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DFW Area Landscaper
04-09-2005, 10:23 PM
Customer e-mails this:

We we received our invoice from you regarding our lawn care and have a few issues.

First of all, we were fertilized twice and charged 38 dollars for both times. We had only wanted the one initial fertilization. We had not requested any additional treatments. We would like to please have the amount for one of these refunded.

Second, we would like to back off to every other week. We do not believe every week is necessary at this time. Should we find out that is not the case, we will let you know. We understand that we should not do any additional fertilizing that would make the lawn care more difficult.

Finally, we are wondering what you would charge to trim (what used to be) the spiral bush in our front garden - right by the front door.


Here is my response:

We will issue a credit for the second application. It will probably take a few business days for the credit to hit your bank account.

As a matter of policy, anytime a customer says "I didn't order that", we always take them off the schedule immediately. We don't require signed contracts and for the vast majority of our customers, this works fine with next day credit cards. When a client says they didn't order something and we disagree, we find that the best policy is to simply end the relationship. We are always very diligent about explaining to customers who sign up for fert/weed control just before an application is due that we can either do an app now and another one in a few weeks or we can just wait and start service with the next scheduled app. The majority of new customers want the weeds to start dying immediately, so most choose an app now and another one in a few weeks. We're certain we went over this with you when you ordered service. We also sent out a welcome letter that detailed what services you had ordered. And we called you the night before we did the second app to let you know we'd be out the next day to treat the lawn.

If you want to continue with bi-weekly service, the only way we can do that is if you waive your refund request for the application we did on April 4th. Otherwise, we'll waive our six cut minimum and take you off the schedule immediately.

I suppose I could just give them the credit and keep them as a bi-weekly mowing client, but I don't like the fact that I believe the customer is dishonest. He got his dandelions killed and now he wants to be cheap. That's fine. I have no problem with that. But not only did he order the fert plan, I also sent him a letter stating that I had him down for the fert plan and I called him the night before we did the second app to let him know we'd be out and that he needed to keep the dogs off the material until it had time to dry. Perhaps the mistake was on my end, but if it was, especially with his credit card in my system, wouldn't the customer be threatening to cancel service instead of changing service plans and ordering shrub trimming? This just isn't the actions of a guy who gives a credit card to a company and the company starts providing services that weren't ordered, is it?

What would you do?

Thanks,
DFW Area Landscaper

packerbacker
04-09-2005, 10:27 PM
If he knew you were returning the 2nd time then I say no refund and cut him loose.

DFW Area Landscaper
04-09-2005, 10:37 PM
I'll have to give him the refund. If he disputes it with Visa, not only will I lose the refund, but I'll be out a bank service fee as well. Consumers always win on this stuff.

It's very possible that I got his answering machine the night before the app and that he didn't get the message until after it was too late. But I also sent him the welcom letter. Just too many chances for him to go "Hey, I didn't order that" in my mind.

Like I say, I have no problem with a client changing their minds. I just have a problem with him using a lie to get a refund. I'd say there's a 80% chance I'm right and he's wrong, but there is a small chance he only ordered a one time app. I've been signing up so many new customers the last month, there's no way I can remember for certain. All I know is, his actions aren't consistent with a consumer who has placed a credit card on file with a comany he's never done business with before and the company starts providing services he never ordered. I'd expect to get fired over something like that, not see an order for shrub trimming.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

packerbacker
04-09-2005, 10:39 PM
I'll have to give him the refund. If he disputes it with Visa, not only will I lose the refund, but I'll be out a bank service fee as well. Consumers always win on this stuff.

It's very possible that I got his answering machine the night before the app and that he didn't get the message until after it was too late. But I also sent him the welcom letter. Just too many chances for him to go "Hey, I didn't order that" in my mind.

