1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Unrealistic customers. What to do??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by dodge2500, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    We have a seasonal contract with a retirement community where we do all services. I contacted them in December and asked how things are going and also asked that they keep us posted with any questions comments or concerns. The director says all is good and they will let us know if there are any problems. So a month and a half goes by and we get a season and a half of snowfall later and they email yesterday asking us to pay for the compressor unit for their walkin cooler because our snowblower shot snow directly into the condenser 3 weeks ago and they think they will need to replace it. For one, the storm they are referring to was 15" officially with 40mph winds and extreme blowing and drifting. The compressor is a total of 2 ' from the ground. You couldn't even see it in this storm. Next, they never told us a thing about it or to avoid the area or dig it out or anything. Our snowblowers couldn't have blown snow in it if they wanted to. It wasn't even visable. So I kindly tell them my thoughts and why we will not be paying for it and the tell me how they completely disagree and that they will remember this when it comes time to sign contracts again and that we need to have a meeting to discuss this. They also tell me that the other location owned by the same people in another town also has some concerns and wants to be a part of the meeting as well. I talked with the other location a week ago and they said all is good and they have no concerns at all and will let me know if they do. I have the emails to prove it all.

    Am I out of line by thinking they are just fishing for ways to make us pay for the compressor? Should I have to pay for something where they have no proof of it being caused by us whatsoever? I do not want to roll over and just play dead and pay for something I do not feel is our problem or responsibility. The account has had perfect service and I have emails proving their satisfaction. We know of two other compressors for walk in coolers that went out during the same time period that were on the businesses roofs.

    I am getting tired of people trying to put the blame on the plow guys. It isn't our fault that the weather has been brutal and everyone is just ticked off. I just needed to vent and ask others their opinion of my situation. Thanks in advance for any constructive responses.
     
  2. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    I also asked them to let me know the concerns of the other facility so I could resolve them and get answers to them. I also asked why they didn't tell me about the problem when it happened and why they had a repair person out 4 times before I knew anything of the issue. I got no response from them yet. I emailed the maintenance director at the other facility to see what the concerns were and it was news to him. He didn't know of anything. What a frustrating ordeal. Sorry for the long vent..
     
  3. 94gt331

    94gt331 Senior Member
    from usa
    Messages: 293

    That sucks man, what's the world coming to where they want to blame you for mother nature. Stand your ground on this and even if you lose the work. They should have some type of insurance anyways to cover that, sounds like crap you shouldn't have to worry bout.
     
  4. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    I would not pay for the compressor. Those are usually mounted on the roof or on top of the walk in. I have never seen one 2' off the ground unless it was inside of a building. That was a faulty installation and should be paid for by the installer.
     
  5. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. Senior Member
    Messages: 513

    Easy Peazy...no proof, no pay! Don't bust your ass in extreme conditions all night to provide the best service only to have them try and put the squeeze to you. Stand your ground. You don't owe them a dime
     
  6. ddobson

    ddobson Junior Member
    from pa
    Messages: 29

    What does your contract say about maintaining the compressor area? Seems like they overlooked the fact that it should have been maintained to start. Also, what is the age of the compressor?
     
  7. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    no proof, no pay and I wouldn't worry about them signing with you next season cause why work for someone like that. bring printed copies of the emails showing excellent service at both facilities to the meeting.
     
  8. Rick547

    Rick547 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 535

    I would need much more proof that you caused the damage before I paid for the compressor. Compressors have safety switches on them for such problems. If you blocked the air around the unit. It would create a high pressure problem on the output of the compressor. The high pressure safety switch would shut the unit down before the compressor burnt up.
     
  9. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I had same thing few years ago on a heat pump unit was damage by a blower This place has a maintenance man That has a blower at the time I only ran a ATV and heat pump unit was 10' from the walk Day time the maintenance man cleans walks I only clean at night.

    When I got a call I went and took pictures then at end of the month they wanted to have meeting over it.
    Well the guy that said I did it lost his job since he was the one done it. Now I do the walks night and day.

    I got lucky To OP not sure how I would go at it since nobody has proof how it was broken from you or mother nature
    Just remember you name is on the line. word of mouth travels fast
     
  10. jbutch83

    jbutch83 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    I would ask to speak to company that is repairing or maintaining the compressor, and see what they say about what happened to it. I would also ask for some type of proof that it was damaged by your company, and the reason why they waited so long to contact you about the damage. No proof no pay in my book. Good luck!
     
