Rant about a nervy customer

47 replies
Hubby and I have an online business that involves selling custom mixed car touchup paint kits and items to go along with the paint. We offer a 60 day replacement on the paint should it go thick in that time period. The paint is good for about 90 days. I have replaced one paint in almost two yrs., and it was for a guy who waited about 90 days to try out his kit. I did it to be nice, I didnt actually have to do that.

Well I just got an email from another guy who bought his paint kit in Aug. 2010!!! 13 months ago! He's whining that the paint is rock hard and one of the solutions has evaporated. Says he doesnt like our system :-) He never tried it, he let it sit for over a year then decided to use it.

I told him I cant replace the paint, that 60 days is the time limit. He bought one of the more complete kits so I suggested he buy the cheap one which would give him paint and the solution and then he'd be good to go. I thought he had a lot of nerve expecting a replacement kit after 13 months.

How would you handle this?
#customer #nervy #rant
  • Profile picture of the author Liam Murray
    You get it in all walks of life, I'd just take it on the chin explain how it is and if he BS you then let him walk away it's his problem at the end of the day for not using it when he had bought it. It's like buying milk and leaving it to go out of date and one day think aw I'll have some milk... Your not going to go back to the shop and say give me a new one... Some people just try and take their chances.
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    • Profile picture of the author Manuelcrc
      Originally Posted by Liam Murray View Post

      You get it in all walks of life, I'd just take it on the chin explain how it is and if he BS you then let him walk away it's his problem at the end of the day for not using it when he had bought it. It's like buying milk and leaving it to go out of date and one day think aw I'll have some milk... Your not going to go back to the shop and say give me a new one... Some people just try and take their chances.

      Exactly man!
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  • Profile picture of the author imsas
    Replace it, customer service is key..
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  • Profile picture of the author Vlad Romanov
    Originally Posted by funkynassau View Post

    Hubby and I have an online business that involves selling custom mixed car touchup paint kits and items to go along with the paint. We offer a 60 day replacement on the paint should it go thick in that time period. The paint is good for about 90 days. I have replaced one paint in almost two yrs., and it was for a guy who waited about 90 days to try out his kit. I did it to be nice, I didnt actually have to do that.

    Well I just got an email from another guy who bought his paint kit in Aug. 2010!!! 13 months ago! He's whining that the paint is rock hard and one of the solutions has evaporated. Says he doesnt like our system :-) He never tried it, he let it sit for over a year then decided to use it.

    I told him I cant replace the paint, that 60 days is the time limit. He bought one of the more complete kits so I suggested he buy the cheap one which would give him paint and the solution and then he'd be good to go. I thought he had a lot of nerve expecting a replacement kit after 13 months.

    How would you handle this?
    In my opinion he just tried his luck. He lost the product by his own fault and he just thought why not give a try to get it exchanged... After all if you don't ask, you will never know and unless he was rude in his request there is nothing wrong with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Angelz
      Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

      I'd send him the paint. Sometimes you have to bear with idiots.
      Originally Posted by imsas View Post

      Replace it, customer service is key..
      I disagree with these guys. Customer Service has to have its limits and a 60 day "warranty" is pretty great I would say on a product like yours. I think you handled the situation perfectly by suggesting he go with a cheaper option.

      Originally Posted by Vlad Romanov View Post

      In my opinion he just tried his luck. He lost the product by his own fault and he just thought why not give a try to get it exchanged... After all if you don't ask, you will never know and unless he was rude in his request there is nothing wrong with it.
      I agree with this guy. I think he was just trying his luck. I work in Customer Service call centers and many people are just calling to say "What if". They realize they are the ones at fault, but if they catch the vendor at the exact right time, anything is possible. As I said before, you did the right thing.

      Customers expect too much in life, and I aim to change that. There is being reasonable (90 days instead of 60) and there is unreasonable (300+ days). If this guy was actually expecting a full replacement or refund, that is 100% unreasonable.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    Originally Posted by funkynassau View Post

    Hubby and I have an online business that involves selling custom mixed car touchup paint kits and items to go along with the paint. We offer a 60 day replacement on the paint should it go thick in that time period. The paint is good for about 90 days. I have replaced one paint in almost two yrs., and it was for a guy who waited about 90 days to try out his kit. I did it to be nice, I didnt actually have to do that.

