Payment of kitchen

lniaNovember 30, 2012

Hi GW!

Most of our kitchen has been delivered with the exception of about 15% of the cabinets. We were originally told the kitchen would ship complete and to write a check in full to give upon delivery. We did write the check in full but as we unwrapped the cabinets we discovered several key pieces were still missing. Upon calling the kitchen store, we were informed that not everything made the shipment but that balance would deliver within 2 weeks. Is it normal to pay in full when you do not receive all the cabinets? We felt slightly deceived by the kitchen store as I did not think 100% payment should have been required if I were not receiving all my cabinets?
Is this normal?

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When did this delivery and conversation happen? If it happened today, I would probably call them in the morning and tell them you've thought about it and are uncomfortable with this. Tell them you'll come by tomorrow to get the check and will give them a new one, less the 15%, and you'll pay that balance upon final delivery. If they fight you on it tell them your other option is to call your bank and put a stop on the check all together. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:08PM
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We asked to issue a new check and stop payment on other one and were told this was not necessary. This is a small mom and pop but they have been around a while. So it is odd to ask for full payment without delivery of all items?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:04AM
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In my mind it would depend on your level of trust in the cabinet people. If you have in writing that there are back ordered cabinets and it is people you know and are comfortable with then it should not be an issue. If they are reputable people in your community it probably will not be an issue. However if they misrepresented and told you the shipment was complete and wanted full payment knowing full well there were backordered cabinets then in my opinion all bets are off and stop payment on the check.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Ditto what workman said...
But what did they mean by "Not necessary"? To me, that would mean they're saying "don't bother with that, we'll hold the check and deposit it when the rest of cabinets arrive." You may just want to call them and tell them you're confused and concerned and find out what they're going to do with your check. My initial thought though is if they're local and have been around you have nothing to worry about.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:20AM
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Their intent was to deposit the check I gave them in full. Apparently the manufacturer requires payment as well and my check was necessary for the business to pay the manufacturer. Would the manufacturer really require payment in full as well when they are the ones that did not ship all the cabinets?
This whole situation does not sound right but again, this shop has been around a while...just very small...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:38AM
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No, the manufacturer shouldn't require payment in full if the full order didn't ship and even if they did, your retailer should front the money in this case. Unless, you're really sure of this business, I'd stop the check and pay in full when the full order arrives. You'll probably be ok as is but people have gotten burned in situations like this.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:57AM
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The manufacturer usually requires payment from a design firm 30 days from when the cabinets are ordered unless they have a business line of credit, and even that only usually runs 90-120 days. If the lead time is longer than that 30 days (and with many brands it is) then they are essentially requiring payment up front before construction on the cabinets even begins. With margins on orders being about 20-30% markup, if a customer pays half down, they aren't even covering the cost of the cabinets, and thus that's why most everyone requires payment in full at delivery. Those places that do their own install sometimes will have the labor be the last bit paid after the install is complete.

If you trust them, and you did trust them enough to use them to design your kitchen, then your situation isn't a big deal. Things get mixed up, or left off of the delivery truck some times, and get delivered on the next truck. Humans aren't perfect at reading a manifest. I've even had the delivery guys realize that they had mixed up two orders at the next stop and then back track to sort it out. A lot will depend on the WHY the cabinets were not there. Most orders are not scheduled for delivery until everything is produced. The only exceptions that I can think of would be if you were ordering from a line that did semi-custom and fully custom, and you have a mixed order. Those are often produced at different facilities and do get delivered separately.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:03PM
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The retailer is being "economical with the truth", which is obviously not a good sign.

* They didn't warn you in advance that the delivery would be incomplete.

* "That's not necessary" is a ridiculous response.

* "We need to pay the manufacturer" is misleading (see below).

> Apparently the manufacturer requires payment as well and my check
> was necessary for the business to pay the manufacturer.

The retailer makes a mark-up on the cabinets that is much more than 15%, so holding back 15% should not leave them unable to pay the manufacturer. If they truly need every cent of your check RIGHT NOW, they are about to go belly-up and you may never see the rest of your order.

All that said, the right time to have held back payment was on the original check, and you really burned your bridges when you let them fob you off with that "not necessary" line. It's almost certain that they have deposited the check by now (probably about 5 minutes after you called them), and stopping it at this stage will very likely ruin your relationship with them (and you WILL need something more from them before your project is done), so at this stage I think you are probably best off letting it ride.

Finally, don't feel sorry for "mom and pop"; this is a business relationship, not a charitable donation. Decide what you want in advance before you speak to them in future and be polite but unwavering.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I have a small business and we are relatively new, we have not yet gotten 30 days from our cabinet co's. (I know designers with decades who have never bothered to seek terms)

Yes my mfg's would require the entire payement if there was a back order unless the backorder was large (which should never happen)

I have rarely had a backorder of cabinets. It would only happen if during final inspections something was deemed unacceptable. Once I was informed by the drive at time of delivery, once I had two days notice and was given a choice if I wanted the delivery (uh of course), once I demanded a partial delivery that was already late (no longer work with them)

To me the correct procedure would be to inform the customer immediately and offer that a partial payment be made if that is what they preferred. I've been fortunate in having great relationships with my customers, can't think of one who wouldn't pay the full balance. BUT I'd ask first.

I wouldn't do that because I'm a swell guy, or worried that the cabinets might not come, or even because it might be considered fair... I would do that simply to avoid the kind of discomfort that is being voiced here. Part of my job is to keep clients comfortable.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:51PM
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Have you spoken to them today? I'd try and get them back on the phone or go there in person. You're uncomfortable with the situation so you should really tell them that and see what they do for you before you get yourself too worked up.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 2:47PM
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If they've been good to work with so far and you trust them, it's probably fine. Having worked for small businesses for most of my career, as Jakuvall mentioned sometimes it is harder to get the same type of credit as larger stores, at least for a while. Depending on how large the order was, they may well have needed the check to pay the company. They probably don't have a dozen or more orders a week to have the cash flow to front that kind of money, just from volume not because they are in danger of going belly up.

It seems like this is not that unusual based on our resident experts here. I'd just see when they are expecting an update from the cabinet company, and check back at that time. If they can't provide an estimated delivery date to you in the next 10-14 days, I would revisit options at that point. Crap happens, and while they should have called ahead, this was not something they could have controlled. I think if you get all weird about this right off the bat when things have gone good so far, it will cause a lot of tension and may not end well.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 3:40PM
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