Cheryl Smith wrote:
Martin wrote:...hes an estate agent!


That explains everything..... (:) (:) (:) him


....take it you have never seen the movie 'The Fisher King'? Roger? ;)


Good memory Nigel....though I don't think Cheryl is a psychotic depressed murderer... :roll: :lol1:


ha ha, maybe not but there could be one on here somewhere?
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Post Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:00 am

Nigel Hindley wrote:
Roger Clements wrote:
Nigel Hindley wrote:
Roger Clements wrote:
Cheryl Smith wrote:
Martin wrote:...hes an estate agent!


That explains everything..... (:) (:) (:) him


....take it you have never seen the movie 'The Fisher King'? Roger? ;)


Good memory Nigel....though I don't think Cheryl is a psychotic depressed murderer... :roll: :lol1:


ha ha, maybe not but there could be one on here somewhere?

blimy...I think Im gunna need to watch that film to see what u are on about
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Post Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:09 am

Hey Cheryl, Its a pretty dark film though with some lighter moments. Brief synopsis, A DJ makes a quip on air saying yuppies should be all be shot. One of his listeners then goes to a bar and guns a load down, the rest of the film is about his own subsequent meltdown and him dealing with it and finding someone else who has been affected by the shooting and trying to look after him.

Worth watching.

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