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I got burned. Need advice.

11860 Views 94 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  Double-A
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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Boy, I have had my share of these. Is this hurricane related? Check with your state statutues. Always put in your contract "Non-refundable deposit" due to custom product. Becareful of taking a 50% deposit. Most States will allow a 10%. GOOD Luck
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