Who is paying for this one ?

Lori Drugan

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sep 8, 2004
Fairlawn, OH
Hi everyone,
I have a dilemma that I've never encountered before and would greatly appreciate your input.
I have a new customer that was recommended to me by her interior decorator. She came in ordered a print that had been destroyed by a company doing a remodel in her home. The gentleman said he would gladly pay for the damage because it was his negligence that caused the flood. She chose the materials to be used and her interior decorator came in and approoved everything. The customer thought this would be a nice Christmas present for her husband for he loved the print. Work is completed, ready to pick up, remodeler billed (no sign of a check) and she calls to pick up. I told her I hadn't heard from the remodel guy and if she wanted to pay for it and deal with him later, that was up to her.I was extremely tactful!!! She is insistant that he will be paying for this, but I have no guarantees. I really think I should hold my ground that this doesn't leave the store without being paid for. Am I going to be looking at "The Bear Dance" on my walls for awhile?

Thanks for your advice
I learned a long time ago, (have done insurance work for many years) that you need authorization from who is paying for such things IN ADVANCE.

No cash, check, P.O. = no work

I might feel sorry for the client; but, I am not a bank and "Big Al the knee breaker" does not work here to collect from the contractor.

I am out of here in 1/2 hour when the "emergency order" is picked up. Prepaid in full when it was ordered this morning at 10:00am
I would require payment BEFORE releasing it. The customer can put it on their card, interest free, for 30 days.

They can get reimbursed by the insurance company/vendor directly, with your receipt. It also releases you from being in the middle of the potential haggling/denial.

Just my 2 cents
I'm with Mike. Have her pay you and then she can give the bill and reciept to the guy that trashed it. She'll probably balk, but if you say it is "policy" not to let work out unpaid for she may agree.

People will complain with a person, not typically not with "policies". Worth a shot.

Ifd she still complains personally I'd let her take it, and let her know that I will call her and the contractor until payment is made. That way she can lean on him for you.

I feel for you cause this could get icky if he isn't reputable. He might cough up the cash if you say there is a 10% discount if paid within the month and a 15% surcharge each month thereafter.
If your store policy is such that you don't release items before they are paid, that is your policy, period. Just like the interior decorator who recommended this customer to you, she will have a similar policy, I feel sure. And the customer should understand that you don't even have a down payment to pay for the materials required to fix the repair guy's screwup.

Ask her who she can name that would release custom work to somebody after completion without a single penny paid for the work. I'll bet that she won't have a long list of people she knows who do business this way.

I'd stand my ground as a business person using common sense in a common sense situation and be done with it. There's no reason to feel guilty or responsible for something that isn't your doing in the first place.

Just my personal opinion. Good luck.

A wise man recently told me that if it is a "commercial" job that you should have a PO number to show intent to pay.
If it's not a commercial job it wouldn't leave my shop without being paid in full.

That's my store policy.
We collect "up front" for special orders of prints.

I would have collected "up front" for all of it, just because I've been there before.

And, No, I don't want another copy of Dancing Bears. What is it with that dang print. It seems to be cursed.
She placed the order with you - not the contractor. Who ever picks it up HAS to pay. You have been (too) nice, don't add being taken advantage of to the list.
Hey I have a Dancing Bears in my shop from a customer right now! The customer bought is at Menards and wanted it "made smaller". Real pain tearing that one apart and redoing it.

I had a woman drop off some framing for her boyfriend. She picked it up and paid with a check for the last half that was one of his checks. When I went to cash it he had closed the account. I went to talk to him in person he said he had no idea what I was talking about, even though the framing was in his store next to where I was standing. Before I could turn his in to collections he was put in jail for beating the girlfriend up. I never did get the framing or the money back.
They all pay before leaving with their own checks now.
One advantage of requiring a deposit (I suggest at leasty half) is that it establishes who is paying the bill.

At this point I would not allow the finished work to leave the shop until it is paid in full.
Thank you everyone.
Your input and helpful suggestions are vey much appreciated. I suppose hindsight is 20/20, but I have learned my lesson in regard to those third party jobs. Here it is after Christmas and I still have not heard back from either of them.
Thanks again, Lori
The Curse of the Dancing Bears ...I had one sit around the shop while the couple that ordered it tried to work out their relationship. It got picked up eventually, but what a pain!

This is the reason for a pro forma policy on all third party purchases.
So, this begs the question, what if it is never picked up? (Never being defined as not an absolute, but ? Two years? Five years?) At what point do you consider it inventory to sell or dispose of?

I know this has been talked about before, but the Dancing Bears is a fine example of a cursed print. What to do if the customer nevers graces your doorway again?

i've had this happen and unfortunately it was a senior photograph of the ladies daughter..can't resell that...called her several times...then lost her number when i changed cell phones....well almost a year later, the customer contacts us ...picks up the photograph and pays cash the very next day.....never again will i not get at least 50 per cent up front
Hi Everyone,

The remodeler just called me and gave me his Visa #, I ran it, It was good and the customer is coming in tomorrow to pick The Bear Dance up. I have learned my lesson about using PO #s, and probably speaking with the third party as well. Thanks again for all of your advice, Lori

P.S. Maybe this will beak the jinx !!!