The Secret Entrepreneur: Getting sued – and getting revenge!

Nobody likes a liar or a cheat. So when a client threatened to sue, our covert company boss wasn’t having any of it…

Revenge, as we all know, is a dish best served cold. When you’re wrongly accused of something, indignation kicks in – and then it’s time to get even.

Read on to hear how our Secret Entrepreneur delivered a masterclass in dealing with a dishonest and nasty client. You won’t like our Secret Entrepreneur when they’re angry!

 

To read earlier hard-hitting columns from our mystery entrepreneur – a successful British business owner – click here.

“Stay in business long enough and eventually you’ll be threatened with legal action. Some time or other, probably when you’re least expecting it – bang! You’re in a whole world of grief.

I’ve been hit by this a few times in my career and every incident has had the same thing in common – the instigator was full of sh*t. One of them I actually uncovered as being a persistent scam artist.

I pride myself on running good businesses, which provide great service to our customers. When we screw up – and we occasionally do, we are only human after all – I’m the first to admit it and make appropriate reparations.

So when a customer gets uppity and threatens to sue, it upsets me, deeply. When it then becomes apparent that they’re trying to scam me, it makes me angry. Really angry.

The last time this happened was when one of my companies found a customer abusing our systems (and breaking the law) and we banned them. They were paying us an awful lot of money, and it hurt us financially but it was the right thing to do. There was no question that they were in breach of our terms of use, and they had been warned several times before we kicked them out. We had them bang to rights.

Well, you know what they say about cornering a rat. Rather than accepting things and moving on, this customer became abusive. Really, really abusive. I wasn’t going to have any of my staff taking that, so I stepped in. After all, I’m the boss, the sh*t stops with me.

The customer insisted on a refund and compensation. I refused. They were in the wrong and had already cost us a lot of time and money. I’d already established that they’d signed contracts with us using a false set of details, so I knew they didn’t have a leg to stand on. I didn’t tell them I knew this though.

Their next move was to apply to their credit card company to charge back all the transactions they’d placed with us. Thousands of pounds worth of orders, which they told their card company they “didn’t recognise”. They’d already had more than they’d paid for, so I wasn’t having that. I’m afraid to say that instead, I got nasty.

I called them up and told them I was willing to talk. We’d allow them back, but first they had to remove the dispute on their credit card transactions. They did this. What they didn’t realise is that once they’d told their card company the transactions were approved, they couldn’t revoke them again.

That being done, I pointed out to them that the details on their paperwork didn’t match up. The company name and signatory were fake. We’d need a replacement, valid contract in order to continue. Unsurprisingly they refused. I told them where to go.

The customer threatened to sue to destroy our reputation. I pointed out that not only were they breaking the law with what they were doing with our service, but I had substantial evidence they had committed fraud and were also attempting to evade UK taxes, so I doubted they wanted to take things to court. They pressed on. I literally told them to go f*ck themselves, then hung up, barred their number from our phone system and blacklisted their email domain from our servers.

Funnily enough we never heard any more from them. Or their non-existent lawyers. We did watch them use and get moved on from a large number of our competitors over the following months though.

Then a few days ago they tried to open an account with us again. A slightly different name, but basically the same details as before. Pretended as though they’d never heard of us and laid on exactly the same story as before.

For a moment – just a fleeting moment – I considered taking their money. Then I actually doubled up laughing before we politely informed them that we were unable to work with them and they should find an alternative provider to work with.”

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