Customer refusal help

Ok, I’m new at running my shop. I’ve had several successful clients, but I’ve run into an issue with one client, my first one actually. She’s a long distance client. I ordered several different types of paper and finally found one that she thought was thick enough (from the specs & photos comparing the thickness to a dime). it was a 300gsm paper. I sent photos of the printing, she said she loved them, and I sent half the order because I ran out of paper and she needed cards ASAP for an event. I went to print the cards when my paper order came in, and I got a call from her saying she’s not happy with the paper choice and doesn’t want me to keep printing on that paper. I told her that I’d eat the cost of the grey cards if she sent them back to me, because she was continuing to do work with me and I could cover myself with the second order of cards.

I offered to print on different paper and sent paper samples in the mail. I was hoping to hear back on her decision today and I got an email from her saying the samples never came, and she would like to purchase my plates from me and take them to a local printer to have them printed. She was happy with the print quality, but just thinks it would be better to work with someone local so she can go and feel paper samples, to ge things moving quickly.

Now that she doesn’t want cards from me at all, is it wrong of me to charge her for those grey cards she still has? This was my first client, so I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t ask for a 50% deposit. How do I navigate this situation gracefully?

Thank you!

Log in to reply   4 replies so far

Tough spot to be in. I think you’ve learned your lesson on getting a deposit up front in the future.

I would tell her that you don’t typically send your plates to the customer, but that you’d be willing to do so once she pays for the portion of the order she’s received. She approved the initial paper selection, so you proceeded based on that approval. No guarantees she’ll respond positively, but it’s worth a shot.

Not only a deposit- but a disclaimer to be issued ANY time a client is unable to show up, in person, to OK something.

If the client is in too much of a hurry and is outsourcing to your distance, they need to understand and be aware of their risks, and accept compromises. Just plain old sense of limitations right there.

When in doubt- which, when conducting mail-order custom work, is most of the time- acquire deposit, and issue disclaimer.

You’ll have less headaches.

Although you should have had a policy for this type of situation in advance, it is reasonable to expect compensation for work that she had approved. If you offer to pay nominal fee for a flat rate box for the material to be returned and she doesn’t. It is safe to assume she used the product. Alternatively you could charge enough for the plates that your paper cost is paid for. In this situation just recovering your material costs is the best you may get. In the future clearly outline your policy for paper approval via online only. Also photograph the samples next to a color strip. For sure do not order paper or send all or part of a job without a significant deposit. There is nothing wrong at all expecting compensation for the paper. Also pay extra for proof of delivery when using USPS.

Get what you can for your plates and work and move forward. Lesson learned cheaper than an MBA. Take care and good luck