Very difficult customer...please help

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by britelights, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    hmm. trying to work the numbers in my head. at this point you have 1/2 of your original bid for all the work. she has the install and the lights on her house. she wants a full refund and you to take the product, and you want her to either keep the product, pay someone else to take them down, and then you walk away or sue her for the remaining charge minus takedown fee and storage fee.


    I am wondering if you can have some cake and eat it too. If carlos and a helper went to take the lights down on the monday after Christmas, it would cost you maybe 6 man hours of labor? and you would then have the lights. for the cost of that labor, you have product you can resell that is worth wholesale to you probably 10-20 times the cost of that Labor. and I think you could make an argument in court that her deposit does not cover what you would have charged to install, rent and takedown the product.

    having her product and the deposit is a much better position than not having the product. And deep down, she really does not want the product anymore, it represents unhappiness to her. she may even give it to the guys she hires to take it down as payment.

    just a thought.
     
  2. britelights

    britelights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    I like that idea. We were worried if we did takedown the product (even if it's after Christmas) -- that she would have more of an argument in Court to recoup the deposit. I will discuss with Carlos and post what we decide to do.
     
  3. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I'd also make a call to a lawyer friend if you have one. in court, basically, you are really just trying to fulfill your written contract. sell product, install, takedown,store. she still owes you money. if she wants to modify it to rent, install, takedown, store, you are fine with that. she still owes you money over her deposit, but maybe 20-30% off full price. If she wants her product back, she still owes you money- she pays the amount in full, she picks up product at the storage place, and you and she fulfilled the contract. If you can prove in court with a neighbors help that her lights were on and working, I think you can be ok on this.
     
  4. CANADIAN MIKE

    CANADIAN MIKE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    so what's happened?
     
  5. britelights

    britelights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    As of right now her product is still up (as far as we know). I'm going to drive by tomorrow just to see. We haven't heard anymore from her. Carlos really didn't want to get into the whole he said/she said thing in court. I really wanted to take David's suggestion, but I could see Carlos' side as well. This way at least, she doesn't even have an argument in court.
     
  6. britelights

    britelights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    Well...had to call our attorney today to discuss an issue with a commercial customer. While I had him on the phone, I explained the situation with this customer. He said we would be able to pursue payment of the check under TX law similar to treatment of a bounced check. He told us to go get our product. Carlos and the crew were close by, so I called him and told him to hightail it over there and take down the product.

    Customer had already removed the display, timers, the light links on the lower porch section and the C-9s on the covered walkway. We were able to recover the 30 links that were on the high roofline (high 2-story), some of the cords and 1 timer. And...following suggestion from the attorney, I am preparing the 10-day letter to send her regarding the check she stopped payment on. We'll see what happens...
     
  7. CANADIAN MIKE

    CANADIAN MIKE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    nail them to a cross!!!:hammerhead:
     
  8. britelights

    britelights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    I hope so...if only we had listened to David's advice 2 weeks ago. :hammerhead: Growing pains are hard.
     
  9. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    hey, I learned the hard way too. ;) I was just trying to keep you from making the same mistakes I had. I will try to make new ones this week to make you feel better. :dizzy:
     
  10. britelights

    britelights LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    Thanks David :). The reason I had to call the attorney in the first place was for a commercial client. Biggest job we've ever done...little over $15k. They paid initial deposit...balance was due on Dec. 1st. Still haven't received balance...been talking to them about it and they kept telling me as soon as their "monthly loan draw" came thru we would get paid. Got a call from their Marketing Director yesterday....bank didn't fund monthly loan draw. All employees were laid off and sent home. I feel comfortable we'll get our money...they have some pretty deep pockets funding the project (multi-million dollar home development on the water)...and the family with the biggest money just had a death in the family last week. So I feel certain it will get worked out...but man...that's a phone call you don't want to receive from a client.

    Attorney said we're in good shape...even if we end up having to file a lien (which I don't think it will come to that)....but we will be making LOTS of changes to our fine print and contracts before next season.
     

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