    Well I just got an email from another guy who bought his paint kit in Aug. 2010!!! 13 months ago! He's whining that the paint is rock hard and one of the solutions has evaporated. Says he doesnt like our system :-) He never tried it, he let it sit for over a year then decided to use it.

    I told him I cant replace the paint, that 60 days is the time limit. He bought one of the more complete kits so I suggested he buy the cheap one which would give him paint and the solution and then he'd be good to go. I thought he had a lot of nerve expecting a replacement kit after 13 months.

    How would you handle this?
    A disgruntled customer will tell more people about a
    bad experience than a good experience with you.

    Sure, it's sounds like it's the customer's fault on this
    occassion.

    However, if it was me, I'd send them a replacement
    package with my compliments and let them know that
    they must use that one within 60-days.

    If he was good enough to buy one of your more complete
    kits, then show a bit more gratitude to them by going
    the extra mile and sending them a replacement.

    They'll hopefully be grateful that you've overstretched
    yourself and they may buy more from you in future. At
    a minimum they're unlikely to go bad-mouthing you to
    others elsewhere.

    If it was a large percentage of your customers doing
    this then that would be another matter. But for a one
    off case, just send them the paint with a big smile.

    Dedicated to mutual success,

    Shaun
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    • Profile picture of the author Angelz
      Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

      A disgruntled customer will tell more people about a
      bad experience than a good experience with you.

      Sure, it's sounds like it's the customer's fault on this
      occassion.

      However, if it was me, I'd send them a replacement
      package with my compliments and let them know that
      they must use that one within 60-days.
      But what if that customer calls you 90 days later, and says, "it hardened up again! What kind of service is this? You replaced my last one after 13 months, and I accept that was my fault, but this time I only let it sit 90 days! You can't honestly expect me to use this within 60 days, that is only 2 months! I am certainly be going to tell my friends that you don't truly stand behind your product."

      Where do you draw the line? When do you stop giving in? I have done customer service for years, and the complainers usually complain repeatedly because they want to push you until you break. They don't care what your profit margins are. They don't care if it is their fault. They want you to take care of everything for them.

      I don't live in fear of customers. If a customer is rude, I very clearly tell them to take their business elsewhere. I didn't get into Internet Marketing to take crap from people. That is just my take, and I am successful enough to be happy, and I wish others would do the same.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
        Originally Posted by Angelz View Post

        But what if that customer calls you 90 days later, and says, "it hardened up again! What kind of service is this? You replaced my last one after 13 months, and I accept that was my fault, but this time I only let it sit 90 days! You can't honestly expect me to use this within 60 days, that is only 2 months! I am certainly be going to tell my friends that you don't truly stand behind your product."

        Where do you draw the line? When do you stop giving in? I have done customer service for years, and the complainers usually complain repeatedly because they want to push you until you break. They don't care what your profit margins are. They don't care if it is their fault. They want you to take care of everything for them.

        I don't live in fear of customers. If a customer is rude, I very clearly tell them to take their business elsewhere. I didn't get into Internet Marketing to take crap from people. That is just my take, and I am successful enough to be happy, and I wish others would do the same.
        Regarding the second tin of paint, I'd make it clear that
        they need to use it within 60-days as per the guarantee.

        I'd make it clear that I was making an exception in the
        first case as a favor to them.

        I've been self-employed for over 10-years and have found
        a way to treat prospects and customers fairly by my own
        value system.

        You are of course free to choose otherwise.

        Dedicated to your success,

        Shaun
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        • Profile picture of the author anton343
          Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

          Regarding the second tin of paint, I'd make it clear that
          they need to use it within 60-days as per the guarantee.

          I'd make it clear that I was making an exception in the
          first case as a favor to them.

          I've been self-employed for over 10-years and have found
          a way to treat prospects and customers fairly by my own
          value system.

          You are of course free to choose otherwise.

