Contract partial refund

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by DarkHorse, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. DarkHorse

    DarkHorse Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Had something happen early Monday morning, would like some feedback from other contractors. We met snowfall threshold 3” around 2:30am- there was about .25” of ice underneath which made for a slow go. I got a nasty gram at 8am- “I’ve already plowed- we should part ways.” At which point I was on his road.
    I sent him a cancellation notice with breakdown for trips made with refund balance, he tried to strong arm me into a full refund, told me he would sue me, call the AG’s and BBB. I told him he may want to re-read the contract he signed, and to go ahead and have his lawyer reach out.
    Last night, he emails me saying he would like to finish out the season with me.
    Glad I’m the child of an attorney and know how to cover my ass. My contract doesn’t make guarantees on times. It addresses acknowledgement that we try to service everyone by 7am, but that extreme weather can make travel difficult, and that plowing will continue.
    It also states “no refunds will be given for unused time or services set forth by this agreement.”
    So, I feel like I’m being reasonable by giving him a partial refund.
    Do I need to be worried about him escalating this to a lawsuit? I don’t have time for this ****. TIA
  2. sota

    sota Addict
    Messages: 1,085

    I guess you need to run the hassle and financial loss equation on this one. if you gave him a full refund and cancel the contract out right, how much would you be out? Is it worth that to not have to worry about this client ever again acting the way he does?
    DarkHorse likes this.
  3. cjames808

    cjames808 Senior Member
    from SE WI
    Messages: 627

    Drop them. Any sniff of a unreasonable complaint or mention of lawyers or suits---> see yaa.

    I don't guarantee any times because weather and snow has no set time.

    We do take down and state on the contract their "Open for business Time" when the business opens and make the best efforts to have a pass thru so they can drive in.
  4. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,449

    If the customer is flipping out the first event, and threatening lawsuit. Get paid something for your time, and drop them. That's what I would do.
  5. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,192

    wave goodbye in your rear view mirror!!!!!!!!!! waiting for the outcome

    jonniesmooth, DarkHorse and FredG like this.
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 33,602

    Why wouldn't you refund what you haven't earned?

    We had some AC claim we had only done his driveway twice, when all his neighbors had been done far more. We know we did it more than he claimed but sent him a partial refund towards the end of the season.

    Put yourself in his shoes...would you want to pay in full for something you didn't receive in full?
    wifitz likes this.
  7. Don't sweat it, he will be a thorn in your side. Makes life miserable dump him. Make your Dad aware of it in case he try's to get slick.
    512high likes this.
  8. Kvston

    Kvston Member
    Messages: 39

    Offer him a partial refund-being fair to yourself-IF he signs a way to cover yourself. Use the cash back as a motivation to get his misery out of your life.
    DarkHorse likes this.
  9. Luther

    Luther PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,462

    I agree with the others. He’s a problem child, drop his service and give him a partial refund. Tell him to have a nice day and move on.
  10. OP

    DarkHorse Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    As I said, it was a partial refund based on trips already made. Not sure why you’re jumping to conclusions.
  11. OP

    DarkHorse Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I handle my own ****. This is my business, not Daddy’s.
  12. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 33,602

    I was basing my comment on what you posted your contract states.

    I'm not jumping to any conclusions.

    Who is this directed at?
    Mr.Markus likes this.
  13. OP

    DarkHorse Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Agreed. I keep checks in the truck for the first few trips just for those kinds of clients. I call it #ThePurge lol
    jonniesmooth likes this.
  14. Luther

    Luther PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,462


    I think Darkhorse was getting a bit defensive
  15. OP

    DarkHorse Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    If you DONT stipulate a stance on refunds and you only have threshold meeting snow 6x, there will inevitably be someone at the end of the year who thinks that because you “base a contract price on an average amount of trips” that you owe them money.
    I was raised by a lawyer. I cover my ass.
    Never had anyone balk at my contracts because it’s spelled out clearly. If it’s not, then you leave room for lawsuits.
  16. OP

    DarkHorse Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Why would you tell me to “let my dad know in case he tries to get slick”
    Ignorant comment.
  17. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 33,602

    You need to lay off the caffeine.
    framer1901, jomama45 and Mr.Markus like this.
  18. gcbailey

    gcbailey Member
    Messages: 93

    You said your father is a lawyer.... He was implying if your client threatened legal action, get your father involved since he is a "lawyer".... I take care of my own business too but I still have a lawyer, accountant, etc.... They get paid to take care of my business.
  19. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 33,602

    So now you're violating your own contract.

    YOUR contract states no refunds, but you're giving him one.

    I may or may not have given him a full refund if I had only done it once. Probably not.

    Strange that you are so concerned about a refund policy but then you also have a clause stating you try to service everyone by 7 but you have zero control over the weather. You're in Rochester, you should know that lake effect could start at 5 and dump 3" by 7 with no problem.

    I don't have any time frames in my contracts and refuse to provide one.

    My refund policy states they owe all monies for services provided until the contract end date or separation date.
    MSsnowplowing likes this.
  20. NBRam1500

    NBRam1500 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    A) If contract states no refunds that's at your discretion , can you send a photo of the contract?
    B) If you do supply a refund, you should structure it based on time you have spent there, as well as take in to consideration you may take a storm or two to replace his contract. If you lose out on a storm or two before you replace his contract bill him for time/money loss as well
    C) you can not just refund based on one plow or everyone will want money back if you only plow a couple times over the winter m
    D) SEASONAL rates is just that
    So much money based on the season no matter how much it snows
    Would need to see the contract to give all of my thoughts but based on what you said . This would never go to court . I've dealt with worse clients . It's not just court though. Word of mouth and social media is ten Times worse. What is this person really like is he going to make you lose other clients

    Sometimes better to bite your tongue offer a refund and move along.

    Your never going to be able to satisfy EVERYONE

    EVERYONE THINKS THEY SHOULD BE PLOWED FIRST. When I sign contracts, I have people who want me to come at a certain time..I explain to them I have a ROUTE I will be here between this time and this time .
    I give myself a 3 hour window..some storms I might do my full route in 4 hours some might be 6 .
    DarkHorse likes this.