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View Full Version : Customer getting ripped off


bobw
02-02-2009, 04:21 PM
So, here's a scenario that I've never encountered before, but, I guess there's a first for everything.

Last October, I did a blow out for a long time customer (5+ years). In January, I still hadn't received payment, so I sent a note and in late January a final notice type note (to 6 customers.... we trust our customers to send us checks after the fact).

This weekend the one customer called and left a message stating that she had paid and wondered how I would not know this as she handed an envelope to my workers.

Right then I had a pretty good idea what had happened... she's been ripped off by another company. They showed up, knocked on the door and asked for payment. She knew they weren't me, so she asked and they told her that they had bought my company... so she paid them.

They most definitely did not buy my company, despite my admittedly bad memory, I would have remembered that. :laugh:

So... my customer was kind enough to supply the name and number of the company she paid who claimed to have bought me out.

What would you do in this situation?

JB1
02-02-2009, 04:26 PM
either , ball bat or police.

hoskm01
02-02-2009, 04:26 PM
Criminal charges and a lawsuit.

Wet_Boots
02-02-2009, 04:26 PM
Time to make up some ID badges. I like to use door-hanger invoice envelopes when I winterize with nobody home.

KrayzKajun
02-02-2009, 04:30 PM
police, lawsuit and baseball bat

TRILAWNCARE
02-02-2009, 04:31 PM
So, here's a scenario that I've never encountered before, but, I guess there's a first for everything.

Last October, I did a blow out for a long time customer (5+ years). In January, I still hadn't received payment, so I sent a note and in late January a final notice type note (to 6 customers.... we trust our customers to send us checks after the fact).

This weekend the one customer called and left a message stating that she had paid and wondered how I would not know this as she handed an envelope to my workers.

Right then I had a pretty good idea what had happened... she's been ripped off by another company. They showed up, knocked on the door and asked for payment. She knew they weren't me, so she asked and they told her that they had bought my company... so she paid them.

They most definitely did not buy my company, despite my admittedly bad memory, I would have remembered that. :laugh:

So... my customer was kind enough to supply the name and number of the company she paid who claimed to have bought me out.

What would you do in this situation?

How did they even know she owed you money???

Did you contact this supposed company???

hoskm01
02-02-2009, 04:32 PM
police, lawsuit and baseball bat




Bob, do you need a referral?

http://www.maturesextits.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/maturepolicewoman.jpg

mattfromNY
02-02-2009, 04:33 PM
Wow, someones got some awful big Kahoonas! Not sure what I'd do, depends on my mood. Outcome would surely not be pretty.

bobw
02-02-2009, 04:37 PM
How did they even know she owed you money???

Did you contact this supposed company???

This customer lives in an area that had a old-timer guy get out of business 6 or 7 years ago. He sold his address list to a guy that went bankrupt a year or two later. I suspect that this "company" bought/got the old-timer's address list and just went around winterizing houses and leaving invoices/banging on doors for money.

I left a voice mail on the number for this supposed company. It is the dead of winter here, so I suspect a return call will take some time....

edit: to top things off, they bang on the customer's door asking for money for winterizing the system...of course, I'd already been there and winterized it.....

Mike Leary
02-02-2009, 04:38 PM
Not sure who's problem this is. :dizzy:

Wet_Boots
02-02-2009, 04:43 PM
I would still consider making a personal visit to your local police station, and see what they would be willing to do. I think "Fraud" and "Theft by Deception" would apply here.

Also, maybe put the confused client on a service plan.

TRILAWNCARE
02-02-2009, 04:48 PM
I would still consider making a personal visit to your local police station, and see what they would be willing to do. I think "Fraud" and "Theft by Deception" would apply here.

Also, maybe put the confused client on a service plan.

To bad they didn't use the mail. That would be federal charges.

Agree, let the police handle it.

You might want to let all your customers know what is going on so it doesn't happen again.

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
02-02-2009, 04:50 PM
Did they make the check out to your company or someone else?

Funny thing is I had almost the exact thing happen to me, I had another Lawn Care guy show up at one of my customers homes saying I subcontracted them to perform her maintenance and they wanted payment, so she tells them they need to collect from me then, and then she calls me and tells me the story and I tell her I would never sub-contract any work out without the home owners approval, but she did give me the name of the company, so I called and they tell me they accidentally got the wrong address, LOL, as if they didn't know where they've been working, right?

DanaMac
02-02-2009, 04:56 PM
I had close to the same issue a few years ago. i'll see if I can find the thread about it. pain in the azz that's for sure. The headache of trying to deal with it is not worth it. Find a way to make it up in the next couple visits to this client's house. i'm not saying overcharge.... Mike. Find a way to charge for some upgrades and make it back.

