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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll try to give an accurate time line, so you guys will know exactly how this went down.

April 14, 2009-I received a deposit(horribly underbid, due to my inexperience with pricing of this particular product) to do shutters on an entire house (12 windows, 32 shutter panels).

The customer paid a 50% deposit for the shutters. She signed and dated the proposal. She was told 4-6 weeks by the person who sold the job, but that time frame was a.)not approved by me and b.) nowhere on the proposal.

6 weeks-customer calls me and says "where's my shutters?" I told her that parts of the shutters were on backorder, and as soon as I got the necessary parts, I would complete them, send them to the powder coater and install them. She asked for a date, and I told her 3 weeks, which would put the install at 9 weeks. I apologized for the misinformation on the 4-6 weeks promise and informed her that it was supposed to be 6-8 weeks. She said, okay, and seemed fine with that explanation.

8 weeks on Tuesday-customer calls asking about her shutters. I told her that I finally got all the parts and was finishing them this week. I told her I would send them off to the powder coater this week and HOPEFULLY by late next week I would come to put them up.

7 days later, the following Tuesday of the week I told her I would try to come at the end of, she leaves a very nasty voicemail saying, "this is not the way to do business. I haven't heard word one about your promise to install my shutters this week." I was furious by this time. Here I am, busting my ass in the heat of my shop(in which the AC had gone out) to finish these shutters for this impatient customer, and she is pestering me about them being late over and over again. I called her back, and we had a semi heated exchange after she started hurling insults at me. We ended the conversation on a high note, when I told her they were at the powder coater and as soon as they were done, I would come to install them.

There was a delay with the powder coating and it ended up pushing it back another week. I finally get them back right at week 10. I tell her on Friday that I was going to finish all the hinges and finishing touches that weekend and I was going to TRY to start Sunday afternoon. She seemed happy.

Sunday morning-this woman calls me and says "Where are you??? I had a lawyer look at the contract, and he says it's not binding because it wasn't cosigned. I can back out right now if I want." I was very polite with this woman and told her I had worked all day yesterday and had been working since 5 a.m. this morning to finish. She then tells me that if they aren't up by this week, she's backing out. Knowing that I was almost done with them and was going to go that afternoon to start, I said, I promise they will be done.

That same Sunday at noon, she leaves me a voicemail and says, "I don't think we can do business together after the way you talked to me. You need to work on your professionalism. This is a business relationship, and I'm old enough to be your grandmother. So just forget me as a customer."

I was very gentle and calm with this woman that morning, even though she was insulting me and insulting my integrity. I tried to call her back 3 times, and left messages asking if we could please discuss this matter. She never answered and didn't call back that day.

The next morning, she left me another voicemail and said, "Stop calling me. Do not come by my house."

Where do I go from here? She never asked for the deposit back. Never asked for any of the shutters. She made it plain and clear that she didn't want to hear from me anymore and didn't want me on her property. The highs and lows of this woman make me believe she is bipolar.

I was terribly overbudget and ended up spending some $1500-$1800 more than the deposit on this job. I bid about half of what I should have due to inexperience and a rushed bid. I was making practically nothing on this job, but I was trying to make her happy. Now I'm stuck with 32 custom sized shutter panels, almost 2 grand in the hole. Legally, where do I go from here? Do I need to send her a certified letter? Should I try to recoup some money from her for my losses?

A lot of the shutters just happen to actually fit on my parent's house, and I would really like to put them on their house to replace their old wooden faux shutters. The entire from of the house matches in window sizes. But I don't want to do anything with the product until I know I'm legally in the clear. I know almost everyone on here has had experiences like this, and what I learned from this experience is invaluable, so I'm willing to eat the loss and wipe my hands clean from this lady and her sour attitude. I just want to make sure that I do what is legally required of me.

Sorry so long. I wanted to make sure you knew the whole story.
 

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There were a lot of factors here beyond your control.

Personally I would send her a letter apologizing for the delay and a refund check for her deposit. Tell her the shutters are ready to be installed. If she would like them installed to call you, if not to cash the check and forget the whole deal.
 

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Live and learn. Not every job is going to put a shine on a turd.

if the person who sold the job told the customer something that you did not approve, then who is this person? What is your business dealings with him/her/them? Can you take legal action against hi,/her/them?

