Am I Absurd? (Non-Paying Client Feedback)

loon3y

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2011
1,223
123
There is a clothing manufacturer using our ERP software.

The owner knows my father the founder and got an extreme discounted monthly rate for the whole company ($100 for their whole company...). We particularly lose money and they take full advantage of it and I can't justify supporting their company without collecting those measly $100 dollars per month. As we have tons of other customers that need support that are paying on time and at the full rate.


My account department just told me they haven't paid for 2 Years (I thought there was some missing payments here and there I did not know they consistently didn't pay, this wasn't the first I had to talk to them about payment issues)

I am at my our overseas office which is in the same country as one of his vendors. We had trained the factory on 3 different occasions over 6 Hours to make labels for their sample clothing and they seem to be playing roulette with who gets the training. My staff told me they do not comprehend mapping database columns to the label textfields. (all 6 hours was billed, only 1 hour was payed for)

(The usual training for this is one time training for 1 Hour and to save $ and time for our clients we inform them that one staff should train the other employees)

I sent an email addressing the payment issues and training. The owner sends another email directed at my father. I send one back, apologizing that we can't afford the time to do this without addressing the balancing issues and whether their staff is capable. He called me absurd and told me to talk to my 'father' before I write these emails.


I've been doing this for over 10 years and this isn't the first time I had accounting issues with a client. I've never had someone approach me like this. For some reason its bothering me and causing me to have a heavy heart and I just want an outside opinion about my response.







Me

We need to take care of the standing balance you have with us.

Also we need to confirm what we are actually training your staff because we already spent 5 hours (which only 1 hour was paid for) which is unusual for bartender training.

I can’t have my staff repeatedly train on the same thing and without getting payment. This is taking our time from other projects and support issues.

I apologize but we have projects pending during my limited time here in Chennai that I intend to complete .

I can’t justify going there without coming to an agreement on your balance.

Please let the Factory know that time is billed and training needs to be taken in a serious manner. We have already created one label for you and submitted to your factory in addition to your training.




Owner

This is nonsense have you dad call me

I am in India now

I told him to go to the office in NY and speak to Ashok

Absurd way to deal with a customer I have known your dad

For 30 years is this the way you talk to your customers
 

Gutwrench

Contributor
Jan 2, 2011
4,059
9,253
Is your father still associated to the company?

I might explain to the customer it’s uncomfortable having to discuss account receivables but his discounted account has been in arrears for two years. And ask, what can I do to get it resolved?
 

Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
5,499
2,287
Shropshire, UK
My view would be a customer who costs you money isn't really a customer and certainly isn't worth going out of the way to help
It may be difficult but I'd be tempted to refuse to deal with them at all unless and until they start to behave like a customer and pay their bills
 

loon3y

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 21, 2011
1,223
123
Is your father still associated to the company?

I might explain to the customer it’s uncomfortable having to discuss account receivables but his discounted account has been in arrears for two years. And ask, what can I do to get it resolved?


sorry maybe there was a miscommunication.

This is my fathers company and the the owner is a client of ours.

The owner basically said they'll pay and come to their factory , but theres no weight to those words.


I'm going back home to the US this week so definitely I'm not going to their factory.


Our accounting team just put their company on hold (which is normal procedure for non paying customers). which means all support, projects, and services would be put on hold until they pay their agreed upon balance.

I mean this guy pays $$$$$ for 2 office in Manhattan and he can't pay $100 dollars monthly fees for our software? There is no ERP company that charges a whole company $100 dollars for their software.

What's concerning is they want to get into EDI with department stores and how can I provide that service if they're not even paying their heavily discounted monthly fees.

Sorry If I'm venting a bit, I'm literally Woosahing in the corner (Bad Boys 2 reference)
[doublepost=1554660697][/doublepost]
My view would be a customer who costs you money isn't really a customer and certainly isn't worth going out of the way to help
It may be difficult but I'd be tempted to refuse to deal with them at all unless and until they start to behave like a customer and pay their bills

Thank you Phil,

Was my response professional or acceptable? I just want to make sure so I improve on my replies for future accounting issues with a client. Because I know I will have more difficult customers in the future, its just part of the business.
[doublepost=1554660829][/doublepost]I usually don't get involved with accounting issues and let the accounting DEPT handle it

But this customer told our accounting department that they 'talked to my father and we dont have to pay' which is a lie. We would never support for free because how much time it consumes and the quality of employees we need to hire. So I had to get involved to see what was going on.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
46,563
31,274
The Far Horizon
sorry maybe there was a miscommunication.

