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discounts for errors

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pierre robichauddiscounts for errors
by on Aug 8, 2007 at 5:31:56 pm

I had a repeat client that I've had a great relationship with in the past. we just completed a video intended for use in a presentation. Well, I had a freelance editor step in and make some final changes and burn the DVD's. It turns out that there were some compatability issues with the dvd on the day of presentation. I was able to upload a hi-res file to the client and they were able to make the presentation on time.

So, I apologized and offered to make changes to 2 videos (free) as they had some shelf life beyond that presentation. Everything was fine until they got the bill. The project was over double the original estimate and the client had been informed of the overages. I did not (stupidly) go through the normal changeorder process on this one due to deadlines.
When submitting the invoice I made a 40% reduction on my machine time.
The client came back and still felt that it was too much and that it should be closer to the original estimate.They brought the issue of the disk error as the reason, but I know that the truth is that my primary client just does not want to be on the hook to their boss for approving such an expensive video.

I went ahead and did a labor only invoice reducing the total another 2800.00 .

What is everyone's experience with a situation where there's been an error like this and the clients request for a discount? I know I didn't have to do any of this, but if not I would lose a very good client.I'm assuming it's a case by case thing, but would like to hear others' experiences.

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Mark SuszkoRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 8, 2007 at 6:01:30 pm

If it's something the client messed up: say, they gave you a misspelled name for a lower third, and you have it on paper (or as an email) that that's what they gave you, they eat that. If they had it right and I screw up, I eat that. If I hire someone under me to assist with the project and they mess up, I eat that too, then I try to get back something from the guy I hired, depending on the situation. If I didn't listen and ask enough questions about the specs for the deliverables, that again is my fault.

The captain is responsible for everything his crew does. Your sub-contracted guy made some kind of goof, or made incompatible files, well, that looks like it was your business to insure that and check it. Sorry about it, but that's how it looks based only on what I read.

Change orders must always go thru the approved process. This is the first thing grinders use against you; doing anything outside of the established process chain, even if they talked you into that or manipulated you into taking the shortcut int he name of making the deadline.

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beenyweeniesRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 8, 2007 at 9:59:13 pm

I agree 100%, especially the part about grinders.

It's crucial that all budget adjustments are in writing and signed off on before doing any of that work. This ESPECIALLY applies to rush situations because that's where the grinders nab you - cost overruns that are "lost in the shuffle" sure as hell aren't lost on them. After all, it's a perfect opportunity for unjustified discounts!

Since your cost overruns weren't signed off on, you have to just chalk it up to a learning experience that we've all dealt with many times.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

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Steve WargoRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 4:08:27 am

People make mistakes every day and we have to hold ourselves responsible for those mistake. As company owner, you eat what your people feed you. Sounds like this last minute guy fed you a dose of liver (no human should ever eat that).

So, let's see: you initially had a disc compatibility problem which you rectified in time. I don't think you owed them anything at all. What harm was done? Any?

Some jerk just wanted to flex his muscle and be the company hero. The problem now is that you let him get away with it once so plan on that being his way from now on. He will hold this thing over your head till the end of time.

Any time you deliver a disc, it will be something like "So Bob, what are the chances that this disc will play?" I would be sorely tempted to stick that disc where the sun doesn't shine.

IMVHO, by the way.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck

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Mike_SRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 7:59:41 am

Amen to that. Once appeased, always your bully ...

And, btw, did you get to see the disc and verify there was a problem?

A few times, I've had incompetent people at the display end mess up their playback arrangements, or fail to use a proper (software or hardware) DVD player, or accidentally spread sticky fingers over the disc surface - and then claim there's a disc problem. On review, there was no problem at all.

So perhaps you'd get the disc back and test for yourself? At the least, if there really is a disc problem you could identify it and make sure any future freelancers don't repeat it ....

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Steve WargoRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 10, 2007 at 2:52:08 pm

We had a major client that played a DVD of ours at a huge conference. I got a call from the client screaming that the voice was out of sync with the video. The hotel AV manager had explained how we probably transcoded the disc improperly and that the client needed to ask for their money back ($35k by the way). Hmmmm! I guess we screwed up. Or did we?

I asked the client, once she calmed down, if she had played the DVD in her office before leaving on the trip and was it OK at that time. Answer: Yes, it was fine.

I then asked if they were showing the DVD on multiple large screens. Answer: Yes they are.

The problem: The hotel AV crew had never even heard of an "audio delay" device and certainly didn't have one on site. When you send a VGA signal through a distribution amp to go to multiple devices, that audio can be delayed by up to a half second.

Not that this has anything to do with the situation at hand, I just wanted to tell this story.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck

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Bruce Bennett in Madison, WIRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 12:32:31 pm

Your DVD not playing may not have been the file, but the brand of disc used

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pierre robichaudRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 4:03:16 pm

Thanks All,
Bruce your example is the closest to my situation. In the end, the hi-res file worked. It was just not as seamless of a presentation as they would have liked.BUT, it worked and the quality would have been better. Again, all was well until the bill. I will probably eat the money and lose the client.

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tony salgadoRe: discounts for errors
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 10:56:05 pm

If you believe you will lose the client regardless then why underwrite their mistakes at your expenses?

Put your foot down and demand your due compensation.

Tony Salgado

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