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Old 01-27-2020, 12:51 PM
 
7,753 posts, read 4,306,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wharton View Post
I just ran into a bizarre situation that mimics the OP's frustration. We spend our winters in a Fl. RV park that has the potential to be severely impacted by a county regulation that has been ignored by a "gentlemen's agreement", thus far. If the county enforces the rule, it will evict roughly four dozen residents/couples and their RVs. When discussing this, some of the younger, more proactive residents discovered that quite a few elderly folks, who could become victims of this bureaucratic mess, have developed a common delusion. They have determined that they are magically exempt from any enforcement, since they are "seniors" and somehow exempt from the rules.

The entire thought process, and entitlement delusion syndrome, in this case is jaw dropping. They watch neighbors being forced to demolish non-conforming structures, understand that they cannot legally live full time where they currently do, and are doing so at the good graces of a forgiving county government, yet somehow determine that they are "special" and reality doesn't apply to them. It's stunning.
What could apply is a rule that allows them to be grandfathered in. If they were allowed to live there for X number of years, and they relied on that representation that they would be allowed to remain there, the govt may grandfather them in (as if the rule did not exist when those people moved in), or exempt them, since they relied in good faith on the representation that they could stay, if they abided by the other rules.

I think it might be the case that the govt will allow the seniors to stay, since they did rely on the govt letting them move in and stay for years. Some on fixed income wouldn't be able to move, after budgeting for their current living situation. It'd be an exemption of sorts.

The exemption would apply to all those who had been allowed to stay as if that rule didn't exist. Not just seniors. The fact that they're seniors isn't really relevant, I think, except for those who live on a small fixed income.

It's similar to an apt complex changing to a "no kids" policy (or enforcing that policy, after not enforcing it for years). Apts typically don't evict everyone with kids. They just stop accepting families w/kids going forward. The ones w/kids drop in number over time. And as fewer kids exist in the complex, some families w/kids to move to more kid-appropriate apartments. Others will move for other reasons.

Besides being the kind thing to do, I think the courts would probably back up giving them an exemption. A rule that exists but is never enforced, and others rely on that representation...isn't really a rule at all, legally.
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Old 01-27-2020, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
26,150 posts, read 19,395,132 times
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The truth is that the majority of us only have "so much to go around."

I will help someone if I'm able to and choose to do so, but I can't cut my own lifestyle to the bone to help.
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Old 01-28-2020, 05:23 AM
 
7,602 posts, read 4,517,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nik4me View Post
You seem to really care about your customers...
Can you install an equipment with some sort of financial plan?
Get her credit report to see if she is a good risk?
How much money are we talking about - hundreds or thousands?
You could explain to the daughter that you must put a Lien on the house- until paid in full.

The other alternative: just stop going there and stop taking her calls?
You have to run your business...Let daughter deal with it.
We help out lots. One guy had no money when he called and he was honest from the beginning. His well tank exploded causing major damage causing thousands. He has been paying his balance down.

We normally install softeners for $2200. I offered to install one at $1800, or refurbish the existing for $1200. We can’t do liens one this state on houses. The value of the invoice has to be 30% more than the value of the house. Ours are never that high.
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Old 01-28-2020, 05:28 AM
 
7,602 posts, read 4,517,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasRedneck View Post
That's kinda funny - I have Fleck 5600's out there that are 40+ years old, and we're able to maintain them to this day. Most of the other ones, not so much. When I first got into this industry, the Sta-Rite residential valve was pretty much "industry standard". Then I started seeing the eroded brass internals, and knew something had to change. Actually ran into one last year - the internal brass was so badly eroded/corroded that it had pinholes. Customer wanted me to "fix" it somehow with epoxy or by brazing it. Got upset when I explained to him that doing so would likely just weaken some other area. It was installed in 1976 - and he tried demanding a discount off the new one because the one I sold him "was junk". I picked up my tools and left - and have since blocked his number. Funny thing was - up until that point, I had already discounted the unit $400 because he was an old customer. People can be funny sometimes.
Texas water and north east water is not the same. In this case, she has high iron, hard, acidic water with a touch of road salt contamination. The piston, seals and lines are disintegrating.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:10 AM
 
