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Problem with customer

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Hi we have a very new small business, just me and my husband, making mud kitchens. we've only been doing this for 3 months. A customer ordered a kitchen which he wanted us to send by courier. This was made and picked up by the courier on time. The couriers lorry broke down so the kitchen arrived the day after the specified day. The customer is now demanding we refund him the full delivery charge. I've told him I have contacted the courier to find out their policy on this. Any advice would be gratefully received.
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  • Mistral001Mistral001 Forumite
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    The customer has a contract with you, so it is up to you to decide whether you give them a refund or not.  You could decide to give them a refund and then try to recope the money from the courier, but whether you can get damages from the courier or not is irrelevant as far as your contract with the customer is concerned.
  • PennywisePennywise Forumite
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    Two different issues, not dependent on eachother.
    You had a contract with the customer.
    You had a separate contract with the courier.
    You broke your contract with the customer as it wasn't delivered on time.  Compensation may be appropriate.
    Your courier broke their contract with you.  Compensation may be appropriate.
    One doesn't depend on the other.
  • martindowmartindow Forumite
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    What loss has the customer actually suffered beyond some annoyance?  It arrived one day late, but it has still been delivered.  If this customer decided to open a case, the court would expect him to quantify any losses he has suffered.  Did the kitchen being delivered a day later than expected actually cost him anything?
  • Meggsy6Meggsy6 Forumite
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    martindow said:
    What loss has the customer actually suffered beyond some annoyance?  It arrived one day late, but it has still been delivered.  If this customer decided to open a case, the court would expect him to quantify any losses he has suffered.  Did the kitchen being delivered a day later than expected actually cost him anything?
    The courier has a statement on their page stating that they cannot 100% guarantee delivery on the day given, so no chance of claiming from them. The customer hasn't said that it has cost him anything, just that he is extremely annoyed at the delay. He wanted it for his daughters birthday and it arrived on her birthday. He is constantly messaging me. Can he actually claim against me for being annoyed?!
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    you're a new small business. Is this a line of work where you might expect to get repeat business? Is this a line of work where personal recommendation would be a primary way of getting your name out there? If yes to either of those, I'd refund the delivery charge as requested, apologise profusely and say that you will take steps to ensure that delivery is timely in future. 

    If no, you'll be able to cope with the negative reviews of at least that aspect of your business which will dog you for the next few months, or longer. 

    You might then discuss it with the courier and get them to refund partially, who knows, you might get lucky. 

    And then, update your terms and conditions and get them checked by a solicitor! State that delivery cannot be guaranteed on a particular day, recommend that delivery is requested for at least one day before the kitchen is required, and look for another courier if this happens again. 

    What do you currently state about delivery? Did the customer pay extra for delivery on a particular day? You can understand their irritation if they did not get a service for which they'd paid extra. 
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • edited 9 July at 7:36PM
    Mistral001Mistral001 Forumite
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    edited 9 July at 7:36PM
    I would write to the customer and tell him that you take sole responsibility for agreeing to a delivery date that was not met and that you are sorry that you might have given the impression that it was the courier's responibility.  I would send a cheque for cost of the delivery plus a gift card from a toy shop.  No more discussion or explanation is needed.  You will have a happy customer (relatively) and the matter will be over.   Move on and treat it as a learning experience.  Nobody comes into business knowing everything.
  • FireflyawayFireflyaway Forumite
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    I'd refund the customer the delivery charge and then try to get your money back from the courier. As a new business you need to build a good reputation and if you have a happy customer they are likely to spread the word. These days, one unhappy experience can reach thousands on social media and cost you a lot of potential business. Losing a few pounds in delivery is better than losing a bunch of potential orders. 
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I'd refund the customer the delivery charge and then try to get your money back from the courier. As a new business you need to build a good reputation and if you have a happy customer they are likely to spread the word. These days, one unhappy experience can reach thousands on social media and cost you a lot of potential business. Losing a few pounds in delivery is better than losing a bunch of potential orders. 
    I agree with most of that, but before getting into too much of a dispute with the courier company, I'd consider whether there were many or few alternatives. 

    I know next to nothing about mud kitchens, but I'm guessing you can't send them via Royal Mail, nor toss them in the back of a van with multiple parcels from generic online suppliers. If, as I suspect, there are a limited number of couriers who could be asked to undertake this work, I'd want to stay on good terms with my courier company. One day, you may want them to regard you as a good customer, for whom they are willing to go 'over and above', rather than 'that moaning Minnie who's always complaining'. 

    I have several suppliers with whom I am on first name terms at work, and that's my aim, at any rate. Even though I am sometimes being 'that Moaning Minnie'.  ;)
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • J_BJ_B Forumite
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    What's a 'mud kitchen'?
  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    I would write to the customer and tell him that you take sole responsibility for agreeing to a delivery date that was not met and that you are sorry that you might have given the impression that it was the courier's responibility.  I would send a cheque for cost of the delivery plus a gift card from a toy shop.  No more discussion or explanation is needed.  You will have a happy customer (relatively) and the matter will be over.   Move on and treat it as a learning experience.  Nobody comes into business knowing everything.
    Send a cheque??  People still do that?
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