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Cintas is Suing Me, Anyone Else Been Through This?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Az Gardener, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    I worked for G&K for five years. Unless something major has changed, there's not a huge difference in service between the major players (although Cintas tended to have better quality stuff to start with).

    Have you had any conversations with your account manager, either immediately before you sent the letter or since all this happened? Usually when someone breached, it was first up the the driver and then the account manager to try and address it.
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,348

    Check your contract. Ours has a refusal for price increase clause that we have used time and again. They'll bump up the costs a few bucks here and there and always have credited them back.

    We are using them for rugs, paper and handcleaner only. Went 3 months without the hand cleaner because she didn't have it on her truck and she was going to bring it back the next week and never did. Had 5 extra rolls of toilet paper but the dispenser was empty. Is it really that tough to install the toilet paper in the dispenser? Seriously?

    I did a uniform service for awhile, it was a local company so problems such as this weren't an issue. The problem did come in when we wanted to cancel and couldn't find our copy of the contract, the driver wasn't "authorized" to leave a copy and the auto renewal kicked in. Pitched a fit but we had gone through the auto renewal BS with our garbage company and our attorney said it wasn't worth the hassle. (Scum were charging us triple what others quoted us, matched their price and gave us 3 free months. Big freakin' deal after ripping us off for that long. Best part was when the rep told us it was because there is more weight being hauled from landscape companies despite being against state law to put clippings\brush in regular garbage.)

    I digress. Anyways, they wouldn't let us out because we didn't notify them 60 days before expiration by certified letter that we didn't want to renew. Because we couldn't find our copy of the contract and they wouldn't leave one. And never told us they couldn't leave one. So we did what we could, cut everything out but one thing, either one person's uniforms or shop rags and finished out the contract. Figured they had to be losing money doing the bare minimum. I figure if someone doesn't want to do business with me, it's stupid to force them to and make them even more pissed.

    Good luck, I hope you prevail over them. Can't stand the way these companies do business.

    As an aside, this is why I absolutely, positively refuse to do automatic renewals with my customers.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Today I got a message from a lawyer just short of yelling at us on the message to get him a mailing address, e mail address fax # yada yada yada. All our information is the same as it has been since we started the service. I even gave them our fax number last week in a moment of weakness. He says by the contract we have to go to arbitration, no court.
  4. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    Dont give them anything. Let them spend the money to find you
  5. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    They probably cannot find their original contract, that's why they do not have your contact info.
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,348

    Ignore, ignore, ignore
  7. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    Um... I would put ignoring a contract dispute right up there with ignoring a funny-colored lump that shows up on the back of your neck. Neither one is likely to go away on its own, and both will likely get worse.

    Uniform companies are really, really good at contract enforcement. That's part of why auto-renewal was in the contract template we all used. I'm just amazed you were allowed to fall through the cracks like that. Your drivers and their route managers must have really sucked at life.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    How much are they suing for? Surprised nobody has asked so far...

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    A breach of contract on a service agreement, generally, is a joke. For goods it can be a different thing. If Cintas isn't providing service any longer, and you're not paying, then pretty much that's that. Its not like they are sending you a shipment of perishable goods. Even if they have a signed contract, if they are no longer providing you with services, I doubt a judge would award them any monetary damages.
  10. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    Hoolie - here's the problem with that theory (speaking from having worked in the industry). The way the uniform business is structured, what you're paying for is a uniform rental service. Cleaning is simply provided as part of the rental service. We ran into this all the time when guys would forget their pickup day and demand a credit. Yeah, not gonna happen, because as long as you have possession of the garments, they can't be rented out to someone else.

    Where AZ Gardener is potentially quite humped is that from what it sounds like, all of Cintas's uniforms are still in his possession. Cintas will make the argument - likely successfully - that his company is on the hook for uniform rental fees up until the driver inventories and collects the garments. When the driver does this, he will be going through each garment and AZ Gardener's company will be charged full replacement price, per the contract, for every item that is either missing or deemed damaged.

    As of when I was in the business, Cintas was the second biggest uniform company in the country, just behind Aramark. None of the uniform companies let someone just walk away from a contract, and quitting will not be cheap as landscape companies are considered "undesirable" rental accounts due to the amount of damaged garments that come back.

    Everyone who is advising that this is no big deal and will go away, you're out of your minds. We banged big national accounts pretty hard when they quit. A local company isn't getting off any lighter.

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