This is my fathers company and the the owner is a client of ours.

The owner basically said they'll pay and come to their factory , but theres no weight to those words.


I'm going back home to the US this week so definitely I'm not going to their factory.


Our accounting team just put their company on hold (which is normal procedure for non paying customers). which means all support, projects, and services would be put on hold until they pay their agreed upon balance.

I mean this guy pays $$$$$ for 2 office in Manhattan and he can't pay $100 dollars monthly fees for our software? There is no ERP company that charges a whole company $100 dollars for their software.

What's concerning is they want to get into EDI with department stores and how can I provide that service if they're not even paying their heavily discounted monthly fees.

Sorry If I'm venting a bit, I'm literally Woosahing in the corner (Bad Boys 2 reference)
[doublepost=1554660697][/doublepost]


Thank you Phil,

Was my response professional or acceptable? I just want to make sure so I improve on my replies for future accounting issues with a client. Because I know I will have more difficult customers in the future, its just part of the business.
[doublepost=1554660829][/doublepost]I usually don't get involved with accounting issues and let the accounting DEPT handle it

But this customer told our accounting department that they 'talked to my father and we dont have to pay' which is a lie. We would never support for free because how much time it consumes and the quality of employees we need to hire. So I had to get involved to see what was going on.
For what it is worth, I imagine that you will have to show extraordinary flexibility, i.e. cut them slack, i.e. treat them somewhat differently, (and overlook their debts) as long as your father and the owner have a relationship that exists outside of their common work environment.

To be honest, I very much doubt ta you will get any satisfaction on this matter, even though you may well be in the right, strictly speaking, in business terms.

However, this relationship (between your father and the owner) transcends business terms, and you may well receive instructions to deal with it in a manner different to how you might be expected to deal with other defaulting clients.

It sounds like dad needs involved.
Exactly. I think so, too.
 

jeyf

macrumors 65816
Jan 20, 2009
1,226
548
-family issue; chat with your dad to have a common understanding.
-thank the gods there is only one of these 'special' clients.
-don't let this upset you.

Personally I don't conduct business with friends or family.
no exceptions.
 

mikzn

macrumors 68000
Sep 2, 2013
1,541
796
Vancouver
Our accounting team just put their company on hold (which is normal procedure for non paying customers). which means all support, projects, and services would be put on hold until they pay their agreed upon balance.
Long over due ( 2 years? - should be 60 days) - that said - does this customer bring other benefits that outweigh the $100 per month - maybe only your dad knows?
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
46,563
31,274
The Far Horizon
-family issue; chat with your dad to have a common understanding.
-thank the gods there is only one of these 'special' clients.
-don't let this upset you.

Personally I don't conduct business with friends or family.
no exceptions.
I agree wit the suggestion that one should not, in general, do business with friends of family, but, in this instance, I am not certain that this decision lies with the OP.

It seems to me that his father and the owner have chosen to conduct their affairs in this manner, and I doubt the OP is in a sufficiently senior position to have the authority to address this matter.

Let the pair sort this out between them; that, in turn, means that the OP will be obliged to adhere to whatever they decide to do.
 

ejb190

macrumors 65816
When my parents had an outdoor power equipment dealership, it was amazing how many times people weren't honest about how something broke. For instance, the guy who claimed the 1" hardened steel spindle shaft on his mower deck "just broke". Yah, looking at the blade we figured he hit a rock the size of Gibraltar. If he'd been honest, hey no big deal. We've all done stupid. But it becomes tiring and time consuming when you have to "CSI" every claim made by a customer to get to the bottom of it.

If this customer is willing to lie to the accounting department, what else are they willing to lie about?

My view point, by not paying the reduced rate, that contract is null and void. Time to renegotiate. In the last few years, have you raised your rates on your other customers? If you do this, you need to raise Problem Customer by the same percentage (or more). Make it painful enough and they'll quit you. Either way, be prepared for this guy to smear you and your company across the world and the internet. Trust me. He'll do it.
 

cobracnvt

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2017
276
115
I would suggest coming up with a report that shows their their historical cost to your company for their existing systems and projected cost for this customer's costs with their new implementation requests. This should also take into account the amount of time spent on the customer for implementation, support, training, upgrades etc. Then provide it to your Dad and let him make an official decision on how he wants to handle it. This could also be something to share with the customer to show the value they are getting for the $100 per month that you're requesting.