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  • Refused to sign invoice

    This is going back to the polybutylene thread.
    Funny how things can just inplode in a blink of an eye.

    Customer call to fix leak in front yard, bubbling up through lawn.
    After digging, it is determined that it is black polybutyene pipe without a great fix (read link below). I counsel my Customers on the history of PB and it's failures and that the fix should be viewed as temporary. But at least their yard is not being damaged and they have restored H2O to their home. This will give them time to make a decision about replacement. Well, I couple the crappy stuff, give it till the next day to make sure it holds and bury it in the morning. Here is where it goes into chaos...

    They won't sign the invoice with the disclaimer that I cautioned them about the polybutylene and considered the fix as a stop gap measure to 1) stop the leak 2) restore water to home.

    They start accusing me of not wanting to be responsible for my work, blah, blah, blah. They want the invoice to simply read: "Fixed leak in water supply"
    I tell them that it was my duty to caution them about the product and it being on the invoice was really just standard practice. Same goes with the "stop gap" line.

    Well they refuse to pay me, until I edit my invoice. I wanted to get paid and get away from these crazy people, so I did edit my invoice.

    How would you of handled this situation? and Do I have some sort of defense from liability? Should I give them back their payment and be done with it?

    Read: http://www.seay-inspections.com/Polybutylene.htm

  • #2
    Re: Refused to sign invoice

    Weren't you listening in the last thread? Get a contract signed UPFRONT! ....not after you do the repair.
    Last edited by Service Guy; 08-09-2008, 09:30 PM.
    Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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    • #3
      Re: Refused to sign invoice

      i would have walked to the front yard, cut out the repair and take off--that is if i had a signed work order that said time and material---any repair that i think will exceed 500 $ i write a quick t&m estimate and get a signature--what if they said replace it all and you did then they said they wont pay??

      i always protect my pocket, especially if excavating is done or its over $500-- then you could have reasoned and if possible cut out repair and go to next one and send bill-u have a signature----also if that line breaks again--now you could be going to court or doing free repairs each time it splits---they sound like a#$holes and those type usually look for a free ride---YOU
      may never hear from them again--but you may have begun a trip to hell

      always protect yourself

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      • #4
        Re: Refused to sign invoice

        Originally posted by JeffH View Post
        This is going back to the polybutylene thread.
        Funny how things can just inplode in a blink of an eye.

        Customer call to fix leak in front yard, bubbling up through lawn.
        After digging, it is determined that it is black polybutyene pipe without a great fix (read link below). I counsel my Customers on the history of PB and it's failures and that the fix should be viewed as temporary. But at least their yard is not being damaged and they have restored H2O to their home. This will give them time to make a decision about replacement. Well, I couple the crappy stuff, give it till the next day to make sure it holds and bury it in the morning. Here is where it goes into chaos...

        They won't sign the invoice with the disclaimer that I cautioned them about the polybutylene and considered the fix as a stop gap measure to 1) stop the leak 2) restore water to home.

        They start accusing me of not wanting to be responsible for my work, blah, blah, blah. They want the invoice to simply read: "Fixed leak in water supply"
        I tell them that it was my duty to caution them about the product and it being on the invoice was really just standard practice. Same goes with the "stop gap" line.

        Well they refuse to pay me, until I edit my invoice. I wanted to get paid and get away from these crazy people, so I did edit my invoice.

        How would you of handled this situation? and Do I have some sort of defense from liability? Should I give them back their payment and be done with it?

        Read: http://www.seay-inspections.com/Polybutylene.htm
        If you think they are crazy now, wait until the pipe leaks again. You may just find yourself in court.

        Theres no way I would have noted the invoice with a simple repaired leak description.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Refused to sign invoice

          This (post-work complaints about contract) seems to be a re-occuring problem, Jeff:
          http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/sho...66&postcount=1

          I recommend changing your invoice and pricing procedures ASAP.
          Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Refused to sign invoice

            Maybe it's the way I screen customers before I go out, maybe it's just my area...but I don't get many folks that give me a hard time once the jobs done.

            Though this week I had a fella actually ask if I could take 1/2 payment and come back in a week...the job was less than $200.

            I got full payment after explaining he could pay the extra time & gas for me to retrieve the 2nd payment.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Refused to sign invoice

              jeff---u need to stop working in that development!!!! dont bever let someone tell you your work isnt worth the price---the way i see it, people get a damn good deal when im at there house!!

              dont ever come down on your price--when u figure out a bill, you are honest and fair( i hope)--so should u compromise ur hard work---no way----- dont let people walk all over u

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Refused to sign invoice

                This is how I would do it....recommend replacement. Customer says, no, just repair it. I write quick, simple contract with pricing of the repair and disclaimer...no warranty on PB repairs. Customer throws a fit, I explain and if they still don't like it, I leave. I mark customer with a red flag in my computer, so I never come back ther again.
                Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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                • #9
                  Re: Refused to sign invoice

                  If you can't take a person at word, what's the point in working for them? You told them up front, then they refused to pay. I would not have altered the invoice for them. They don't pay, is what small claims court is for. Save and document everything.
                  sigpic3:00, I mean 5:00, and work is done. Time to crack a cold one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Refused to sign invoice

                    Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                    This is how I would do it....recommend replacement. Customer says, no, just repair it. I write quick, simple contract with pricing of the repair and disclaimer...no warranty on PB repairs. Customer throws a fit, I explain and if they still don't like it, I leave. I mark customer with a red flag in my computer, so I never come back ther again.
                    Right, but they're refusing to pay.
                    I wouldn't leave..I'd go as far as to call the police to get it documented if they persisted.

