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  Post #1 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 05:46 AM
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Hi all,

As a provider with great support and low hosting price, we tend to attract a few customers that push us to the limit. We recently have quite a trend of potential clients asking, begging, and harassing our sales staff more further discounts and services.

How do you guys take upon this? Are there any civil rights we can apply with an attorney?
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
harassing our sales staff
How do you define harassment? There's been quite a few news stories lately about cyber bullies. It seems to me that the same rules should apply to this activity as would apply to threats/harassement made through the mail or in person, however, it seems to be very difficult for the police to make a case. I'm sure a civil suit would be easier to win, however, it may cost a considerable amount up front.
 
 
 


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  Post #3 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 08:02 AM
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timihosting, I think the best way (instead of sending lawyers after the misbehaved), is explain to those seeking further discounts that you will not be able to provide the same quality of service and support if you were to lower the prices. Give them an example of a restaurant that wouldn't feed you for free. As in any business, there are costs, and those established by your company help cover the cost of providing the service.
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 08:58 AM
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If this is by live support then just sit back and accept it - and if it gets really bad you could say something along the lines of

'Im sorry sir / madam but abuse towards me / our colleagues is not acceptable and therefore we cannot offer our services to you at this time'

We did have a line that as built into our TOS saying that abuse towards our staff will result in account suspension / termination.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 11:37 AM
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As a provider you are here to make money. I'm sure you want to be taken seriously.

You may loose a few customers by not matching offers elsewhere but if your only making peanuts then you are not loosing much.

In nice terms you can tell them to look else-where if they feel they are not happy but people who "shop around" normally end up being back to where they started from.

I wouldn't concentrate on the ones that harass too much but concentrate on the ones that have been loyal customers thus giving them things (Rebate, More Storage, Discount) etc.. as a reward for being a loyal customer.
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 12:28 PM
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Well, everybody else seems to have hit it on the head so far. You need to make sure your customers are clear on your price, and don't just give in if they ask for discounts. As far as lawyers go, its not worth the time or money. More likely than not, this "harassment" has not broken any laws and cannot be prosecuted.
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  Post #7 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 09:26 PM
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There will always be people that are not happy no matter what you do. That is just the way it is and they want everything for nothing.

The best way to deal with them it to first be patient. If the persist to harass you then give them a warning. If after that warning I would tell them to get lost in a professional manor.

I know we have a policy that we have the right to refuse service to anyone and if any threats or abusive behavior comes about we have the right to cancel their account. Luckily I have only had to use this once since I have been in business and I even refunded the customer just to get rid of him.
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  Post #8 (permalink)   01-24-2008, 10:57 PM
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First, thanks all for replying.

Of course, letting our customers know what's going on. I think Kevin just said it: "the right to refuse business to ANYONE". I believe having this line somewhere on the TOS can help during the conversation or refusal to do business with them.

On the other note, how would a chat transcript with ip addresses and other proof be effective in the court of law?
 
 
 


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  Post #9 (permalink)   01-25-2008, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
I believe having this line somewhere on the TOS can help during the conversation or refusal to do business with them.
Potential clients are not bound to your TOS though. They didn't click the "I agree" button yet.

Quote:
On the other note, how would a chat transcript with ip addresses and other proof be effective in the court of law?
I don't think it's worth to go to court over this kind of thing. Ultimately, you can ban their IP(s) for a while, so that they get the idea.
 
 
 


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  Post #10 (permalink)   01-25-2008, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ldcdc View Post
Potential clients are not bound to your TOS though. They didn't click the "I agree" button yet.

I don't think it's worth to go to court over this kind of thing. Ultimately, you can ban their IP(s) for a while, so that they get the idea.
And what about if the idiot has dynamic ip?
The only thing you could do is to block the country ip range, but you are in danger to lose clients.
 
 
 


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  Post #11 (permalink)   01-26-2008, 12:27 PM
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Banning people is not going to help. Ultimately this kind of harrassment, people trying to barter for services happens in almost every service area, from retail to airliners and everything in between.

I think that you just have to accept that and learn to just say no. Where it matters is when it crosses the line and passes into threats-that is where you have cause for concern.
 
 
 


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  Post #12 (permalink)   01-28-2008, 04:03 PM
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So much great advice here. As frustrated and annoyed as you are, I don't think you have a strong civil suit. Unless they are threatening you with physical harm and seem to have some ability to make good on the threat, you will get little help from police agencies. The best is to drop them, if they sign up again and problems arise again, drop them again. Include a refusal right clause in your contract, and learn to put your foot down and say "I'm sorry, we cannot offer you anymore ____ (discount, service, whatever) at this time. We appreciate your business, but feel free to browse around for other hosts."

Don't sink to their level. Don't argue with them. Cut the conversation off and just repeat these sort of one-liners. Is it live help or email? You could block the IP, but as you mentioned, they could have dynamic IP. I think killing them with kindness is the better approach.
 
 
 


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  Post #13 (permalink)   01-28-2008, 04:55 PM
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I would raise prices so as not to attract the cheap fools in the first place. Then give out discounts to those who are pleasant, for the rate you're selling now.

For those who are still cheap, like those you're referring to, give them a discount to bring them to your current regular pricing.
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  Post #14 (permalink)   01-29-2008, 03:05 PM
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"Thank you for your interest in Timihosting.com. Unfortunately, we are unable to meet your pricing needs for this service."

Don't bother with the legal action. If you've got enough disposable income to throw in that direction, you should consider investing it in economies of scale to lower your prices and win those customers after all! Just kidding...
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  Post #15 (permalink)   02-03-2008, 08:27 PM
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You definitely just need to tell them you are not lowering your prices. However if you have been giving discounts and not sticking to your pricing structure they may have heard from others and feel entitled to get the same price as other customers. Legal action isn't going to change this. You need to be strong and consistent with your prices and not giving extra discounts. People will either pay for your quality of service or go elsewhere and still end up back at your service after having a bad experience with what paying less gives you.
 
 
 
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