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This is the 4th time in 15 years this has happened to me, and I still cannot accept responsibilty.
I have had 4 upgrades with this customer over the last 15 years, and each time the lease came within 6 months of renewal, they chose to upgrade into a new lease. No problem. This time when the lease came within 6 months, they decided to purchase instead of lease, but wanted the existing lease to run out, and return to the leasing company. No problem. At the 6 month interval, I met with the customer and left them a form letter that they would use as their Letter of Intent that they wanted to return the equipment, and not exercise the purchase option. At the 5th month, I asked if they had sent the letter via certified mail. Answer was no, but we will take care of it. At the 3rd month, they finally sent it in. Guess what? It was too late, the lease was set to renew in December.
Long story short, I argued with the leasing company on their behalf for 2 days. The customer missed the 90 day window by 3 weeks! The customer's response to me is "I do not read the fine print, you are the distributor, it is your responsibilty to contact us when this stuff is due!"
I have yet to reply back to the customer's last email, but I am thinking that I have done everything possible to ensure a smooth transition on this last deal, I wrote the letter for them, all they had to do was put it on their letterhead and mail it out. I'm not a babysitter, but I sure feel like I have some customers who assume that I am!
The only saving grace to this story so far, is that the response the customer gave to me that she does read the fine print on contracts, is that she copied "her boss" into the same email to me!! I'm waiting to see if the blank hits the fan when her boss realizes what she did.
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I recommend to my reps to walk in with the letter, get it copied onto their letterhead, get it signed, give them a copy and then walk out with the original. I have the rep tell the customer to send it or fax it but then the rep goes straight to the office. We'll pay the cost of registered mail and mail it out that day.

"Shouldn't have to babysit"...your right but your customer isn't the only one that will pay the price for non-compliance. As long as my income is at risk, I'm going to babysit.

However, I also no longer give my customers leases with a renewal clauses.
I concur with Old Glory. If my income rides on my customer I will become a babysitter. I encourage all of my sales reps to handle the letter of intent for them and make sure it gets to the leasing company. Though it is their reposnsibility it will always snowball to us if the lease goes into renewal. To avoid this I make sure all reps use documents with no renewal clause in it just month to month. I know renewal clauses were designed to protect base but in the long run it just leaves "ill-will". Great topic of conversation.
I guess I have to agree with you both. Now that my dander has had a chance to cool down. I do agree that we do what it takes to get the job done, and ensure that the customer is happy. In this case, it was a stab in the back after I had taken the letter to the customer, but did not follow through with getting the signature at that time, and sending the letter myself. I don't know if I will lose the customer over this, but we'll just have to wait and see. Thanks for the insight. It was very appreciated!
I don't want you to get the impression that I don't still take short cuts and end up paying the cost later because I do. Hindsight is always 20/20. Don't make me admit how many times I've told a customer that their verbal phone order is good enough and then have them back out or I've said "my guess is...but don't hold me to it..." and then have them make me live with an incorrect guess.
yes, I agree, great topic! If you are dealing with CIT and USXL, they have to be notified not less than 90 days prior with the Letter of Intent. I have had a few of my customers send the certified letter one month after they signed the lease with CIT and USXL. So far no problems and and you we have had some of these come to term.

I am trying to stay away from "window terms" not less than or not nore than "x" amount of days. Just yesterday in order to get a deal done I HAD (only company to approve this deal) to use Marlin for a $1.00 out, believe this they have a notification clause on a $1.00 out lease and if not notified they will renew the lease!!!! OMG
I've had several of those deals in the past of having to use Marlin, but I did not know they had a clause for a $1 lease. Guess that is why I do not use them very often.
I don't think that the leasing company is the issue as much as it is customer relations. Bigger companies with multiple machines on the contract need more pampering than your smaller deals with one machine.
I know GE Capital can be a pain but at least there "out" clause is only 30 days as is USBanks. I know in my area that MOST of the dealers don't train their reps to even talk to their accounts about the need for a letter of intent. Seems mostof the time I, as the competitor, am informing them.

I am seeing it with the GIS dealer in our market all the time. They go in and start the conversation right before the deadline and the in the middle of the deal Ask the customer if they sent their letter to the leasing company. When the customer says no they make a big deal about willing to help them with the leasing company and get them out of the renewal and into the new lease. I’d say unfortunately that works about half the time for them from what I’ve seen. The other half ends up with a furious customer who goes elsewhere the next time around.

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