Customer Wants To Contest Work That Was Done Months Ago

I guess I get all the nuts. A warning sign should have been when he said 'we never pay deposit on future labor'.

We quoted out an access control unit a year ago. The deal was their electrician would do the rough and we would so the final. I showed the electrician what wires to run where and left that we will be called back by the final stage.

Fast forward a few months, we get a call from the contractor to come do the final. We drive up there (2 hours away) and the sheet rock is not up yet. And the electrician had messed up some of the wiring. I explained this to the contractor, he said hook it up and we will take pictures to reconnect later.

We hooked it up and tested it. He paid in full. A few months later we get a call that one of the Rex isn't working. Travel up there and fix it, the person broke the motion exit as well, so a few weeks later sent up a tech to fix it.

About a week ago he texts that it isn't working now (it was when my tech left). I didn't have a chance to reply. He sends an email that we have until the 8th to get it fixed or he will pursue legal methods.

My attitude is that we finished the job and until he pays for the two service calls, no more work should be done. BTW he had paid us with credit card.


Did the customer sign-off every time on the completed repairs? Like physically sign a ticket or service order?

Unfortunately no. But I do have an email sent when asking for the final payment explaining that things were done I the wrong time.


Brian brings up a really good topic about having a sign off sheet. We use a commercial security all in one contract and completion certificate to document work that was done and a sign off that it was completed and was/is in working order. My thoughts on the current issue about going back prior to receiving payment on the last two calls would be to do it, apart from the distance it sounds like a quick call and most likely your customer will come current on existing statements. Remember to bring the sign off sheet or completion certificate :)

I am with Keefe, for every single call even if its to drop off access cards we have customers sign our certificates. This proves that when the tech left, the system was working.

Did you have to make a lot of changes to the contract as you bought it, or was it pretty good?


The only change we made to one of our contracts was the number of years the contract was for, other than that nothing at this time. The contracts are very good and the firm that we worked with is very helpful in answering questions either through email or on the phone.

This discussion might be of interest to you / related: Customer Wants Full Refund On Hikvision Install: What Would You Do?

Written Policy in our Handbook; You will use Customer Signoff Sheets on Every Job. Period. If you fail to get it signed off you will go back and get it on your own time.

I will defend us and our work without fail, but you have to give me something in writing.

With all due respect your post is filled with "he said, he said, he said". That will not stand up to scrutiny.

If it is not documented in some way, it never happened. Get it signed off, take a picture, send an email confirming a conversation, something.

Hi David,

I can't speak on the customer threatening legal action. I can, however, comment on the fact that the payment was made on a Credit Card. If they are in good standing with a reputable card (eg. Amex Platinum or Visa Infinite), the CC company may make it absolute hell on you and claw back money.

We have yet to experience a customer pulling this on us, but I feel that what Keefe uses as a standard contract/sign-off is a good way to protect one from this nonsense.

Best of luck to you, hopefully the client is just venting. I do agree that the service calls should be paid for before you return to do additional work. The whole out of town thing sucks sometimes.

Say you'll come out again, but you expect to leave with a check for all the work.

Not sure anyone ever mentioned this idea. I never work without a 50% deposit and expect payment in full upon completion. I have a few international companies that want 60 days. I demand a deposit and I just charge them my banking fee. Works out to be about 40% interest. Many large vendors doing commercial business in my area are now COD. If your not pretending your a banker you exposure to getting beat is highly reduced. I also tend to ask clients about prospects as well. I have been smoked 4 times since 2008 all could have been prevented with a little research. What I have learned is chasing dead beats is a waste of time, take it on the nose and run. Learn and move on.

First, how much are we talking about?
If we're talking about labor only, this is a golden opportunity to make a customer happy, and introduce him to your new proactive service support plan to lock in lower rates in the future.

For the common things that go wrong, IE wire breaks on reader, software updates, user training, come up with a flat fee per incident, plus a small trip charge... Then charge a reasonably small monthly or quarterly charge for them to get priority service at the flat rate. Equip your staff with a Mobile credit card (SquareLike Device on Iphone/Droid) (paid when services rendered is a another part of that new plan) plus semi annual visits to discuss future options... and free software updates if they are free to you.

You need to become their trusted adviser, not their Maytag Man - he retired long ago.

As others have said, without anything in writing, it's he-said-she-said.

If you don't get a Customer Signoff Sheet, at the very least, email the customer a summary of work done, ask them to respond if they're unsatisfied with the work, and get an automated read receipt. Email is forever and, if I understand correctly, is legally binding (i am not a lawyer).