          Dedicated to your success,

          Shaun
          I have to agree with Shaun on this

          Anton
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          • Profile picture of the author Mullguy
            I'm totally with Angelz on this. Don't refund.

            70% of my online business is selling physical product (Through eBay, Amazon & my own websites).

            If you send a replacement you are setting a prescient which says "My 60 day guarantee is worthless - if you're pi**ed off & hassle me enough - I'll send you it anyway!" That's the message they will give their friends.

            Maybe review your return policy if it's got a 90 day shelf life, 30 days would be my limit.

            If the buyer ordered through your website maybe he gave you a phone number? Do something he would never expect with an online transaction. Phone him. Don't apologise to him, just explain your return policy & say something along the lines of "We want you to be completely happy, with this in mind, how about I send you a replacement & we take the hit on the shipping (or whatever) so you only pay for the product?"

            Negotiate so you can't lose. The guy will come off the phone thinking "Wow, that's great customer service"

            Try this. I can assure you it really works.

            Great niche by the way, I wish you every success in the world.
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        • Profile picture of the author anton343
          Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

          Regarding the second tin of paint, I'd make it clear that
          they need to use it within 60-days as per the guarantee.

          I'd make it clear that I was making an exception in the
          first case as a favor to them.

          I've been self-employed for over 10-years and have found
          a way to treat prospects and customers fairly by my own
          value system.

          You are of course free to choose otherwise.

          Dedicated to your success,

          Shaun
          I have to agree with Shaun on this or another alternative is to offer a freebie with his next purchase as a sign of good faith

          Anton
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      • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
        Thanks to all who have replied. I've already told him no free replacement kit. I offered the idea of him buying the $25. kit which would give him paint and a chemical solution, instead of spending another $50. on what he bought the first time around. Some of the items in his more expensive kit dont go bad, wear out etc. They should be just fine now, 13 months later.

        I think he was either just trying to get something for nothing by complaining, knowing it's his fault to have waited so long, or he actually used the paint and wants more for free to do some more work on his car.

        I believe I have to draw the line somewhere. 13 months after the fact is excessive. Yes he may slam us, but we have many repeat customers who like what we sell, so I think the happy people will outweigh the unhappy ones.

        For me, this was a tough call as I dont like to disappoint anyone nor give anyone a hard time, but this fellow is clearly out of line to have waited so long.
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        ChipFixx custom mixed auto touchup paint kits.
        http://www.chipfixx.ca

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        • Profile picture of the author NicheMayhem
          While it is a valid argument to point out how not refunding the guy could cause a snowball effect of bad rep. Isn't it just as likely that he might spread the word that all he had to do was complain and he got re-supplied well after the return period?

          In my opinion, it is best to honor the sales agreement you set forth at the time of sale. There is no valid argument in criticizing a business for standing by it's terms of sale which every customer agrees to by purchasing. I think it is much more professional to communicate that your terms are solid and a 60 day or 90 day guarantee is what you stand behind, no more no less.

          Terms of service, sales agreements etc etc are the building blocks of a sound respectable business. Stand behind your word because there are two sides to every coin.

          Just my .02
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  • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
    He's well out of the return window, I would simply reply (politely) that unfortunately he is out of the 60 day window and that a replacement can of paint cannot be sent. In customer service there is this common misconception that you must bend your will towards each and every customer.

    I can happily tell you that after nearly a decade in the customer service industry this couldn't be any further from the truth. Everyone is so afraid of repercussions from pissed off customers. You have no need to worry. Any sane person would realize that this person is out of your policy and you were simply acting within your right as a retailer.

    He's out of policy, one that is pretty liberal at that. I could see making an exception for six months, but not one year.
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    • Profile picture of the author Angelz
      Originally Posted by BloggingPro View Post

      He's well out of the return window, I would simply reply (politely) that unfortunately he is out of the 60 day window and that a replacement can of paint cannot be sent. In customer service there is this common misconception that you must bend your will towards each and every customer.

