Crazy customer - help

Dear Peerspace,

Overall, I’ve had a good experience with rentals. I’ve been flexible and giving.

I have a crazy person harassing me via text message. She is really entitled and doesn’t feel she should pay overtime because she’s not profiting off the music video and its a good cause.

Mind you, I came in one hour early to open up for her per her request, was an unpaid extra in the shoot, and gave her one hour free. She was charged 1.5 hours OT at the regular rate.

My rates and rules are clearly posted. She still doesn’t seem to get reason and feels I should bend and give this to her because of her cause and because everyone else is helping.

The texts are mean and irate. I don’t want to engage any further.
She’s claiming I’m pulling one over her. I knew exactly what I was doing. She’s contacted Peerspace to take my 5 Star Review down, etc. Crazy…

I’ve contacted Peerspace to let them know the situation.

How best to handle? She doesn’t understand reason and the texts are progressively worst. I never want to deal with her again.

I was told you get one bad apple out of 20 bookings. I haven’t even hit 20 bookings.

Thanking you in advance,

Karen

3 Likes

Hi Karen!

Sorry to hear this is happening to you.
I would stop having conversations with the client at this point, have Peerspace speak to them about your rules which are clearly posts in your description. I would block their number as well.
You have already told her your side and vise versa(so you are beating a dead horse).

I would email Peerspace in detail so they know more and they can understand your side.
Has your review from that client been removed?

So sorry @Karen_S, she sounds like a nightmare. I hate the saying “No good deed goes unpunished,” but it plays out this way too often. It sounds like the main thing you can do at this point is gather all of your documentation: screen grabs of your conversations on Peerspace; screen grabs of your current rules on your Peerspace listing; information she was sent upon booking; screen grabs of all of your text conversations. Compile and submit to Peerspace.

Do you have any other contacts associated with the production? Perhaps you can reach out to someone who else who is more level-headed.

For her to give you a bad review, it sounds like she will have to lie, since she can’t say, “They charged me for overtime and I threw a tantrum.” Call out what is untrue to Peerspace and hopefully this can be managed.

I had a guy who booked the space for a political gathering, and he wanted less than my minimum booking time. I said okay, wanted to help. As their endtime approached I sent a text asking if they would be ready for us to lock up on time or needed more time, for which there is an additional charge. I was watching via the security camera, I saw him look at his phone, and put it down, completely ignoring me. They went 45 minutes over, I charged for 30min, and at straight time, not 1.5x.

In his review he knocked off a star because he wished "it was more clear that he would be charged for overtime. So he knew, but he wished he knew more somehow.

Wishing you all the best,

  • Brad
1 Like

Thanks Eli. That’s a good point: I should take my 5 star review of the client down and remove any residue of this association. I’ve never done this before - would Peerspace handle?

Appreciate the insight.

You can just never be too careful with people here. This is crazy.

Karen

Thanks Brad. Yes absolutely nightmare and this after being such a great experience. The worst is the nerve of her thinking she’s entitled to this for free. She knew my goal was to earn money to refurbish the space. Had she asked me up front, I could have made a decision to accept or decline, but not on the back end.

I have duly noted everything and never again is all I can say…

#learnedmylesson

Karen

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Karen, I feel your pain and hope you have better luck than I did having Peerspace remove a false and disparaging review. The large majority of the time, Peerspace seems to side with the offending renter, despite the repeat business and repeat fees paid to them by (as well as other stellar reviews given to) the host. The system for dealing with this all-too-common occurrence is sorely lacking, to say the least.

3 Likes

So sorry it happened. I have had more than 100 bookings and never something like that happened. I only had one problem and it was not a peerspace booking. Just saying this to boost your motivation and not let one nutcase put you down. (I’m French sorry if my English is not perfect)

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Sometimes it doesn’t pay to go above and beyond in business situations. Rather than encourage a customer to leave a more positive review, or to get them to be cool with you, the opposite occurs and often a customer will view you as passive or weak and will use that as an opportunity to bully you.

Instead, focus on being consistent with your interactions, so that they know what to expect.

My personal take on overtime is that I don’t do it - ever. Others will have differing policies, but I feel as though overtime has the potential for trouble, as there is no contract in place for the extra time.

