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One of my customers threatened a lawsuit too!

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by cdiesel, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. cdiesel

    cdiesel Very Active Member

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    The kicker of my story is.. the customer's a law firm!
    Back on 12/5/07, I was asked to make a banner for a law firm to cover up the existing channel letter sign at their new location until their channel letter sign was installed. Not sure why they didn't have the company that was making their permanent sign make one up, but whatever. Every interaction I had with the customer was very legal-like. The customer ordered a 12'x3' banner and had us install it. As soon as my installer gets back to the shop, he tells me that customer (owner of the law firm) said that the banner was too--that she ordered a 13' banner, not a 12 footer. I immediately forwarded her all of the emails she sent, along with her signed approval form with dimensions. She backed off.
    The first week of January I got a message on my phone, followed by an email and a fax stating that her banner had fallen down. We had a TON of high wind in the previous few days, so I'm sure many banners around town fell down. I replied to her email, pointing out that we do not warranty banner installation AT ALL, which is also expressly stated at the bottom of our invoices. But, I'd send somebody over and take care of it anyways.
    All is good, and I even get another order to letter the windows at one of her other offices.
    The first week of March, I get another message/email/fax, stating that the banner fell down again. Again, we had about five days of heavy wind & rain. Again, I pointed out that the banner installation was not warranted, and that I could send someone out, but I'd have to charge her for fixing the banner. Next I received a demand letter. She said no, that the banner was never installed properly, that we damaged her building because the bolts (concrete anchors) we used to install the banner were going to leave holes in her building when they're removed (duh!), and that since her banner was down, her customers couldn't find her and she was losing business because of it. She gave me a four hour deadline for response, or she would file suit and cover.
    I immediately called her in the interest of making her go away, but she had the receptionist take a message. I did, but got no call back so I sent an email and offered to send someone out, remover her banner and patch/paint any holes, and refund her money. I thought I was being extremely fair. I called one more time, just before the deadline, with no call back again. Eighteen minutes after the deadline passed, I received notice that she would be filing suit.
    I called my lawyer, and he actually laughed at the situation. Told me not to worry about it at all, and if she actually did file suit, we would be able to go after her for legal expenses.
    Sorry for the huge post.. just had to vent, and the other post about being sued got me going! WTF is wrong with people??
     
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  2. RedWolf

    RedWolf Member

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    Sounds like the receptionist was answering the phone because she was doing all she could do to keep up to that darn fast ambulance..lol.
     
  3. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    wow.... un-frikkin-believable:rolleyes:

    I hope it turns out to be nothing more than a good laugh!

    In a way, seems like they did you a favor, stopping you from all the labor & reimbursement you had offer ("more than fair" is right!!)
     
  4. ontime

    ontime Member

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    did you get paid?
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Active Member

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    Man, that pisses me off and Im not even involved! You were way more than fair. What a b*#ch.
     
  6. Dave Drane

    Dave Drane Very Active Member

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    Proffesional people are the worst to deal with. They have given me great pain in the past but now I will just not do business with them.
     
  7. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    Interesting, I go to court with a lady who's a legal secretary in two weeks over something almost that ridiculous. I'm still convinced the only reason she's suing me is because it's not costing her anything to do it. I'm willing to bet you that's the same reason this lady is doing it. The older I get the more I realize that lawyers do this kind of stuff all the time, using the court system to bully and scare people into doing what they want. She's got 15 minutes of her time involved in this, it'll take several hours of yours to defend it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  8. nodrenim

    nodrenim Member

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    At the risk of offending any female members or visitors to this post, let me say this. The number one problem with this case is "WOMAN". Many of them are on an ego trip, equality trip, or in some cases, superiority trips. I have had som e experiences too. I once paid a female lawyer $3000 advance on behalf of my daughter in a child custody case. The lawyer wrote three letters, appeared in court twice. Nothing happened, no money returned, only unanswered phone calls. Now this lawyer has thrown her hat into the political ring. Do I sense something here? You bet, I do!
     
  9. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    Well I am offended nodremin. (not really too much but enough to post an answer!)

    This is the case of someone being a jerk - not really relates to the male or female part of the story. The number one problem with this case is Lawyer - not woman. Sounds like you might have some personal issues with the opposite sex you need to work out...
     
  10. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

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    @ssholes come in both sexes.

    Chris, I think you went above and beyond the call of duty. If it stated that banners are not warrantied on your invoice and your sizes are listed in the intial emails, that pretty much should hold water. Sounds like this person is just looking for a tree to bark up.
    Let them take you to court and see what a judge thinks.
    Love....Jill
     
  11. ndemond

    ndemond Active Member

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    Much agreed Stacy, Nodrenim sounds like you made a crappy choice for lawyer.

