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Looking for advice?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by kwilson1203, May 22, 2012.

  1. kwilson1203

    kwilson1203 New Member

    Hi there,

    I'm hoping someone can advice me on this....

    At the end of last year we did a lot of work for a new company in the way of business cards, flyers, pop-up banners, signage and a website.
    There was no real initial design involved as she brought in a flyer from another company and wanted her stuff to be very similar — the name changed very slightly by adding one letter to make it different!!
    I did ask if she was sure about this as it was not usually the done thing to copy another business name (albeit there was a very slight similarity), and also the way the logo looks, but she was adamant this was what she wanted.
    In my opinion, and this may be wrong, but I am here to design and print, not to tell a customer you cannot do something as this was one of the first things I was told when starting my business..... check and make sure you can use the company name. It was down to me though and no-one else. In the last few weeks she has been approached by this other company who has obviously "caught up" with her, and she has now asked me to remove her website and refund her money! Has anyone come across this before? I knew nothing about her type of business so did not know where her opposition was based and didn't think it was my job to look into this? Am I wrong?
     
  2. ARRIVALS

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Got to be honest, I can't quite believe the stupidity of this woman, and perhaps you.

    Firstly, you say you asked if she was sure about using this other flyer/name - did you talk to her about copyright infringement and possible law suits / fining etc? If you did, and she still wanted what she bought you, then you should refuse to give her a refund saying you did go over these possible problems in the early stages of the project. You told her the problems she might have in the future, she ignored you.

    The problem is, whether she ignored your advice or not really doesn't matter, you look like a right plonker and it may come back to haunt you. You and her may both know who's fault it is, but whats to stop her from spreading news about your company ruining her and her business by copying someone elses work? You should have refused to work with her in the first place if all she wanted you to do was copy someone's design. I mean you had the concerns initially, so presumably knew the risks. You're the designer. They've come to you because you're the professional. If you still wanted to work on the project, you probably should have refused to do exactly as she asked, explained why, and offer alternate options.

    One last thing, why didn't you know anything about her business or her competitors? These are the basics every designer gets about their clients, as it will effect what solutions you give them.

    The whole issue here smacks of complete naivety and I'm sat here stunned.

    Good luck though.
     
  3. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    I'm not so sure you need to know everything about a company and its competitors when they come to you with an inflexible brief. If someone came to me saying I want it to look exactly like this with minor changes, my first thought would probably be that she was representing the same company and I don't think that I'd be legally bound to probe. That said, it sounds like a mess, for sure...

    I'd say you're probably fine unless you're one of those designers who claims copyright in the logo work you produce - sounds like you acted in relatively good faith and, if you can confidently state as much, I certainly wouldn't be entertaining the idea of a refund.
     
  4. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    Tend to agree with what's been said. She is responsible for her business name choice. She can always use the web site coding again - just with a new name inserted, or is she giving up altogether!! She does sound remarkably stupid! In my opinion no way should you give a refund.
     
  5. kwilson1203

    kwilson1203 New Member

    Hi there,

    Thanks for both sets of feedback here. There were a couple of things that I forgot to mention before and that this woman's company had actually been setup prior to getting design and print work done by us as she had advertised locally in a magazine. She worked out of a couple of peoples offices and they had a colour scheme which she wanted to keep with and so came to us. I understand about the copyright etc. but surely she should have checked all this out when starting her business in the first place, either through advice from a Business Gateway or Accountant? I have been in business for over 6 years and this is the first time I have ever came across anything like this. Not something I want to have to deal with again either!!
     
  6. kwilson1203

    kwilson1203 New Member

    Can I also mention that this woman has a Jekyll and Hyde personality..... very very head strong person who does what she wants when she wants and is ALWAYS right!!! Very difficult to deal with and to be honest I'm glad to be shot of her. Don't like that she is now coming back to me with all this, but I guess I'll just have to be professional and answer her in a business-like manner :)
     
  7. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Business-like is best: I'd draft an email outlining how you acted in good faith, under her direction, and completed the work to her satisfaction; subsequent developments arising from a flaw in the original brief have been beyond your control and consequently there are no grounds for a refund.
     
  8. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    That's much better than I was going put! "Go boil your head!" was more what I had in mind!!
     
  9. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    PS: Good luck in court!
     
  10. kwilson1203

    kwilson1203 New Member

    Email sent!!!! Also sent her some info on the Copyright laws — she maybe should have checked this out before starting her business.
     

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