View Full Version : Lost a customer

02-04-2008, 02:47 PM
Well that wasn't exactly a pleasant experience. Basically in May last year I setup a Netgear wireless router for this old chap (ever noticed how wireless and the older generation don't mix well?!) and I had the odd phonecall throughout the year saying he couldn't get it to work, so I've helped him out over the phone and told him what to reset and where to click etc.

So on Saturday I had a call from him saying he couldn't get the wireless working again and I tried to sort it out over the phone. He then told me he had lung cancer and was too tired to deal with it and asked if I could come out. I agreed but I told him I would have to charge for my time. I went to his house at 1pm today and set straight to work on the laptop, only to find out the wireless device was disabled (most likely by him). He then decided to accuse me of selling him a "white elephant" router and that I'd done it to get 300 worth of work out of him over the past year (I was fairly sure that figure was a lie but I didn't have my invoices with me to prove otherwise - turns out it was a lie). I said I'm sorry he felt that way and that wireless connections can be temperamental and he accused me of not telling him this at the time, to which I replied I did tell him just that. I always tell people that wireless can be rubbish and I always suggest a wire if they can do so.

After I'd been there for 5 minutes, he said he didn't want to spend anymore money on it and said I may aswell leave if I can't get it working. I then told him that it was working but he insisted that he wanted to remove the wireless router and just go back to using the cable modem. I'm not sure if I caught him on one of his bad days, as I'm sure having lung cancer would take it out of you, but at the end of the day I had done nothing wrong. He tried to remove the router himself and after telling me he could do it, he finally gave up and let me remove it. I left without charging him a penny and politely said goodbye to which he grunted. I didn't think there was much point in arguing because when people are in a mood like that, there's no reasoning with them.

Oh well :(

How would any of you lot handled the situation?

02-04-2008, 05:31 PM

You did the right thing - hard to do & take I know!


02-04-2008, 05:48 PM
I think you handled it very well, Simmy. That's a no win situation. Chemotherapy does strange things to people. I would however, write him a letter and re-iterate your position along with his invoice history and a synopsis of work done. CYA if, down the road, it somehow comes back at you.

02-04-2008, 07:11 PM
In this case considering what all was going on, I think you did the right thing.
I had something like this happen to me last year. A guy flat out refused to pay me for a reinstall I did on his Dell. Saying that after I had taken it to the shop his friend had told him that he could have fixed it for free. I told him to get his friend to do it the next time it messed up, but this time I did it and this was my rate, and if you change your mind about paying me your computer is going to go back to the shop with me you can swing by and pick it up. He quickly came up with the money.
This same guy called me about a month ago having computer issues again, this time I ignored the call.

02-04-2008, 07:38 PM
A guy flat out refused to pay me for a reinstall I did on his Dell. Saying that after I had taken it to the shop his friend had told him that he could have fixed it for free.

Ah yes, the good old advice on the side that suggests your ripping him off 'cos reinstalling windows is simply a matter of throwing in a disk and hitting 'enter'..' I just smile when someone queries my price after the event suggesting I may have ripped them off and say 'yea well sometimes it is as simple as that and sometimes it isnt, and thats what you pay for'. I then let them figure out exactly what that means. .

This same guy called me about a month ago having computer issues again, this time I ignored the call.

Yea sometimes thats best. I had a customer who I'd done a few jobs for that had a dead mainboard. He made it clear he wanted the PC back asap when I took it away so I fitted a second hand board as agreed and returned it within 2 days, though I explianed to him at the time my concerns that the board had been sourced elsewhere and I really hadnt had time to test it as I would have liked. Anyway 2 weeks later he rings up to complain the PC is BSOD again (I just knew it was the board) and I said to him well as it was outside the 7 days return period set by the store I purchased it from I couldnt just swap it over. I told him he needed to leave it with me longer and at the least return it within 7 days. He mumbled and grumbled about it and got a little annoyed about it but I just said sorry, you made the decision to take it back when my advice was to leave it with me longer, so you cant expect me to wear the cost.

Anyway a month or 2 later later he called and left a message about some job he wanted doing. I ignored it as 1. Theres nothing to say he wouldnt get me to do a job then not pay me in recompense for the incident a month or so earlier, and 2. I dont like being accused of ripping people off (which he did more or less) when they go against my advice.

Havent heard from him since and hope I dont. Let him fix his own PC.

02-05-2008, 06:22 AM
Ah, yes, I know the feeling. While you may feel "bad" for the customer, since they're ill (or in my post in the thread noted below, a decorated WWII vet), sometimes you've just gotta let these folks go. Hopefully, they'll treat the next person with more respect (doubtful, but who knows).


Just so folks know, I have great respect for the elderly. If we are all so lucky, we'll get to become that age someday, too.

Nathan H
02-05-2008, 02:51 PM
Hi All, My grandma currently has The big C, it has come back with a vengeance, so i know people do tent to feel sorry for folks like that.

However a mate of mine was in a serious car accident a few years ago and lost his legs (And his wife (Unfortunately))..

Anyway.......He hates it when people feel sorry for him or try to do a good turn for him, he sees this as pity and always comes back with, if i had legs or wasn't injured would you do that, people usually say no, then he says well thats a form of prejudice, he's right of cause we should treat everyone equally...

I bet the old guy doesn't haggle the Asda or Wall-mart over the price of a tine of beans.... There price is there price if you don't like it you know where the do is.

It is the same for me I explain my price upfront - either flat fee or per hour, get them to sign my agreement do the work and get paid, sure they winge but, tough (I'm in the business of making money, not friends, sure friends are nice, but they don't pay the bills) i do the Job they asked me to and i expect to get paid for it, if they don't pay they don't get it back, its the same in the car industry...

Your cars broke you take to a mechanic to get fixed, he fixes it, you pay and leave, you don't pay he keeps your car until you do.

Thats all i have to babble about for now.........

Bryce W
02-07-2008, 12:55 PM
Simmy, you did the right thing.

Nathan H is right on the money. Sometimes you've just got to put your foot down and stop being the nice guy.