Textile News

Surveys/Classified ads and more

6th November 2017
This week's survey 
(These survey questions are sent in by our readers. Please spend a minute to give your answer to this week's survey as one or possibly more of your industry peers thinks this question is important and wishes to see your point of view as well as others in the industry.)  
Last week's survey results on the question of .....:
Can you relate your worst customer experience?
  • I only wish I had started a diary 35 years ago. I could have turned it into a best seller! There have been many hundreds (actually thousands) of "dramas" of one type or another in my time as a "signy" I try to have patience with my customers which at times has been abused. ie...over thirty different layouts for one customer and her boss went behind her back and commissioned another guy to do the very basic sign. Literally dozens of fly by nighters who disappear without paying. Fisty cuffs with one customer. One customer wouldn't pay so I removed the signs. In was ordered by the ombudsman to re-install the signs. She did a runner and still didn't pay. (around $1,000) The number of would be business owners who set up shop without the money to pay for signs is incredible. The list of dramas is endless and still continues even until now. But...in saying this, I have really enjoyed the freedom of the last 35 years being a self employed signy. 
  • I was going to say 'No, I'm over it, it's history!', but then I thought of another one that hurt, that anyone could fall into...
    We did a great showroom front sign, in 3 cnc-cut layers of ACM, glued with polyurethane glue, plus 900 series cast vinyl. Fitted it to the front of a new 'shop' and did not really charge enough.
    The building was one of those with cast concrete walls, but the front face had metal battens, and a versilux sheeting over the concrete for some reason.
    It was all new.
    As we attached the far right of the sign up beside a big 200mm downpipe, I noticed the sheeting flapping a little. There was not much we could do about it, so we finished the sign job, made a mental note that the flapping didn't look great, but we weren't the builders, and it should be OK. Besides the 'loose' part ended behind the downpipe, and it was in a pretty sheltered area.
    4 weeks later we got a phone call, saying "Your sign has fallen off. Come and fix it..."
    Well... our sign had not 'fallen' off, but a freak wind gust had gone into a little dead-end L part of the car park, done a u-turn, slightly vacuumed the loose panel away from the wall a bit and snuck in behind the downpipe and pushed it off.
    When we got there, 3/4 of the sign was still attached to the building, peeled off in a big curve, all the ACM sheets still glued together... the left edge still attached to the versilux, high up on the building, and the right end on the ground, with the floppy fibro sheet still attached to the sign.
    It turns out, from the torn screw holes under the paint, that that sheet was held on to the battens by ONLY three screws!
    I brought all the parts home in case needed as proof.
    It was perfectly clear the cement sheeting had let go, and acted as a sail, and pulled the sign down as much as it could.
    The fact the sign was still atached to the building, and to the wayward sheet remnants was encouraging to me, BUT... to the client it was 'MY' fault, and 'MY' sign was wrecked and had come off.
    They paid for a sign on the building they leased, and they wanted it replaced /fixed. It wasn't their fault.
    "Take it up with the building owner!"
    The owner was a firm of lawyers who'd bought the land and building as an inventment...and as far as they were concerned, it was not THEIR fault. "Take it up with the builder!"
    "Who was that?" "No idea..." and you can imagine the rest. They want to be paid a search fee to find the files...
    and who was the apprentice who short-changed that fibro sheet a dozen tek-screws...?
    So, the outcome was that my work was looking faulty, and no one would listen to any explanation otherwise.
    We fixed it at our expense- replaced over $1000 of Alupanel, plus $300 of 900 series Avery vinyl, and 3 days labour, PLUS a sheet of versilux or whatever it was, and cut & fitted it inplace, and painted it to match the building, all 5 m up in the air...
    I'm just grateful that nobody was hurt, and no cars damaged when the sign half-peeled off originally, in that freak wind gust.
    Worst customer experience? Well we had to foot the bill, and it was not our fault.
    Have you ever tried to reason with a firm of lawyers with deeper argument pockets than you?
    I failed twice and learned that being 'right' has nothing to do with who will win the case.
    Small claims tribunal? I've been there too in another case with a client who failed to pay up, despite my job (a billboard) being exactly to spec's. He agreed to pay me, and still never did, and went utterly broke 3 months later.
    All I learned is that the butterflies and wasted time in going to court was not worth the hassle of the lack of funds you don't get in the end...
    all in the name of protecting our good name.
    I've been thus ripped off only about 5 or 6 times in 32 years, which isn't too bad an average I guess...but it still hurts, and two others were for more than this is worth. They call it 'experience'...a great teacher but the fees come high. (Ian, Traditional Signs)
  • My very first project when I started up 14 years ago.
    Took a deposit of 20%, produced and installed the signage. 2 weeks after completing I found out the guy filed for bankruptcy. So many thoughts went through my mind on how to handle it and started to question if I made the right decision to start a business! (Justin, Just In Signs)
  • Broadly speaking, reps who sell machines which can do everything but slice bread, then the techs tell us they can't.
    Specifically, our phones were dropping out, and internet was painful after a lot of rain recently. Rang Optus and selected the wrong option. They transferred me, but the call was disconnected. Rang back, got a lady who said the phone line was fine, and then it dropped out. Rang back again and asked the op to test the line, and dropped out again. Rang yet again and a bloke said there were no problems in the area. Asked him to test the lines and he said it was not necessary as there were no problems. Told him we definitely did have problems and would he please just humour me and test the line. Was cut off at that stage but he did ring back and say the line was fine now. And yes it was, after 4 calls, interminable waiting on hold and people who really didn't want to listen.
  • Yes, just the other day, This (now EX)client, approves artwork, design after much whinging as to pricing & the one hour installation, (1 way vision rear window on Mazda CX-5). Claims can have the same job done in a major town (1 hour travel away & will need to leave car with them for 4 hours to install). Decides she does not like the final outcome & wants her money refunded. So biting my bottom lip, I removed sign & wrote her a refund cheque, explaining, some jobs work & some don't. She then wanted the artwork to take with her, I explained to her with the cancellation of the job & her money being refunded all artwork was deleted from our systems. It is hard enough running a business, but to have to put up with type of person (who will never be pleased), I won't be dealing with her again, I feel sorry for the next business she torments! (Bernie, grafxsigns).
(As a publishing practice to protect ourselves from any potential liability, company and individual names that are referred to negatively in any of these comments are removed.

In addition we reserve the right to remove comments that are either considered offensive or are blatant advertising for one product or company)

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Please spend a minute to give your answer to this week's survey as one or possibly more of your industry peers thinks this question is important and wishes to see your point of view as well as others in the industry.

If you have a subject that you would like us to survey, please send your subject to  brian@wideformatonline.com

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Smile: It's Monday!
(If you have a good joke or funny video for this section, please send to
 - Thanks)
An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer - you're assigned to hell."
So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of accommodations and starts designing and building improvements.
After a while, they have got air conditioning and flush toilets, escalators, elevators and so on .. and - the engineer is a pretty popular guy.
One day, God calls Satan on the telephone.
"So, how's it going down there in hell?" God says.
"Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators. There's no telling what our engineer is going to come up with next!" Satan says.
"What??? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake - he should have never gotten down there; send him back immediately!" God says.
"No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him!" Satan says.
"Send him back up here or I'll sue!" God says.
Satan laughs uproariously and answers:
"Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"

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