      I can happily tell you that after nearly a decade in the customer service industry this couldn't be any further from the truth. Everyone is so afraid of repercussions from pissed off customers. You have no need to worry. Any sane person would realize that this person is out of your policy and you were simply acting within your right as a retailer.
      I think the reason a lot of business owners believe this is because the successful people always boast the loudest "The REASON I am successful is because I always give the best customer service." Well, how do you know that is the reason?

      Maybe the reason you are successful is because you offer a good product at a fair price, or the best product at a higher price, or you are just the most convenient for the customer to use?

      I will give several examples of businesses who don't need to bend over backwards on customer service to be successful.

      McDonalds: Although McDonalds will happily replace any food item you don't like at most locations, or throw you coupons for future visits, your product will usually not be made with any care and will look like crap compared to the item on the picture. If you make a special order, there is a 50/50 shot you actually get what you asked for. Depending on the location, you may or may not be eating old/dirty/unsanitary food. Millions of unhappy customers complain every year about McDonalds product. But it doesn't matter. The majority of customers realize that for that price and that convenience, they will have to put up with some crap.

      High End Restaurants: In some high end restaurants, if you ask for salt on your food, they will not allow it. If you complain the food doesn't taste right, the chef will come out and taste it. If the food tastes right to the chef, they will refuse to replace it. They are successful because they BLAME the customer instead of blaming the product/service.

      I could go on and on. If you are going to be giving every customer whatever they ask for, you need to build that into the price of your product. If you are already offering very fair pricing on a product that you believe is good quality, then let the customer cry about it and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Duncan Munene
    Maybe its time you introduced a warranty to safe guard your business's reputation
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
    Originally Posted by funkynassau View Post

    I just got an email from another guy who bought his paint kit in Aug. 2010!!! 13 months ago! He's whining that the paint is rock hard and one of the solutions has evaporated. Says he doesnt like our system :-) He never tried it, he let it sit for over a year then decided to use it.

    I told him I cant replace the paint, that 60 days is the time limit. He bought one of the more complete kits so I suggested he buy the cheap one which would give him paint and the solution and then he'd be good to go. I thought he had a lot of nerve expecting a replacement kit after 13 months.

    How would you handle this?
    Stick to your guns...warrantys and guarantees are a two way street they have to be honoured in both directions or they become worthless.

    thers an old adage that says you cant please everyone and to try is to fail, trying to please everyone is a recipe for disastor. except that no matter what you do there will be bad customers with issues.

    And to run your buisness to suit you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Angelz
      Originally Posted by Robert Puddy View Post

      Stick to your guns...warrantys and guarantees are a two way street they have to be honoured in both directions or they become worthless.

      thers an old adage that says you cant please everyone and to try is to fail, trying to please everyone is a recipe for disastor. except that no matter what you do there will be bad customers with issues.
      This reminded me of 2 situations.

      1) Shopping for groceries at Safeway, they always offer to "Carry my bags out for me." The problem is, I do not drive a vehicle. I have to carry my bags home which is a 20 minute walk. Now granted, I carry a LOT of bags, more than a normal person could carry, so they assume I have a vehicle, but it upsets me that they assume I do. I always want to ask them, "Carry them home for me?" But I don't because I know they are just doing their job. They can't please every customer, so they have to go with the majority, and the majority of people carrying as many bags as I do will have a vehicle.

      2) Buying a new computer at Futureshop, they always try to upsell me on their warranty. Instead of standing behind the product, the guy basically told me "Oh that computer is pretty likely to break down, I wouldn't buy it without a warranty, its a pretty known piece of crap." I was like WTF. I am going to call Acer and tell them the Futureshop employees are doing that. And the warranty cost the exact same as the computer. Not even sure how that makes sense.

      Stand behind your product or service. Know your product or service. If you sell a quality product or service, then that will make you successful.
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      • Profile picture of the author Angelz
        Originally Posted by Kevin01736 View Post

        But the way I'd handle it would be to send him a free rplacement as a goodwill gift and then sit back and wait for him to tell a few friends how good you are.
        Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

        If you treat people well, they will say good things about you. True -- you lived up to your guarantee. You may have left money on the table by being legalistic.

