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Opinions Wanted How do you do disclaimers?

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by imaluma, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. imaluma

    imaluma SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm curious especially to know how folks handle disclaimers. Specifically customers declining conservation measures like UV filtering glass or requests to drymount things that could be considered valuable and/or irreplaceable.

    We've come a long way with defaulting to UV glass and enjoyed selling a bit of museum since implementing the POS system. Lately we've been falling back into old habits of opting for premium clear. I am kicking around the idea of a disclaimer that can be selected as a memo that prints on the workticket for the customer to sign when these choices are made. Something along the lines of "Customer has declined the use of UV filtering protection as advised" simple, to the point. I hopefully would expect that this will dissuade any attempts to track down the designer to "make sure" (which is what I am apt to do) and also ensure that the conversation has been had instead of maybe skipped to avoid the effort of explaining why it's beneficial.

    I propose something similar for mounting, since we have all experienced that grey area when someone brings in an old and dated print, maybe signed but in poor condition. Something that could benefit aesthetically from a mount. I approach the customer as informative as possible, removeable does not mean reversible, altering the original condition may reduce value, (applies also to trimming down art when it's so often set in oversized paper, to remove damage) et cetera, et cetera. Again, it adds extra insurance that these important subjects have been brought to their attention, not only to avoid liability but to also serve as an added check point to ensure we are providing the best possible service.

    How do you folks implement these types of disclaimers? Would a signature next to a statement be enough when applicable? Also, we will supplant our electronic customer history with scans of notes and diagrams, would a scan of this signature be sufficient or should the original hard copy be retained?
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  2. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I don't generally do disclaimers. I sometimes put mounting instructions on the back of a frame, but disclaimers are a little too "high pressure sales" looking to me. I don't want my customer to feel bad about their purchase in any way. Have you had anybody coming after you legally because their art was damaged by a process that you used?

  3. imaluma

    imaluma SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    No, but we want to ensure the topic of conservation is being discussed rather than glossed over. There is more than the avoidance of liability at stake, the time and effort made to double check, the benefit of higher ticket numbers when the extra measures are taken.
    FramerCat likes this.
  4. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Are you worried about the customer giving you trouble, or are you worried about employees not notifying every customer?

    I don't put disclaimers on anything. However, if a customer wants something done that goes against my best judgement, I would consider having customer sign a release form.
    As for UV glass or not. My default is conservation clear. I only buy regular glass for corporate jobs. I can see buying regular glass when one offers package pricing (with option to upgrade)

    Instead of worrying about every customer being informed, why not make a display (or use one of truvues) advising them of the merits of conservation glass? Same could be done for mounting, although I NEVER drymount anything I could not replace. Just my own personal business rule.
  5. FramerCat

    FramerCat SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm with Ylva. I offer non-con on certain package deals and corporate jobs. It's very difficult to get employees to up-sell so we don't give them the option to offer regular glass, foam or mat as an a la carte item.

  6. imaluma

    imaluma SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm with you guys on the UV but since we have to include regular in POS to be able to price out corporate jobs I can't remove it. I'm trying to encourage the practice of selling conservation quality framing that hasn't been implemented for a long time. This just seems like a multiple benefit way to go about it.
  7. imaluma

    imaluma SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Worried about customers not being informed. Displays are too passive, they get tucked under the counter and leaves it up to the customer to ask the questions. We have a default set to UV but it is more frequently getting switched. I would like to presume that it isn't accidental, and that the customer requested it, therefore the option of "sure, we can do that, you'll need to sign a disclaimer though". It's another tool to help designers learn this good practice by checking themselves.
  8. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I don't do disclaimers and have my default set to CC glass. I have the conversation about glass with nearly every customer and almost half the time get upgraded to Museum Glass, but I'm just me with no other employees.

    My glass sales breaks down by volume to about:

    3% Plexi of one kind or another
    5% Premium Clear
    4% Tru-Vue Ultra Vue
    48% Conservation Clear
    40% Museum Glass
    Mike Labbe likes this.
  9. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Like this..

    Wasn't me!

  10. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Requiring a signed disclaimer is just asking for somebody to take you to court.
  11. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Sounds like the real problem is an employee problem. Sorry, but when you say you are falling back to old habits, well that sounds like a management issue. If you say your standard is CC and they are selling regular, then you need to have a chat on what is expected. Having a disclaimer won't help with employee issues, in my opinion.

    My default is CC with an upgrade of Museum. Yes I sell regular, but it is corporate, and only as part of my Artist Package, package pricing.
  12. imaluma

    imaluma SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thank you for your diplomatic candor.
  13. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I find disclaimers very off-putting and will only use it as last resort. The disclaimer will not help you with employees not doing what they are supposed to do. It seems they override the default, do you know which one of the employees is doing that? I would have a quiet talk with that employee and ask why it is changed. Maybe have employees put on the work order 'as requested by customer'.

