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Renderings vs Reality


#1

This one was a head scratcher. Customer came to us wanting to make a custom class ring in white gold, with custom designs on the shoulders.

He got the ring, and left us a review saying it was “completely different than the design, and not what he wanted” Wants a full refund, of course.

The picture on the left is the rendering, which the customer approved in writing multiple times. The picture on the right is the physical product, photo taken in person when the product was completed.

I am guessing a case of buyer’s remorse that has nothing to do with us is what’s “really” going on here. But the idea that our finished product doesn’t look like the rendering seems a little unfair, to say the least!


#2

Yeah, there’s something else going on there Seth. It doesn’t get much closer than that. I don’t know what else you could have done. I would probably give him his money back, but that’s me and I’m usually in the vast minority on such issues. What ever you decide, make sure you respond to his review and include those two photos.

I feel your pain ~

Dave


#3

We’ll likely give him a refund and send him on his way, not worth the hassle. The irony is we actually re-worked this before even sending it out, because the enamel was just a tiny bit off and we didn’t want to send it out unless it was perfect :slight_smile: No good deed goes unpunished.


#4

Hi Seth,

omg,…there is just no pleasing some people! that is a magnificent actual ring!
but, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder…oh well…sigh!..

I love enameled signet rings!

I am assuming that the actual was cast from a CAD/ resin model?

so, then, the only real difference would be in the finishing of the details? like maintaining the details of the dragon? and possibly the rounding of the edges in the actual, and the sharpness of the edges in the rendering?

the actual ring has a humanistic touch, whereas the CAD is more rigid…perfect…I think the humanistic touch adds so much…makes something truly look one of a kind custom hand made, even if it is one of many…

Julie


#5

CAD, and then a 5-axis milling machine to mill the wax.

Your guess is as good as mine :slight_smile: We are pretty good at not producing renderings that are not manufacturable. Since we do so much volume (so many custom pieces) we have a pretty good set of standards we abide by when designing with the customer, so what they see 99% of the time really is what they get. I actually think @davidphelps7 is right, that it really doesn’t get much closer than this! But I’m obviously biased!


#6

Hi Seth,
Don’t scratch too hard… you’re head’s ok, the client is just flaking on you.
The rendering and the piece are identical, the math corroborates this. The client approved a render and that is a contract.
I would also probably return the money after you receive the ring back and inspect it for wear…
Sorry this had to happen to you, I know how much effort you put into doing things right.
Best,
Jim


#7

In your case, the representation is excellent but with renderings it’s rarely the case. I would have rendered it at about the same magnification as the real photo. This gives the customer a more realistic expectation. Generally speaking, the higher the magnification the less like reality a rendering will look.
Then again, this customer is just looking for an excuse to bail.


#8

Wait, wait… which was the rendering, and which was the physical product??? Because I can’t tell the difference.

Really nice job, by the way.

Alec


#9

Hi Seth,
it seems you have already decided to give this welsher his money back, but, id make it a
bit more difficult for him. Theres no question you have met your side of the contract( nice product!) and as its a one off theres no way you can sell it on to someone else, like for example a production run product.
so Id decline to give him his money back to start with and suggest he takes some advice from his lawyer about taking it further.
He hasnt given a proper reason that your work does not meet the agreed specification.
Await developments!
Ted.


#10

What, exactly, is the upside of owning your own shop and business unless you can reply in kind to ill-tempered nitwits? And in response to the usual ‘goodwill’ fluffo, there is no virtue to be had encouraging feebs to carry on thus, they, and their ilk, will only return for further slack-jawed transactions. When a “I want my money back” customer failed to produce a legitimate rationale (wrong size, gift recipient found it hideous, etc.), I informed them that I had already spent their money, and therefore would have to return someone else’s money, which would not be fair. Small Claims Court is the proper venue - and you would obviously win, further providing a learning experience to this rascal and giving him pause before running the same swindle on another of our fraternity. (I spent 20 years in the bar business before seeking out the less stressful metal smithing line, but still have little patience for impolite behavior.)


