The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Drying and Processing => Topic started by: ray299 on June 04, 2018, 04:09:21 PM

Title: Split wood return?
Post by: ray299 on June 04, 2018, 04:09:21 PM
Question is for people who sell wood/slabs. I cut some real nice splatted maple 2x15x48. Advertised as freshly cut but log was sitting for a year first. One oerson I sold a slab to sent me a message saying the wood split down the middle. I saw a picture. My question is, (obviously she brought it inside with little humidity), what if anything do people do to keep a satisfied customer? It was a real nice but the value is not there now that it's split. My other slabs didn't split like that. I don't want to take a loss on the return... I thought about letter the customer swap it out for another piece.... I'd like to hear what you guys have to say about it before I respond. I don't sell much of what I cut...
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: Southside on June 04, 2018, 04:50:40 PM
Personally I would offer a replacement first, and provide some guidance on how to prevent it from happening again.  If that does not do it I would return their money, in this day and age something so simple can end up going viral on every social media outlet out there and pretty soon you are on Fox news with the state bug police knocking down your door for selling green wood, it's just not worth the future lost business.  The other thing to consider is was that piece closer to the pith and bound to split anyway?  Was is already checking and it would have gone on you?  Just too many variables, try to come to a reasonable solution and you may have a future repeat customer.  
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: Tin Horse on June 04, 2018, 08:01:36 PM
Whenever I sell slabs I try and explain everything I can to a customer and ask questions. They'll know it is only air dried and for how long. I also show it's current moisture content. Is it inside furniture or for outside? Also the benefits of getting it kiln dried. You'll know an  experienced woodworker quick by listening. I would offer an exchange but I prefer someone not to buy if they're not 100% certain of possible issues.
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: JustinW_NZ on June 06, 2018, 06:06:12 AM
I always remind people if its green its cheaper for a reason - your taking the risk of drying defects!
And yes, always offer that advice on how to dry correctly etc...

Cheers
Justin
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: PA_Walnut on June 06, 2018, 06:19:51 AM
I would certainly exchange it or make her happy in another way. One angry woman gunning for you has a price associated with it that's about 10x the cost of a slab. (or more).

I'd almost always opt for less grief.
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: GeneWengert-WoodDoc on June 06, 2018, 07:26:20 AM
How wide is the split?  The rule is that if a split is wider than 1/4, then it is a growth stress split and not a drying split.  Such splits are caused primarily by stresses in the tree.  The loss of moisture makes them grow, but the cause is growth stress and not drying stress.   Further, it is likely that the intended use for these pieces you are selling is for interior, low humidity use, so the purchaser did not make a big error or expose the piece to unusual conditions, unless you cautioned her about drying too fast initially.  This customer probably had no idea about how to handle this piece to minimize growth stress losses.  Of course, you also probably did not know about the presence of growth stresses either, so you sold the piece "in good faith."

Because the split makes the piece no longer useful, then the purchaser can return it (both legal and traditional expectation).  With so many stores, on-line and big box, taking back items 100% of the time, it is hard to be different unless your return policy is clearly stated.  So, in the future, you might state that all wood is sold "as is" and that you cannot guarantee freedom from warp, cracks, stain or other defects as the piece dries to its final MC.  Give this statement to the purchaser in written form and also give them an internet reference to Drying Hardwood Lumber.  This statement is called CYA.  On the other hand, standing behind your products 100% is good for business overall.
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: YellowHammer on June 06, 2018, 08:26:16 AM
That's why we don't sell green or air dried slabs, only kiln dried.

My advice is make it right.

There are many, and I repeat many, people around here who market and sell relatively cheap green or air dried slabs.  Craigslist is full of them.  They are in direct competiton with us, and tell people how they are cheaper than us.  I don't know if they warn the customer about cracks and bugs.  They are some of our best advertisement.  We find out about it when a customer comes in the store madder than a hornet, and starts spouting off to everyone in earshot that they are here because they bought slabs from so and so and were garbage.  Then they especially rant if they contacted the guy they bought from, and they didn't get satisfaction.  After all, if they had, they would not have come to our place.

So there is a lot of bad press and anger directed to the other seller, which is actually good for our business.  

My advice is to satisfy the customer, whatever she wants.  You don't want her to return the money just as much as she doesn't want to pay for something that "broke."  She most probably still wants a slab, that's why she bought one to begin with.  However, that piece of defective wood has your brand name associated with it forever, even if she bought it.  So from a future business standpoint, make it a good brand name.

We have a very open return policy.  If customers don't like what they buy for any reason, bring it back for exchange or refund.  We only had two boards retuned last year.  One board was fine and one certainly was defective.  When the customer showed the defects to me, I apologized, accepted the defective board, walked to the burn pile and, much to the surprise of the all the customers watching, literally threw it in the fire to burn.  Yes it was a little dramatic, but it made a lasting impression to the customers, making the point that we don't tolerate or sell "bad" wood.
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: caveman on June 06, 2018, 09:50:41 AM
YH's policy:  Conform or be cast out   publicly thrown into the fire.
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: Southside on June 06, 2018, 10:10:57 AM
walked to the burn pile and, much to the surprise of the all the customers watching, literally threw it in the fire to burn


The first thing that came to mind is scene here.  Fast forward to 1:25 to see @YellowHammer (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=11488)  in action  :D
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (6/10) Movie CLIP - No Ticket (1989) HD - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0vNsH81YeA)
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: YellowHammer on June 06, 2018, 10:28:19 PM
I guarantee all of the other boards that saw their buddy get torched straightened right up.   :D  It's a good motivator to the other boards on the rack.  Straighten up and lay flat! ;D

Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: dustyhat on June 10, 2018, 03:52:37 PM
I would certainly exchange it or make her happy in another way. One angry woman gunning for you has a price associated with it that's about 10x the cost of a slab. (or more).

I'd almost always opt for less grief.
So what do you mean ,make her happy in another way ??
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: Brad_bb on June 11, 2018, 01:27:42 AM
Is it really junk?  Put some bowties in it and epoxy the crack and now it's worth more!
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: Bruno of NH on June 11, 2018, 07:53:31 AM
I would take it back and if see didn't want a new one.
I would give her the money back.
I had to give back a credit on firewood last winter.
She couldn't get it to burn. 
She got her money back and kept the wood :D
I sell on FB not worth the bad press.
Title: Re: Split wood return?
Post by: PA_Walnut on June 11, 2018, 08:10:29 AM
I would take it back and if see didn't want a new one. I would give her the money back. I had to give back a credit on firewood last winter. She couldn't get it to burn.  She got her money back and kept the wood I sell on FB not worth the bad press.


As they say, "A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it."  :-\