New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

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New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Steam Traction World on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 10:37 am

Dear All,

It's with deep regret that Steve and I have felt the need to put this on the forum, however, we now feel there is now no alternative.

Since we took over almost 4 years ago (yes 4 years!! it's been that long!) we have both tried to be fair and where ever possible trusting. We all work extremely hard to produce the kits you purchase and do our very best to achieve the delivery date promised. Admittedly sometimes things happen and things slip a little but when ever we can we do our utmost to catch back up.

Once a kit has been completed we ship it. At this stage we have NOT been paid and have not only purchased the materials, we have machined it, paid wages, paid overheads, paid the courier plus once the invoice has been created we then are eligable to pay the VAT portion (around £100 on a £600 kit). All this is done by us in GOOD FAITH because the majority of customers are good payers, trustworthy and honest. I can't think of many other cases or products where any one can receive their goods without paying for them and if they are then happy pay for them 7 days (or months in some cases) later.

As from TODAY, any NEW orders placed will require payment prior to despatch. We also intend to draft some terms and conditions which state that 'All goods remain STW's property until paid for in full'

The reason for this major change is we have now been caught out once too often. I have done my best below to give some examples of the need for this change:

We have never made this public information before however for the last 2 years we have been persuing one individual who paid a deposit for a 4" Burrell Single after visiting the premises. This individual the next month then went on to order the first 4 kits including one vulcanised rear wheel. He then failed to pay for them. £399 deposit in......£2000+ shipped out and not paid. After almost a year of chasing and being fobbed off we then started legal proceedings. Just to rub salt in the wounds, the cheeky tosser (polite for me!!) then sold OUR kits on Ebay making around £500 (which i didn't spot otherwise i would have bid). A further year down the line, after going to court, instructing debt collectors and baliffs, we don't seem to be any closer at getting our money. A court order has been issued now so we'll see how it goes but one thing i will say though is i will persue this as long as i have a breath left in me!

Additional to this we have sent out numerous spare parts over the years and never received payment. These tend to be for small amounts £50 ish and a lot more difficult to chase as the time it takes out weighs the return.

Another example for the need to change things was an Ebay listing this week:

The first 3 kits of our new batch 4" singles appeared as a listing. Steve and I can tell it's one of the new batch because there is a subtle difference. We checked the location and it did not take long to work out who the customer was that was selling it......and guess what!!

Yep, there was an outstanding balance on the account. This customer owes us £499 from December (almost 3 months!). Although there has been some communication where the customer agreed to pay the balance in January, this did not happen. I therefore decided to bid on the parts. I won the auction yesterday and asked the seller to send me an invoice and their address. I then received an email saying 'Sorry item no longer for sale as withdrawn due to marriage break down'. Funny how the auction ran to the end so it wasn't withdrawn at all and a marriage can break down in the space of 24 hours!! Wonder if it was something to do with us winning it and at £560 i'd only be paying £61 once the balance was cleared!!!

The final example is the following. This is not really about an outstanding balance but is still relevant as one way or another it cost us cash.

About 18 months ago a father and son purchased a 4" Burrell taking around half the kits as a single consignment. A deal was struck which included vulcanised tyres and a slight reduction for purchasing a lump sum of kits and finishing the build quicker (a reuction is something we no longer offer). That was the last we heard. Although they signed an order form and agreed to complete the engine from us they have never taken another kit since. Despite letters asking them what they intend to do and when will they be taking their next kit......nothing, not even the decentcy of a phone call.
To rub salt in the wound this individual is now making parts himself and posting the pictures on another well known forum!

I know changing the payment terms will not stop what happened above but it will stop those other people from taking OUR property which we've worked dam hard to produce, not paying for them and then selling it on.

We are still struggling to get some current customers to pay promptly. As of today we are owed 18k overdue by a month or more and it hurts. Hopefully asking new customers/orders to pay prior to deliver will also illiminate this in the long term future.

Both Steve and I hope you understand the reasons for these changes.

All the best

Dean & Steve







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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  HStannard on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 11:33 am

Hi Dean & Steve,

I certainly don't have a problem with paying up front.

I have always worked on the principal that if i can't afford it I can't have it, and I always prefer to pay for what I buy - when I buy it so I know where I am with my money!

Having said that, when will I need to get the money ready for the next 6" Foden kit? Wink Wink

Hugh.

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Clive Brown on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 11:45 am

Hi Dean,
I wholeheartedly agree with your actions,any chance of naming and shaming the culprits?(After all there are many organisations to protect consumers from "rogue" suppliers - but none that I know that protect suppliers from "rogue" consumers!]
Clive

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  lynnr on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 11:59 am

Fully agree with your action and future requirements. Just give me bell as the kit is about to be dispatched and I will gladly pay before the kit goes out the door.

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Steam Traction World on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 12:26 pm

Clive,

If I had my way 'naming and shaming' is the least i would do as i tend to think with my heart rather than my head!

