Scratch Accusations - S.O.S.!


#1

Hey everyone. I’m not new to the forum but don’t post much - but I’ve come across a problem a few times now where customers have accused me of scratching their glass. As I know this is a problem the average window cleaner must have to deal with at least on occasion, I am anxious to get some ideas on the smartest way to handle this. Of course it always comes down to a “it wasn’t there before” VS “we don’t use anything that can scratch glass” argument. I honestly am at a loss as to what to do. It’s only happened a few times, but the first time I was threatened with legal action. Now again I’m being accused of scratching someone else’s windows. My methods are good. We use nylon brushes outside and well-rinsed strip washers inside - simple as that.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to approach this? Do you use scratch waivers for each and every customer? Or do you point out all major scratches to the customer? Does anyone have any legal knowledge or experience about this, as far as who the burden of proof is on? Can WFPs scratch glass?

How can I protect myself???

Please help. Any and all ideas are well-appreciated.

Kevin


#2

if you didn’t use a razor blade you didn’t scratch the glass. simple as that. what kind of scratches are you seeing on the glass? are they fine, parallel scratches across the whole of the window, like hair-line scratches? or are the more like large broad scratches or gouges or scuffs? need some more info to help you…


#3

I start every job by getting a waiver signed releasing me from liability of pre-existing conditions. It isnt full proof, and who is to say that the scratch was pre existing.

I just feel a little better having something in place. I always do an intitial walk through and make notes of any damage that I find and discuss that with the customer


#4

[B]I’ve[/B] scratched glass without a razor blade…

As far as ammunition, the topic is second only to “soap wars” in a search.
(I’m not usually one of those “[I]go search yourself[/I]” type of guys, but there is [B]a lot[/B] here)


#5

I tend to bring issues to the homeowner’s attention as Im working through the house.


#6

fair 'nuff. me too. the only time i ever scratched glass without a blade was when i used bio-clean and 00 steel wool at the same time to try to remove stubborn scaling (DOH!). That was stoopid and I had it coming.

99.5% of the time, though, scratches come from one of three sources, imho:

  1. factory damage (more common than most people think…)
  2. masons or other trades (ie. rubbing mortar off the glass with their hands or leaning against the window with a framing hammer in the belt, painter sanding wood sashes with 80 grit and hitting the glass too…)
  3. razor blade on glass with fabricating debris.

#7

Yeah. I’m gonna concede my post, after re-reading the OP.

In the context, I actually agreed. Sorry about that, man.


#8

No worries, you were right bro. Scratched glass raises my hackles and I can get somewhat dogmatic about it (multiple puns intended).


#9

Just shot VitaCoco out my nose at that one lol


#10

We include a disclaimer with every estimate that we give, every work order signed and every invoice that we send out. In other words we are kinda like the cigarette and pharmaceutics companies, putting the disclaimer on almost everything that we present to the customer.


#11

with [MENTION=167]Steve[/MENTION] on this one.

There is no way you can tell if glass is scratched until is properly clean and in direct sunlight for the majority of dirty glass, especially if it’s caked on. Because you cant see the condition of the glass under the dirt you should assume it’s been already scratched.

Yes WFP can scratch, if it’s collected stones within the bristles, just like a strip washer could! No method of cleaning is free from scratch making either.


#12

I haven’t been there personally to look yet. My guys did the job, but they are experienced and have never had such complaints before. Yeah, we can do a walk-through and point things out - but who can point out and make note of every scratch on every window? Who has time for that?


#13

Can you give an example of your disclaimer?


#14

The OP should change his name to Old Castle Cleaners if he’s getting accused of scratching glass.


#15

Disclaimer: XXXXX Window Cleaning is not responsible for any conditions such as, but not limited to: hazing, etching, pitting, scratches or hard water stains that do not respond to standard window cleaning methods. Glass scrapers are standard window cleaning tools and will be used by XXXXX Window Cleaning. XXXXX Window Cleaning is not responsible for ANY scratches on any tempered glass.


#16

In 4 years we have had only one complaint about scratched glass. Our crews go over all issues with the customer at the start of a job. We don’t have anyone sign a waiver or have a disclaimer. Every one of our guys has a razor on their belt and uses it regularly.

If you are having such issues, then you are not properly dealing with the customer at the start of a job. You don’t need to show every single scratch. But if there are several scratches you need to make clear they are there and can become more noticeable after cleaning because of the dirt being removed.

Added

I just remembered that complaint I was thinking of was not due to blading. It was a huge gash in the window, the lady was adamant our ladder did it. We had to explain to her if an extension ladder hit the window like that it would do more than just scratch it. But we still covered the cost to get it repaired because she was unreasonable.