post by Stephanie Nelson

In business, as in life, I’ve found that staying true to your word is not just a good idea, it’s mandatory.

With a recent transaction with a local promo item distributor brought this back to the forefront of my mind.  Long story short, I’d ordered some promo items and ok’d the estimate.  When the items came in, the final bill was over one-and-a-half times what I’d approved because the distributor failed to estimate shipping charges but sure as the world included them in the final bill.

For me, the customer, that estimate was that promo guy’s word.  I agreed to pay X number of dollars.  His blatant disregard for this left me with the impression that he does business as a liar and a thief.  When I tried to explain this to the man, he threatened legal action against me if I didn’t pay the bill right away.  This was less than a week after the items came in, mind you, not the standard net 15 or net 30 given by other businesses.

Being a new social media business, I had to weigh some options.  If I don’t pay, what happens?  If I write a bad review online, what happens?  It became clear to me that the path of least resistance was to go ahead and pay the bill and to avoid open retaliation by not writing anything online.  However, I felt strongly about my friends and connections who order promo materials regularly (and not so regularly) knowing how this guy did business, so I’ve made personal contacts to tell them my plight.  I’m purposefully not naming names here, but I’ve been sharing the name with anyone who asks.

So weigh in…What would you do if you found yourself in this situation? What do you do when someone isn’t true to his/her word?