Trying To Posit How Deposits Work

, , , , , , | Right | October 18, 2017

(A customer calls to accept her quote, and pay the scheduling deposit.)

Customer: “Okay, so, I am going to pay $300 deposit today, and pay the rest when the guys get here. I need you here September 8.” *in three days*

Me: “I’m sorry, that won’t work. We are currently booking the end of October, and we require a 50% non-refundable deposit, up to $2,500, now, in order to hold your place in the schedule. Your entire job will cost about $14,000, so that means we need the $2,500 now.”

Customer: “I don’t want to pay that much now, and I can’t wait until the end of October. I will pay $500 now, so you can hold my spot, and I’ll let you come September 15. Then I will call around and see if I can get someone out here sooner than that; if I can, I’ll get the money refunded back to pay them instead of you.”

Me: “Well, you are welcome to call around if you like, but I will need the $2,500 now if you would like your spot at the end of October held, and as it says in your contract, that amount is non-refundable.”

Customer: “Well, that policy is illegal. You can’t keep my deposit if I can find someone else to do it first! You probably lose a lot of money that way!”

Me: “We do lose some jobs because people need us to come sooner than we are able; that is why all deposits are non-refundable. If we lose another job because the end of October is booked with your job, and then you cancel, we can use your deposit to make payroll, keep our employees so we are able to do the rest of the jobs we have scheduled, and cover overhead even though we have nothing booked and have lost other potential jobs for it. We usually book out two to eight weeks in advance, at all times of the year, so I don’t think we are losing a lot of custom over this. It’s also not illegal, and clearly laid out in your contract.”

Customer: “Fine, I will just pay on credit card today; at least that way I can cancel the charge if I find someone else who can do it sooner.”

Me: “And you’ve just said the magic words! Now we require payment by certified cheque or bank draft for the whole amount before we will put you in the schedule. Whenever you drop that off at the office, I can book you in at that time. For every day you wait, our lead time gets two to three days longer until after Christmas, when our lead times start to drop. I will send you an email confirming the new terms of your contract.”

Customer: “You can’t do that; it’s illegal to charge for goods before the customer gets them. You can’t do this. Deposits are always refundable; it’s the law! You aren’t allowed to do this!”

Me: “You should go explain those laws to [Coffee Shop] and to every hotel, ever, ma’am. You have a nice day now.”

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