        Happy customers who know you will go the extra mile for them are much more valuable than ads.
        You guys are under the assumption that every customer tells someone else about the business transaction they recently did, and that it is always going to be positive if you replace their product.

        Many customers will bad mouth your product regardless. Look at my experiences with Safeway and Futureshop. In their minds, maybe they were actually trying to help me, but I took it as an insult.

        You may replace that guys paint, but he may spin it as the fact that your product was crap since you had to get it replaced. The replacement may not mean ANYTHING to him, because he feels he was entitled to it, and the fact he had to wait for a replacement was an inconvenience and the seller should have replaced it with the next size up.

        I know MANY customers who get full replacements, and after they get it, they say "Ok, now what about my inconvenience?" What do you say to that? If you decline anything further, then their was no point in giving in the first time, because now he will be upset again even with a full replacement.
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        • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
          Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

          He might go insane, buy an automatic weapon from a Mexican arms dealer and assault the Washington Monument, too.

          I doubt it, though.

          You never ever go wrong going the extra mile for a customer.
          Yeah, you can go wrong. Very easily.

          It's impossible to go 'the extra mile' for every customer. That very phrase implies doing something for one person that you don't normally do. You either have to pay someone to do it, or step away from another business function to do it. Either way, it eats into profits. Enough extra miles and you'll need to increase your margins to cover it.
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          • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
            Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

            Utter nonsense. If you have business functions more important than taking care of your customers, you're doing something very, very wrong. Anyone with sense enough to dress themselves would know that irate customers should be unusual. So no -- you don't have to go the extra mile for every customer.

            If you have to go the extra mile for every customer, either you can't sell, or your product sucks.

            From what the OP said, it was an unusual situation. That tells me she knows what she's about.
            Customer support isnt a free service, it costs money to supply it i have 3 customer care reps all of whoom have to be paid. therefore customer care has to be factored into the price.

            If you go above and beyond your stated terms that adds costs to your bottom line, no sensible business will ever countenence going over the stated line without factoring in a cost in the plus column.

            As i said a warranty or guarantee must be honoured both ways or its useless.

            Let me give you an example, one of my programmer partners is forever giving his time freely to customers to fix problems with the software they have created by trying to customise it, or using other programmers who dont know the script.

            I keep telling him all that free time the customer isnt really entitled to isnt saving us money or creating profits, its just eating in to them.

            Those customers should be charged for the work and he should farm it out to outside contractors we have control over.

            And then spend his time creating other products we have already discussed to double our income..

            going the extra mile can kill profits, and destroy business's because if a business isnt growing its dying
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Miranda
    It is really up to you but I have refunded customers when clearly they were wrong and just wanted money back. This is just part of doing business. You don't have to refund this customer but it depends on what they can do to harm you reputation and if it is really worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin01736
    I also have a business selling online custom sized products - picture mats, so I know where you are coming from. We get them expecting a free replacement because they measured it wrong in the first place, we send them exactly what they ask for, but it's "wrong" in their eyes.
    Hey, believe it or not I bought some custom mixed touch up paint for my motorbike engine online (in the UK) and mine did the same in six months - yea, I know, I should have used it straight away, but you know how it is, its a nice day, im going to ride the bike, not watch paint dry

    Stick to your guns - some of these customers are Arses.

    But the way I'd handle it would be to send him a free rplacement as a goodwill gift and then sit back and wait for him to tell a few friends how good you are.

    But it all depends on how he's been with you. If he's been abusive, rude or made legal noises, then stuff him. You are in the right.

    In the long run it is often good marketing to turn a complainer (even one as completely as unreasonable as this) into a happy customer, and an advocate of your business. Priceless. Some of the most glowing testimonials I have on my web site are from complaining customers who we have turned into happy ones.

    I think that over the years we have sort of "built in" an allowance for this sort of thing.

