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Need some professional opinions...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
here's a scenario:
i had a customer who previously had purchased a big lot by selecting, adding, then paying it out.
after he finished paying it out everything was smooth. shipment went out and he was pleased that he got what he wanted and could pay it out.

Then he started another stack, building it up to nearly $9,000 worth of stuff. I was fine holding it because he'd shown he would proactively pay it off and he was easy to work with. Well, after probably 7-8 months with no payment and very few replies to my emails (read: lots of ignoring my "hey, just checking in hoping to get payments started) requesting SOME KIND of payments to get started, When I finally had enough of being ignored and put off, I sent a cordial yet upset email saying i guess the lack of response meant he was hoping i'd just cancel the whole transaction, since he hadn't paid, he really was under no obligation to finish it, other than giving his word that he would. he said that he was basically offended that i'd come to that conclusion and said he no longer wanted the stuff. later he re-thought and knocked about 25% of the order off (i.e. i held on to stuff in good faith, only to have almost 3K removed), but said he was good for that. that was probably around feb/march of this year. i said OK, and he promised to start paying off separate chunks of this order. To date I have received nothing and am forced to retake all the pix I'd taken and now try to sell items that would have sold long ago. I just looked and the first requested items were done right around March 25 of 2005.

Opinions needed: am i out of line to request some kind of payment for holding this stuff (isaia, borrelli, incotex, mantellassi etc) that shows a commitment to finalizing this deal? factor in i did some bulk pricing discounts since this was such a large order. am i in the wrong?
post #2 of 18
I think you are fine in cancelling the order unless you get payment. You are under no obligation to hold $9k in merchandise for someone who's not paying.
post #3 of 18
While it was inconsiderate of him, he is under no legal obligation to honour your agreement. In the future I would advice you ask for a deposit to hold that many items so that you can recoup your opportunity cost of holding the items.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
thus my lay-a-way option that requires down payment. i was really seeking validation that i wasn't out of line to expect some kind of follow-up.
post #5 of 18
Sounds to me like you had a contract and that you have writings that can evidence the contract. You could probably sue him and recover the difference between the contract price and the resale price (which would basically take into consideration the additional costs you incur in taking photographs and listing the items, etc.). The only question really is whether your damages are enough so that a law suit is worth your while.

Even if you can't show a contract you could probably still recover in a court of equity for quasi-contract damages because he knew that you would rely on his promise to purchase and this reliance was detrimental to you. Again, the question is whether a lawsuit is worth it.

I don't know where people are getting the idea that he is not "legally obligated" to purchase the items from you.

DISCLAIMER: I am not giving legal advice.
post #6 of 18
You are under no obligation to him. And if he in fact he is showing such blatant disregard for you (after all, you've got to make a living), he may not be the kind of customer you want in any case. I would avoid all further hassles by requesting a deposit to hold items, and stipulating that the money is no-refundable after a certain period of time (say 30 days). This might be a good alternative to the layaway plan for preferred customers. And who is that in your avatar Lance?
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
i would never sue anybody, certainly for something like that. it's a life lesson: my trusting nature ended up biting me. where i come from, a handshake or an "i'll do it" is good enough for me. it was good enough for my dad as it is with me

the avatar, not sure. it took me awhile to find a good one that was small enough. i have a TON i've seen but aren't that small
post #8 of 18
Wait, are you asking whether you are out of line for requesting deposits in the future or are you asking whether you can demand payment from this guy for the money you lost by holding on to the items for him for so long without him ever paying for them and now cancelling the deal?
post #9 of 18
Business-wise, I'd chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.

Were his actions inconsiderate? Yes. Does what happened stink? Yes. Can you recoup money from this customer, now? Maybe, but probably not. And I wouldn't make the attempt. You did agree to hold the merchandise, after all.

I'd put in your new policy of hold with deposit and get going. You seem to feel that this stuff would have already moved, and can still move now. So move it. If this customer wants it, he can figure out how to pay for it. You've done your part and gone above and beyond.

I think you know that you're almost never going to win arguing with a customer, so just give a polite "no" and move on. Everything I've heard about you tells me that you're bigger than this gentlemen, don't stop now.

I also like the avatar.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
i was simply asking if i was out of line by requesting some kind of payments get started. after all, when i emailed and said i had the feeling he was just going to hope i gave up, he was very indignent, but i felt i was justified, but i still tried to be accomodating. thanks guys.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by discostu004
i was simply asking if i was out of line by requesting some kind of payments get started. after all, when i emailed and said i had the feeling he was just going to hope i gave up, he was very indignent, but i felt i was justified, but i still tried to be accomodating. thanks guys.

Oh okay. I don't think you were out of line at all. You're not going to just hold a bunch of merchandise for somebody with the hope that they might start paying for it some day. You held the stuff in good faith, for a reasonable time, and now that time is up. In fact, you were probably nicer than most people by giving the guy another chance. At that point, I would think that most people would have given up on this guy, given him a cancellation notice, and moved on.
post #12 of 18
Other companies have instituted restocking fees for this kind of thing. It might be the way to go for you regarding requiring a deposit, because a customer like this could just purchase the amount of goods that their deposit would cover, and you would be stuck with the remainder.
post #13 of 18
He sounds like a prick. Don't deal with people like that, plain and simple. Also, your avatar creeps me out because it looks like someone I know.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
your avatar creeps me out

huh, i didn't expect that
post #15 of 18
I think the avatar needs to be on "ye old babes thread"
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