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Vermont Hardwoods open and shipping

Question Framing that hasn't been picked up in years...

Taylor

Grumbler in Training
Messages
3
Hey all,

So our policy is to pay when you pick-up. I underdtnd the pros and cons to this policy - pros being that it allows for any adjustments that may affect the cost, and cons are that we won't get paid until the customer comes in to pick up their framing. Over the years, our bin room has slowly filled up with framing orders that have never been picked up. Every year we call the customers, send letters, emails, etc. but most of the framing stays put. Since then, most numbers have gone out of service, or people have moved. I'm wondering how to go about this moving forward - should I senda letter saying if you don't pick up your framing by XX/XX/XXXX date, it'll be sold off or thrown out? Am I allowed to do that?

Has anyone had a similar issue?
 

Mike Labbe

Forum Support Team Administrator
Team member
Messages
12,012
I think the law probably varies by state. Most of the time you can't sell or throw it away, but have to retain it. There are unclaimed property divisions in each state and the national NAUPA system, but that primarily is about money. I submit tens of thousands of records per year to NAUPA annually for one of my other jobs, and it is an interesting process.

Most times we took an order without a deposit, the same has happened. But you already know the pros and cons of that, so NO lectures or judgement :)

Our back room has a section with a few pieces that have been sitting there 15 years or more, with dozens of calls/emails/letters/certified letters, etc. In one case, we unframed the items (Jerseys) and sent the unframed items back to the person by certified mail. We wrote it off and recycled the materials, and had their signature as proof of return.

We now have a disclaimer that prints on every receipt from the POS software, explaining that orders must be picked up within 30 days of due date or they may be subject to additional storage fees.

It's frustrating for sure, and it should be interesting to hear how others have handled this to comply with the rules in their particular state (or country)
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Messages
8,548
Full payment up front except for rare occasions. . I have a few pieces in here for a couple of years, but I don't care as I have been paid. I guess when i retire, i'll have a bon fire.

You might want to go thru that ever increasing stack of unclaimed pieces and add up how much money you have lost. It MIGHT change your mind about not taking any money up front.

Really, why? Unless you are independently wealthy and money doesn't matter.
Please, reconsider your policy. At the least, require half down. That way you cover materials.
 

FramerCat

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Messages
1,974
Like Mike said, write it off, recycle the materials, return the items if you can, store the items if you can or in the worst case scenario,if you don't have room to store it and if they ever come back, they are going to have to have proof that they ever dropped anything off and didn't come back to pick it up. Do they have that proof? If so, maybe there are a couple of policies that you might want to reconsider. (I'm having an evil day, so forgive me if my advice is a little darker than usual)

Ed
 

nikodeumus

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Messages
257
I also only take payment on pick up.
A small one person shop like where I work probably doesn't have as high a rate of "loss of income" from this policy as for larger busy shops.

In the ten years I've been working here I have only 3 small jobs that haven't been picked up in years.
The total value of material costs to me is less than $150 dollars.
That's not too bad a loss over ten years.
And I could do as suggested and re-sell the frames to recoup that loss.

I think it makes sense to retain the artwork at the very least.
Let's say you removed the artwork and retained it safely stored.
If someone were to return after many years, they can choose to take their artwork away, or pay the CURRENT PRICE to have it framed. And this time take payment ahead of time to ensure they don't repeat.
 
Vermont Hardwoods open and shipping

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Messages
17,571
I'm wondering how to go about this moving forward - should I senda letter saying if you don't pick up your framing by XX/XX/XXXX date, it'll be sold off or thrown out? Am I allowed to do that?

Has anyone had a similar issue?
I guess we've all had a similar issue, but those of us who collect a deposit of 50% or more surely have less of it.

Be careful about disposing. Yes, laws vary among the states, and some local jurisdictions could have their own unique laws. I suggest checking with a local lawyer to formulate a policy that works for you.

As suggested by others, it would be wise to start collecting at least a 50% deposit, if not full payment up-front. My standard line has always been, "Your total balance is $XXXX.XX. Would you like to pay half or all of it today?" As often as not, they will pay it all.