    You also got to look at the savings in time - fire and forget, or engage in hours of emails and nonesense. Even worse if you are paying staff to have online conversations with unhappy whiners when they could actually be selling to customers waiting on the phone. Sometimes its cost effective to just give in, and hope you get a recommendation or two to make up for it. It's all swings and roundabouts, as they say.
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  • Profile picture of the author krtinberg
    I usually try to keep customers happy and either send out a replacement or give a refund but so far past the guarantee I would probably stick to my guns and politely tell him he was well past the return date.
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  • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
    Thanks for the replies! I didnt think this topic would generate so much interest. It's good to get other points of view for things like this.

    I already politely told him I cant replace his kit for free. I offered the idea of the cheapest kit which would get him the two things he needs the most - paint and a chemical solution. So far he has not replied to me. Maybe he wont because he's really PO'd with me.

    We do sell a quality product that we stand behind In almost two yrs. of online sales this is the first time this has happened. My husband understands the paint itself inside and out, he uses it daily in his regular job. 60 days is a fair amount of time to offer free replacement of paint, especially since it's probably good for about 90 days.

    The man was rude in his email, saying he didnt like our system (even tho he never actually tried it!) and what was he going to do now? So I gave him my suggestion, he can accept it or not.

    I agree it sets a precedent to give out free paint or kits a year or more after first ordering them. Do it for one, do it for all, and I dont think that's actually necessary. Our policy is clearly spelled out on our website and all of the paperwork that is included with each kit. I dont know what else I can do to make our position clearer.
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
      Yeah you cant win in a situation like this. I chose to stick to my guns and abide by our policy of 60 days free replacement of paint. We do give good customer service, orders are out the door within 48 hours of receipt. The kits are carefully put together to make sure nothing is missing or wrong. I really do try to accommodate everyone, even oddball requests. I respond to emails promptly, same with answering phone calls. We are a very tiny biz, just the two of us, selling something that not everyone wants or needs. So I try to do what it takes to make it all work. I think I succeed most of the time. It's stuff like this that sets me back for a bit til I come to grips with it. I know I cant be everything to everybody but I like to try!
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Ashwood
      Refund? - No
      Replace? - No
      Exchange? - Maybe.

      This smacks of someone who may have used the product, and simply wants a freebie.

      Ask him to return the hard and dried out components only, and as soon as you've verified them, you will then send the same as an exchange.
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      Now where did I put that pencil?

      Time for a cuppa.
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  • Profile picture of the author txconx
    I agree with SteveJohnson. I've run a service-based business and I guaranty you the customer you bend over backward for will soon be using you as a doormat.

    I simply don't understand the defensive mentality of so many here. The guy was 11 months out of his return period - not 11 days or 11 weeks. Not even close!

    You can't run your business defensively. You can say no without being abrasive or aggressive. In fact, a good customer service person will say no and make the customer feel good about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    One thing that hasn't been discussed in this thread yet is how clear the warranty/terms are.

    If the "use within 60 days" clause is buried away on the website or in tiny print on the bottom of the tin, then I think the customer has a reasonably valid case to expect a refund.

    However, if the terms are blatantly obvious, then the customer has no rights to complain.
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    • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
      The 60 day replacement IS on the website. It is on the thank you letter I send with the kit and it's on the instruction sheets too. in BOLD! I want people to see it, so we dont get into stuff like this.

      It did occur to me he'd used the paint and wants more to do some more work on his car, without having to pay for it.

      I did think later to ask that he return the kit, at his expense, and we'd take it from there. I doubt he'd do that as it would cost him money and time and effort to pack it up and send it to me. Hubby and I talked about this scenario a long time ago, that if someone wanted their money back for some reason, they'd need to send us the kit back first.

      This guy didnt ask for his money back, he said he didnt like our system even tho he's never used it, and "what do I do now?" He also said if there is a time limit on the paint then it should be stated on the website. Well it's there! He just didnt look. I suspect he's a chronic complainer.
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      • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
        Originally Posted by funkynassau View Post

        He also said if there is a time limit on the paint then it should be stated on the website. Well it's there! He just didnt look. I suspect he's a chronic complainer.
        This is something I hear a lot. I manage Customer Service (and SEO/Marketing) at the ecommerce company I work for. Trust me this isn't something that's new. I feel you are in your rights to adhere to your company policy.

