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  • Bad Customer advice...

    I had an incident yesterday...

    My brother in law was helping me change out a WH. During clean-up he spilled the CPVC cement on the customers carpet (8" circle) in the middle of the hall.

    The WH had failed and flooded the house... carpet was pulled up.

    I called my local carpet store. The suggested that they should pull a piece of carpet from the closet and patch stained area. Customer agreed and apointment was set for today...

    Friend from carpet store called me today and said customer refused repair and started asking about my insurance and would it cover their costs since they have a $500 deductable ect ect ect...

    I have also offered to replace the whole piece of carpet in the hallway...

    At what point should good faith stop on my part? ( I feel like the are looking for a free ride)

    What lengths should I be willing to go to to make this customer happy before I say hey stop trying to get something for nothing...

  • #2
    Re: Bad Customer advice...

    Patching it, I wouldn't do. Replacing from seam to seam, yes. It was a mishap, unfortunately stuff like this occurs and its our responsibility to correct this, with the HO approval. However if they are being a total butthead about it, then bring in your insurance company and they will have someone there to access the damage, and probably saying we'll just patch it. But I really would hate to bring in my insurance company, they just love to have a reason to raise my rates.

    I have never had to use them ever, I will deal w/the HO and square it up between us, at almost any cost. However thats my opinion and the way I handle my business when a mishap happens...
    Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

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    A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bad Customer advice...

      Bill,

      The worst place to be in when negotiating is when the accident was your fault. Clearly you are not disputing whose fault the spill was only your responsibility. The way the insurance company would do it is to replace the carpet in the hall and anything connecting to it. Meaning if there are three bedrooms off of the hall and it is all the same carpet they would replace it all. The fact that it is wet carpet to boot means you should probably work with their insurance company and see if they are already replacing the carpet. The value of the part you destroyed should be based on the depreciated value of the carpet.

      Good luck-Mark
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bad Customer advice...

        I get nervous with folks who start talking about my insurance but are not talking to me...

        I guess I'm just looking for them to be honest.. That is asking alot for some folks I

        P.s. Carpet is same in all house wall to wall... Just my luck It is a discontinued pattern...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bad Customer advice...

          i also feel if a mistake is made it is on us to restore what damage we created to no less than equal to what the customer had, in this business customers can go as quickly as they came, and stuff like this can snowball out of controll real quick, sure it costs but if you put yourself in the customers shoes i would not settle for a second rate repair, and damn us all if lawyers get involved, the longer it takes you to put this to bed the worst it will be, and remember its only money and you can always make that back, and who knows even save a customer. that is how i handle situations like these not fun but if i did it i fix it. good luck

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bad Customer advice...

            I will pull out the checkbook if they give me the chance...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bad Customer advice...

              I have had to involve my insurance company twice. The first time was a nightmare. Customer insisted on new cabinets, countertops, flooring, etc. We installed a dishwasher and the compression nut leaked. However, i found out how the insurance company handled it. They wrote the homeowners a check for the depreciated value of the property that was damaged. The homeowners were responsible for the rest. They weren't happy, and i think they are still battling it out, but its out of my hands. The next oh-shi* was a similar situation, I called my insurance company and asked them to send out an adjuster to asses teh problem and I wrote the check. This kept them from raising rates and/or dropping me. Either way, i believe that you shouldn't spend alot of time or money to make the customer happy. Even though it was a simple mistake anyone could have made you will more than likely loose the customer as they will peg you as un-professional and incompotent.

              Sorry this happened to you. It sucks to deal with, especially when it was family that caused it. You don't even get the joy of firing someone, or even chewing some Arss. I can't tell you how many times i have rushed to teh truck to get clear cleaner to cover up purple primer spills. Try explaining that the insurance company is only going to pay them what thier 20 year old carpet is worth, nto what it costs to get new carpet maybe they will change thier tune.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bad Customer advice...

                Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                Bill,

                The value of the part you destroyed should be based on the depreciated value of the carpet.

                Good luck-Mark
                I totally agree. If the carpet was in great shape and only a couple years old, and is now a discontinued pattern, you might be in for a hit in the wallet. If the carpet was old and nasty then they are just trying to screw you out of new wall to wall carpet. I say, let them get your insurance involved. It might just let them know how little they are entitled to.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bad Customer advice...

                  Check PM Okie.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bad Customer advice...

                    Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                    I had an incident yesterday...

                    My brother in law was helping me change out a WH. During clean-up he spilled the CPVC cement on the customers carpet (8" circle) in the middle of the hall.

                    The WH had failed and flooded the house... carpet was pulled up.

                    I called my local carpet store. The suggested that they should pull a piece of carpet from the closet and patch stained area. Customer agreed and apointment was set for today...

                    Friend from carpet store called me today and said customer refused repair and started asking about my insurance and would it cover their costs since they have a $500 deductable ect ect ect...

                    I have also offered to replace the whole piece of carpet in the hallway...