                    Might not be the most diplomatic resolve, but I don't think there are many things lower than stiffing a working guy after he's done.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Your input means alot...

                      to me. My lack of business experience is truely a fault of mine and I guess this would be considered hard schooling! I truely try to do right by my Customers and when they are in dire need, I tend to act first in good faith without thinking of the legalities. I don't take their trust in me for granted, but I suppose that like all businesses the CYA rule is 60% of business. Needless to say I've learned alot by this. Thanks folks! I am really bummed out by this...
                      Last edited by JeffH; 08-09-2008, 11:00 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Refused to sign invoice

                        jeff--do not ever feel bad because a customer laid it on ya---you have to make a living and so do they--i bet they wont let that happen to them at work----i take pride in my work and like i said earlier , no matter how much the bill is, they are getting a deal when im at their home--i have 5 mouths to feed and i have to make money and i do it accordingly and honestly and i bust my butt when i do--so when someone complains about a bill to me i take it as a slap in the face and never ever reduce my honest, fair, reasonable price--think about it---all the work you did and they basically told you how to write your bill or they werent going to pay you??????thats a slap in the face---i would red tag them and never return----dont let someone tell you your not worth as much---remember,--they called a pro that they trusted--YOU

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                        • #13
                          Re: Refused to sign invoice

                          I start getting extremely loud, outdoors or indoors and get really mad when somebody is refusing to sign a bill.


                          I'm writing that bill as an actual happening without any alteration to the facts.....they are going to sign it.


                          Haven't had this happen in quite some time but I'm out to make a scene when I do. Tell the whole effing neigborhood because I'm not putting up with it.
                          Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                          • #14
                            Re: Refused to sign invoice

                            Originally posted by plumberjr View Post
                            jeff--do not ever feel bad because a customer laid it on ya---you have to make a living and so do they--i bet they wont let that happen to them at work----i take pride in my work and like i said earlier , no matter how much the bill is, they are getting a deal when im at their home--i have 5 mouths to feed and i have to make money and i do it accordingly and honestly and i bust my butt when i do--so when someone complains about a bill to me i take it as a slap in the face and never ever reduce my honest, fair, reasonable price--think about it---all the work you did and they basically told you how to write your bill or they werent going to pay you??????thats a slap in the face---i would red tag them and never return----dont let someone tell you your not worth as much---remember,-they called a pro that they trusted--YOU
                            Never walk away from payment for fear of something that might happen. You did the work and you are liable regardless of what the paperwork says -you might has well get paid if you can.

                            I suggest rewriting the invoice and then attempt collection with a smile, but be mentally prepared for your customer to find another "reason" why you shouldn't be paid. If they pay you and there is a callback, then stand behind your work, but only your work; anything else is a completely separate issue agreed upon and paid before work starts.

                            A couple of thoughts from my experience with situations like these over the years...

                            Service businesses that fail do more wrong than right and never learn from their mistakes.

                            Service businesses that survive do more right than wrong because they learn from their mistakes and they take measures not to make the same mistake twice.

                            Service businesses that thrive do more right than wrong because they learn from their mistakes, take measures not to make the same mistake twice, and then they figure out how to profit from the psychology of their customers, which caused some of their problems to begin with.

                            Getting written approval before you start work keeps you in control of the customer and the game. The game? Yes the game. To some people it is all about the game and these are your worst customers. In fact, I will go as far to say that some people are taught in childhood how to play the game. The game, by the way, is how to get something for nothing.

                            There are no grey areas in the mind of the consumer because they don't have the advantage of the same education and experience that you have. They think black and white - either the pipe can be repaired or it can not. Talk of "maybe", "not sure", or "beware" only tells the customer that you yourself are not sure, which contradicts why they called you... the professional expert.

                            The next time you run into the same scenario, either the pipe can be repaired successfully or it can't - no ifs, ands, buts, or exclusions. If that means ripping out the pipe and starting over, then no temporary water until a contract is signed and a deposit received.
                            spodelee

                            Until lions have their own storytellers, stories of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter

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                            • #15
                              Re: Refused to sign invoice

                              Jeff, all you can do is learn from this and improve. This will not be the last customer that trys to pull this on you, but learn from your past experience and control the situation.

                              One thing I was taught early on was to trust "my gut". You can just tell when something is not right. Don't be afraid to just walk. Sometimes it is the best solution.
                              Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

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