“I didn’t print that, I am not refunding you anything”

When we create forms, cards and so on for people, we often send them proofs thru email.  Every printer will tell you a story about them sending a letterhead proof (or any other artwork) to a customer only to have them cancel the job.  Then lo and behold, the artwork YOU created, and they did not pay for, suddenly has been printed elsewhere. To combat this there are several things you can do.  One of the things that we do in my shop is add a watermark of our logo to the form.  It is light enough that you really can’t see it when you look on the screen.  However if you were to print that file, it shows up big and beautiful right smack in the middle of the art.

So one day we get a lady who we had created some notepads for, and actually printed maybe a year prior, call and start yelling at me because she is now out $300 because all of her notepads have my store logo emblazoned across the middle of them. So i look at my order history with her and tell her that i haven’t printed pads for her in over a year, and when we DID do the pads, the invoice was only a little over $100, not $300. I ask her is she is sure she has the right shop, and she insists that she does, describing the pad to me including my logo on it.  Hmmm.

So I ask her what size is the pad.  She measures it and tells me it is 5.5″ x 8.5″, and she wants me to either credit her $300 or rerun them without the logo. So I look some more, and the only pad we have EVER done for her was a 4″ x 6″.  And it was a year ago. And it was only $100. So I tell her that the pads can’t be from me and she would need to check with whoever in the office ordered them to find out what happened.  “Why the hell are you trying to rip me off?  You don’t want to fix your mistake?” After a deep breathe or three I try to tell her that whatever mistake occurred here it wasn’t mine, as I never printed 5.5″ x 8.5″ pads for her before, but she wasn’t having any  of that. There were some mild swear words directed my way, along with other condescending words, and I really tried to be nice. Normally once swearing occurs directed at me I just tell them that no matter what happened, I don’t have to be sworn at and then hang up. She emailed me the file in question, and sure enough it is the file I sent her for a proof a year ago, in 4″ x 6″.  So I point that out to her, that the file she emailed me is NOT what she got, and she makes a noise and just hangs up.

The next day, I get a call back.  It is that same customer, sounding kind of sheepish as she tells me that her office manager decided to have pads printed elsewhere (some dental supply place) and just forwarded them the proof art I had sent during last years run.  Apparently the supply place didn’t even bother to check if there was a watermark or anything, just took the PDF and stretched it to fit.  Mind you she isn’t apologizing for being a complete bitch to me, just telling me what happened. I am feeling somewhat vindicated here for a moment, until she asks me  if I can remove the watermark, resize the art and send it to them. Well, doesn’t really ask so much as say ” I NEED you to…” After that initial call, I researched that job some more, because I really do value customer service.Looking at notes it seems that we did the graphics work for free for some reason. So she never paid for it. So since she never really apologized to me, and never paid for the artwork to begin with, I told her that I would be happy to change and remove the watermark, for $15.

The profanity afterwards was worth it.  They never came back after the first pad order, took 90 days to pay that bill and frankly, I didn’t give a shit.  Firing a bad customer feels so good.

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