                    At what point should good faith stop on my part? ( I feel like the are looking for a free ride)

                    What lengths should I be willing to go to to make this customer happy before I say hey stop trying to get something for nothing...
                    People sometimes fly off the handle at first. I typically find you can reason with most of the people. I would at all costs avoid bringing in your insurance co. If the carpet was wet and needs to be pulled up how about offering to pay the $500 deductable or deduct it off your bill. Let them calm down and try to reason with them. You wont necessarily lose them as a customer if you do the right thing. Good luck

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bad Customer advice...

                      Did I mention that this customer has already paid me for the work after we aggreed to the repair method and has signed a completed job ticket...


                      I will pay for what will make this thing right but I'm not gonna pay for a new house full of carpet for one stain

                      Options

                      1. Pay for repair that was agreed to ( patch and blend )
                      2. Up the offer and pay for entire Hallway of replacement carpet. ( but it will not match since carpet is discontinued)
                      3. Pay for everything ( water extraction and hall replacement) since all work up to this point is under $500 and I'm afraid they will go to my insurance company and cost me in the long run...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bad Customer advice...

                        FWIW I would report this immediately to my insurance company, in fact your policy probably gives the insurance company an "out" if you have not promptly reported it.

                        What have you got to hide? You do advertise "insured" don't you? You carry insurance for times like this, and if you have a good record your rates probably won't be increased.

                        BUT, if you do not notify your carrier, and the customer claims all sorts of costs and then sues you, you are totally on your own, they are not even obligated to defend you.

                        You can make the report and then you make the decision if you will pay what the settled amount is, or, if it is too much for you or you are sued, you can let the insurance company pay the bills. I have found that what is a big deal to you or me is frequently small potatoes to the insurance industry.


                        Furthermore, if the customer is trying to rip someone off, the insurance company is the best one to handle it as they are a third party and you are out of it. Paying their deductible is a good thing to do because it shows good will on your part and limits your outlay. Also in some places they can sue you and be awarded the deductible by the judge just for asking.

                        And last but not least, the customer didn't do anything. The plumber did damage to their home and they have a right to be made whole. We have a tendency to forget that we are not guests in people's homes and have the responsibility to leave it undamaged when we leave.

                        Taking care of the customer is what shows your professionalism and competence. Giving them a hard way to go is just the opposite. Read aero1's post above. He is right on target.

                        Last piece of advise: if you settle with them without the insurance company, be certain to obtain a signed document releasing you of all responsiblity for everthing claimed. Your cancelled check only shows that you paid them, not what was agreed upon.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Bad Customer advice...

                          Originally posted by APHCO View Post
                          FWIW I would report this immediately to my insurance company, in fact your policy probably gives the insurance company an "out" if you have not promptly reported it.
                          This is pretty good advise in that the insurance company does generally have an out if you do not allow them the right to defend. If the owner is not looking at a bunch of money you may want to just pay them. However, if it is more than you care to cover on your own you should go to your insurance company.

                          Many years ago an electrical contractor friend of mine sold a job to install a bunch of street lights on a large estate. The husband picked out the fixtures and they were delivered to the home. When the wife saw the fixtures she did not like them and wanted them returned. He refused to return them as they were a special order which he could not return and he had already paid for them.

                          The owners sued my friend and he ignored the lawsuit and did not file an answer (he was having some real tough medical issues at the time). By not answering the complaint the owners received a default judgement in the amount of $60,000. As that got his attention he went to his insurance company and ask them to pay the judgement. The insurance company informed him because they were not given the chance to defend there was no coverage.

                          Bottom line with the cost of the materials he lost and the $60,000 judgement he lost his home and most of what he owned. Ten years later he is still rebuilding.

                          Mark
                          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Bad Customer advice...

                            Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                            This is pretty good advise in that the insurance company does generally have an out if you do not allow them the right to defend. If the owner is not looking at a bunch of money you may want to just pay them. However, if it is more than you care to cover on your own you should go to your insurance company.

                            Many years ago an electrical contractor friend of mine sold a job to install a bunch of street lights on a large estate. The husband picked out the fixtures and they were delivered to the home. When the wife saw the fixtures she did not like them and wanted them returned. He refused to return them as they were a special order which he could not return and he had already paid for them.

                            The owners sued my friend and he ignored the lawsuit and did not file an answer (he was having some real tough medical issues at the time). By not answering the complaint the owners received a default judgement in the amount of $60,000. As that got his attention he went to his insurance company and ask them to pay the judgement. The insurance company informed him because they were not given the chance to defend there was no coverage.

                            Bottom line with the cost of the materials he lost and the $60,000 judgement he lost his home and most of what he owned. Ten years later he is still rebuilding.

                            Mark
                            Sorry to sound harsh, but your electrician friend sounds like an idiot. IGNORING $60,000 lawuit?
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Bad Customer advice...

                              Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                              Sorry to sound harsh, but your electrician friend sounds like an idiot. IGNORING $60,000 lawuit?
                              Then again after you've just had a cancerous growth removed from the side of your brain and the chemo has made you lose 100 pounds you tend to become somewhat distracted.

                              Sometime things happen which gives you a new set of priorties. The good new is he survived the cancer. The bad news is he did not let his friends deal with his personal business. Had I known I could have helped him through it.

                              Mark
                              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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