Like I say, I have no problem with a client changing their minds. I just have a problem with him using a lie to get a refund. I'd say there's a 80% chance I'm right and he's wrong, but there is a small chance he only ordered a one time app. I've been signing up so many new customers the last month, there's no way I can remember for certain. All I know is, his actions aren't consistent with a consumer who has placed a credit card on file with a comany he's never done business with before and the company starts providing services he never ordered. I'd expect to get fired over something like that, not see an order for shrub trimming.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper







If he didnt get the message till it was to late he should of had enough sense to call you and say he was late in getting the message and he didnt want the service.

Sounds like he just wants something for free or maybe he has just changed his mind about the whole deal and needed some sort of excuse to get out of it.

Either way it doesnt sound like he is being very honest.

Eddie B
04-09-2005, 10:46 PM
It sounds like he's trying to save money while biting you in the a$$. To answer the question, I like your reply.

grass_cuttin_fool
04-09-2005, 10:48 PM
If you arent sure that he confirmed the 2nd application, I would mmmmmm is $38.00 too much to charge for a shrub trim?I would be tempted to boot them to the curb but who knows. I would credit a mow back to them or something and hold on to the cash and the account. BUT if they gave me grief a 2nd time then I would boot them to the curb and you can safely say that you gave it a chance and that you wasnt 100% at fault

DFW Area Landscaper
04-09-2005, 10:52 PM
Then again, from a strictly dollars and cents point of view, I could just pay the 38 bucks and keep a bi-weekly mowing client, who other than this, has never complained and never had a decline. 38 bucks is lower than my normal customer acqusition cost. I also have to consider this.

I know he's not committing credit card fraud or he wouldn't be concerned about saving money. I guess my only risk in keeping him is that he'll say he cancelled service in the middle of the season and then dispute it with Visa.

I'm glad to finally be to the point that I can afford to fire a customer and it not kill me. I've never been in this position. I guess I'll sleep on it a few nights and try to figure out if this response is too emotional and what makes the most busines sense.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

packerbacker
04-09-2005, 10:53 PM
Can you offer to keep the money and give him some service in return that wont cost YOU that much?

lawnman_scott
04-09-2005, 10:53 PM
I'll have to give him the refund. If he disputes it with Visa, not only will I lose the refund, but I'll be out a bank service fee as well. Consumers always win on this stuff.


So are you saying that the credit card thing isnt as foolproof a payment option as advance payment? I would think so, and with advance payment he would obviously paid, or told you not to do it.

lawnandplow42
04-09-2005, 11:03 PM
So are you saying that the credit card thing isnt as foolproof a payment option as advance payment? I would think so, and with advance payment he would obviously paid, or told you not to do it.

If you are sure he was dishonest, and you can afford to loose him, i'd drop his sorry butt imediatly

DFW Area Landscaper
04-09-2005, 11:04 PM
I'd love it everyone would prepay. Problem with advance payments is no one will sign up. With credit cards, they are not committing to long term deals. Residentials and long term contracts, at least in my area, are like oil and water. Out of 150 residential clients, I've got two on long term contracts. And all of my credit card customers have been offered an 8% discount for annual prepayment.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW Area Landscaper
04-09-2005, 11:09 PM
++++If you are sure he was dishonest, and you can afford to loose him, i'd drop his sorry butt imediatly++++

I'm not 100% sure. Like I say, I've signed over 100 new clients in the last six weeks. I simply don't remember the conversation. But there are three facts to consider:

1.) I sent him a welcome letter detailing his service order
2.) I called him the night of April 3rd and if I didn't talk to someone , I at least left a message on a voice mail that said we'd be out on April 4th to treat the lawn
3.) In my opinion, his actions just aren't consistent with a consumer who thinks a company who has his credit card on file is performing services that weren't ordered

Upon a preponderance of the evidence...

