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Author Topic: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase  (Read 5113 times)

Jan Morales

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A small shop up the street from me sells my framed prints. Just over a month ago in early December a person bought one of my prints. Today she emailed me to tell me that she was wrapping it to send as a gift for a friend, and she noticed a scratch in the glass (acrylic). He asked me to replace it for her at no charge. I plan to just go ahead and replace the framed print as she asked. I don't sell that many prints and it's not my primary source of income.

I was wondering how anyone else handles or has handled a similar situation?

Going forward I wonder if I should have a policy that can be communicated to buyers by the shop at the time of sale, either verbally or with a sign or something. I don't mind replacing the print itself, but frames cost me time and money. I was thinking something equivalent to "No refunds or exchanges for damaged frames. Please inspect the frame before purchase." Is that a good idea? Or should I just do all future exchanges and write it off as the cost of business and customer satisfaction?
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tim wolcott

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2014, 10:19:12 pm »

I personally would not do it.  I have a policy that if they don't call within 48 hours.  Too Bad!

I have it right on the invoice.  Scratches, dents and other things that can happen to the framing material needs to be inspected and called within 48 hours.  Hope it helps.  Tim
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Alan Klein

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2014, 11:06:58 pm »

Replace the frame.  It's good karma.  Plus it sounds like you would feel better doing it.

wolfnowl

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 02:19:31 am »

Which is cheaper: Replacing the acrylic or losing a client and having her complain to all of her friends?  Personally I'd swap it out because in so doing you become a story she wants to tell her friends.

Mike.
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Jan Morales

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2014, 06:00:33 am »

Thank you for all the answers so far.

I do have a follow-up question: The shop takes 25% of the sale price. What's the usual practice with regard to that? Do I do the exchange and leave the shop's commission as is? Or should the shop kick in some percentage for the exchange?
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DeanChriss

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 08:12:23 am »

Thank you for all the answers so far.

I do have a follow-up question: The shop takes 25% of the sale price. What's the usual practice with regard to that? Do I do the exchange and leave the shop's commission as is? Or should the shop kick in some percentage for the exchange?

25% is about 15% less than what's regarded as a customary gallery commission. Personally, I'd cover the whole cost. We also use glass rather than acrylic because it does not become "shop worn" from handling and repeated  cleanings that are often improperly done by others.
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Jan Morales

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 08:19:35 am »

25% is about 15% less than what's regarded as a customary gallery commission. Personally, I'd cover the whole cost.

The shop is not a gallery. It's hard to classify, but it's more of a gift shop, and they do not do the kind of promotion of my work that I would expect a proper gallery to do. In this situation my understanding is that 25% is customary. In a proper gallery I am used to 50% commission rates.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2014, 09:26:11 am »

Unless you have a current agreement with the reseller where they bear some responsibility, if you're honoring the exchange as if it was a warranty replacement for a damaged product, that's between you, the manufacturer, and the customer.  The retailer still makes their profit.  They sold your product in good faith.   

By the way, I think using glass as suggested by Dean seems like a good idea.  I wouldn't even  buy acylic framed pictures or use them on my own because they scratch and dull over time.  As another aside, can the purchaser replace the acrylic easily so you can just ship it?

Justan

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2014, 10:54:16 am »

Do the right thing from the customer’s perspective but explain the issue to them. In my state, state law gives them 30 days to present an issue. Some credit card companies give longer.

I had a similar case recently and the issue turned out to be a defect in the acrylic. I went back to the place I bought the acrylic and they swapped it out. It only cost time and the customer walked away happy. I also added one of my print bin works as an apology for the problem.

Manufacturing issues are a pain to deal with but make or break the goal of customer satisfaction.

That said, if you are certain that the problem was not there when you handed it over to the gallery, and the gallery accepted the work, go to them and tell them about the problem. If they are reputable and it was their doing, they should cover it. Some galleries are honorable but many take a "no my problem" approach to damage they do.

bill t.

