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icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

What to charge customer for changing their mind?

..Now before you say "What?" let me explain.

Had a call about a computer that would stay on for 15-20 minutes then freeze. I travel 10 minutes to meet the customer and pickup the computer. I take it apart and determine the motherboard is bad and a replacement would cost $120 from china (HP pegatron board).

I then proceed to explain to them I can upgrade the computer with a new motherboard, ram, processor and power supply. The parts are $280 and the labor is $185. She agrees and says first of the month (November first) she will have the money.

So I have the computer apart (motherboard still in the case) and it sits on my desk since last month. Yesterday she calls and says she'll have my money today, $240. I said thats just parts, and I will have to make sure thats the price because I wasent at my computer during the day. Today she comes here and asks me if its $240 or more, I go look and its $280 for the parts. I proceed to tell her and she says thats too much she'll send it to Florida and get it fixed alot cheaper and it'll last alot longer. I offer to knock $30 off the labor and she refused. I said I'll have it assembled tommorow.

I already did a virus & spyware removal on the hard drive, obviously their not going to pay that. I plan to do a system restore to restore the virus's (if possible) and take my anti virus off the machine.

My question is, what should I charge for a diagnostic? I say "free estimate if I repair the machine, $25 if I don't." but obviously I done alot more and the customer screwed me over by changing their mind at the last second when I have everything took apart and ready to order new parts.

Comments?
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.



Johkal
Cool Cat
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-13
Happy Valley
kudos:9

You are only entitled to the declared $25.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

said by Johkal:

You are only entitled to the declared $25.

+1


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:5

+2



bionicRod
Funkier than a mohair disco ball.
Premium
join:2009-07-06
united state
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to icex

said by icex:

..She agrees and says first of the month (November first) she will have the money.

"I will have your money on such and such date" is usually a bad sign. I think I would have put her computer back together, charged her the $25 for the estimate, and said "Come back on November 1st".


icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to icex

You all are right, but I did do a spyware / virus removal like she requested after she said she would give me the money first of the month. She agreed to pay for this when we discussed ordering everything.
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.



bionicRod
Funkier than a mohair disco ball.
Premium
join:2009-07-06
united state
kudos:2

said by icex:

You all are right, but I did do a spyware / virus removal like she requested after she said she would give me the money first of the month. She agreed to pay for this when we discussed ordering everything.

What do you normally charge for that? Labor by the hour? Add that to the $25 and you're good!


icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA

$75 for virus removal.



bionicRod
Funkier than a mohair disco ball.
Premium
join:2009-07-06
united state
kudos:2

Man I'm in the wrong bidness



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA

Haha, why?


medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to icex

was there a written estimate that she signed?

out of curiosity, what software did you use for virus removal?



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA

I use an assortment of tools for removal of virus's and spyware.

There was no written estimate, it was verbal.



Johkal
Cool Cat
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-13
Happy Valley
kudos:9

1 recommendation

reply to icex

Verbal agreements are always dicey. That being said, the only leverage you have is to refuse to return the PC unless she pays you for the additional service. This sucks all the way around in the end. You just have to decide which is more important: the money with a possible bad review from her or cut your losses and suffer no negative review.



bionicRod
Funkier than a mohair disco ball.
Premium
join:2009-07-06
united state
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to icex

If you had a written list of prices and it clearly says $75 for virus removal, and she was aware of this list and approved the work, she wouldn't have cause not to pay you. If she either didn't know about the price or assumed the work was to be included in the $185 labor you originally quoted and she ultimately declined that labor...I don't know man. I feel for you but I could see her side too. You might try waiving the $25 estimate fee and go for just the $75. I think whatever you have documentation on is what it's going to have to be. Either way good luck to you.

EDIT: Why do I suddenly have The People's Court theme going through my head?



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to icex

said by icex:

I use an assortment of tools for removal of virus's and spyware.

There was no written estimate, it was verbal.

Always, always put everything in writing. hat was the lesson drummed into my head from the owner of a TV repair shop I used to work at.

Then both parties sign it in agreement. Then each get a copy.

They you'd be able to charge for what services were given.

Is it normal to charge for a diagnostic, if the customer agrees to the repairs?
Reason I ask is that at the TV repair shop we charged 25 bucks to take a TV/electronic consumer device's cover off and see what was going on. If the customer agreed to the price of the estimated cost repairs, then we'd wave the diagnostic fee. Also we'd give them the option of new or used parts. Both carried the same 90 warranty with us. Just that the used parts were typically lower in price/free. For example a new cap could cost a customer a couple of bucks, where as a recycled cap would be free. The TVs/devices where tested with a 24/48 hour burn before we released them back to the customer. Meaning we put them in a closet and let them run for that amount of time to see if there were any issues.
Also, when the customer signed the bill of repair, they were also agreeing that they ad 30 days to pay for the repairs. At the end of 30 days the device was our and we could sell it to recover the repair costs.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.

medbuyer

join:2003-11-20
kudos:4
reply to icex

said by icex:

I use an assortment of tools for removal of virus's and spyware.

There was no written estimate, it was verbal.

I would just put back all the parts back inside, remove anti virus software from hdd and put it back too. don't fuss over connecting wires, cables and all that.

tell her, since i took apart the machine to give you a parts estimate and I did a virus removal, here's your machine back with all the defective parts inside with cables not connected. tell her, since she backed out and presumed won't pay anything, I just put it back together but caution her that it won't run since nothing is connected inside, not even the power supply.