#11

Much as I would love to take this position, Ted - there are two complicating factors. One, most importantly, our company culture is customer-happiness focused. I am 1000% sure this guy is unreasonable and perhaps even seeking to falsely justify buyer’s remorse, but we pride ourselves on making everyone leave happy, even if that means we take a loss. If I took a stand on this, it would send the wrong message to the team. Easier to just move on, much as I hate to do so. Two, anytime a customer pays you on a credit card, they can just call their card company and do a “chargeback” and the card company will give them their money back. And the customer ALWAYS wins those. So he could always get his money back and keep our product, which would be a double-loss.

What I think is unfortunate is that people like this don’t realize how many people work hard to deliver something like this, and when those team members read a bad review when they’ve done a fabulous job, that hurts their morale. But people who are willing to do anything don’t care about that…


#12

Out of curiosity, do you use a contract for custom work with clearly defined expectations including costs and limited refund options depending on the level of completion the piece is in that the customer signs before beginning?


#13

Yes sir, we do. And we get written sign-off on renderings multiple times through the process. If there is a change, we produce a new model and get sign off again. Basically, we make mis-communications pretty much impossible.

And while we have a strict no-refunds policy, we also have a strict “everyone leaves happy” policy. These two policies are sometimes at odds in situations like this :wink:


#14

Believe me, this is the way I would love to handle things - but even when we win, I’ll lose 20 times that in the time I spend.

I’ve come to learn that “being right” is somewhat over-rated. Actually my wife taught me that :wink:


#15

Totally makes sense, but I was just curious. While it can be a bit different when it comes to custom work, I think in the end, you’re usually money-ahead to wash your hands of it and keep everyone happy (assuming any negative reviews are cleared or amended). Thanks for the reply and good luck with the customer!


#16

Seth, Of course you have to give the client his money back. Your good name and self respect demand it. And I’m sure you’ll do it with a smile. Ask the customer if he would tell you the specific problems he has with the piece and what you could have done differently so that you don’t repeat the same mistake, although it is obvious that you made no mistake at all. The piece looks very good. Good luck, tom


#17

But it’s not the same Seth

the one on the right is angled to the right and the left is angled to the left!!!

How could you do this to the poor guy? He must have been crushed.

If i were there with you Seth id buy you a drink and share a good head shake.

Some customers start off the relationship spoiling for a confrontation. Nothing makes them happy

Les.


#18

Hi Seth,
Thanks for your detailed reply.
Out of curiosity, what percentage of your total work is custom to say production ie many off items?,
If its a lot of custom work that opens you to more of this kind of hassle. interestingly, i have 2 strings to what I do, I have production work where I may make over a no of years several hundred of an item as it sells on sight at my expos, then on the other hand large as in tens of thous of euros or what ever currency Im working with major turnkey projects to make a production run on site sometimes of hundreds minted in sterling or bronze or whatever the customer contracts for.
so far, in 50 yrs of working in this game I can recall only one occasion when a customer didnt like what he bought and i refunded the cost as it was a production item and it just went to someone else.
Then i also do engineering consultancy work which is always by purchase order up front at so much an hour. Selling ones brains is easier, tho one has to always deliver a solution!!. theres a real buzz in that. however, no solution, no repeat business.
I did a lot with in Grima in London in the 70’s and about half his work was custom .
Ted.


#19

You know Seth, I feel for you. When you’re an upstanding business that makes customer “happiness” a priority, it’s inevitable that some will take advantage of that. That’s a sad and unfortunate fact.

The bottom line is this guy will never really be happy. Whatever’s going on, it’s clearly not about your work. You’re right, that any fight over this would not be worth the time and effort. It’s also not worth the emotional cost. I can attest to that hrough very personal experience.

About the best you can do is promise yourself that you’ll never do business with him again. As to his refund, there’s a saying in Hungarian that fits: I hope he spends it on medicine.

Alec


#20

Don’t worry Seth.I had similar problems with customers too. IMO ,rendered images makes a lot of problems for us,manufacturer. Conmmon customers don’t realize that drawing and metalworking are not the same thing.With a view to catalogs are as attractive, many of manufacturers use rendering images but real piece of jewelry in the shop is not as on catalogue.Some customer understand, some,as in your case,do not.
A good lesson for the future and move on.