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Is this the correct reply?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    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?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. packerbacker

    packerbacker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,433

    If he knew you were returning the 2nd time then I say no refund and cut him loose.
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    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.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. packerbacker

    packerbacker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,433

    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.
  5. Eddie B

    Eddie B LawnSite Senior Member
    from gone
    Messages: 859

    It sounds like he's trying to save money while biting you in the a$$. To answer the question, I like your reply.
  6. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    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
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    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.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. packerbacker

    packerbacker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,433

    Can you offer to keep the money and give him some service in return that wont cost YOU that much?
  9. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    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.
  10. lawnandplow42

    lawnandplow42 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

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

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