7,602 posts, read 4,517,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobspez View Post
Some people just like to haggle. Some people can't afford to have things fixed. She continues to call this business because she most likely hasn't gotten any better solutions offered to her. She is desperate. The business can charge for service calls so they are making money even if nothing gets fixed. The customer can complain if they want to. It doesn't change anything. It's up to the business owner to resolve any disputes, not the OP.
Sometimes vendors who have a great relationship with a customer just ghost the customer for no reason. It's happened to us a few times. They just don't want our continued business. We have never had a hard time finding someone else who does. Just had a 13 year old gas furnace replaced. It's needed repairs every winter for several years now. Had it done in one day for $3300. If we didn't have the money we'd be using electric space heaters. There comes a time when repairs are no longer worth the money and the inconvenience. If you have the money it's a no brainer. If you don't you're up the creek.
Unfortunately angry customers falls under my job description.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:51 AM
 
7,602 posts, read 4,517,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wharton View Post
I had a fascinating discussion with an appliance repair company owner on this topic. He was at one of the appliance company's North American headquarters, attending classes, and vented the same frustration to upper management The company rep. explained that he is misunderstanding the market and the goal of a successful manufacturer. Most appliances are no longer designed to last a lifetime, since that is not what the customer wants, and the customer will not pay for it, period.

In 1965 a fridge was $500, and could provide thirty years of service. A similar fridge today is $8-900 and designed for an 8-10 year service life, according to my repair guy. The issue is that the $500 that you spent in 1965 is now inflation adjusted to $4026. Bottom line is that consumers have exponentially more options available today, and are not spending $4K for a basic fridge, even if it could potentially last thirty years. The market decides what they value, and consumers are not willing to spend 5X as much for appliances and electronics as they currently do, to end up with products that are as durable as "back in the day". It simply is not something they value.
I can certainly see this. I bought a kitchen aid dishwasher in 2010 and paid I think around $800. Ironically I just bought a Kitchen Aid dishwasher right before Christmas with lots more features for $899... I was a little surprised that the price had not increased drastically.
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:30 AM
 
4,663 posts, read 3,135,183 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowonLuck View Post
We help out lots. One guy had no money when he called and he was honest from the beginning. His well tank exploded causing major damage causing thousands. He has been paying his balance down.

We normally install softeners for $2200. I offered to install one at $1800, or refurbish the existing for $1200. We can’t do liens one this state on houses. The value of the invoice has to be 30% more than the value of the house. Ours are never that high.
I know you said the owner wants you to keep helping her, is he to the point where he wants to give her a bigger discount? I'd find out.

If not, next time she calls I'd repeat the offers above and then say it's the best you can do, but then give her the numbers of a couple of your competitors and tell her they may have a better deal.
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:58 AM
 
Location: New Braunfels, TX
6,472 posts, read 9,416,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowonLuck View Post
Texas water and north east water is not the same. In this case, she has high iron, hard, acidic water with a touch of road salt contamination. The piston, seals and lines are disintegrating.
Oh, I have NO doubt! Although you might be surprised at some of the stuff we run into here. I've got some areas w/120 gpg, 2 mg/l Fe & a pH of 6.5. Thankfully, 95% of my customers are just hard w/a trace of iron - 15-30 gpg & maybe .1 mg/l Fe (tops). Then you add in bioburden.....and sulphur. I've told some customers they'd be better off looking for sweeter water (in some instances, there's several aquifers, depending on the depth), or connecting to a local water purveyor.