Mike Leary
02-02-2009, 04:58 PM
If you don't have a relationship with your clients, you're f**ked. We never collected at the door; that's a piker trick.

DanaMac
02-02-2009, 04:58 PM
Here's my prior thread about this.

Another company screwed me (http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=87975&highlight=cahoots)

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
02-02-2009, 05:00 PM
If you don't have a relationship with your clients, you're f**ked.

I agree exactly, my customers know me well enough to know better if something like this ever happened I would get a phone call immediately.
I guess some contractors are getting desperate, LOL!

Mike Leary
02-02-2009, 05:05 PM
contractors

I'd call them slimeballs and turn them in to Labor & Industries.

bobw
02-02-2009, 05:46 PM
Here's my prior thread about this.

Another company screwed me (http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=87975&highlight=cahoots)

Thanks for digging that thread up. I suspect you and I are very similar in our business attitudes.

I'm really trying to cut through the bs and quantify who has lost what.

Me: potentially lose the cost of a blow out; not a big deal and certainly not worth losing a good customer over.

Customer: Well...they got their system blown out...twice; at least one of the times by a pro. Potentially, they can pay twice for the blow outs, or potentially, they can lose a good irrigation contractor.

Other company: made the cost of a blow out. Potentially could be charged criminally if the customer filed a complaint with the police. Potentially could have a tough time with suppliers if I put the word out on them. Potentially could have a tough time walking if I put a softball bat to them (just kidding... I would rather karma beat them down than screw up a perfectly good bat).

If I hear back from the other company, I'll be a bit of a jerk to them, but otherwise, I'll just wait until I run into them somewhere.... it is a very small business in this town....

Without A Drought
02-02-2009, 06:56 PM
It might have been an honest mistake. i've gone to the wrong house before. And i've realized, in various stages of service, my mistake.

DanaMac
02-02-2009, 07:02 PM
It might have been an honest mistake. i've gone to the wrong house before. And i've realized, in various stages of service, my mistake.

If I go to a house now that I've never been to before, and the customer is not going to be there, I tell them ahead of time I will call from onsite to verify the proper home.

Without A Drought
02-02-2009, 07:28 PM
yeah, i'm pretty good about being at the right house too. but i've also been in a rush, read the wrong #, etc. and worked on the wrong house. it happens. 2 years ago, i turned on, eval'ed, repaired, and got paid from the wrong customer. didn't realize until the next day when the original customer complained about a no-show.

around here, most of us irrigators know each other. some may lay flyers in other's territory, or otherwise try to market to someone else's customers, but most won't maliciously steal someone's customer.

DanaMac
02-02-2009, 07:34 PM
yeah, i'm pretty good about being at the right house too. but i've also been in a rush, read the wrong #, etc. and worked on the wrong house. it happens. 2 years ago, i turned on, eval'ed, repaired, and got paid from the wrong customer. didn't realize until the next day when the original customer complained about a no-show.

That kind of happened to me. I sent one of my techs to the wrong house for a start up. We take care of 5 or 6 homes in a row and I somehow gave him the wrong house number. Got the call - "where are you? I've been waiting all afternoon". So made a Saturday appt. and made it up to her with a little discount.

Without A Drought
02-02-2009, 07:58 PM
it happens. we ended up retaining that customer I mentioned above.

in reference to the OP, I was just positing a different scenario from blatant house jacking.

bicmudpuppy
02-02-2009, 08:14 PM
Right then I had a pretty good idea what had happened... she's been ripped off by another company. They showed up, knocked on the door and asked for payment. She knew they weren't me, so she asked and they told her that they had bought my company... so she paid them.

They most definitely did not buy my company, despite my admittedly bad memory, I would have remembered that. :laugh:



Are you positive? You didn't trade it for a couple of cases of cheap beer? Your positive? Then, if the customer asked and identified herself as your client, then, I am afraid you are obligated to lose even more money to chase the legal action. For me, it would be matter of principle at this point. An honest mistake is one thing. A "hey, your not Dana?" should have identified her as someone else's customer. Top that off with the fact that you already winterized it (or they did such a poor job you didn't realize someone else had been there) means they were double dipping either way.

Waterit
02-02-2009, 10:14 PM
Tough situation, bobw. Are they a good enough customer to hold onto? I'd definitely spread the word about the shyster company to anyone who'll listen.

On another note, yours is one of the best sigs I've come across on here:clapping: