[NBLUG/talk] [OT] rude clients

sms at sonic.net sms at sonic.net
Mon May 17 12:09:54 PDT 2004

> Dear NBLUG list,
> I have a new client who sends really rude email to me. I know that part
> of it is my fault for not getting done with her project in a timely
> manner, but I feel like I don't deserve this abuse. I had to start a
> new full-time job at a hotel because I was having a hard time making
> ends meet in the computer industry (I'm a Stanford CS dropout trying to
> get a foot in the door, but only succeeding in getting it crushed and
> mangled). The client knows that I am limited for time but has been
> really pushy the entire time I've worked for her. I actually enjoyed
> working on the project, which was scripting FileMaker Pro 7 to retrieve
> contacts from her website via formmail and email, and then sending out
> an email campaign to everyone who opted in (kinda roundabout but at
> least it's symmetrical). Now I'm done with the project, and I want some
> advice for how I should deal with her. I have not jumped on the
> rudeness bandwagon; I always responded as politely and professionally
> as possible. I would like to work for her but the rudeness has got to
> stop, and I can't do any work in the next two weeks because I'm
> desperately trying to plan for my wedding this July; all preparations
> stopped while working for her, and she even accused me of doing wedding
> planning instead of her project. This abuse has got to go!

A key question, not entirely clear to me:  have you completed on all
the "deliverables" you promised her?  Are there any outstanding
"followup" issues... things that may not have been in the original
scope of work, but that your client may "feel" she somehow deserves
anyhow?  Is all work-to-date fully paid for?

You say her project is "done" but apparently the interactions are still
going on...?  What's *THAT* about?  Is it possible that your client is
trying to "leverage" extra/free work from you?

#1 -- If you are really entirely done, tell your client as much; "the
      project is complete, and I've moved on to new projects.  Any
      further work, even followup on the same material, would need to
      be done entirely as a newly-bid / newly-paid project."

      You perhaps should "gently suggest" that, while you tried to do
      your best for her, it's clear she wasn't happy with you, and that
      she might be happier finding a different contractor to work with
      (hopefully, you've got a colleague or three to recommend).

      As someone said:  fire your client.

#2 -- There is something still remaining; it may be some picaune detail,
      but it needs to be done before the project is fully-complete.  It
      may also be a billing-issue ~ client hasn't paid, and is making
      the pay contingent on further performance.

      This gets tricky; there are so many possible different standards,
      pitfalls, and even legal liabilities that IMHO it's virtually
      impossible to properly address in e-mail; and let us not forget
      that NBLUG/talk is publicly searchable; ANY material of legal
      substance best belongs with a lawyer.

      I would think -- VERY seriously -- about at least a brief consult
      with a lawyer; even if you don't plan any action against your
      client, it sounds like you percieve HER as being unreasonable, and
      IMHO getting legal protection BEFORE you face unreasonable legal
      challenges is a Good Thing(tm).

#3 -- There is a LOT still remaining to do; the contracted work remains
      substantially incomplete.

      IMHO, you need to work intensively, likely with her, and just keep
      on taking the high road of not being insulting; try to see it as a
      flaw in HER personality, and not take it personally.  The main
      focus of your work may be to get the project done; it may be to
      find someone to replace you so that you can get out from under her
      & enjoy your new life; it may be *not* working with her, but finding
      a "subcontractor" to do some/most/all of the work while you focus
      on the wedding/spouse/etc:  you'd still be the primary interface,
      sadly, but it would let you fulfill both personal and professional

Just some thoughts... FWIW & all that.  Just remember:  particularly as
you start out, establishing a base of satisfied customers, ones who will
commend / recommend you, is VERY important to continued success; at the
least, try not to leave someone actively badmouthing you, 'cos Chamber
of Commerce / etc business-networking happens!

- Steve S.

More information about the talk mailing list