Fortunately for STW we have Steve who is a lot more level headed than I am. He's also a lot more generous than me, he'd lend his last fiver to someone whereas I'd probably lend it but it'll on a pay day loan basis and tied in at about a million percent interest (per day!! lol) Very Happy (Just joking).

My initial reaction was bugger it everyone can pay up prior to delivery, however, the sensible one then quite correctly pointed out that this would penalise those customers who do pay on time and never let us down and why should they suffer. The best compromise therefore was to change it to 'new' orders only. This will not affect anyone who has already placed an order or is part way through a build. We will however continue to monitor existing customers and then address individually those who pay late regularly.

Hi Hugh,

We are working on the 6" Foden springs now. We made a sample and sent it away for heat treatment last week to ensure we were 100% happy. This came back on Monday and after testing it under load everything was fine. The spring steel is being cut currently, it will then be machined and rolled. After this it will be put back on the machines to be drilled after rolling (this will ensure the hole is round and not egg shaped) and finally sent away for heat treating. On a more positive note though, the first half a dozen patterns have been completed and the castings should start coming off any day. Once we start receiving the wheels I can't see why we can't send out them much quicker than one a month to those who want them.
I know this doesn't give you the answer to your original question about when to have your money ready for the next kit but I'll ask Craig to post some pics on the 6" Foden part of the forum tomorrow to give everyone an taster.

Dean

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  highpressure on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 12:29 pm

Totally agree with whats been said and what you need to do. Running my own company I am very fortunate that all pay before I leave having completed the work, if they dont I dont do the work or take back what I have done, so understand completely the need to secure the goods and services already used. These selfish Bastards could cause the rest of us to loose out on future kits to complete our models if the worst happens. Give me a call before despatch and I will pay up. ( Send me the next 5 kits and you can have it all now Very Happy Very Happy )

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  burrell1 on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 12:50 pm

Steve and Dean

I am very sorry to hear about the problems that you are having with people not paying for kits. When I built my first Burrell Traction Engine it was possible for me to pay by Visa and you were able to keep the details of my card. In this way when I received a new kit it arrived with a visa receipt, as you were able to take payment prior to dispatch. I will be more than happy to pay for new kits prior to dispatch, its just a pity that you will have to go to all the trouble of contacting people prior to dispatching kits, rather than making new kits. As you know I am at present building a 6" Foden lorry and am very impressed with kit one and looking forward to owning a very impressive lorry. Besides paying for kits in advance of dispatch I will be more than happy to purchase and collect all four wheels at one time, instead of one each month. Just let me know when I can collect them and I will bring the money with me. If in the future there is also a chance of helping out in the same way please let me know. Its just a pity that I live so far away or I would collect and pay for every kit. For the last five years I have been rallying my Burrell traction engine and having a great time thanks to you and all at STW. I hope that the many loyal and honest customers (Friends and STW family) can do everything possible to support you. I for one will be happy to support STW in what ever is necessary to resolve this problem.

Bill

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  busman on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 1:26 pm

I think you have every right to ask for payment 7 days prior to dispatch on all kits whether ongoing or new batches, keep your accounts healthy!!!!

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Robfishman on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 2:12 pm

Now I know who out bid me.......yes have seen a couple of your kits sold on eBay in the last year or two, they are as you say easy to spot when they are listed. This chap also just sold other parts, siren, water rose, and a few other bits, I didn't win these either. I did email him to say if there was a problem and the buyer didn't get in contact to come back to me. Will let you know if he does. I think I also bid on the other one you mentioned.....back in the spring of last year...he had the first 4 kits...but I lost that one.

Like others I support you in payment in advance, after all I dont see a registered charity number on the website and it's a shame a few take advantage of the situation.


Last edited by Robfishman on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 3:03 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re the bad payers

Post  Steve A on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 2:24 pm

Hi Steve & Dean
We're more than willing to pay up front for each kit as they're due. If you give us a ring before the kit goes out we'll happily pay in advance. No pay - No kit would be a policy we'd be happy to comply with. regards Steve

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  PaulA on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 3:36 pm

Hi Steve & Dean,

I fully understand your frustrations . For the ongoing viability of any small business cash flow is critical and one of the biggest impacts on cash flow is late payments and bad debts. Like most of your other replies I am more than happy to pay up front.

As I am collecting my 6" foden kits I hope you will accept payment on collection, or do you want payment in advance of the collection date. I am also more than willing to pay for and accept all of the wheels in one batch if you can supply.

