Author Topic: Writing a complaint about a business peer--Draft added  (Read 3086 times)

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CakeBeret

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Writing a complaint about a business peer--Draft added
« on: March 25, 2013, 11:03:14 AM »
Hi folks,

I'm going to try and keep this short, but succinct is not my strong suit. :)

Recently my company purchased some items from Company X. Company X requires payment up front, so I personally drove a company check to their office. When I arrived, the office lady said "Oh...ah...they actually said you need a cashier's check." This was 4:45 in the evening--the bank closes at 5--and the items were supposed to be picked up at 7am the next morning. So I have no idea how they expected me to produce a cashier's check.

The office lady then went and got one of the owners, Paul. Paul came into the office and introduced himself to me. He said that since we had a large order, he was wary of letting me pay by check. He then began a long and uncomfortable interrogation about my company's information, bank account, and financial status. He even asked me point-blank if the check was going to clear. He then said that he knew where to find me if the check did not clear.

Our company has bought from Company X at least twice before, paid by check both times, and not had any issue. Paul's interrogation was uncomfortable and, in my opinion, inappropriate. If he had any concerns, he should have voiced them in the two weeks prior, and if he was concerned about the check clearing, should have asked in advance for a cashier's check.

Upon relaying the story to my boss, she called our sales representative at Company X and basically said, "Why was my employee interrogated like this?" The sales rep apologized profusely and said that they had been having some problems with Paul. He then told my boss that she could send a written complaint to the other owners of Company X.

First of all, is this even worth filing a written complaint? My boss tends to be overprotective of the employees, and while I felt Paul was out of line, I'm not convinced it's worth complaining over.

Second, if it is worth filing a complaint, how should I write it? I don't remember the exact quotes of what Paul said--I was pretty floored at the time--but I do recall the gist of it. I'm concerned that a complaint would come across as whiny, and not be terribly effective if I don't remember his exact words.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 03:16:01 PM by CakeBeret »
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MrTango

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 11:31:49 AM »
You mentioned that Paul was "one of the owners."

I would write a letter to the other owners, excluding Paul, saying something along the lines of:

"Dear [owner],

I am writing on behalf of [CakeBeret's company], which has purchased [product] from you several times in the past.  During our most recent purchase, the treatment I received from Paul [lastname] has led my company to the decision that in the future, we will be obtaining [product] elsewhere.

Due to your company's policy of requiring up-front payment, I personally delivered a company check to your company on [date] and was advised by your receptionist that you require a cashier's check.  We have previously made payment by check to your company and were never in the past required to provide a cashier's check.

Next, Paul [lastname] was summoned to speak with me. He said that since we had a large order, he was wary of letting me pay by check. He then began a long and uncomfortable interrogation about my company's information, bank account, and financial status. He even asked me point-blank if the check was going to clear. He then said that he knew where to find me if the check did not clear.

As I mentioned earlier, our company has bought from [your company] at least twice before, paid by check both times, and not had any issue. Paul's interrogation was uncomfortable and, in my opinion, inappropriate. If he had any concerns, he should have voiced them in the two weeks prior, and if he was concerned about the check clearing, should have asked in advance for a cashier's check.


Again, I would like to express my disappointment that, due to the way Paul [lastname] treated us during our last purchase from your company, we have decided to seek out other suppliers for [product].

Sincerely,
[CakeBeret]
Title
Company"

(The paragraphs in italics are almost verbatim from the OP)

lovepickles

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 11:48:27 AM »
I think it is worthy of a complaint. If someone doesn't state upfront that a cashiers check is needed they have a problem. If they decide to accept a regular check that is fine but drop the interrogation. It sounds like this guy is on a power trip and that is bad for business. I think it is without question that this bully needs to be reported.

Zilla

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 12:00:02 PM »
I would write a letter along the lines of a suggestion stemming from the complaint.


Something like, "I ordered X items on X date.  Was told to pay this amount.  I did so and was interrogated by Paul where he asked some uncomfortable questions and then made a comment that he knew where to find us if the check bounced.  We have paid your company twice before without any issues.  If a cashier's check is required, perhaps this should be relayed to the sales team to avoid this from happening again."


Make it prettier and more business like of course, but you get the gist.

Carotte

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 12:54:39 PM »
I think it depends what your company wants to accomplish with it. If it's only to complain and tell them you won't be using them and why, Mr Tango wording is good.
If you want other owner to know what is happening and that you would like to use them again, then word it as asking for a confirmation of the rule (about checks) and still letting him now that Paul handled it badly and that you are not sure you want to continue using their service.
Then maybe decide after other owner's answer about what he is planning on doing (talking to Paul, making the process clearer..).

Shoo

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 12:57:19 PM »
Since Paul is an actual owner of the company, I don't know that it's good form to "tattle" on him to the other owners.

Instead, I would call one of them (or email, or write) and just clarify what their company policy is on accepting business checks for product.  Explain that you don't want the awkwardness you experienced before to happen again, so you'd like to know the official policy so that you can work within it.

DavidH

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 01:05:35 PM »
Part of this depends on how different this order is from the previous ones.  For example, if in the past you'd ordered hundreds of dollars worth of product at a time and now it was tens of thousands, his concern is more understandable than if it's the same type of order.

