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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Around the Block - USA
    Posts
    102

    What would you do?

    I'm curious, what some of you would you do in the following situation:

    Client signs up for service 5 months ago.
    From the beginning client keeps stating it's a "gamble" to use our service. Because of this we try to go over and beyond our level of service.

    Within 3 days of signing up client discovers he needed a different plan, after providing him options. During this 3 days it was mentioned more than once by client how he has been screwed over by just about every provider he has used (red flag?)

    One month later client decides he can't afford the plan he is on, along with other "suspect" reasons. After a discussion, we decide to cut clients bill in half and offer custom services limited to his new requirements. His lower price meant some services would not be provided and everyone agreed.

    2 1/2 months after initial signup we receive a request from client (or more like a demand) for us to either cut his cost in half again or he will cancel. After quite a bit back and forth and explaining the price could not be cut any further, client let ticket auto-close and he continued on the existing discounted custom plan.

    From 2 1/2 month to about the 4th month from signup client asked us a couple times to do work not covered under his new limited custom plan. After explaining these services were not covered, ticket was closed and left as-is.

    Then 5 days into the 5th billing period, client again asks us to perform work not covered. We again explain this, but this time client wants to argue that he should be on the original plan but at the much lower price.

    After explaining everything once again, client then wants to argue, and ultimately threatens to leave negative reviews on multiple forums if we do not refund his money for the current month. His reasoning why we should refund him is due to "all the issues" he has had with us, and the lousy service he has received (I don't know why someone would stick around 5 months if they received lousy service)... yet we do not see "all these issues" and he does not provide any proof. Now granted there were some minor issues in the beginning, most having to do with bounceback emails on his end, but nothing close to what he claims now, with the exception of his requests for services that weren't even covered by his new plan... but then these aren't really issues because they're not covered.

    So, what would you do...cancel clients account and refund any unused portion?
    Or go by the terms that specifically states there are no refunds, let alone partial refunds?



    NOTE: This is a first for us, as we usually don't have these issues, as most clients are reasonable. We already made a decision, but I am curious what others would do.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida, U.S
    Posts
    1,686
    So you don't offer refunds at all? I think the best thing you can do is let the client go and refund any unused portion of the service (partial/pro-rated refund).
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  3. #3
    find out the reasons why he wantsa refund and investigate them

    i suspect he has done this on multiple hosts before

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,548
    Some clients simply want everything for nothing. If it's not worth the headache, kindly show him the door. If it is in your policy, provide him a prorated refund for any unused service time. Otherwise, I would let someone else deal with him.

    It sounds like you have gone above and beyond to accommodate him and his needs, which is more than some would do.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Chennai
    Posts
    623
    First of all, Welcome to the club, my friend!

    There are many customers out there who follow the typical story that you have posted (or a minor variation of it).

    There is nothing that we can do to please them, so I suggest you to give him a prorated refund and forget the whole episode as a bad dream.

    From next time, if someone starts complaining with you during the first few days of accepting your service, ask him gently to leave if he is not up to it.

    Tell him clearly that the cost will not work out if he asks for discount. After all, we are also running a business and not charity service. What I mean to say is, we are not going to offer bad service for lot of money, are we? I think most of the companies are priced reasonably.
    "You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period." - Pursuit of Happyness

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,148
    Clients like the one you described are nearly always more trouble than they are worth. When we have run into customers like this over the years, we always cut them loose.

    Most Terms of Service documents have provisions for closing an account without refund if the customer violated the Terms of Service, and an option to close the account with refund if the host simply does not want to do business with the customer.

    In this case, use the close account with refund option to get rid of that customer. If your Terms of Service does not have such a provision, you should add it right away. You will run into a few customers who act like this, and it is nice to have an option to refund the money and close the account.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    490
    Bending over backwards for customers who seem to be unhappy from the get-go has always ended badly for us too. If you slash prices by too much you show them that you don't value your own time, and they won't either. Never make deals with decreased service as a way to decrease price. A year later the customer will always try to ask for it anyways, and it comes across as bad service if you do not comply.

    The thing we found is that when you do make concessions for a client at the start, they ultimately end up asking for the world later and if you do not comply, they end up a lot angrier than if you had just let them go to begin with. Best for everyones stress level to keep expectations reasonable from the start.

    I would refund the customer (anything portion unused or the entire last month) and move on with your day, and take it as a cheap lesson. You did not sink any money (provisioning new or special hardware) into them, so it's really unlikely to be worth the hassle of trying to regain anything other than a pleasant customer base.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Around the Block - USA
    Posts
    102
    Thanks for all the great feedback!
    Everyone seems to be in the same ballpark as us.


    Quote Originally Posted by HostLeet View Post
    So you don't offer refunds at all? (partial/pro-rated refund).
    Depends on the circumstances and product/service but we always try to work with clients within reason. Usually if it is a soft cost to us we work with client. If it is a hard cost then usually there is no refund. I think that's the "norm" isn't it?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    71
    I would terminate his account and issue a refund.. You don't want him filing a chargeback.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    592
    Letting a customer go doesn't mean a bad thing necessarily, if your strategy is right, it means the customer doesn't contribute to your business growth and so it won't for your competition either if you let them have him.

    On the other hand, if the competition manages to have a profit with this "bad" customer then there could be something wrong with your strategy, or something the competition is doing and you're not.
    Or it could just mean that's the industry's nature: just bad customers most of them.

    The objective is NOT quality service, is NOT having customers...
    it is having the most profit possible. All other stuff are strategies to achieve the objective.

    Ofcourse, you decide which is your objective, if is "happy customers" then you'll be ok I guess if that means having less profits or collapse, you were achieving your objective after all.

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