  11. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    you can't let your name being on the line determine EVERYTHING you do/don't do or pay/don't pay for.

    bottom line is he didn't do it and unless there is solid proof he did do it you don't pay for it whether it costs you the account and some bad publicity or not.

    that's my 2 cents and how I would handle it anyway.

    maybe that's easier for me to say cause I'm currently at my limit with the number of clients I can service. my only concern currently is running my business and taking care of the clients I service. the rest are out of sight, out of mind.
     
  12. allagashpm

    allagashpm Senior Member
    Messages: 703

    One thing I started doing is putting a line in contracts whether it be lawn or snow that in the event of property damage I need to be notified within 48 hours. Now some stuff you might not notice until spring time obviously that is different, but you get a call 2 weeks later that you hit the garage door with the plow, there is no way to prove they did it or you did. If they wait 3 weeks to notify you and have had repair people out there, you should have been involved right away. I would argue it and not pay as long as the situation is as you described. The maintenance guy should have shoveled it out right away, assuming that is not part of your job description as someone else said.
     
  13. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    [thanks for all the responses. The contract does not say one thing about the compressor and not putting snow there. The snow was 3' deep where they are located and we didn't even know where they were at that point. It is not in our scope to shovel around them and keep them clear. I told the property manager all of these things but her maintenance man says it had to be our crews with snow blowers. They are just fishing for someone to pay. I understand about name and reputation and all but for something like this, I feel I must stand my ground and not give in. I have rolled over and played dead too many times to make people happy when I know it was not directly caused by us. The manager is just trying to be a bully and get us to pay by threatening. This customer makes up about 2 percent of our business so the bully tactic isn't going to work.


    QUOTE=allagashpm;1739755]One thing I started doing is putting a line in contracts whether it be lawn or snow that in the event of property damage I need to be notified within 48 hours. Now some stuff you might not notice until spring time obviously that is different, but you get a call 2 weeks later that you hit the garage door with the plow, there is no way to prove they did it or you did. If they wait 3 weeks to notify you and have had repair people out there, you should have been involved right away. I would argue it and not pay as long as the situation is as you described. The maintenance guy should have shoveled it out right away, assuming that is not part of your job description as someone else said.[/QUOTE]
     
  14. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,163

    I would agree to the meeting and have it out, maybe bring a witness and a set of invoices for equipment repair related to clearing their snow....fair is fair.
     
  15. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,659

    I wonder if they are looking for a way out of their contract and this is a convenient excuse
     
  16. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I agree with what has already been said. Tell them you value their contract, and hope they value your services, but I sure wouldn't pay for it. Good luck.
     
  17. John from OH

    John from OH Member
    Messages: 35

    I have found over the past 30 years, the best way to handle a complaint like this is to turn it over to your insurance company. They will ask the association/ board to prove that your company did the damage and that you were the only ones to have access to that area. This line in your original post leads me to believe there may not even be any damage to the cooler, "asking us to pay for the compressor unit for their walkin cooler because our snowblower shot snow directly into the condenser 3 weeks ago and they think they will need to replace it" After your insurance company talks to them and they can't prove who did the damage, or if there even is any damage, they will either back off or have their attorney write threaten to sue if you don't pay. The letter will be a threat only, because they would again have to prove who did the damage in court. Anytime there is damage on a property in the winter, the snow plower gets blamed, right or wrong. Either way, you will probably lose the account at the end of the winter and if you keep it, they will more than likely be a pain in your side. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.
     
  18. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,112

    Most likely the snow did not hurt the A/C unit. It should shut down on High PSI if the condenser was plugged with snow. More than likely the crank case heater went out and it tossed a rod because of the cold oil. Find out who fixed it and ask them what the problem was. You should get a full report if they really think you are going to pay for it. If they will not give it to you how do you know what was wrong with it? And it was related to snow at all.
     
  19. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    Don't give in, it was most likely cause my mother nature with all this bitter cold and like you said drifting snow.
     
  20. ffmedjoe

    ffmedjoe Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 29

    I had a costumer accuse me of backing into a garage door. So I went and met the costumer by the garage door in question, she said "see there is the mark from your bumper" so i backed my truck up to the door and the mark was about a foot below my bumper. She said "it's still your fault, it could have been one of your other trucks." I told her that i only had one truck and she wouldn't back down. So I called the local PD for them to come out and investigate, they did and said that they were 99% sure it wasn't my truck. Then I got a call from the management company that owned the complex and they apologized and said that that manager had been removed. I didn't know she was the manager i thought she was from the management company and was about to pay for it since i did 4 complexes for them and losing them would have lost me a TON of money