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2014, 07:57:55 pm »

Slightly OT, acrylic and glass just beg for problems.  My life became so much easier when I went to canvas.  Now the only troubles I have are packaged pieces mauled by forklifts during shipping.  But insurance covers that.

BTW, even the most reputable galleries usually state an "all sales are final" policy on their receipts and contracts, and often on signs near the POS.  What you see is what you get.  But OTOH, most are quite willing to accommodate clients with issues, it's just good karma as we have discussed.  At artfairs I tell people I will fix or replace pieces that are damaged in transport or hanging.  Have never had to do that, and that sure does help the sale move forward.

An interesting twist is the concept I see recently at some Santa Fe galleries is that "the framing is free, a gift from the artist."  They will happily remove the art from unappealing frames, but with no affect on the price because all you're actually paying for is the art.  Food for thought.  So don't complain about scratches on your gift frame, you ingrates!
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luxborealis

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2014, 08:00:19 am »

 >:(
"the framing is free, a gift from the artist."  They will happily remove the art from unappealing frames, but with no affect on the price because all you're actually paying for is the art. 

Bill, Even further OT, at this "framing is free shop", how do they keep the customer happy when the customer asks (like I might): 'If the framing is free, I'd like to swap this frame for that frame.'?

I like the concept!
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Justan

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2014, 09:29:35 am »

^I tell customers that I offer 2 frame types, one type for larger works and one for smaller, and if they’d like something else I’ll sell them the print on a backing for less than a framed work, and they can get the frame of their choice. Many take me up on this option.

I also mostly sell works on canvas but offer framed works done on cotton rag fine art paper with an acrylic cover for about a 50% premium. Some foto purists prefer this type of presentation.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 09:34:15 am by Justan »
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bill t.

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2014, 02:02:37 pm »

>:(
Bill, Even further OT, at this "framing is free shop", how do they keep the customer happy when the customer asks (like I might): 'If the framing is free, I'd like to swap this frame for that frame.'?

I don't know!  But I suspect that if the gallery salesman is worth his weight in sales receipts it will either cost something to reframe, or the client will be given the name of a good framer.  The "free framing" galleries are in the stratospheric price range, BTW.

All the pieces I show are framed.  If somebody wants an image reframed, it can only be done as a special order which takes at least a couple weeks.  I never reframe existing pieces, life is too short and it backs up the operation of my business and hastens the operation on my back.

I made the decision to never do glazed-matted framing again, because it's just too prissy and takes at least 4 times longer than just slamming a mounted canvas in an open frame, bam-bam-bam with the pneumatic point driver.  That point driver is very cathartic, oh yeah.  If it costs me an occasional sale, that's OK by me.  I still have my principles at least 80% intact, although ever year I subtract around 2 or 3% from the running total.  Also, I have enough statistical data now to pretty well anticipate the ratio of this frame to that, so I don't get too many reframes.
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kaelaria

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2014, 07:35:56 pm »

Replace this one, cover it all.  Revise your contract/sales sheet to include customer inspection signature and approval waiving future damage claims.
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Jan Morales

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Re: Customer wants damaged frame replaced for free one month after purchase
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 10:29:58 am »

Thank you to all who responded!

I did the replacement free and clear and I got the damaged print back. Not only did the buyer scratch the acrylic glazing, she also dinged the metal frame. I feel like she thinks I'm Nordstrom or something. I'm not happy with her at all, but I'm going to just let it go.

I started offering framed prints because I heard that sometimes buyers prefer it because it means they don't have to bother with framing it themselves. It's ready for the wall, so to speak. But honestly, for a small volume guy like me it's a big pain, and I definitely don't want to get in the business of handling large panes of actual glass or paying even more for professional framing. Frankly, I would rather just sell loose prints.

This is the first time this has happened, so I'm going to leave things as they are and see if this is a frequent problem or not. I suspect it won't be.
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