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Customer from hell...


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7 replies to this topic

#1 mehoss

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 10:58 AM

OK, so Im on my way to a customer home for a washing machine where the schedule was open all day...get a phone call from a fellow with an Bangladesh accent.  He says his GE fridge stopped cooling properly and he answers the "Is there ice on rear of freezer" question correctly pointing to a defrost failure.  Knowing that I have the heater on the truck and also that I am about 5 minutes from this new call, I divert on over to this guy.  I arrive in those 5 minutes and begin defrosting his fridge.  He gets his 9 year old son to "help" me hold the hair dryer (i instruct the child what to do) so he can take me on a wonderful tour of all the problems in his house.  He shows me where he wants to install an electric dryer in the basement and he asks how much to replace the 110V outlet to a 220V, cant be much, you just need to replace the outlet, he sez.  I tell him, no, it aint that easy...then around the corner he goes to the extra fridge in the garage..unplugged, not sure whats wrong...how much to fix...i tell him I need to plug in and test...no plug nearby...I return upstairs, the ice mostly gone now.  I install the new defrost heater.  I am wrapping up now and he finally asks me "how much"  I reply 150 (very reasonable in the Washington DC area, no?)  Immediately both he AND his wife go crazy!  "Why didnt you tell me it was that much???!!! we can buy a new one for $300!!!!  This being the first time I have had such a violent reaction to my reasonable prices, I decide to try to make SOMETHING on this call, I said "give me $100 and let me get out of here".  He screamed I give you $5 ONLY!  I started removing the heater as he shouted at me to get out of his house as I know that I had better leave as now I am not an invited legal guest of his house and can be charged with trespassing  (I watch too much Judge Judy)  I left with the screws to the heater and the freezer wall and my heater.  WOW!  How about that show up 5 minutes after the phone call, with correct part for only $150??  Bastard.

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#2 appl.tech.29501

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 01:54 PM

I have been through the exact same thing. I learned after the first time when dealing with these particular people that I won't budge until they know upfront how much it will cost before I go to the house as well as I want to know how they will be paying. I also want at least 2 phone numbers....and hell no I ain't taking my shoes off b4 I come in your house.

Maybe Moostafa can shed some light on dealing with this particular nationality ?
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#3 mehoss

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 02:23 PM

I work off craigslist only, so many of my customers are paki, indian, bangi or nearby.  These folks are my bread and butter and I do show respect and try to follow their customs such as shoe removal where appropriate and safe.  A good majority of my customers are somewhat cordial and some very pleasant.  But I can spot the bad ones on the phone...the sad sad voice mumbling something about which parts they think are bad, but they dont know exactly which one...all before Make, Model, Issue etc.  Then so sad and scared...how much to just come and "look".....I tell them free to look, but please dont ask me to drive all the frig way there if you are not prepared to spend about $150.  If $80 is your limit, dont waste my time dude.  So I go, ...whole family stares at me to keep me honest and barrage me with questions to see if I slip up on which part and what is wrong.  Then I give the estimate and they take 20 minutes to decide if they want to fix or not and ask me how much a new one costs and want mental counseling for the $150 they are about to spend...so after much discussion...finally decide to have it fixed.  I complete the repair and now the money extraction process begins....I tell them that I am finished.  You would think that statement would begin a journey to the cash stash in the house...but no...I must also include "and that is $150"...a sad sad stare comes my way...cant cant cant you give me discount....frown sad faces all around....no I say, Sears charges $280 for this repair...I always say that....seems to work.  The slow slow trek to the payment begins...sometimes cash slowly obtained and then slower yet dispensed unto me...if it is a check, it is much worse...it begins with Sangee, where is the check book...I dont know...let me check my car...hmm...20 minutes later a check is slowly started and when just shy of a signature....they ask ..What is the warranty?  If something breaks I will call you...yes yes yes I say...a signature is affixed to the check and then slowly passes to my hand.  I walk to the door, they want the bad part...they say they want to put it on ebay to help pay for the repair......AAAAH!!!  I make a mental note to never return.  I pop open a beer back home on my deck. Life is good :)

#4 appl.tech.29501

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:51 PM

I have dealt with a small few and I mean small few that act appropriately and I don't have a problem at all. But that definitely isn't the majority. I had 2 straws that broke the camels back (ha ha no pun intended) in the same day. I think they may have been brothers and both owned hotels in town.....and the saga unfolds....

