Fair Contracts

Did you ever meet a salesperson who explained the pitfalls to you?

When they come to call, a salesperson will undoubtedly want to sell you something (it’s their job, after all), and they will often make plenty of promises to give you the very best deal for you. They will tell you many things. Some will be true, but sometimes salespeople are more economical with the truth, telling you what you most certainly want to hear but which may not necessarily be best for you or your business in the long run.

A cautionary tale…

A child’s day school nursery contacted us recently in a fix, after a salesperson (also in this instance the director of the company) called, keen to highlight how two previous competitors had cheated the nursery. He was eager to point out in great detail exactly how they had done it, explaining that it was a common problem.

He offered to help the nursery out of the problem and promised to pay off the competitors.

Sales prose worthy of a Nobel prize nomination

In fact, he deserves a Nobel prize nomination for the wording of his initial emails, asserting his honesty, integrity, and how he is a man of his word (I particularly like these two):

“If you’ve any doubt that I’ll deliver when it comes to providing the settlement funds or guiding you through the exit process, I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking the next steps.”

And: “If you trust (and I hope you do) that I will take the burden and act on your behalf to clear everything, then let’s get together tomorrow.”

He went on to reassure them that, naturally, his proposed deal would not cost any more than the nursery was currently paying, and he would pay off the other two companies at no extra cost.

Comforted by this compelling pitch, the nursery took up his offer, convinced this ‘man of his word’ would not rip them off as the others had.

Even the lawyers couldn’t resolve the issue

Once the agreement was signed, and machines were safely installed (albeit not the actual ones promised), the salesperson set about addressing the now seriously overdue accounts of the previous suppliers – one of whom was on the verge of issuing County Court papers to recover the debt.

He convinced the nursery they should use his highfalutin and costly lawyers to resolve the issue. The nursery was under the impression the sales company was footing the bill for the lawyers and, with this in mind, was happy to sign the lawyer’s letter of engagement when asked.

Despite the scale of charges, the lawyers did not get a satisfactory resolution, which resulted in the nursery negotiating a settlement themselves with the first supplier – for a sum not far short of the amount they initially demanded. To make matters worse, the legal team had upset the second supplier to the point where they were on the verge of issuing recovery proceedings against the nursery.

Trapped into covering legal expenses

Having received the first month’s invoice from the lawyers, the salesperson reneged on their offer to cover legal costs (that they had generated!) and capped their payment offer towards this expense at £2,000.

Sadly this notification came two months after the first invoice for £2,000 had arrived and after another 2 months’ worth of work had been completed.

Having made promises and commitments to the nursery, and engaged lawyers he could not afford, the salesperson finally had the common sense to pass our details to the nursery to see if we could help.

After reviewing the documentation, we followed our standard procedure and contacted each party involved, asking questions to help us decide who or what was the cause of the problem and why the solicitors had been so unsuccessful in reaching an agreement.

While companies 1 & 2 were keen to respond, the ‘super friendly’ salesperson was unwilling to engage, threatening to involve his lawyers (those he could not previously afford and the same ones now pursuing the nursery for said fees he had failed to settle.

All matters were settled amicably for the client….but not everyone’s happy

While we were able to settle all matters amicably for the nursery, the two original suppliers even had the lawyers’ bill settled, the salesman was, unsurprisingly, not so happy with the work carried out by Fair Contract Associates, once we identified he was indeed the one at the centre of the mess.

Perhaps it was our suggestion to the nursery to monitor his company’s performance throughout the remaining term of his agreement that had left him disgruntled, or the fact any other agreement he presents to them when it comes to renewal must be passed through us first. We will likely never know.

So, when a friendly salesperson comes calling with promises seemingly sent from heaven, take a step back and send everything (quotation, emails, and unsigned documentation) to us. For a small fee, you could save yourself an awful lot of grief and unnecessary expense running into the £££s. Schedule a call and get peace of mind today.