You mentioned the matter of price changes; so long as a balance remains, it could be easily modified. However, in my shop, we always worked to complete the framing design and arrive at a final price before the order was placed. Avoiding uncertainty going into the project is a plus for customers and they appreciate the professionalism.
 

wvframer

Forum Support Team
Team member
Forum Donor
Messages
1,265
I have about 5 feet of unclaimed work that has been paid for! And about that much that I either did not collect for or only collected a deposit. There are all kinds of reasons why they don't come back.

One of my former customers is in prison. Another died without any heirs.

At least once, a customer came back 2 years later. He had had a stroke, lost his job and his home. He was living in an apartment and had to save up the money to pay me. But most of the time, if they haven't come back for it in a month, it is not important to them.

In West Virginia, you can take all of your paperwork before a circuit judge and he/she can declare it abandoned property. You must be able to prove you have tried to return it. You can also turn unclaimed property over to the unclaimed property unit of the state treasurer. They will hold it or liquidate it and hold the cash in case the owner returns.
 

Ylva

Forum Support Team
Team member
Forum Donor
Messages
14,055
It depends on your state laws. I’m in MA so it is a little trickier here.

The few pieces I have that were not paid for, the following has worked, on one or two:

Sending an email or certified mail that if piece is not picked up after (insert dare) the work will be moved off premises and storage fees of $ will be added per day/week/month
Customer came in next day, paid and picked up and has even placed orders since then. Fully paid in advance.

Another one that worked: I sent an invoice by email, Square and did get paid within a few hours. The piece however, is still here. Lol
 

wvframer

Forum Support Team
Team member
Forum Donor
Messages
1,265
I forgot about that one, Ylva. I have had great success mailing an invoice. Often, a spouse sends a check. In most cases, spouses don't see emails.

They sometimes will be a few months picking it up. Some people are working so much that they can't get here when we are open.
 

Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Forum Donor
Messages
4,794
I have never collected up front except on very rare occasions and the longest I have every waited is 2 months and that was because that person was out of town with his company constructing a new building, he was the foreman in charge. Until I have real problems that will be my policy here but I don't believe much will change if it hasn't changed in close to 20 years.

I do like Ylva's way of doing things:
Sending an email or certified mail that if piece is not picked up after (insert dare) the work will be moved off premises and storage fees of $ will be added per day/week/month
Customer came in next day, paid and picked up and has even placed orders since then. Fully paid in advance.
Hopefully it will never get to that point but if it does I will send an email and certified letter. Great idea :)
 
LifeSaver Software...

Framar

WOW Framer
Messages
25,032
I learned a long time ago to ask for half or full payment up front. I prefer half, though - this way I have some incentive to finish the order in a timely fashion. When the items being framed are cheap carp, I have unframed them and sold the frames as ready mades. That happened with a really good, long time customer who had brought in a dozen calendar pages to frame. He just vanished into thin air. :icon45:

But I have several fully paid for orders that have been sitting in my shop for many years - and of course, everyone got rid of their landlines and got cell phones so I do not have a lot of ways to contact people anymore. :shrug:
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
Messages
7,843
We framed a football jersey for a customer last year.
We didn't take a deposit.
Usually we take 50% but because it was a jersey and sometimes we are so busy with customers coming in at the same time, we take the stuff in without a deposit.

So, because we didn't hear from the customer, we sold the framed jersey.
It turns out that he was in jail for about 8 months. They do have telephones in the jail that can be used....
He could have called us.:shrug:

He contacts us after he is released and wants to bring in another jersey to be framed.
We gave him credit for the one that we sold and we framed the new one which was basically paid for from the other jersey and he picked it up.:thumbsup:
 

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Messages
17,571
Years ago I recruited the advice and assistance of a lawyer (in trade for framing ;)) to formulate my business policies, and learned many things in the process.
We framed a football jersey for a customer last year...So, because we didn't hear from the customer, we sold the framed jersey.
I'm sure that your actions complied with the applicable laws, but laws vary among the states.

A word to others: Before selling or otherwise disposing of customers' property, check the applicable laws in your jurisdiction, because you might be required to jump through some hoops to notify the customer. In Ohio, an un-notified customer might have sued to recover the replacement price of the jersey, probably including the framing (which he did not pay for), and possibly other damages, such as emotional distress due to the loss of what he would claim to be a one-of-a-kind collectible.
 
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