        Again if it was six months and I was your CS manager I might make an exception if allowed, but 13 months? Nope. And if they throw a fit I would simply tow the company line as politely as possible.

        I think where a lot of people go wrong is having reps (or owners) get aggressive with their customer service. There is no need for that. Stay assertive and you will do just fine. Does it mean a lost sale in the future from the customer? Probably.

        But if he didn't use the product the FIRST time what makes anyone think he would use the product a second time, replacement or not.
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        • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
          Blogging Pro that's a good point, what's to say he'd use a replacement kit? Nothing. It may sit in the cupboard for another 13 months and dry out and then he'll complain again.

          I was polite and assertive with him. Spelled it out, gave him an option to solve his problem and he can take it or he can leave it.

          I would never flip out at a customer, even tho I may want to. I do my best to be professional and courteous at all times. A tough thing to do sometimes!
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  • Profile picture of the author stevenjacobs
    Banned
    my personal experince is say you cant give him more paint. I was his fault he did not use the paint . It had nothing to do with you . He can suck it up.
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  • Profile picture of the author Burton Lancaster
    Offer him a discount on the next order that wont put you out of business. This show of good faith will keep him coming back again.
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    • Profile picture of the author BloggingPro
      Originally Posted by Burton Lancaster View Post

      Offer him a discount on the next order that wont put you out of business. This show of good faith will keep him coming back again.
      Again, why does this customer need to come back? They didn't use the product the first time so what is the point of a replacement or even a discount on a second order?

      Customer service is a dynamic thing, where one must act within the guidelines set forth by the company. In this case the situation does not warrant a replacement nor a discount on a future purchase.
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  • Profile picture of the author THK
    When you are giving into the fear that "he might ruin my reputation, even though he is in the wrong", you are not providing any customer service. That is a sign of weakness.

    And most customers know that the merchants think this way, some will try to take advantage of that. And don't expect him to praise you once he gets the replacement. The word he is more likely to spread is "It is easy to get replacement well after 60 days, just complain".

    So basically you will incentivize someone to bring more complainers to your doorstep. Not a pleasant situation.

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  • Profile picture of the author Rach72
    Although I am usually in the 'replace it' camp in this instance to do it for the good press would be futile. As bloggingpro said - they didn't use it the first time, so they are hardly going to be raving about the 'great customer service' if it is replaced.

    I would imagine that the conversation would go more along these lines....

    friend - "great paint job"
    customer - "yeah - the stuff that I had originally went hard, so they sent me another lot"

    Not a positive PR response.

    However to offer them extras on top of the paint that they had to buy - like free shipping and free kit replacement ..... well, that could go better.
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    • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
      Rach22, they already get free shipping! I dont need to give away more free shipping to a guy who never used his kit in the first place.

      When hubby got home last nite and I told him about this guy he said - I hope you didnt offer him a free kit. I said nope, just explained our policy and suggested the cheapest kit. He said good, that's what he'd do.

      It's a new day and so far the guy hasnt written back.
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  • Profile picture of the author 3bagsfull
    To say "good customer service IS ALWAYS THE ANSWER" is not true.

    It is totally acceptable to FIRE a customer. You must listen to your inner voice and figure out what is the best approach. Some people have built up a personal system to go back and ask for a discount or return no matter what. It is a tactic on their part. They have tried it before and it works, so they will continue to try it.

    If you feel you are being taken advantage of, it is your right to say no.

    This fear factor of your business will be ruined is not true. Most people evaluate WHO is making these claims. The majority of people who heard "I bought this 13 months ago and it dried up and the company refused to refund my money" would look at the guy and shake their head. They would know it was totally unreasonable.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    Is it clear on the package that the paint is only good for 90 days?

    Considering the infrequency with which you get a request to replace paint, I might have done a one-time exchange for him, making it clear I was noting his file that it could not be done again.

    But I think you handled it fine, considering the length of time.