    Chris, this sounds familiar as other posters have noted. Every once in a while you get a jerk. We always log on the inside of the folder any attempts to contact a customer. Emails are printed whether sent or received. The date and time is then on record in the printed copy. Lots of paper I know, but it is a good reference. I wouldn't loose any sleep over this one, you did all you could.
     
  12. Pro Image

    Pro Image Major Contributor

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    Why is the banner still up after 4 + months........It shouldn't take that long to get Channel letter Fabed and Installed......

    She should be suing that company instead of you......

    Bet she didn't order the letter to start with.......
     
  13. broli4000

    broli4000 Member

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    Well the lawyer hasn't got a case. If she were a good lawyer she wouldn't be going after anything on this. As long as you have documents to prove that you tried to contact her and resolve the problem as professionally as possible you will not only win the case but do so for free.

    We have had alot of high winds and the such around here all winter and have had to do a lot of fixes because banners rip in half, heavy duty chains break, bolts ripped out of walls. We always fix all installs the first time for free. After that, there is no way that it could have been us. As for banners ripping in half, we tell people that we can do the next one at cost, but to stick it somewhere else and pull it in on windy days the next time.

    Now or the woman part of the thread... While all A$$holes come as both men and women, I have found and even been told by several women lawyers that they find the need to be meaner and just down right rude to everyone. Law is a male dominated job, and in order to feel as though they fit in they have to be complete *****es to everyone, not just people they think did them wrong but everyone!

    Hope everything goes well for you.
     
  14. GK

    GK Very Active Member

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    Sounds like you went out of your way to rectify a situation gone bad, but some people just are just impossible to please. If they were any kind of law firm, they would be making enough money to expidite the installation of that real sign and not a temporary solution =P
     
  15. k.a.s.

    k.a.s. Very Active Member

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    I've worked for two lawyers and had problems with both of them. One man, one woman.

    Kevin
     
  16. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I think there is a widespread disdain among professionals for non-professionals they have dealings with ... be they clients, patients, vendors or other. I've personally had doctors and lawyers openly express disagreement that I am entitled to an hourly rate that reflects my overhead and expertise. If you're not a professional, you are to many of them a subclass of human being.

    I had occasion just yesterday to waste an hour of my time on a relettering job for a doctor's window. She thought $300 was much too much for 3.5 to 4 hours of my time and materials. It must drive her crazy when her car needs fixing.

    When was the last time your doctor's appointment went off on time?
     
  17. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    had a lawyer (male) come in last year and order a mesh banner for a local school's softball field...gave him a price on the size he wanted, and he paid it in full up front... no problem..until he called ten minutes after leaving and said he stopped by the field and the size wasn't what he had ordered.....it was a couple feet longer....i gave him the revised price and he gave the go ahead....emailed sketch and got approval...then sent out for the banner since i can't print this stuff in house....got the banner in, called the guy.....well, let's just say it makes a nice sample piece when i have a customer inquiring about a mesh banner.
     
  18. cdiesel

    cdiesel Very Active Member

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    Thanks for your input, guys.
    On the woman note, jerkoffs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexes.
    You hit the nail on the head, Dustin. The banner's been up for months. WITH NO PERMIT to boot! And, the city requires banners be up no more than 14 consecutive days. I'm probably responsible for not pulling the permit, but I'll take that up with the city if it comes down to it.
    I think Fred has also mentioned something I see all the time. For whatever reason, sign makers (whether full service, vinyl, graphic design, etc) are not looked at as professionals. I think it has a lot to do with someone's cousin buying a plotter on Ebay and "owning/running a sign shop" in their garage. It's very odd, because I also receive a lot of praise and respect from other small businesses that are our clients such as landscapers, mechanics, retail stores, etc. While we may or may not have had formal education and received a degree in our field, we know our stuff. I think that deserves a little respect.
     
  19. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Respect makes the world a better place.

    What many have a problem seeing is that owners or main producers for a sign business are the same as a doctor, lawyer, dentist etc. in that they are generating the bulk of the billable hours against which the overhead of the business must be charged.

    The lady at the doctor's office yesterday looked upon my time as promotional for my business as if I was a clerk in a store. I looked on it as an expert consultation to satisfy her requirements. Yes I could have advised her by phone of the typical cost or my rate for consultation and ended up saving a trip. My point is her perspective of the value of my time was considerably different than mine and that viewpoint permeates the professional field.
     
  20. onesource

    onesource Very Active Member

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    Banners are temps and covering channel letters isn't goint to help it stay any longer infact less time.
     
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