I'm not sure what you'll accomplish by filing a witten complaint about an owner, but if you do, I'd concentrate on changing the policy to require a cashier's check rather than a company check and not telling you until you arrived with the regular check.  Stress that you had paid previous with a check without incident.




Hillia

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 01:12:44 PM »
If they've been receiving complaints about Paul, the other owners might be collecting evidence to use in either talking to him or trying to buy him out, or getting him to step back from customer contact. 

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CakeBeret

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 01:52:13 PM »
Here is my first draft, opinions are welcome:

We have been working with [salesman] to purchase [stuff] totaling $XXXX from Company X, and our [things] were ready for pickup last week. After discussing our payment options with [office lady], I drove out to Company X on Thursday the 21st to deliver a company check. When I arrived, [office lady] informed me that I actually needed to pay with a cashier’s check. I reminded her that we have always paid via company check and had never had an issue previously.

[office lady] then called Paul, who came into the office, introduced himself, and began asking a string of uncomfortable questions about [my company]'s business and finances. He said that because of the large value of this order, he was wary of accepting a company check. He went so far as to ask point-blank if the check would clear, before asserting that he knew where to find me if the check did not clear. 

I am uncertain why Paul would choose to interrogate me so aggressively, considering our past history with Company X. When we purchased $XXXX worth of [stuff] in October, we had no trouble paying that invoice with a company check.

This experience has made us reluctant to order from Company X again, and we would like to clarify your policy on payment for large orders.

Best regards,
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

siamesecat2965

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 02:47:22 PM »
Part of this depends on how different this order is from the previous ones.  For example, if in the past you'd ordered hundreds of dollars worth of product at a time and now it was tens of thousands, his concern is more understandable than if it's the same type of order.

I'm not sure what you'll accomplish by filing a witten complaint about an owner, but if you do, I'd concentrate on changing the policy to require a cashier's check rather than a company check and not telling you until you arrived with the regular check.  Stress that you had paid previous with a check without incident.

Even if the order differs from previous orders, i.e. larger quantities, etc., if their policy is for orders over x amount we need a cashier's check, that should have been spellled out at the time the order was placed, not when it was being paid for.  That would cover any concerns they might have had.  But to interrogate and then insinuate the check might not be good, very unprofessional.

 

DavidH

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer--Draft added
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 05:39:02 PM »
I agree that they definitely should have told the OP ahead of time what type of payment they wanted, it's more to understand why the change in policy now. 
I think the draft below is fine, might change the third paragraph as follows:

Given our past history of doing business with your company, I do not think that Paul's interrogation was either appropriate or warranted.


Margo

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 03:40:08 PM »
Here is my first draft, opinions are welcome:

I think your wording is very good. I'd make some minor changes (bolded)

We have been working with [salesman] to purchase [stuff] totaling $XXXX from Company X, and our [things] were ready for pickup last week. After discussing our payment options with [office lady], I drove out to Company X on Thursday the 21st to deliver a company check. When I arrived, [office lady] informed me that I actually needed to pay with a cashier’s check. I reminded her that we have always paid via company check and had never had an issue previously.

[office lady] then called Paul, who came into the office, introduced himself, and began asking a string of uncomfortable questions about [my company]'s business and finances. He said that because of the large value of this order, he was wary of accepting a company check. He went so far as to ask point-blank if the check would clear, before asserting that he knew where to find me if the check did not clear.  Paul's manner came over as very rude, and left me/our representative very uncomfortable

I am uncertain why Paul would choose to interrogate me so aggressively, considering our past history with Company X. When we purchased $XXXX worth of [stuff] in October, we had no trouble paying that invoice with a company check. If the policy has been changed, and cashiers checks are now required, we feel that this ought to have been made clear at the time we placed the order, or, at the latest, when we were advised that our order had arrived.

This experience has made us reluctant to order from Company X again, and we would like to clarify your policy on payment for large orders.

Best regards Yours sincerely

bah12

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer--Draft added
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 03:52:49 PM »
I do think this is worthy of a complaint.  Company X should have requested a cashier's check up front...and I do think that interrogating you on the financial status of your company (how in the know are you with that anyway?) is inappropriate.  Considering that this was also different than your experience in the past, I think that something needs to be said.

I would approach it a little differently though.  Instead of writing a formal letter to the other owners (excluding Paul), I would send an email asking for clarification on the policy. 

Mention in the email that you have had positive experiences with the salesperson and that the payment options were discussed with the front office before you hand delivered the check.  You can make a legitimate complaint that you were not informed that a cashier's check was required before you showed up with a company check, that this is a deviation from how payments were required in the past, and that your company, in general, is uncomfortable with an owner asking an employee for seemingly proprietary information that you may not have had the knowledge or authority to disclose.  The email can then ask for clarification if this is a new policy (cashier's check) or a one off thing.  I wouldn't exclude Paul from the email nor would I call him out specifically...the owners will figure it out on their own. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer--Draft added
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 05:13:47 PM »
I wouldn't want to complain to the other owners.

I'm not inside their company, and I don't want them to drag me into it.

I would either write my complaint to the representative I deal with, or I'd write to the company as a whole (or whoever its highest-ranking person is).

CakeBeret

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Re: Writing a complaint about a business peer--Draft added
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2013, 10:37:07 AM »
Thanks all. My boss has sent the final letter to our sales rep, who says he will pass it along. I appreciate the help!
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