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#5597 11/26/01 09:30 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,106
Likes: 3
I'm just curious as to how everyone handles a situation where the customer supplies something and parts are missing.

(Please, no Flames torwards any particular store or chain)

Case in point: A ceiling fan, Customer is quoted a flat rate to replace one with another and parts are missing. Box looks like it has been resealed at the store. How do you proceed?

I think it's a very bad practice that they (store) allow parts to be removed or accept incomplete items for return. I think that they (the store) should bear any expense that is incurred as a result of something like this. If the Electrician must come back again He is entitled to be compensated. Has anyone had any luck in getting them to see the point? Or pay the bill?

Do they care? (I think they should)


Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
I had a customer with a mismatched ceiling fan/smart speed control. I hung the fan and she returned the controller. Charged her $25.00 for the return call to install the switch. She didn't complain, but tried to recover the 25 from the upscale lighting outfit. No luck.
You should try to get something for your trouble, even if it's discounted.

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
Likes: 1
Oh boy can I ever relate...

Good Q... What can I do?

Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 642
When we see the box from the store has been opened prior to our opening it, we request the customer return it. And we do charge for another trip. If the store will not stand by thier junk let the customer deal with them

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,106
Likes: 3
I think that generally the return policy in stores is pretty liberal and they have no problem with replacement parts. But I don't think that they really get the idea that the installer can't wait around while this happens or pack up and come back again without charge.

I'd like them to get the message that they should be more careful with what is on their shelves. If something is opened people will generally look inside. If something is resealed by them it should contain all the parts in good condition. I've spoken to the Managers of several of the local 'chain' stores and they seem to have no clue what the big deal is. In this situation the Installer is in a no-win situation. Either He doesn't get paid, or if He does, the relationship with the customer is never the same.


Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 141
How about:

Don't install it unless YOU sell it to the customer (at a markup to cover your time spent in purchasing it, and a reasonable profit). Then YOU'RE responsible for the parts and for the overall quality of the materials/fixture.

If they supply the material and you install it, how do you handle it if there's a problem with it in a week (or month or two)?

You get the call back, you tell the customer it's the fixture. The customer figures that you screwed it up installing it...
And even if the customer agrees that it's the fixture, and gets a replacement, they'll probably expect you to install it as part of the original job.

I know that this approach isn't possible all the time. But I think it's better to avoid it.


Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
I no longer supply fixtures, simply because the markup can only be a minimal gain in light of the Home Depots, Lowes, etc. pricing. I get paid for my electrical knowledge, not pedaling fixtures as a middleman anyways.....Plus, I find that i would need to stand behind bad lighting choices by the customer simply because the fixture was bought through me. Most residential jobs have the wife choosing & aiming at fashion,quailty aside. The final lighting decision is almost never soley the contractors. The best thing to do is referal to a GOOD lighting shop, or refer the cust to catalogs & links. I will offer guidance , for those who ask,(surprisingly,many do not take advantage of the fact that we've hung a few fixtures in our carears) but the final decision is the customers.
Bottom line, T&M for any customer involvement is good policy.
If contracted, do T&M for anything done TWICE, why eat anybody else's mistakes?????

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 11-27-2001).]

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,293
We make it known from Day 1 that any customer supplied materials are not warrantied by us, and any subsequent trips because of these materials will be billed as service calls @ T&M.
The supplier should bear the burden, but as of yet, I've only seen them take responsibility a couple of times. [Linked Image]

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,106
Likes: 3
I agree with Sparky's views on this. I do not want to be responsible for fixture or appliance selection.

I will only supply a motion sensor under great duress.


Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
As I've stated before, I absolutely detest ceiling fans. They should only be installed on a cost plus basis. Working cost plus means you'll get paid to deal with those missing parts. The fan should be furnished by the homeowner, then if they are junk or you can't get the wobble out, it isn't your problem.

I'll give a big Ditto to Sparky & Electures posts.

As for motion sensors, I'm happy to furnish those, but I only use the real good ones (about $80 to $100).

Sooner or later, we're all going to end up writing contracts to our customers that will be so full of qualifiers & exclusions, we'll need to cart it in with a hand truck. Don't laugh, I know one GC that is just about to that point. He loses a lot of business because of all the qualifications in his contracts, but the jobs he does get always run real smooth.


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
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