First guy wants 10 PTAC units removed and serviced so pretty much just cleaning, gave him a multi unit discount of $100 a pop (if no parts were needed). He agreed so I pull em out , take them to the shop, clean , test. Get back to the hotel and begin to reinstall. I get finished and go to the office to collect. Now jack hole has amnesia, he has no recollection of agreeing to pay such a charge and my services are only worth $150. I smile and tell him no sir that will be $1000.00. He immediately tells me to leave his hotel, I say sure no problemo. I walk out of the office get in my truck and back up the the first room, jerk the PTAC out the wall and throw it back in the truck. I got 3 in the truck before he realized what was going on then he freaked out yelling and screaming threatening to call the cops (which I encouraged). I told him no $ no unit. I finished getting all the units on the truck and headed back to the shop. He got there about the same time I did and made it to the owner yelling and screming at him (wrong move). I explained what had happend to the owner......to sum it up he paid $1000 and I dropped the units on the ground infront of his office for him to install and politely told him to never ever call us again.

Later that day......

Get a call for the other hotel simple leaking washing machine was what I was told. Get there and its an old belt driven Kenmore in an old maintenance shed about 110 degrees F that has a hole rusted through the outer tub that is too large to repair. So he shows be 2 other machines he has (2 more belt driven kenmores) that don't work and would like me to take 3 and make 1. So I evaluate them and say sure I can do that for $350 (knowing he would go for it) or $70 for the call and I'll be on my way. To my disbelief he told me to repair (dang I knew I should of said $450). So. After thinking about it I decided my path to least resistance would be to use some new parts on 1 of the machines.....it wouls save me time and him $ win win right?......wrong. he couldn't understand why I was putting new parts on instead of his old ones. I tried to explain the cost saving he would have from the reduced labor, but it was no use he didn't get it. By this time he was demanding me to leave I said sure after you pay me the service call and I get my new pump back. Ofcourse he said no so here I go taken the pump off and he came after me. He was actually gonna grab me from behind until I stood up real quick and showed him my ball pien hammer, he cussed me the rest of the time as I left his property. I didn't get the call but atleast got my pump back. Needless to say that day sucked.
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#5 Scottthewolf

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 06:41 PM

It's good to know everybody gets these customers, not just me.
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#6 harryf

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 03:31 AM

it sure is a different culture but one thing runs true with all of them; they don't want to pay..period. it's not even that, if you're willing, you can haggle on price or offer a discount. what's that about? they think we're fools?  i guess they just keep trading old stuff around untill it's landfill time..when i hear the accent-i blow them off. not worth the ag'rav.

#7 madbrad

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:18 AM

Speaking as a customer I wish to apologise for the bad ones and state that I always try to be the best customer you have seen that day. Most of the time it's warranty work but whenever a guy comes and say, changes an ignitor, then tells me that's a C note I happily pay, knowing I have been treated fairly and anyhow that doesn't seem excessive to me. I have had my share of stare downs with warranty companies and their reps and managers, retailers, parts suppliers etc but no person that ever came to the house to do the actual evaluation or work has ever so much as even acted condescending let alone give me any trouble. If there is a problem up the chain of command, and there always is, It has nothing to do with the tech and I don't take it out on him. I think sometimes people forget that separation. I tell the madrats to use their words only for building people up not cutting them down, and I don't want to be a hyppocrite.
I'm a tradesman in construction myself and I know what labour costs. Business owners with 10 machines are trying to keep costs down so they can buy that Jaguar and try to do that on the backs of everyone else, starting with the people they get help from, the people they need. If you weren't there they could not operate at all, yet they don't care about you at all and they know you'll lose money if you do what they want, they just don't care if your kids eat. 
If you have a customer from the far east, the labour there is like a 10th what it is here so you can see how they find our hourly rates outrageous. My wife deals with users in India over the web in her job and most of them are rude and act like the planet owes them whatever they want. Our domestic companies farm out manufacturing and telecentres there for a reason.
There's no problem too big to ignore if you put your mind to it.

#8 LLAMBERT

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 10:24 AM

We don't need to single out any one culture or ethnic group to vent our frustrations on. Truth be told people are pretty much the same the world over. Americans are capable of being as cheap, distrustfull, filthy, obnoxious, as any other cultural group. Search your feelings you know it to be true. <<< in Darth Vader voice. But thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to be working at a Service Contract company.
Why? I came into this game for the action, the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there's trouble, a man alone. Now they got the whole country sectioned off, you can't make a move without a form




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