KBB - February 2009 - (Page 40)

Practice Talking Points Avoid consumer litigation with communication Consumer lawsuits can be severely detrimental to the kitchen and bath industry because many of the claims that arise are not covered by insurance. Moreover, most states have consumer fraud statutes that award a successful plaintiff double or triple damages and provide for the reimbursement of their legal fees. However, you can dramatically decrease the likelihood that your business will be sued by employing several key communication strategies. are not signed by the plaintiffs), the case becomes one of “he said/she said,” which will ultimately result in your company settling with the plaintiffs. Clearly, the litigation described above could have been prevented with a structured sales procedure that involved taking clear and concise notes and having the customers sign off on them, as well as your drawings. During the initial interview with your customers, you could have asked them to initial the notes taken on the desired length of the island to verify that the information was correct, and final drawings should have received your customers’ written, not oral, approval. Communicating in this manner could have saved your company a significant amount of money. Although obtaining written approval from a STRUCTURED SALES PROCEDURES Whether your business is large, small or in between, the key to avoiding litigation is to have a clear understanding of your customers’ desires, needs and expectations and to effectively communicate to The key to avoiding litigation is to have a clear understanding of your customers’ needs and expectations. him/her your company’s abilities, policies and procedures. This is accomplished by having a structured customer sales procedure. Consider the following example. New customers enter your showroom and explain what they are looking for, including, for example, the length of a kitchen island. In response, you enthusiastically pull out product samples and specifications, while jotting down some notes to assist you in designing their kitchen. The customers like what they see, schedule a time for the measurement of their kitchen and await the completed design, which is to include the island at the length they originally requested. Being focused on the sale, you submit the design to the customers, obtain verbal approval, collect a deposit and place the merchandise order. So far so good, right? When the merchandise arrives, you receive payment on the remaining balance, deliver the cabinets and begin to install them. Unfortunately, the customers complain that the center island is 1 ft. shorter than what they ordered. Being a careful and detail oriented designer, you know that you designed the island exactly as they requested. Despite your attempts to appease the customers your company is sued. Your customers, now known to you as “the plaintiffs,” claim that they told you the proper length and that you acknowledged it. Unfortunately for you, all you have to document your initial meeting with the customers is “chicken scratch” on a note pad. Since you have no competent evidence to prove what length the customers originally requested (note: the final drawings are not sufficient proof since they customer may not prevent a lawsuit, it will give your company a good chance to dismiss the case on an early motion and keep you from having to pay the customer any money. ADDITIONAL PROTECTION Additional ways to prevent litigation during the design and ordering phases include: (1) making sure that the particular style or product (for example, a particular color countertop) is still available before promising it to the customer; (2) keeping organized notes of all customer telephone calls; (3) insisting that all change orders be signed; and (4) making certain to advise the client in advance of the possibility of delivery delays. There is no hiding the fact that we live in a highly litigious society and that the freedoms provided by our country allow a consumer to sue a business for just about anything. While you cannot stop that litigation train from riding the rails, by ensuring proper communication with your customers—through good note-taking and customer signoffs, as well as properly constructed contracts—you can limit or even eliminate the number of times the train stops at your station. I —Peter J. Lamont, Esq., is an attorney practicing at McCarthy & Jennerich in Rutherford, NJ. He will be authoring a monthly article for K+BB’s website at www.kbbonline.com and is open to any suggestions on topics to be covered. Email him at plamont@mcjennlaw.com. 40 + K BB February 2009 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of K/BIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - February 2009

KBB - February 2009
Contents
Online Contents
Online News
Editorial
Focus
Trends
Products
Options
Design
Green
Tech
Practice
Education
Opinion
Editorial Index
Ad Index
Favorites

KBB - February 2009

https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202211
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202209
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202207
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202205
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202203
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202201
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202201_v2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202111
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202110
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202109
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/kbb/202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/202102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/202102_v2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20200708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20200506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20200203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20191112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20190708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20190506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20190203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20180910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20180708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20180506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20180203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20170708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20170506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20170203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20161112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20160203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20151112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20150708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20150506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20150203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20141112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/20140506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/kbb/201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20131112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20130506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20130102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20121112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20120506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20120102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20110506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20110102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_201003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20100102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20091112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_20090607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/kbb_200808
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com