I may not even put back the parts inside. I'll just put them in a box and label whats defective.


thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2
reply to icex

Is this your day job or something you do on the side for cash only? If it is your day job then you should no better to never do any work without first having something in writing defining the terms of the service.



beck
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-29
On The Road
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Stablehost.com
reply to icex

Now you have learned. Always a travel charge and always a bench charge. Then at least you have something. So, you get $25 for it. Oh well.

You should have an agreement written for them to sign that they authorize you to do any work. You still get screwed sometimes, but not as many.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to icex

You should only get the $25.

I don't see anywhere in your post where she authorized the spyware/virus removal.



David
hours are m-th 1130-10p central
Premium,VIP
join:2002-05-30
Granite City, IL
kudos:98

1 recommendation

reply to icex

Who on earth is she sending to in Florida that can do it cheaper? I am guessing Florida has very cheap labor?



Crash Gordon
Drive It Like You Stole It

join:2004-06-08
Smyrna, GA
reply to icex

Have to agree with most others here. Get EVERYTHING in writing.

Based on the info in your first post, I think you're looking at just $25. Unless there was something else agreed upon, but if it was verbal only thats going to be hard to prove.

I've been building/fixing computers since the late 90's and still do it on the side. If you have Excel (or Open Office) do yourself a favor, make a Service Quote and/or Invoice for yourself and your services. It's easy and it should help keep something like this from happening again.

It sucks, but consider it a lesson learned. From now on, remember to always CYA.




CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to David

said by David:

Who on earth is she sending to in Florida that can do it cheaper? I am guessing Florida has very cheap labor?

Probably a family member who did not want to deal with the virus infection.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain

Liberty

join:2005-06-12
Tucson, AZ
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to icex

All lessons in life have a cost in either $$ or hard knocks - sometimes both

Sounds like you bought a lesson in the value of bid paperwork vs handshakes

I have paid the price for similar lessons, I consider them another tool in my business tool box


BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
Premium
join:2000-01-13
kudos:3
reply to icex

Every time you take work on or take possession of a machine give them a receipt, and it clearly states the terms on it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with it, don't make it in convoluted legal speak, but clear terms. Also don't do anything they didn't request without prior authorization, otherwise you can't bill for it, that's the way it goes.

They could go out, and buy a brand new computer for $400. You were going to charge them over $400 which is why I'm sure they didn't go through with it.
--
I distrust those people who know so well what god wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires- Susan B. Anthony
Yesterday we obeyed kings, and bent out necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to the truth- Kahlil G.



fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to icex

$185 labor is a lot. I charge $50 to $75 on top of parts cost when I build for people on the side. Takes 30 minutes to build it, and then I'm doing other stuff while I have the OS installing. Still a pretty decent rate for myself.

A person I know needs a server built for a web hosting business and wants to spend $20,000. I told him to buy something already pre-built since I didn't really want the job, but he insisted he could save a few thousand by having me build it. I quoted $1000 over parts, but that's only because I didn't want the job in the first place, and I knew he was already spending a lot of money, versus a regular home/small business user who is only spending $500 to $1500 on a computer.


billydunwood

join:2008-04-23
united state
kudos:2
reply to icex

I think $75 is fair.
#1 let me say yes, you should get everything in writing.
#2 Everybody here says it would be hard to prove to get more than $25 or hard to prove an amount. It isn't. You did a diagnosis. And, the computer sat on your desk for a month. Why would somebody leave a computer at a shop/repairman for a month if they weren't anticipating repairing it like she agreed to? Your story and the facts add up.
--
No Victim=No Crime



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to icex

Sorry for the late reply guys.

I do this trying to start it as an actual business, and havent had a problem until this woman. I obviously will start doing signed quotes, etc from now on.

She actualy authorized the spyware and virus removal, but I don't feel its worth arguing with her over, so I'm going to take the virus software off and restore it back to the way it came to me, infected.

We clearly discussed the parts + labor price on the phone last month and she said to use her old computer case and put the new parts in it, which was the plan. $185 for labor isent bad when you factor in removing the old motherboard, processor ram power supply and reinstalling it all, and on top of that, that includes the $75 virus removal.
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.



icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to David

said by David:

Who on earth is she sending to in Florida that can do it cheaper? I am guessing Florida has very cheap labor?

I'd like to know myself, she said she "thought" it was HP service center but ain't sure. Time she pays to have it shipped there, shipped back, diagnostics, etc, I don't see how its cheaper.

By the way, someone asked me if I wave the $25 diagnostics if I do the work. Yes! I do wave the $25 diagnostic fee if I do the work, and I clearly told her that on the phone (not in writing, my bad I know) and since she told me that she would have me put new parts in, I told her it was waived. However since she changed her mind I do beleive I am entitled to my $25 diagnostic fee.
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.


icex
Premium
join:2004-05-22
USA
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to BlitzenZeus

said by BlitzenZeus:

Every time you take work on or take possession of a machine give them a receipt, and it clearly states the terms on it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with it, don't make it in convoluted legal speak, but clear terms. Also don't do anything they didn't request without prior authorization, otherwise you can't bill for it, that's the way it goes.

They could go out, and buy a brand new computer for $400. You were going to charge them over $400 which is why I'm sure they didn't go through with it.

She insisted on having this one rebuilt. I told her I could build her a new pc for $500 that was alot better than this one and she refused.
--
The Gun News Blog, the latest information on the firearm industry.
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