Either way, sounds to me like you've bent over backwards trying to be fair - like you said, you're not a charity. Some folks just won't accept that you're trying to be fair - when that happens, best thing you can do is send them down the road.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-28-2020, 08:06 AM
 
Location: WY
5,462 posts, read 3,928,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowonLuck View Post
I have a customer with a really old piece of equipment. The last 5 visits the technicians have recommended replacement. She refuses to do that. I have done a few free visits but we have reached the point that I have to bill her a service call for all calls we run now. It’s hard to help someone that won’t take the steps to help themselves.

The lady called to comply that we charged her. I explained that we can’t keep coming out for free. I have to cover labor, truck, materials etc. She thought I was being unreasonable. I gave her rock bottom price to refurbish existing, replace or remove it. She wants to do nothing that costs money.,She threatens to give bad reviews. Fine, without working for free, I can’t help her.

Well then the daughter called back. I explained it all to her. Daughter argues that it’s our equipment and I explained her parents bought the equipment 25 years ago. We just installed it but they definitely own it. Throughout the entire conversation she just kept repeating that her mother is 82 years old... finally I said I am not sure what her age has to do with this 25 year old piece of no longer functional. She is a ****ty tone said, “mam, she has a limited income”.

I have a limited income as well. Don’t we all have a limited x amount of money to work with? I know no one that has a endless supply of money growing on a tree they can pluck off whenever.

What is this mentality that just because you made it to 82, that nothing should cost money?
I own a small business and can really appreciate your situation. You're not one of those nameless, faceless, overpaid CEOs from Big Business (capital B capital B). You're just trying to make a living and feed your family.

I've seen a lot since staring this business. Rich people who tried to negotiate on a price of an item in the store right after showing off their new truck (that they just paid cash for). People who lie for no good reason when the truth would serve them better. Someone who bragged about getting a Discovery Channel contract for a show before trying to negotiate on an item low enough in price that I wondered "why would they even bother?" A well paid county lawyer who tried to negotiate lower prices a couple of times. I usually end up pointing to a sign right below the counter that says we don't negotiate on prices. If we could do better on the price we would have done it the first time. In so many words of course

I've done tons and tons of business with good, decent, friendly, honest, reasonable customers who understand that if I don't act from a strong financial position then I may not be open this time next year. But I've had cheap ass people walk in who I knew could afford, and yet they tried to negotiate anyway. And I've had a good number of hard working people who are truly struggling, and who I bend over backwards to help as much as I can. I'm not one of the Big Business CEOs either. Just trying to make a living. I'm not rich so I can't do big things. But I'm doing OK and can do small things. And I do them as often as I reasonably can without compromising on the financial security of my business or my family.

Re: "what is the mentality that an 82 woman thinks she doesn't have to pay for anything?" Who cares? If the lady is 82 years old then her daughter is likely in her 50s. Her mothers financial situation is not your responsibility - it is the responsibility of her family. You're busy enough as it is. So don't mentally or financially take on this old woman and her daughter. You've gone above and beyond with the old woman and I give you huge amounts of credit. But (as someone else wrote) sometimes you have to fire your customer. You owe it to be a good business citizen in your community. But you also owe yourself to be a good steward of your resources as a business owner.

You may get a bad review if/when you fire your customer. But if you otherwise provide good quality at a good price, and conduct your business with integrity, you'll survive.

One last thought that I learned long before starting a business - you can't reason with unreasonable people.
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Old 01-28-2020, 08:43 AM
 
4,011 posts, read 1,125,757 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juneaubound View Post
I've done tons and tons of business with good, decent, friendly, honest, reasonable customers who understand that if I don't act from a strong financial position then I may not be open this time next year.
I really wish the above was taught as part of a basic financial acumen class in high school. Earning a profit is neither a sin nor a crime against humanity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by juneaubound View Post
Her mothers financial situation is not your responsibility - it is the responsibility of her family.
I also wish the above was drilled into kids during the entire K-12 curriculum. Sadly, it seems familial responsibility is ignored and state responsibility is emphasized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by juneaubound View Post
One last thought that I learned long before starting a business - you can't reason with unreasonable people.
Amen.
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