As for a refund, that's totally up to you. You're going to hear from both sides of the fence.
 

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Sounds like you (or whoever) mis-managed your customer's expectations right off the bat...and didn't do a whole lot better for the rest of the time.

I'd have your parents pay you for the shutters and you can then return her deposit AFTER she signs to the effect that she's releasing you from the contract.

You might want to ask your attorney.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The person who sold the job was someone who works for a company that I do sub work for. It was in a town an hour and a half away, so I faxed a proposal to her. She basically just brought the proposal to be signed and took the deposit check. The 4-6 week "promise"(I say promise, but when is an estimated install date ever a solid promise?) shouldn't be binding because it's not written in the proposal.

As far as returning the deposit check, absolutely not. She put down $2500, and I already spent over $4000 on materials for this job. That doesn't even include my labor. Being a few weeks late due to uncontrollable circumstances shouldn't be grounds for her to pull out the day of the install. Besides, she never said one thing about getting her deposit back. She wouldn't even talk to me in person about the matter. Something tells me she didn't have the money to pay for the balance. She inherited this house from a priest that she took care of for a while, and she was waiting on some inheritance money to pay for these shutters. The whole thing was kind of shady.

I know one thing that will be added to my proposals, "Deposit is non-refundable once job is started."
 

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Sounds like the relationship is not salvageable. You are willing to do the install, she is declining, you keep the deposit. You already know what you did wrong, no reason to remind you. The next move is hers, i would store the shutters for several months just in case she comes at you. After the smoke clears, give your parents a nice anniversary gift. G.

PS, this advice assumes you are licensed and insured, if you are not, the BBB can come down on you hard, you will lose if she files a complaint.
 

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So she origina;;y was told 4 to 6 weeks (she probably only heard 4) and now after 10 weeks you wonder why she is upset?? Regardless of who told her 4 to 6 weeks, they represent YOU. At this point you should offer to install them at a reduced price as she was patient initially but kept getting the runaround. At least from her perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, I'm licensed and insured. The job would have been done well within 6 weeks if I didn't have an issue with my vendor and powder coater. The job was a few weeks late. If that was a crime, I think we'd all be criminals. I am guilty of nothing. I answered or immediately called this woman back at EVERY phone call. Communication was there about all my delays. She was totally unreasonable. She was rude and condescending. I am willing to eat the extra money I had to put in for this job because the underbid was my fault. However, I wasted a month of my valuable work time for this woman, and she came up with a terrible excuse to back out the day of the install. She owes me that deposit.

I have pictures of the entire finished product. I have all my receipts for this job. I have all 3 of her nasty voicemails saved on my phone. If she takes me to court, she has no case other than to say I was late on the "promise", which as far as I'm concerned, never came out of my or an employee of mine's mouth. There's no record of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't know what you mean by "she hasn't been taken care of." I felt bad when thing were running late, and I sent her a card apologizing for the delays and thanking her for her patience, even though she hadn't shown any starting at week 6. I don't know what more I could have done. I communicated why there were delays. What more could I have done, really? She told me she cried when she read the card and was very understanding, but just a few days later, it's like a totally different person called me back and was fussing again. She was about to get shutters for her entire house for half of what she would have gotten them for from someone else, and she backed out that day.
 

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#1 Its not her fault that you underbid the job. Seems like you have used that as an excuse to deliver timely service.
#2 There is a record of the 4 to 6 week "promise" Its posted here, by you, and is admissable in court.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As far as I know, the contract is good.

And Warren, a.)I already stated multiple times that it was my fault I underbid. The untimely service was a problem with my vendor and sub. But you obviously didn't read the entire thread b.)Talking about underbidding on this forum is not the same as telling that to her as an excuse. and c.) if you would like to get involved and submit this in court, be my guest my man.
 

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TC: I'm just trying to get you to see it from the homeowners point of view. I have underbid jobs before too, and quite frankly, more profitable jobs will take priority. As for the admissable in court thing, just letting you know that somebody here on CT had their posts appear in court documents before. Good luck man but I stand by my first post. Offer to install at a reduced price, apologize, and move on.
 
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