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Customer died

Started by Joys Shop, April 10, 2014, 06:15:56 pm

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Joys Shop

When I went to pick up a small recliner that I was to recover, the woman wasn't there, someone else was (her sister maybe, I didn't ask who she was)  told me that she went to the hospital the previous night and was in intensive care.
For some reason, I didn't go ahead and order the fabric (I usually do this before I pick up the piece)
I picked it up last week on Wednesday.
I also didn't start it---it's just sitting in my shop
I have plenty of other work, so I just was working on the other stuff
Well,
her obituary is in today's paper
She had no children, a sister that lives across the country, and a sister who is local

Now what do I do?

Has anyone else had this happen?

SteveA

I don't know about the legal issues regarding the bailment but if you can't contact anyone at the house maybe a certified - receipt return letter explaining the circumstances - either to return chair or dispose of it. 

SA

Mike

ive often worried about that after I finnish a job and the customer isn't around or answering the phone

byhammerandhand

Quote from: SteveA on April 10, 2014, 06:46:13 pm
I don't know about the legal issues regarding the bailment but if you can't contact anyone at the house maybe a certified - receipt return letter explaining the circumstances - either to return chair or dispose of it. 

SA


^^^ What Steve said.


Having executed an estate, these things can take months due to all the legal requirements.    I think the last thing you want to do (other than storing it for six months), is to dispose of it and get a call from an heir asking "What happened to Aunt Sylvia's chair that always sat right there?   She promised it to me after it was re-upholstered and I found your name on the paperwork."
Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison

west coast

When I first started my business my very first customer was an elderly gentleman not really old like I am now but at the time he seemed old. I had a small sofa to do and all went well until I tried to deliver it back. I left a few messages then finally his sister called to tell me he had passed away. After many calls back and forth with the sister she sold the sofa to the gentlemans neighbour and I got paid, my wife says I should have taken that as a sign of things to come and taken up another profession lol. Sure glad it sold to the neighbour because the fabric was butt ugly and there's no way it would have ever lived in our house.

sofadoc

I once had another local upholsterer bring me a sofa to recover. It was for one of his customers, but he was too ill to do it himself.

As a professional courtesy, I dropped everything and got right on it. I had it ready in a few days, but he had already died before I finished it.

I called his customer and explained to her that he brought her sofa to me right before he died, and it was now ready.

She informed me that she had paid him in advance for the job. I informed her that he had NOT paid me, and the full amount for my labor was now due.

She told me that her husband was an attorney, and he would take legal action against me if I demanded payment. I said "Suit yourself. But you're not getting your sofa unless you pay me for it".

A couple of days later, she sent me a check.

As for Joy's situation. I'll bet if she were to call the relatives and say "The chair is ready. The amount due is $$$", none of them would accept responsibility for it.

BUT.......if she were to say "I saw the obit in the paper, so I threw the chair away".......suddenly it becomes a priceless heirloom.
"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban

Mojo

I think Dennis is spot on.

I would hold on to it, contact someone from the family and get the agreement on what is going to be done in writing. If they want to dispose of it then let them do it. if they want you to dispose of it, get their OK in writing. If they want it repaired get a big deposit and get the order in writing with a signature.

This has me worried constantly. My customers are all retirees. I jokingly told my wife one day " you need to invoice this old guy before he croaks ". ( I know, not nice........:)

The one plus I have is that if I complete an order for a customer and he does die I can hold it and another similar coach with the same size slides and colors will come along at a later date. Bingo, I have the order already filled.

I just filled an order in the wrong color this year and it was a quad order too. Within a month I had most of the toppers sold at the going rate. I just bagged them and waited. One more topper to go and I will be rid of them all. ( You wouldn't believe how damn careful I am with colors now. I read the work order three times now after that little stunt. )

Chris

byhammerandhand

LOL   Isn't that the truth.


Quote from: sofadoc on April 11, 2014, 03:58:11 am

As for Joy's situation. I'll bet if she were to call the relatives and say "The chair is ready. The amount due is $$$", none of them would accept responsibility for it.

BUT.......if she were to say "I saw the obit in the paper, so I threw the chair away".......suddenly it becomes a priceless heirloom.
Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison

kodydog

April 12, 2014, 02:13:41 am #8 Last Edit: April 12, 2014, 02:15:30 am by kodydog
Many years ago we picked up a hide-a-bed from a lady probably in her mid 40's. We made many attempts (to no avail) to get her to come into the shop to pick out the fabric so we could get started on the job.

The day after New Years I was reading the morning paper about a serious car accident. Drunk driver heading down the wrong side of hwy 17. Head on collision killed her instantly. It took me several readings to realize this was our customer and the accident happened right outside the apartment complex she lived in.

The paper said something about recently divorced and the father had custody of the kids but like you Joy, we had no names or addresses.

We held onto it for about 6 months then decided to recover it for ourselves. Didn't seem weird at the time but now seems kinda creepy. Several years later we were getting ready to move from Charleston and sold it for what we had in it.  
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html

Darren Henry

My sister is the executor of Dad's estate and is still dealing with stuff from Nov.10.

I would write a letter on business stationary to "the estate of Jane Doe...." outlining first my condolences and a brief overview of the situation [much as you outlined it here] and request instruction.

Some one is having to deal with the lady's affairs and has hopefully made arrangements at the post office to receive her mail already. Addressing it to"the estate of" should get it re-directed. At the very least the company letter head and the indication that you are aware of the lady's demise will prevent the letter from being tossed as "junk mail"
Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!