I wanted to say the same as @Sandra_T. It is all-consuming as something like this happens, but do your best to take a breath and move forward, continue being a terrific host. And note anything you learned from this experience, anything that might help to avoid in the future. People arriving early, and staying late, are common problems, so I stress constantly that there is no admittance before their start time, and they will be billed for overtime, if available. And I’m sure you clearly communicated that, not a lot you can do about those who feel entitled.

If you sit and write everything you can about this experience, including all your emotions, it may help to get it on paper and out of your head. Similar to the idea of writing a letter that you don’t intend to send.

2 Likes

Thank you Tod and good info to have handy. That’s really sad to hear. Hopefully things will take a turn for the better in the near future.

Thanks Sandra and I understand your new like me, so welcome to the community. I will keep that in mind. I think I need to be more diligent in vetting prospects.

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Thanks Deacon, you make a lot of sense. The ironic thing is she is bullying me and she is supposedly supporting an anti-bullying initiative with this music video for her son.

Yes, people size you up and they can mistake your kindness for weakness and see how far they can push it. I am certainly kind, but not weak.

I still do believe you should charge OT if they go over, but I do regular rate and not 1.5x. My rates and rules are clearly listed on my page.

2 Likes

@Karen_S Sorry to hear this. It’s happened to me.

My approach to preventing this is to be nice and selectively flexible, but to reiterate the rules at multiple points through the process and then document the things that I’m giving them in writing.

The main tool I use for this is a sign in/out sheet. This is a document that has all of the basic studio rules printed on it (load in/out, overtime, garbage, etc.) plus the details of the booking (start, end, number of people, contact info). I also have an area for notes where I manually add in things like “free use of lighting” or “studio will receive furniture delivery at 11am for client”

Above all this, there are 2 signature lines along with a place to note the time. One for the first person in and another for the last person out. I go over everything with the first person to show up. Sometime this person is not the person responsible for the booking and they refuse to sign. I tell them they’re welcome to wait outside until someone who will sign arrives.

The last person signs out. If there are any issues with overtime or other expectations on loading out, I refer them back to the document and the rules and/or the studio notes. This usually solves any conflicts as it’s all clearly right there… and there’s a signature!

Oh! and I leave the whole thing in a clipboard on the wall outside my office so that they’re able to refer back to it at any point if needed.

Hope this helps!

2 Likes

I firmly believe in the 1.5x overtime, but the problem is that it’s going to get you a negative review at times.

My workaround solution is that I don’t let anyone go over their time and I point that out to them in the beginning.

I’m lucky because I have a toddler and it makes for a good excuse (and it’s also true, as babysitting and LA traffic is tough!) :slight_smile:

Over time you’ll be able to pick out the ‘bad eggs’ from their very first message to you. I recently received a negative review simply because I wouldn’t leave my own home for a rental. It states in our rules that we are always on site to act as coordinator (aka: “make sure our condo isn’t destroyed”).

These guests were intending on violating our rules and were a little upset that we caught them in the act. They had asked me about burning sage (our house rules state ‘no burning anything’ and ‘no occult activities’) and I told them that this wasn’t allowed.

Our smoke detectors are so overly sensitive that they sometimes go off when we get out of the shower, so this would have been a disaster!

Regardless, they handed out sage to all 35ish guests, with the instructions printed on the sage bundles to burn them during their blessing-thing (it was some sort of pagan baby blessing).

Peerspace allowed their review to remain (complaining that we were present during their rental, despite this being in our rules) so as a result, I refuse to take any private events. Business events I’ll accept and professional productions I’ll accept, but no more baby showers or birthday parties.

Relating to your situation, whenever you receive an inquiry for a small production, I would recommend asking what the production company is.

If they don’t have a company and it’s a family thing or a one man show, you may want to exercise caution before accepting the booking.

I’ve had AMAZING experiences with really small ‘grass roots’ crews, but they’re more likely to ‘under book’ run over their scheduled time, so I point out to them at the start of their rental that I have something else going on right after their rental ends, so they’ll have to be out by their scheduled time.

I hope that helps! Most experiences will be positive once you learn to weed out the bad eggs, but I know how frustrating it can be from your perspective!!