Dealing with a Cancelled Order

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Neibelungen
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Dealing with a Cancelled Order

Postby Neibelungen » Mon May 01, 2006 2:18 pm

I had an interesting situation come up over the weekend, regarding an order placed by a customer, who then wanted to cancell it. I thought it might be an interesting duscussion topic as it's probably something we all experience from time to time and deal with in many different ways.

(A bit of background: Please note, this has been resolved with the customer very easily and in no way reflects on him, and is being used just to illustrate a common situation))

A customer places and order for some Napoleonic leatherwork and adds some 18th C leatherwork to the order. Later on I get an e-mail cancelling the 18th century items but still wants the napoleonic. Not a problem, as i havn't started working on those yet, and no deposit taken, so it's easy to change and adjust my schedule.

Deliver the napoleonic items and get and e-mail asking to return napoleonic as not required anymore, refund postage costs and wants 18th century items instead (which I've made anyway for stock).

To me that's fair enough.. he's offered to cover my costs (the postage), wants other items of equal or greater value (which I hjad made up anyway) and the napoleonic ones will go into stock, so it's easily resolved all round and everybody comes out happy.

Now it does raise a few interesting issues though.. Legally I could oblige him to take the napoleonic order, as this wasn't cancelled. Could even stretch the issue over 18th C items, as I could have started them (eg. cut the leather), and although no deposit, could have retained the deposit probably and charged for time involved.

But the qwuestion would be, if the item was a special order or something made specifically to a certain size or material. I would think with costume it would be far more important, as much of this is bespoke or made to order.

It is a complex issue, and one we all experience, and is probably unavoidable as it will happen for many reasons. (material unavailable, customer looses job, time runs out etc) And it relates dirrectly to the Sale of Goods Act, so there are quite a few issues involved. That's why it made me think it might be a usefull discussion topic to cover.

( let me re-iterate though... no problem with the customer and easily solved in this case. I just used it as an illustration of an actual situation in real life)



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Shadowcat
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Postby Shadowcat » Mon May 01, 2006 2:53 pm

This is not a problem I have really encountered. I have done research, submitted quotes, and then either had the customer tell me they can't afford it, or more often, all just goes quiet, and I never hear from them again.

I always take a deposit to cover the costs of the material, which I virtually always obtain for the customer. That way, if they back out, I can either return the fabric, uncut and unmade up, or they allow me to keep a portion of the fabric to pay for my costs. This is always understood, but in fact has never been put into practice.

However, I recently heard of a customer paying a colleague via Paypal, changing her mind, getting the money back off Paypal, then my colleague losing the money back to Paypal. My colleague lost work from that deal as she had allowed time for the Paypal person, and refused other work in order to do it.

As I say, not a problem I have ever had.

S.



Scraggles

Postby Scraggles » Mon May 01, 2006 5:14 pm

heard a bit of news about paypal, seems it is resorting to debt collectors to get money when there is a dispute, eg when a customer claims the item has not arrived and the seller knows it has been sent by recorded delivery etc...

I have no problems with a non refundable deposit on items ordered, but if it is a stock item and you want to keep the customer to have them buy more stuff, then a chat and amicable end is usually better

Made to order is usually different, have had some clothes made to order by some trader called Phil Boon :?: I think, measurements were postal and the items whilst made very well, did not fit :( Got a reasonable refund bearing in mind the circumstances and since then would only have stuff made if measured in person, but have to admit that the quality of his work was excellent, I was just too big for it :(

Guess one way would be to have some sort of written terms and conditions for refunds for a number of reasons, as long as it is all upfront...



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Drachelis
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Postby Drachelis » Mon May 01, 2006 11:20 pm

Been stung a couple of times - so now - unless they are repeat customers I ask for all the money up front . Customers seem to be happy about it. - They also know when the deliver deadline is and I tell them that any alterations or revisions of the order needs to be made a onth before. If I get a cancellation then I return the money - I I haven't made up the fabric and therefore it can be used for stock 0r anther customer. If they want to return the completed garment - I can put into stock vand I will return the money.

The problem I have is when garment is completed and then I am asked to alter it - not just sizing but stylistically - inset sleeves with buttons when it had been a sleeve cut with body.
and...... after I have done the alterations they come back saying that it still isn't what they had decided on even wehen I have the order specifications and the alteration specifications.

Or.... when they ask me to research a specific garment which I do and make to that research ( because they trust my research like!!) and then say "Its not. like so and so's "

So I am now doing copious sketches of what they have asked for and getting them to sign the sketches to say that is what they require in addition to sending swatches etc.


Doesn't happen often but when it does - it raqnkles just a bit - especially if I have dropped everything to alter the garment and have it back to them before an event.



Cheryl
shadowlight Designs .



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Tuppence
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Postby Tuppence » Tue May 02, 2006 12:07 pm

If an order is cancelled through no fault of mine, I retain the 30% (or so) deposit, or occasionally the cloth if that's been supplied in lieu of cash deposit, (it's in my terms that it's non-refundable).

On the very rare occasions that I don't take a deposit, I charge a sum equal to a third of the order value, if I've started work.

If some one changes their mind on the design, I'm happy to accommodate them, provided I haven't gone beyond the point where that's possible (ie cut / made up).