Regards

Paul

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Tony King on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 12:26 am

Hi Steve & Dean,
I too am very sorry to hear that some of your customers are taking advantage of your nice easy trusting way of doing busines. They are nothing more than low life scum & I wish more could be done to bring them their just rewards!!
I do feel very strongly on this point, as it effects everyone who is connected to STW & the marvelous oppotunity that you provide for enthusiasts to actually realise what is in some cases is a life long dream of building something that would never be acheivable any other way!!
I'm with Dean on this one, go get the bastads!!!
I also would be happy to pay upfront if it would help.
Regards,
Tony

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Weston on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 4:32 am

Hi Guys,

Sorry to hear that you been having troubles with chasing customers for money. Especially when you go the great lengths to get things done for us. I agree with Clive, Name and Shame Wink

Anyway's just a thought, but would you guys be able to add a section on the forum for when kits are ready for dispatch and payment now due?

ie, Burrell 4" single, Kit 6 is ready, payment now needed before dispatch,

I think a lot of your customers look on here even if they don't post, maybe an easy way contacting most people.

Regards

Ryan

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Steam Traction World on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 5:21 am

Hi All,

Just wanted to say thank you for your replies.

Just to make it clear, this post was not put to upset or point the finger at any existing customers we have. It was put to let everyone know of the problems we sometimes come across and that no matter how honest, hardworking and trustworthy you are as a company or individual that there are some individuals who will always take the p**s. For this reason some minor changes had to be made.

This will NOT affect any of you guys (and girls). None of you are the problem, we know that and everyone else can see that by your replies and your reactions.

We even have a few cusomers who have purchased engines over a longer period, this will not affect them. It was agreed to let these individuals build over an extended time frame and is not an issue to us at all. We are more than happy to have them on board and it doesn't cause us any problems because it was agreed by prior arrangement and can be planned for.

It will only affect NEW orders and any customers who despite previous reminders regularly pay late.

Both Steve and I realise we are in 'a hobby' industry. Building a traction engine is not as important as repairing the car/central heating should a crisis occur and they breakdown. We understand that. We have never forced any one to have a kit and would never pressure someone in to doing so especially if they are struggling financially. All we ask is should a problem occur.....we are kept in the loop. Talk to us and let us know because then we can plan around it. We don't bite (Steve doesn't anyway!). It could be as simple as your acount can be put on hold until things improve, if here's a balance due we can get the kit back until you are in the position to pay for it and it eases your burden. This project is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and that's what we what you to feel.

We are all in this together......


All the best


Dean & Steve





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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  sonick45 on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 6:32 am

Wise and Gracious words Gents...

As you say we are in this together and if it means protecting you and ultimately our investment into building a dream machine then new terms and conditions that safe guard this can only be a good thing...

It doesn't matter what business your in, from my own experience there is always someone out there who will take the piss and if they can, rip you off.

I agree with every other customer who has commented above and think an extra thread on the forum detailing when a kit is ready to go out the door is a good idea. That way customers can call in, pay and then receive the kit.


Nick


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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Davechamberlain on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 10:04 am

Hi I was recently fortunate enough to be employed by dean and steve and can honestly say they are really nice guys to work for I really enjoy my job and would hate to one or two individuals spoil things for everyone else.

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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Brian M on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 12:28 pm

If builders are notified of a kit going out it could add additional workload and complication to the process (not a happy Isabel).

The current process is simple; when you received the kit(s), pay the invoice.

Another option is to have a loan company underwritten the cost of the engine (similar to most ‘buy now pay later’ schemes).
Personally, I think it is sad that a few spoil it for the many and like all people on this forum I am happy with the arrangement I have with STW and will respect the relationship.

Regards,
Brian


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Re: New Terms and Conditions - IMPORTANT CHANGES

Post  Tassie Tiger on Fri 09 Mar 2012, 1:32 am

Hi Dean & Steve
Sorry to hear about your problems with non payers. Seems like not all the convicts were transported out here to the colonies, some were left behind. Write their names in a little black book for future reference and don't forget them. Go after them if you can to get what they owe you. The only way to proceed is to ask for payment before despatch to protect yourselves and your current customers.
All the best
Phil

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Terms & Conditions

Post  thehawk on Sun 11 Mar 2012, 12:59 pm

Most customers are nice guys and seem civilised at the time they place an order, the judgement of their civility is when they pay. Many firms operate a payment after delivery system and non-payment causes cash flow problems with many smaller firms, putting some out of business. A good friend of mine has steel fabrication business and if customers don't pay he visits the site with a cutting torch (or at least threatens too!). Rubber cheques are a real problem in the smaller scale construction industry!! No matter how much enthusiam the company proprietors have to sell their product, business is business and the enthusiasm must be backed up by sensible terms and conditions. Ownership of the goods must not be transferred until the goods are paid for and the owners should retain the rights to their products, and their ability to reclaim them, until the money is in the bank. I'm not a lawyer but if non payment is treated as a civil offence, selling goods that belong to some one else must be theft and therefore a criminal offence. Anyway the minimum T&C must be ownership of the kits is STW until payment is in their bank and that will not offend the honest guys and hopefully protect STW from the pratts.

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