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Problem with Supplier- What do you think?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by alpine meadows, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. alpine meadows

    alpine meadows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I have been purchasing rock from a local supplier for the past 3 years. Never had a problem with their materials until recently. We were building a granite rip rap retaining wall that required 14 tons of rock. The area was not machine accessible. This supplier was well aware of what we needed and what we were building. They proceeded to bring 100-200 lbs. boulders. Told the driver that the material was way too large and now the owner of the supply yard will not take the rock back unless we can get it to them. If I had a truck that could carry 14 tons obviously I wouldn't have had the material delivered in the first place. Any suggestions on how to deal with this supplier?
  2. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 751

    I would try to reason with the owner of the stoneyard. If he's not willing to budge, there's not much you can do except let him know that you're never buying from him again and that you're going to tell every contractor you know that the customer service at his yard sucks.

    I dunno man, good luck.
  3. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    What did you order and what did you receive? If you ordered smaller stone, and you got larger stone, then the supplier has a responsibility to come collect the wrong product and deliver the correct product.

    If you called and didn't specify, and send in writing, your order then you're at the mercy of the yard.

    No matter what I order, even if I am picking it up, I still send a written purchase order specifying exactly what I want and need including time for pick up, size of material, the agreed price, and my payment terms. If there is a cash discount, I take it.

    I have problems with suppliers just like anyone else, I just make sure I have a record of what I agree to, and send them a copy to make sure they understand my expectations.
  4. alpine meadows

    alpine meadows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I did try to reason with the owner of the supply lot without much luck. She told me that if I did not pay her within full she would be putting a lien on my customers property. The rock has been hauled away and given to someone else in town which I told her. She proceeded to call my customer 3 times and threaten a lien. I have given the customer documentation stating that my companies debt with the supplier has nothing to do with them and that the supplier can not put a lien on their property or take legal action against them. Now she is threatening to take me to court if I don't pay her in full. Can she put a lien on my customers property?
  5. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 751

    Ask a lawyer!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. thunderthud

    thunderthud LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    What was a problem is now a mess.

    The short answer is, yes. The supplier can and probably will lien the property because the supplier delivered the materials, and as far as the supplier is concerned, the homeowner has benefit of the materials delivered on your order. They have a record of delivery to the property.

    It is irrelevant to the supplier that you had the materials trucked away. When you order materials from any supplier and have the delivered to a job site, the seller retains rights to payment of the material and can collect from you, the property owners representative or from the owner directly.

    I'm curious why you chose to truck the materials somewhere other than the supplier?

    The supplier may have delivered the wrong materials, but you practiced self-help in giving away materials you did not own. You now owe for the incorrect boulders. You gave away someone else's property, and any hope you had of resolving this neatly.

    As I said above, documentation is king. You ordered material, you specified material, you had material delivered, you noted it was incorrect with the driver and it was left.

    You should have taken a couple of pictures of the incorrect material, written a quick letter explaining you ordered the correct material and give the seller five days to correct the mistake by picking up the incorrect materials and immediately delivering the correct materials within 24 hours. I would have faxed it or emailed it so I had a time stamp of my conversation. If I thought it would go badly, I would also send a certified letter saying same so I had evidence they were incorrect and were made away of the mistake.

    Please speak with your lawyer on Monday and solve this before it gets out of hand. I'll say the seller won't look very good having called your client three times about this issue. But at this point it would appear you own some boulders.

  7. alpine meadows

    alpine meadows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Another supplier that I also do business with offered to haul away the boulders for free. I purchased the right materials from that supplier only after having a face to face meeting with the original supplier in which she told me that she would not come pick up her materials. I do not have large enough equipment to haul her materials back to her supply lot. The access to the site was blocked with her boulders and in turn cost me more money to purchase the correct materials and 4 extra days of labor due to her mistake. What a nightmare! I will be contacting a lawyer.
  8. MTG

    MTG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Give your customer a lien waiver.
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 9,406

    Why didn't you refuse the materials before they were dumped? Or did you and the driver dumped anyway?
  10. alpine meadows

    alpine meadows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I did refuse the materials and the driver proceeded to deliver any way. I also just sent my customer a lien waiver and also sent a copy to the supplier. I spoke with a lawyer and the lien she is trying to file will not hold up in court due to the material no longer being at the customers property. I called one more time to try and reach a compromise with out any luck. I found out that she has had 2 other problems with contractors at her yard in which the sheriff was called in and she was arrested. Makes me feel a little better.

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