trade tales | Oct 23, 2020 |
Torn up: How do you handle a client’s replacement request?

Wear and tear is to be expected with even the most careful of clients, but where does a designer’s assistance with such issues end? We asked three designers—Marcy Garcia, Richard Rabel and Martha J. Schneider—how they handle clients’ replacement requests.

Martha J. Schneider
Martha J. SchneiderCourtesy of Martha J. Schneider

“We work very hard to deliver furnishings that have been through our quality-control standards, and we always have the client review it upon delivery. When we receive a call that there is damage from their use, we are happy to facilitate repair for them at their expense. We have a large resource file for antiquities specialists, furniture refinishers and lighting repair businesses. The only thing we can’t do is nurse a broken leg from the child who’s fallen from the chandelier!” —Martha J. Schneider, La Maison, Raleigh, North Carolina

Richard Rabel
Richard RabelCourtesy of Richard Rabel

Time and money
“Once the items are installed and the client has moved in and is living with the items, the responsibility of repairs or replacement by either negligence or wear and tear, generally speaking, falls on the client. There are always exceptions, but that is my general rule. This is also the case with items like appliances that have a warranty. My office will always try to assist, preferably by giving the details of who could fix the problem. But if they want us to get more involved, like placing a reorder and dealing with the vendor, I will advise the client upfront that we will be charging for our time and for repurchasing and installing the items. Depending on how easy the clients were to work with, I will happily make adjustments and concessions to the above. Thankfully, in my 10 years in business, I have never had a client issue that was not resolved amicably and reasonably. I really try to weed out unreasonable clients from the get-go.” —Richard Rabel, Richard Rabel Interiors + Art, New York

Marcy Garcia
Marcy GarciaCourtesy of Marcy Garcia

Guiding light
“I have a contract clause that states that we as a company do not provide any warranties on goods purchased through us. The warranties for merchandise sourced on the client’s behalf are limited to the manufacturer’s warranty policies only. All throughout the project, we make sure to emphasize this clause, and at the end of the project, clients receive a how-to guide that includes the product warranties and how to access them.” —Marcy Garcia, MG Design Lab, Miami

Homepage photo: A project by Martha J. Schneider | Courtesy of Martha J. Schneider

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.