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

lawnman_scott
04-09-2005, 11:42 PM
I'd love it everyone would prepay. Problem with advance payments is no one will sign up. With credit cards, they are not committing to long term deals. Residentials and long term contracts, at least in my area, are like oil and water. Out of 150 residential clients, I've got two on long term contracts. And all of my credit card customers have been offered an 8% discount for annual prepayment.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper
Im not saying long term. But can you really not get people to pay 1 month in advance? I would rather do that than give my credit card info to someone. I dont have any residentials on contract, but they all pay in advance, not for the year, but 1 month in advance.

DFW Area Landscaper
04-10-2005, 12:03 AM
I've tried the month in advance or deposit method or whatever you want to call it. It still relies on the customer to pay you on time every time. In my area, it just doesn't work. Texas is chock full of slow paying deadbeats.

Next day credit cards are the best thing since sliced bread. I've done both and I speak from experience. I wish all the LCO's in my area would start requiring this. That way, the odd balls wouldn't get all freaky about the lowly lawn mowing company requiring a credit card. I do lose a lot of business over this requirement. But the most I'll get burned for is a clean up. More often than not, I'll usually get stiffed on one mow. Once I see the decline, they're off the schedule immediately. No if's, and's or but's about it. If they don't have $25 bucks in their checking account of if the credit card's been suspended for late payment or over the limit, I don't want that loser owing me money.

The declined credit card for 25 bucks is a major red flag.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Mueller Landscape Inc
04-10-2005, 03:07 AM
I would explain to him that he was notified 3 times about how this service works. Perhaps he misunderstood. If he still insists on a refund then give it to him and drop him.

Envy Lawn Service
04-10-2005, 03:36 AM
This is why I do pre-pay only and do not accept credit cards.

Lots of times I don't get commitments from people because of the pre-pay and yes it sucks because I might have missed out on a good customer. But I'll tell you what, it doesn't suck near as much as the alternative.

The majority of people who do not accept my pre-pay sales pitch are the exact PITA's I'm looking to screen out. Pre-Pay saves me a lot of headache and as much as I'm concerned about missing out on that one good one here and there.... I can't go back.

Stuff like this just doesn't happen to me anymore. There is no confusion, nothing to dispute and no work not yet paid for unless they are on 12 pay, which is also advance. It relieves so much stress and aggravation associated with dealing with the public, and I don't have to worry about somebody beating me out of my money or holding it hostage.


However.... I really like the SNAP in your reply.... no I love it!!! :cool2:

DFW Area Landscaper
04-10-2005, 12:29 PM
Still mulling it over. I think I'll fire off the response listed above.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Watkinslawnservice
04-10-2005, 08:01 PM
++++If you are sure he was dishonest, and you can afford to loose him, i'd drop his sorry butt imediatly++++

I'm not 100% sure. Like I say, I've signed over 100 new clients in the last six weeks. I simply don't remember the conversation. But there are three facts to consider:

1.) I sent him a welcome letter detailing his service order
2.) I called him the night of April 3rd and if I didn't talk to someone , I at least left a message on a voice mail that said we'd be out on April 4th to treat the lawn
3.) In my opinion, his actions just aren't consistent with a consumer who thinks a company who has his credit card on file is performing services that weren't ordered

Upon a preponderance of the evidence...

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper


How about a phone call? I can get a much better feel of someones intentions if I talk to them in person. I think as far as the fert situation goes, that could be all a big misunderstanding. Just because you say you called him to tell him you were coming doesn't mean that he understood that he would be charged again. They could have thought for some reason that it was all a part of the program or something. If you get a bad feeling from talking to them cut them loose. But like Dalton said in roadhouse, "be nice."

Dave :waving:

bobbygedd
04-10-2005, 08:07 PM
i'd chew off my left arm before i let a customer beat me out of $38. when, and what is the next treatment you will do on his lawn?