    Originally Posted by funkynassau View Post

    Hubby and I have an online business that involves selling custom mixed car touchup paint kits and items to go along with the paint. We offer a 60 day replacement on the paint should it go thick in that time period. The paint is good for about 90 days. I have replaced one paint in almost two yrs., and it was for a guy who waited about 90 days to try out his kit. I did it to be nice, I didnt actually have to do that.

    Well I just got an email from another guy who bought his paint kit in Aug. 2010!!! 13 months ago! He's whining that the paint is rock hard and one of the solutions has evaporated. Says he doesnt like our system :-) He never tried it, he let it sit for over a year then decided to use it.

    I told him I cant replace the paint, that 60 days is the time limit. He bought one of the more complete kits so I suggested he buy the cheap one which would give him paint and the solution and then he'd be good to go. I thought he had a lot of nerve expecting a replacement kit after 13 months.

    How would you handle this?
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  • Profile picture of the author dsouravs
    customer service doesn't means doing free charity work
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    • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
      DebraDera it says 60 days free replacement on paint on our website and on the thank you letter we send with the kits, and on the instruction sheets that go with the kits. It's typed in BOLD letters in hopes that people actually read it and see it. It does not say it on the bottle itself, but maybe it needs to.

      I have only replaced one other paint and that was at about 90 days and the customer was very nice in his request, the current bozo was not. I think 13 months is about 11 months too late to expect a replacement.

      It does cost me money if I have to give away free kits or paint, and we pay the shipping and I file my HST so this is not free on my end of things. I've given away free bottles of the solution when a repeat customer places an order and wishes to have an extra bottle. That doesnt cost me much, and I do it in hopes they come back for another kit.
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      • Profile picture of the author dark witness
        I use to work in customer service for a large online retailer on the phones. I would deal with people like this day in day out.

        At first I use to always go out of my way and give it to them. I actually got in trouble with my boss because I was basically giving away too much money.

        After a while I got to the point I could tell the difference between the people who were just "trying it on" and people who really made a mistake etc.

        after getting in trouble I found a balance.

        Most of the time I would give them a warning and I would make it sound like I was doing them a real favor and that I should not be because they have not reported it in time and I could get into trouble ( which was true ) and I could only do it this once etc...

        most of the time they were really really grateful and happy with the outcome and I found they didn't try it again but would always report an issue in time.

        If someone was being really painful about it then I would make it painful for them.

        Sometimes you get to a point when a customer costs more to do business with then the revenue they bring in. I was never rude about it, even when they were, but I would just put my foot down and say sorry, No you can't have it, instead of being the "yes" man all the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    Sometimes people know very well they screwed up, but test the vendor to see if they can pull off a refund. When I was a kid working in a grocery store a woman brought back meat, chicken, and a few other items that magically all spoiled at the same time.

    It was hot outside and I'll bet she just left them in the car too long but tested us to see if we would refund and solve "her" problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author gauvion
    Originally Posted by funkynassau View Post

    Hubby and I have an online business that involves selling custom mixed car touchup paint kits and items to go along with the paint. We offer a 60 day replacement on the paint should it go thick in that time period. The paint is good for about 90 days. I have replaced one paint in almost two yrs., and it was for a guy who waited about 90 days to try out his kit. I did it to be nice, I didnt actually have to do that.

    Well I just got an email from another guy who bought his paint kit in Aug. 2010!!! 13 months ago! He's whining that the paint is rock hard and one of the solutions has evaporated. Says he doesnt like our system :-) He never tried it, he let it sit for over a year then decided to use it.

    I told him I cant replace the paint, that 60 days is the time limit. He bought one of the more complete kits so I suggested he buy the cheap one which would give him paint and the solution and then he'd be good to go. I thought he had a lot of nerve expecting a replacement kit after 13 months.

    How would you handle this?
    Sometimes you have to be able to pick out the scammers. I find it kind of strange that he bought the paint and hadn't used it for over a year.
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    • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
      My first thought was that he was a scammer. Who waits over a year to use a kit for their car? It didnt seem real to me, but people are strange, you cant be sure.

      I just re-read his email and he said he had health problems and that's why he didnt use the kit. Well that's too bad, if he really was ill, but that's not my problem and I cant let him make it my problem.
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