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    lavenderpurple's Avatar
    lavenderpurple Posts: 7, Reputation: 9
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    #1

    Mar 31, 2008, 10:53 PM
    Client threatening small claims action
    Hello all,

    I’m a sole proprietor professional resume writer. Client hired me to write a resume. I conducted phone consultation, sent additional questions and the client paid via PayPal. Shortly thereafter, client requested money back, stating financial problem, and I refunded since I hadn't started on resume yet and I felt sorry for them.

    Three months later, client wants to restart process. We have another phone consultation, client answers questions, pays again via PayPal and I wrote and sent resume draft. Client was instantly furious, stating resume wasn't professional but wasn't able or willing to express specific concerns. Three conversations with repeated offers to edit draft are essentially nonproductive. Some edits were made and sent but client still very upset. Edits that the client was able to articulate were all in the “normal” range – a word change, a punctuation correction, etc. and I made them cheerfully and promptly.

    My website states I'll produce unlimited edits as they are requested within 30 days. With nearly everyone, there is at least one set of edits and a second draft is produced. No “money-back guarantee” is stated or implied. At day seven or so, the client demands money back again stating resume wasn't as promised (not “professional”) but doesn't say specifically why they think so. I decline to refund this time, as work has been completed and delivered and client chose to end draft revision process voluntarily.

    Now, client sends demand letter via email threatening small claims if I don't refund 75% of money paid (total was approximately $200). To my knowledge, client doesn’t have my address and lives 90 miles away in same state, different county. Client claims to have consulted an attorney who apparently informed them they’d be awarded filing fees and their money back in small claims court.

    In my opinion, client got what they paid for - the same services for which I’ve received hundreds of thank you letters from happy customers and a robust stream of referrals. This is the first time in ten years anyone has ended the editing process unhappy, so I’m sorry about that, but I can’t be sure client wasn’t intending to swindle me all along, considering the unusually angry reaction and history of requesting money back.

    I don't know whether to settle with client to make this go away or see how it plays out in small claims. What would you do? Any comments about how I should have handled this differently?

    Thank you,

    LP
    George_1950's Avatar
    George_1950 Posts: 3,099, Reputation: 236
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    #2

    Apr 1, 2008, 04:13 AM
    Stick by your guns on this one. An old saying: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,800, Reputation: 2674
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    #3

    Apr 1, 2008, 04:13 AM
    He did get what he wanted, now he doesn't want to pay for it. It is unfortunate. If you have documented and saved e mails where he is shown to be totally unreasonable, I would call his bluff and say okay lets visit small claims court. I don't see why you should sacrifice your principles and reimburse him. Good luck with this, lavenderpurple, and your post was succinct, intelligent and to the point.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #4

    Apr 1, 2008, 05:10 AM
    Hello l:

    I never lay down for people. There's dogs down there.

    excon
    lavenderpurple's Avatar
    lavenderpurple Posts: 7, Reputation: 9
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    #5

    Apr 1, 2008, 03:56 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by tickle
    ... your post was succinct, intelligent and to the point.
    Thanks! So was that client's resume, darn it! LOL

    Thank you everyone for your opinion. I brought it up to the folks I had lunch with today, and every one of them told me to pay the client whatever it took to get rid of them, that it wasn't worth my time.
    lavenderpurple's Avatar
    lavenderpurple Posts: 7, Reputation: 9
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    #6

    Apr 8, 2008, 03:12 AM
    Update:

    I answered my client's demand letter yesterday, standing my ground. I will let anyone interested know what transpires next.

    LH
    George_1950's Avatar
    George_1950 Posts: 3,099, Reputation: 236
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    #7

    Apr 8, 2008, 03:53 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by lavenderpurple
    Update:

    I answered my client's demand letter yesterday, standing my ground. I will let anyone interested know what transpires next.

    LH
    Why don't you send us the gist of it? Thanks
    Emland's Avatar
    Emland Posts: 2,468, Reputation: 496
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    #8

    Apr 8, 2008, 05:24 AM
    I'm glad to hear you are standing your ground. This person sounds unstable at the very least. I wonder if all the fuss and whining was done from the start just to keep you off guard. Makes you wonder if they were just going to copy your work while making you think it wasn't good enough.

    IMO payment was made for services rendered. Will PayPal stick its nose into this?
    lavenderpurple's Avatar
    lavenderpurple Posts: 7, Reputation: 9
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    #9

    Apr 8, 2008, 10:30 AM
    Hi George,

    The gist of my letter was, "I have faith in the system, so go for it. A refund in small claims is unlikely because one can't purchase a specialized service, receive it, immediately complain about it but refuse to let the provider remedy the situation, demand money back and expect a judge to agree." I reiterated my qualifications and experience as well. It was written in as professional a manner as I could muster. I'm cognizant, should it get that far, that the assigned judge will likely assess the writing style and tone of my responses when deciding what to do.

    Thanks for your support Emland. My client was smart enough not to explicitly show their hand if they meant to swindle me from the start, but I agree that the behavior was erratic and completely against grain from any of my other clients. In my view, this type of "discount by complaint", if that's what it is, only prevails because folks like me don't stick up for themselves.

    PayPal permits purchasers to complain formally within 45 days of the transaction. That deadline is today actually.

    LP

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