Woody82986
04-10-2005, 08:18 PM
I do believe that your reply would be a correct one indeed... My reply would be worded very much like yours is.

i_plant_art
04-10-2005, 10:15 PM
Nice.. way to stand up to someone.. just think he probally did this before and got away with it, continued to get mowed, and then got dropped at the end of the year. Thanks for standing up to a dead rut, i wish moire LCO would stand up to people like that. Those are the people going around giving all of us a bad name in the first place when in fact its them that need the "stereotyping" By the way i like the letter and dont think there is a thing wrong with it..... Hold your ground and dont change your decision. Continue to stand firm my friend and you will for ever be recognized as a reputable company.

MMLawn
04-10-2005, 10:48 PM
Area year and more Drama from DFW. Lets see last year you made it until October with all of your customer and personal problems before you posted that you were finished with this business and quitting. :cry: :cry: t the rate of crying you are doing this year already I say you will be posting that quitting message by July this year.

Envy Lawn Service
04-10-2005, 11:11 PM
Look guys...
Constructive criticism is one thing....
Trying to tear a guy down is another....

DFW Area Landscaper
04-11-2005, 12:35 AM
Well, the vast majority seem to think I should drop this customer. Does anyone think in terms of this:

It's better to pay $38 to acquire a new customer than it is to distribute door hangers to acquire a new customer. My customer acquisition cost with door hangers is about $50 right now. That number will only go up when the spring rush ends in a month.

Does it make any sense to think of it this way?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

HOOLIE
04-11-2005, 12:39 AM
It makes sense to think of it in those terms, of course, this customer may very well screw you out of more than $38 in the long run.

I would call this guy on the phone, like someone else said. That might work better for you than shooting him an e-mail.

bobbygedd
04-11-2005, 08:29 AM
the next aplication should be straight cat littler. $5.50 for a 20 lb bag of tiday cat. charge him, get paid, THEN CANCEL HIM

dishboy
04-11-2005, 09:05 AM
the next aplication should be straight cat littler. $5.50 for a 20 lb bag of tiday cat. charge him, get paid, THEN CANCEL HIM

More great advice from the self acclaimed "BUSINESSMAN"! Although N can be had cheaper than cat litter and how does being dishonest equalize anything except the scale in that feeble little mind of yours.

65hoss
04-11-2005, 09:09 AM
I think I would drop him. But before I did, I would consider one more "free" application. Say...maybe a 43-0-0 fast release at double rate. Let him keep up with that cutting then.

marko
04-11-2005, 09:25 AM
Sign of things to come. Drop him and move on. If possible, give him a couple bi-weekly cuts to recoup some costs, then drop him.

marko
04-11-2005, 09:28 AM
Look guys...
Constructive criticism is one thing....
Trying to tear a guy down is another....
__________________
ENVY

Area year and more Drama from DFW. Lets see last year you made it until October with all of your customer and personal problems before you posted that you were finished with this business and quitting. :cry: :cry: t the rate of crying you are doing this year already I say you will be posting that quitting message by July this year.


If you notice, this is pretty standard for MM. No biggie, just skip over!

Mueller Landscape Inc
04-11-2005, 11:12 AM
Well, the vast majority seem to think I should drop this customer. Does anyone think in terms of this:

It's better to pay $38 to acquire a new customer than it is to distribute door hangers to acquire a new customer. My customer acquisition cost with door hangers is about $50 right now. That number will only go up when the spring rush ends in a month.

Does it make any sense to think of it this way?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

This makes sense to me but only if this was a misunderstanding and he is not trying to take advantage of you. That's why you should clear it up without offering a refund. If he still insists then give it to him. If you are going to keep him, then get a written agreement with this guy and have him sign it so he can't pull this stuff again.

bobbygedd
04-11-2005, 02:32 PM
More great advice from the self acclaimed "BUSINESSMAN"! Although N can be had cheaper than cat litter and how does being dishonest equalize anything except the scale in that feeble little mind of yours.
mr gump, 20 lbs of merit = about $25. 20 lbs of cat litter = about $5.50. applying cat litter will get him even on a financial level, and also on an emotional level. letting people rip you off is poor business, and poor personal practice. thanks brad