Small Claims Court Service Contract ugh

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by SprinklerGuy, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Here is the situation

    We have sold many many service contracts. This one in particular was: 335 for the year...included all necessary labor and parts for ANY repairs necessary throughout the year + 1 visit in late fall / early winter for checking everything.

    This guy signed up 11-26-03.....on that initial visit we didn't charge him for anything but we repaired his drip filter

    then he called on 12-1-03 to check on a 'noisy' drip valve...said it was same problem as the week charge

    then he called on 5-18-04 for the "same problem"....

    then he called on 6-10-04 because one of his flower pots on patio wasn't getting watered.

    then he called on 6-11-04 to tell us that the pot was now UNSTABLE after we moved it to repair the drip under it.

    Now he wants a full refund of 335 because he says we broke his pot. These are large concrete flower pots set onto cement patios....they have a 2 inch hole in the bottom of the pots...there is 2 inch pvc coming out of the cement patio...also used as a sleeve...the 2 inch pipe goes into the pot and they were sealed with silicone...therefore they act not only as a sleeve for the spaghetti tubing but also as a makeshift drain.

    When we moved the pot to replace the spaghetti tubing...we broke the seal. We don't carry silicone, nor did we make an attempt to reseal this pot as it is a he is mad.

    I explained to him that we aren't landscapers per say....and we aren't going to run for a tube of silicone to attempt a repair as we don't know anything about this problem.

    He says he wants his full 335 back. I offered him a prorated amount back. He contacted BBB....I am not a member :)....they closed the case and the caseworker told me he might be crazy...of course they can't tell him that!

    Now I get a letter....he says if full refund is not received by 9-30-04 he will sue me in small claims court!

    What do you think?

    I know it would have been pretty easy to apply the silicone...but I don't usually let my clients run me around like that. I explained to him that if a plumber came and cut his slab to find a slab leak...they wouldn't fix the slab....he didn't agree. I told him that it wasn't irrigation related...was hardscape...therefore not covered under his "sprinkler service contract"...he didn't agree.

    I think I am going to let him take me to small claims isn't about the money at this it?

  2. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    Tony, In my opinion I would rather be out making money then spending time in court and money with a moran.

    In my opinion, kiss up and offer to fix the problem with silicone or whatever. Let things simmer and dont deal with him anymore.

    Thats why I do not like the annual service contracts that offer multiple visits for the zero.

    I offer startup and shutdowns and everthing elkse is a chargable call.
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    He probably can't sue you to get the money back for the service contract. But he can try to sue you for whatever it costs to properly get the pot fixed. You have performed your duties under the contract, right?

    I'll admit, it does seem kind of like a small deal to fix. And you could eliminate a headache pretty quick by fixing it. But sometimes the fight makes you feel better than giving in to the demands of others when you know you are right.
  4. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    The service contract is not to blame here...service contracts are used by many companies that do quite well.....Service America comes to mind...research them. It can work in our industry also.

    Yes, Dana...I should fix it...but it has gone on too long now and I don't want to! I am more stubborn than him I can tell you that. Not to is his time and money filing the claim...I guarantee he is losing sleep over this and I'm not...I just wanted some opinions.

    Maybe I'll let him file....I'll answer...blah blah...then not show up on court date..lose and let him try and collect...ha ha....or maybe I'll just pay him to shut him up. I am not going to fix it though...a guy like this will hound me forever...I don't like messing with rich peoples hardscapes...especially PITA like this. If we don't silicone it just right...we'll have to go back and back and back and back.
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    Sorry Tony. I actually was kind of agreeing with you. Not telling you to fix it. We all have battles that we want to fight. I have fought petty issues with customers as well just for the principle of it. I have also given money back and told people to get lost, just so they are out of my hair. Just gotta pick and choose the battles.
  6. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    no problem dana....i wasn't directing anything at anyone..just thinking outloud!

    Raining up here now......bummer for us eh?
  7. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,792

    Our service policy covers everything , but we have many exclusions, and we have a trip charge for every time we show up. ( this stops nusance calls) Any repair made outside regular business hours, Monday thru Friday are double time. No pipe or wire under concrete ,or asphalt is covered.

    I would bill out for the work done at normal rates, subtract that from the service policy amount , send him a check and letter terminating the service agreement send it certified mail , add a notation on the check stating that he accepts this as repayment in full and that the matter is closed .

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