Home > Customer Service > When the client is wrong, and is being difficult

When the client is wrong, and is being difficult

Aloha Friends,

I have a client who purchased some art from us 6 weeks ago. She purchased an Artist's Proof (A/P) Edition (an edition that typically appreciates more). Our A/P edition comes with five one point diamonds, that are scattered randomly throughout the piece. The pieces are numbered on the bottom left corner in the art. The client claims that there are no diamonds and no number. The problem with this, is that the artwork goes through five sets of eyes before it ships - The printer who numbers it, the person at the frame shop who checks the art by the number, the framer, the quality control person who checks the corners for legibilty and diamonds (if nessecary), and finally the shipping dept, who puts the edition number on the invoice for our records. We have this system in place to avoid such mis-haps of what the client claims.

The framer is telling us that we have to call the client to tell her she is most likely wrong. They will not call the client to arrange shipping until we have researched it more. The client is pretty upset already, and has said she and her husband have looked over the art, and they both concur. On top of that, the cleint threw the box away for the art, which costs about $100. If we send out an ROA to get the art and it is perfect, the framer will demand compensation for the shipping and the box, which will either be payed by my company or the client. Bad for both. There is a small chance that the client is right, but it is highly unlikely.

Is there any good way to handle a situation like this? How do I say, "You might be wrong, or please check again", without damaging our relationship? This has to be done over the phone, since the client lives on the east coast.

Any thoughts on how I can resolve this problem, and keep the relationship intact? Any help would be appreciated.

-Jon - by Jon on Maui
Hmmm... is there a local art dealer in the clients area that would look at the piece for you if the client brought it in? - by Calvin
Hmmm... is there a local art dealer in the clients area that would look at the piece for you if the client brought it in?
No there are not. They are in LA, and the closest thing we hae to a dealer is a franchised shop in Miami. - by Jon on Maui
No there are not. They are in LA, and the closest thing we hae to a dealer is a franchised shop in Miami.
I would be surprised if you couldn't find an art dealer in L.A. who would take a look as a professional courtesy. - by Jolly Roger
If the customer is as I imagine a one time, infrequent buyer, I would be pretty firm with him. State your case as you explained, about having a number of people check this prior to packing. Give him the option to send back the item for inspection/refund at his cost using a packer that you appoint from his area. Promise a full refund including cost of send back if his claim is found true. Give him the option to have his initial purchase price refunded minus cost once the item is returned in good order even if it is found that the diamonds did exist. I hope I have understood the situation and the this helps. - by alexhar
If you know you are right. Let it be known and stick to your guns, also consider the customers feelings and acknowledge their frustrations.

All the best. - by Snowboy
Just because it is unlikely it is not possible. (the pill is 99% effective. Which means it is 1% completely ineffective) Put yourself in the your customers shoes. I would tell your customer that they need to purchase a shipping carton and pay the shipping back to you. If you in fact find out that the customer is correct then you will refund them the shipping charges. And pass this mistake off into your 5 other departments that messed this up. If your customer is wrong. You can take back the art work not pay for shipping or the carton and since the art appreciates sell it for a higher price. If you give a little I don't see why they won't do the same. - by Jorel
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.