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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:56 am 
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Have you ever noticed that as soon as a problem customer has decided they do not want to pay for their goods or services you have provided that suddenly absolutely every little thing that you have ever done for them is incorrect?

We have found this to be a fairly constant theme in objections raised by this, thankfully, minority of minorities,and from personal experience we have found that the old adage of "giving them enough rope" works quite well. Quietly making a pictorial record throughout the works is a very effective insurance policy against many fraudulent asertions.

Many of these problem customers can be spotted before the contract starts. A familiar ploy is to be told that the works are on a budget - you duly quote for a budget range or product then to be told that what they really like is another product - much nearer the top of the range.
Here warning bells should ring as they probably fully intend to get their quality installation for the original budget price by agreeing to go for the higher priced product but having absolutely no intention of paying you for it by claiming all sorts of faults once most of the work has been done. They are hoping you will be scared off by talk of legislation and courts whereupon they will find another craftsmen who will complete your works for a small fee enabling them to effectively " pocket" the differerence and get what they wanted with you paying for it.

Most courts are fair and under the jurisdiction of experienced judges who are fully aware of this practice and after all, most have seen it all before - so our advice is do not be deterred from claiming what you are rightfully owed by these "barrack-room Hitlers" whose stock in trade is abuse, denigration of your abilities, and quasi-legal threats - not to mention of course that they always know much more about your trade and profession than you do.
Some of the lower forms of this "client" will even put members of their own family in the firing line up front and then claim the contract was with them afterwards,- especially if they have a history of such practices, so make sure all of your terms and conditions are in writing with a single individual clients name shown as the client and where possible ensure that installment payments ( often called interim payments ) are included in the contract.All contracts that include such payments have to be written and so they cannot then claim that you allowed them to change the contract orally - another trick in their thieves arsenal.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:57 am 
Wood Flooring Installer
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Last year I was called to carry out some finishing for a large flooring retailer I do a lot of work for. The customer was evil! By the time I got to the job, they had been through 4 tilers and had each ones work completely ripped up in an area of approx 30 sqm. The first tilers work ripped up by the second and replaced, then they rinsed and repeated till the final 5th tilers. I was just their to sort a few doors n kickboards out. As well as the supply company paying for the refits as they had used their recommended tilers, the customer had 2 paid holidays abroad and a cash payment for emotional stress. The end total came to a cool £38,000 at the last count.

They were completely insane or calculating..the later is probably closer the mark. When the tilers were at the job, everything was fine. As soon as they had left, the customer was firing off emails and calls to the store area manager with a full list of complaints. This was while the job was still on going. So Mr.Tiler gets a call the next morning from the area manager with the customers issues and the mind games began. Back and forth. Each tiler tried different tactics to try and keep the customer happy, from breaking every little detail down and asking the customer if they were ok with each section, to using iron clad, emotionless, straight down the line professionalism. Every time, they had emails and complaints at the ready.

You may wander why the company carried on honouring there service, say after the third tiler. Well, the retailer is huge and this customer knew how to play the system from the lads doing the fitting (constant niggles and mind games) to creating waves at the executive level. Off course exec rings store with 'sort this out!' etc. In 14 years dealing with this company and knowing many off the tilers involved, I've never known anything like it. Felt really bad for the tilers. I believe all but the last saw not a scrap of money. These are lads with families and mortgages. It was really not fair at all. The last tiler was on a get paid whatever promise as the retailer finally realised they were getting their pants pulled down and it was time to call it a day. I never did hear if the customers took the store to court after the final guy had been in. I will find that out and re post.

This may be a naive statement, but how can people behave like this and sleep at night. Off course each tiler may have done a naff job and the customers complaint may have been valid, however, these are all lads that have worked for this company for years, communicated with each other as to this customer. So I would assume would have been working to silly tolerances to make sure they got paid at the end. Anyway, I'm team tilers so I'm biased :thumbright:

Just thought I'd share that as it's online with the new topic. Nice first post pitfall stopper :thumbleft:

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:38 pm 
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If a customer gets a bad tradesmen their unlucky , if they get two their very unlucky, beyond that it's them.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:08 pm 
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I did a job last summer for a European fella in a posh part of town. It was 4 weeks of gritting of teeth and a lot of patience, we ended up christening him "4.5mm" by the end of it. Anyway he said we were the best tradesmen he'd ever had work on his property , it was a very big house, that in e 40 years he'd been in the UK , every single workman he'd had work for him, from a new roof to a whole central heating system to a new knocker on the door, every single one of them had been out to con him. All of them had bad intentions, were rip off merchants and did shoddy work. You had to be in awe of the arrogance of the guy, he was touching 75 and hadent got it,and he probably would never get it. ::b

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