    Selling is difficult and not everyone can do it. The employee might think that framing is overpriced and might not dare tell the customer the total price. There are ways to make it easier, without lowering the price/cost of materials.
  14. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    As implied by others here, disclaimers cannot replace the correct advice that should be given by the frame designer. My goal has always been to help customers make informed decisions, So I try to provide information of interest to them and in understandable terms.

    If a customer insists that I do something I know to be destructive, and cares not about my recommendations, then I can decide whether to accept or decline the job.
  15. Karlee

    Karlee Grumbler

    We did away with regular glass but regular plexi we still have. We offer conservation glass or museum. Just by showing a sample of the two two glass options takes a lot of pressure off the sale. I feel this limits the over whelming choices and no high pressure sales needed.
    We also have a waiver form and condition report stating we talk about preservation. By stating your recommendation and letting them choose without pressuring them crates customer loyalty for sure. Having them sign paperwork makes it sound like you stand by your recommendations. Often times they change their mind before they sign.
  16. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My take on disclaimers is that if someone wants me to do something that
    requires one, I wouldn't do it anyway.

    When you start getting into heavyheavy legal stuff it can be a minefield to cover all the bases.

    e.g. Someone sues you because their print has faded, on the basis that it wouldn't have faded if
    you had put UV glass in. They are on a hiding to nothing. There is no way to prove in court that it
    wouldn't have faded had it had UV glass in. Some things will fade no matter what glass is in front.
    Are they going to bring in expert witnesses? Well they could, but when push comes to shove they
    would have to spend $$$$$$$$$$s on the case and most likely lose and get stuck with the costs.

    Give people honest advice and it's up to them if they choose to ignore it.
  17. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Give <honest> people honest advice and it's up to them if they choose to ignore it.
  18. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Just as a matter of interest, has anyone actually had framing comebacks that have resulted in litigation?

    Or know of anyone who has?


    That's alleged damage to artwork, not purely rubbish frames. No need to go into fine detail. ;)

    I once had a customer, fussy fellow, who wanted a 20x30 glossy photo framed. No mat and in a skinny ally
    frame. I told him that it would go very wavy if it were not drymounted. And if is was drymounted he would
    see an orange peel effect from certain angles unless I went to great (expensive) lengths. I urged him to use
    a proper mat. He stuck to his guns so I mounted it. When he came to pick it up he remarked that it was a bit
    bumpy. I reminded him that I told him it would be like that. And it was.
    From which point he had nowhere to go. End of. :D
    David Waldmann likes this.
  19. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Another possibly hairy situation is when people bring in things that are already matted.
    Sometimes it's impractical to check the art as the mat is well and truly glued together
    and cannot be open without destroying the mat. No way to tell what horrors lurk within.
    The fact that whoever matted it made it like that raises a few red flags anyway....
    I usually ask "are you happy with the mat it's in?". To be fair, most of them look perfectly
    fine aesthetically. No good reason to change them.
    So you go ahead and put it in a frame. This could be tricky because years later when the
    owners decide to sell their marvellous art which has rocketed in value in the intervening
    time, they find that all the that it needs $$$$$$$$$$s to restore it because of the manky
    tape lathered all over it. They probably won't remember it was already matted when they
    brought it to you. You framed it. You are to blame. You are getting the bill.
    It's a long shot and most of these ready-matted things are never going to be worth a lot.
    But strange things happen.
    In cases like this I am sometimes tempted to slip a little note into the framing package.
    One that will never be seen unless the frame is opened.

    "I didn't mount this art. I only made the frame and assembled it.
    If there is anything wrong with the mounting it isn't my fault.
    I told the owners this and told them it would be
    wise to let me check it and re-do it if necessary.
    Did they pay heed to my advice?
    Did they f-fairy-cakes."

    Kristin and KitHarris like this.
  20. Andrew Lenz Jr.

    Andrew Lenz Jr. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    The last time we were sued in small claims court I had to deal with it, 13 years ago. It was an old small oil painting (icon) in poor condition that had restoration work done on it repeatedly over the years before we got it. A part of paint film flaked off right when it came in and our designer noted it on the paperwork with the customer.

    The customer came in a couple weeks later to pick it up and was upset that part of the painting had flaked off. We explained that it had happened right when it was dropped off with us and was even noted on the paperwork. Looking to have a happy customer, I even offered to help cover part of the restoration work though it was not our fault. She wouldn't hear of it and sued us in small claims court. The customer lost. At the time of the judgement, I still offered to help cover part of the restoration cost—talk about going the extra mile simply in the name of customer service—but she wouldn't even listen to me.

    We've been sued a few times over the last 50 years, once when a customer tripped on our step once while in a heated argument (yes, yelling) with her husband. We have a 10,000 square foot store, things are going to happen. Once we were sued because we didn't give an ex-employee a "big enough ex-employee discount". The judge threw it out of court.

    We've never lost when sued, thank goodness. I like to think it's "karma". Still, it's a complete pain.

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