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joecaption 01-28-2012 11:29 AM

Customers from Hell.
We have all had them, lets share some storys.
Here's one.
I'd done some work for the local chuch on the parish house and the church its self before so the preacher calls me to come do some work on a house he had bought at an auction to use as a retirement home.
We had so much trouble with his wife while working on the parish house I insisted he bring her when we went to look at the house.
He gave me the address and when I showed up all I could see was a 991 sign showing where it was. The driveway was so over grown you could only see a pathway. We had to walk in to see the house.
Once there the trees had grown up so bad in front of one of the garage doors you could not even see it.
They also had grown so close to the house that limbs had grown through the screens, vines were up inside the soffit vents, one was so bad it was up inside the attic. Limbs had rubbed off the edges of the shingles.
One limb that had broken off was sticking out of the roof.
The siding was rotten because it had been shaded for so long. It had those cheap plastic not worth the time to put up DIY gutters that were so loaded up with leaves the brackets had broken off. And the fashi boards were completly rotted off.
The first line in the contract was to cut trees and brush back along drive way 4' from edge of drive and a min. of 14' from the ground up. The same thing for around the house.
The home owners wife insisted she did not want to have to pay to rent a chipper and said they would supply one. Well it never showed up.
We worked for a whole week (the drive was 1/4 mile long) and got this place so it looked like a park when we were done.
We then installed a ridge vent, fixed the roof leaks (they were to cheap to replace the whole roof) removed the gutters and what was left of the fashis. The plan was to cover the new fashis with coil stock.
The home owners wife shows up and flips out and says we have distroyed her property and never gave me permision to cut anything and ran us off the property.
Now keep in mind it was the very first line in the contract, the home owners husband had been there everyday to see what we were doing and had said nothing.
This woman went to every lawyer in town trying to get them to take her case and all refused because of lack of merit.
She then started sending me certified letters say I owed her $35,000 for cutting her brush. Said I did not paint her fashis the same color as the house trim ( I had bought Tan coil stock to cover them) did not reinstall her old gutters.
I had refunded the balance of her deposit check in the form of a certified check minus material cost, and labor to do the jobs we had completed.
She sent me at least 10 letters and every time she had a differant story.
A year later I get a call from the husband say the roof was leaking. It had not rain in a month so I knew what was wrong before I got there. It was a broken condinsate line in the attic.
It had taken out the whole kitchen, the ceiling, the floors, cabinets.
We had never been in the attic and did not even have a house key, just the garage key.
I proved what was wrong and left.
5 years later I get still another certified letter stating she had never cashed my check and demand I send her another one or she will sue me for $20,000. The check was only for around $3000.00.
Now I'm pi**ed. I take my attorney out to take a look at the place. Nothing had been done since I left it 6 years ago.
He contact them, buys the house and has me finish fixing it up and sold it later and made $100,000 profit.

user1007 01-28-2012 12:08 PM

I guess I have been fortunate. I have had clients that were pesty and borderline annoying at times but most of my folk have been delightful and appreciative of the work I did for them.

Once, years ago when I was a practicing landscape designer and before spending decades in the white collar world, I had a retired admiral and his wife as a client. At the time, they were easily the richest clients I had ever worked with. I grew to despise them to the point I wished they would be hit by a stray meteor or something.

I did custom interior garden spaces for them and had metal drip pans ordered for them. All the plants were ordered from tropical nurseries in Florida and flown to California (they would pay they said). The Mrs. kept rejecting them. I put in automated drip systems to water and feed things.

Complain, complain, complain, complain. I got everything finished, they finally blessed it all and then stiffed me for about $35K. These were people richer than God but oh so nasty.

I was able to recoup most losses selling the beautiful rejected plant stock to nurseries I bought from all the time so did not chase them down. I should have just to make their lives as miserable as they made mine.

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