[thelist] Re: What would you do?

J.B.Nick jbnick at postmark.net
Mon Jan 8 16:10:31 CST 2001

Matthew wrote:

>I actually had the biggest problem with the client calling me and
>complaining that we didn't return the calls to the new company - we >take
alot of pride in our business ethics and he should have known >after four
years of doing business with us that when I told him I >would do everything
reasonable to help them with the transition we >meant it. Maybe we're taking
things to personally, but that still >doesn't change my feeling.

This is what really rankles, I know, when you know you've done and
always intend to do the right thing.  I had a similar parting of the
ways with a client of three years, an amicable parting, but primarily
because I told them I needed a few more bucks an hour to continue (it
was true).  They decided to find someone cheaper, and I offered all
possible help, including some php/mysql scripting not yet on line and
various form scripts.  I never heard from my predecessor, but I did
have the interesting experience of seeing the contract they sent to
him, because someone inadvertently emailed me a copy (heh).

So I KNOW that they are paying him 40% more than me, and without
going into painful detail, the site, well, sucks now.  I can't imagine
that the client is happy with it as it is, but I think there is a
plethora of competing egos involved, and nobody's going to back down
and say this isn't working, at least in the short term. 

But my problem is similar to yours, in that I got some of that
"uncooperative" crap--a matter of a typo in a password--no, I was not
trying to keep the new webmaster out of the web directory.  It just
made me look at them in wonderment and say "what."   It's like my
mother always says "consider the source."  People who accuse you of
bad shit do it themselves, and expect others to do so as a matter of

I know I can't explain myself or truly apprise them of the situation
without having my motives be suspect.  So the only gracious thing I
could think of to do is to write them a letter and say that I really
enjoyed working with them and would be happy to do so in the future
should the occasion arise.  But I really feel like saying "tell that
guy to fix all those broken links and stop making unannounced links to
big bulky pdf files 90 degrees from expected orientation where a
Normal Human Person would expect another html page."  No wait, I said
I wouldn't get into painful detail.

You have an opportunity, I guess, in that the client called to
complain.  That provides a perfect segue to a gracious, professional
response briefly outlining your commitment to various principles of
ethics and excellence, thanking them for past contracts,
opening the door for future collaboration, yada yada yada.  Then if
anyone else accuses you of dishonest or flaky dealings, sue their

My two pennies.



More information about the thelist mailing list