Once an order is completed and I have notified the customer, then I don't allow cancellations.

I also no longer send anything until the item has been paid for, including the p&p, where relevant (ended up eating beans on toast too many times because of people failing to pay on time).

If the customer hasn't paid within a certain length of time, I notify them that I'm adding the item to stock, and it'll be available for sale at my next trading event, and the deposit will be forfeit. (Ususally people pay up after that, but occasionally not.)

As to the alteration of stuff after delivery...

If some thing doesn't fit and it's my fault, (rare, but doing things long distance and without fitting it sometimes happens), then I either alter or replace the item at no charge, and if extra postage is necessary, I pay.

If something custom made doesn't fit, and it's not my fault (usually because a customer has done the measuring and got it wrong, or because they've changed size / shape without telling me), I don't accept the return of the garment, and whether I alter it for free depends on what the problem is and how long it will take to fix.

If someone wants me to change the design of a garment after it is made, and I have met the original spec., then I charge by the hour for the work. I fit it in when I can, as soon as I can, but it may take some time.

I always present my research at the time of ordering, so that it is agreed.

If I got a response like:
"Its not. like so and so's "

I'd simply point out that 'so and so's' clearly wasn't based on the same evidence, and charge for any required alterations as above.

Very occasionally, I get a demanding customer, or one who otherwise annoys me beyond the point of no return, (and it takes an awful lot to push me this far - it's only happened two or three times). In those cases, I cancel the order and return the deposit.

I must admit, I tend to be a lot more flexible with things I can put into my limited stock, that I know will sell sooner or later (like jacks, for example), than with things that are absolute one offs that I won't ever recoup the costs of (eg custom corsetry).

Debbie

PS - I do have written terms and conditions, to pretect me as well as my customers - once they're written, you have to abide by them!!


"What a lovely hat! But may I make one teensy suggestion? If it blows off, don't chase it."
Miss Piggy
RIP Edward the avatar cat.

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Tuppence
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Postby Tuppence » Tue May 02, 2006 12:10 pm

If an order is cancelled through no fault of mine, I retain the 30% (or so) deposit, or occasionally the cloth if that's been supplied in lieu of cash deposit, (it's in my terms that it's non-refundable).

On the very rare occasions that I don't take a deposit, I charge a sum equal to a third of the order value, if I've started work.

If some one changes their mind on the design, I'm happy to accommodate them, provided I haven't gone beyond the point where that's possible (ie cut / made up).

Once an order is completed and I have notified the customer, then I don't allow cancellations.

I also no longer send anything until the item has been paid for, including the p&p, where relevant (ended up eating beans on toast too many times because of people failing to pay on time).

If the customer hasn't paid within a certain length of time, I notify them that I'm adding the item to stock, and it'll be available for sale at my next trading event, and the deposit will be forfeit. (Ususally people pay up after that, but occasionally not.)

As to the alteration of stuff after delivery...

If some thing doesn't fit and it's my fault, (rare, but doing things long distance and without fitting it sometimes happens), then I either alter or replace the item at no charge, and if extra postage is necessary, I pay.

If something custom made doesn't fit, and it's not my fault (usually because a customer has done the measuring and got it wrong, or because they've changed size / shape without telling me), I don't accept the return of the garment, and whether I alter it for free depends on what the problem is and how long it will take to fix.

If someone wants me to change the design of a garment after it is made, and I have met the original spec., then I charge by the hour for the work. I fit it in when I can, as soon as I can, but it may take some time.

I always present my research at the time of ordering, so that it is agreed.

If I got a response like:
"Its not. like so and so's "

I'd simply point out that 'so and so's' clearly wasn't based on the same evidence, and charge for any required alterations as above.

Very occasionally, I get a demanding customer, or one who otherwise annoys me beyond the point of no return, (and it takes an awful lot to push me this far - it's only happened two or three times). In those cases, I cancel the order and return the deposit.

I must admit, I tend to be a lot more flexible with things I can put into my limited stock, that I know will sell sooner or later (like jacks, for example), than with things that are absolute one offs that I won't ever recoup the costs of (eg custom corsetry).

Debbie

PS - I do have written terms and conditions, to pretect me as well as my customers - once they're written, you have to abide by them!!


"What a lovely hat! But may I make one teensy suggestion? If it blows off, don't chase it."

Miss Piggy

RIP Edward the avatar cat.

frances
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Postby frances » Tue May 02, 2006 9:46 pm

Yes, I do the 50% up front too. Also I have devised a tick-box system with fabric samples and designs. Once a box is ticked that is the design. It can happen that people have an idea in their heads which does not match what you are talking about, or because I have done the research I know more about it than the client. So they have to tick the boxes which forces them to think about the details, and to participate in the design process. After all most people have never before had the opportunity to order something bespoke so have no experience in how to order. They have no idea what is involved, all the detailed decisions that are necessary. When we go into a shop to buy a modern dress we have to take what there is, or go without. Whereas ordering is a completely different ball-game.

I have never had any trouble when the item is delivered. I get the money before delivery too, but do offer a three-month post-delivery service if a button falls off, or a seam comes undone etc etc. Stuff like that I do for free, preferably on the clients premises so they can see what is involved and the item does not leave them, so no delay, loss in the post etc.




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