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Help... since a possible lawsuit coming!!

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  • Help... since a possible lawsuit coming!!

    One of the groomers at our shop groomed a 6 or so month old pom puppy Sunday. When the owner dropped off, she asked for a haircut all over its body. The groomer did a 7/8 snap on all over. The woman LOST it. She said that she NEVER said that she wanted a haircut, that her dog is an AKC registered miniature pomeranian.... and that by cutting his 'guard hair' that his coat could never ever grow normally again. Now, the comb took barely the fuzzies off... the woman is claiming that we took off at least 2.5 inches and this is not the case as the poor puppy didn't have that much to start with. When I talked to her today, she said that she wanted nothing (offered her a free bath and brush or 10) but was only calling so there was a 'basis' if his coat didn't come back. What should I do?? Is this something she can sue over? Any other ideas as to how to talk her down? I don't want to lose her as a client, but I don't know what to do.

  • #2
    I don't know if you will be able to talk her down. Her dog's hair will eventually grow back normally, but it does take a long time for that breed to recycle it's guard hair. I really doubt that she will sue you, but just in case get as much info as you can about hair cycles in dogs (Pam Lauretzin's Dermatech certification program for ISCC is a wonderful resource for this) and about her specific visit. The just put it in a file and file it away. When and if she starts making noise agian, note the time.
    To avoid these situations in the future have a release form for shaving (or trimming) dogs with double coats. Pm me and I'd be happy to send you a copy of mine.


    • #3
      You honestly want her as a client?

      She is nutty, plain and simple, can you imgaine what she would say if there had been an accident like a nick??

      I would walk away from this nutjob, no acutally i would RUN.


      • #4
        I don't beleive that anyone can sue you over a haircut that they do not like. And the puppy's coat should grown in just fine. I would just consider it a lesson learned in being very clear about exactly what a client wants done. And also have a policies sheet so both client and groomer know where you stand. I've had a few people over the years with very pelted dogs ,that were unhappy with the dog getting a comfort clip.,even though I NEVER shave off any dogs coat without letting them know I may have to. I'm sure all groomers have been through this. Better communication sounds key here. And please don't fret too much, it is dog hair,it will grow back. It doesn't sound like the pup was scalped so short that it would take eons to get the good coat back.
        "Everyone needs something to beleive in..I beleive I need another Poodle"


        • #5
          There is no lawsuit coming

          You need to tell this woman that many, MANY people get their pup's hair cut shorter, and it will not impact the growth.

          While it is too bad she may have been disappointed, her fear/belief is mistaken. Yes, there are unusual cases with certain breeds, but Poms get haircuts all the time. I did one 2 days ago that was done 6 months ago, and he was full and hairy with tons of outer (guard) hair. Poms ARE subject to certain diseases that make them lose hair in places, but trimming does not cause the disease, it just may show the bare patches/slow regrowth more clearly. (And these diseases usually occur later in life.)

          A pup is not going to have this problem, and a trim with a comb attachment that did not take much off is only going to set the coat back a couple of months, in all likelihood. Plus Poms can take 2-3 years to get a full coat with undercoat. Guard hair grows. I don't know where she heard that it doesn't.

          She is seriously misinformed, and it sounds like you did not have the information to set her straight if you didn't immediately tell her that she is misinformed, and the dog's hair will grow in. Be calm, not worried. Your fear over her hysteria probably kept her hyped up and believing that she was correct. She is not.

          Maybe she was told by the "breeder" (and just because the dog is AKC registered does not mean it was from a good breeder - it could have been a puppy mill pup from a pet shop, or could be from a know-nothing person wanting to breed registered pups, or whatever) not to cut the hair, but this is a personal preference, not a law!

          Where I used to live, people were buying Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and being told by the breeder that their coats were not supposed to be cut. The fanatic owners had these bushy, ugly, frizz-coated dogs with humungous coats and were terrified to have them trimmed, thinned, stripped or neatened up. I checked with a show dog owner of the breed, who assured me that the coats were "worked" quite a bit, plus neutered/spayed dogs tended to grow heavier, bushier coats. Of course I could tell from dog shows that the coats were relieved of dead, frizzy hair compared to what the pets I saw looked like, but the pet owners were basically fanatical about "no hair off" because they had no clue and nothing to compare with. (They were not my clients, so I didn't push the issue, educate them, etc.)

          Good luck. If this woman doesn't listen to a sensible explanation, I would not want to keep her as a client either, as some others have said. And I might tell her so, so that she knows that any offer of services that you make is NOT to "calm her down" because you did something wrong, but is simply a gesture of good will. She needs to know this.


          • #6
            Don't you have better things to worry about?

            As a shop owner for 10 years I would not even think about her again. And sue over what there is no law for cutting a little bit to short...funny. If you dont know how to handle this no brainer, what are you going to do when you "really" do something wrong?


            • #7
              Every salon and mobile should take before/after pictures of a new client.........just in case !! Usually after the first groom, the client/groomer relationship is bonded as to expectations of a particular groom. If not, then continue taking pictures of the dog when it is brought into the salon/mobile van for your protection. In this case, it would have shown that very little was clipped.

              Happy Snapping Pictures

              Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC


              • #8
                Went through something similar yesterday. Gal brings in a Schnauzer that hadn't seen a grooming shop in months, tangled mess from nose to toes. Stripped her with a #7. Managed to get her beard brushed out, but it was extremely long and and unkempt, looking very off-balanced on a naked dog. So I trimmed it shorter to go better with the short body cut.

                You guessed it - Mom got all snarky when she saw the dog. I told mom it was not the dog's fault the coat was a matted mess so I wasn't going to punish the dog by putting her through any de-matting session, period. Mom then crabbed about the trimmed beard and I explained the reason I trimmed it shorter, to keep the dog from looking ridiculous.

                Mom huffed out and I doubt we will see her again.

                Always amazes me when people bring in dogs looking like a rat's nest and that is okay and understandable- but cut a hair off the dog and they go ballistic.


                • #9
                  Some of you are misinformed yourselves. Anyone can sue anyone over anything, any time they want to. It doesn't matter that there's no law against bad hair cuts, it's not a criminal case, it's a civil case. Women sue over bad hair styles, bad perms, bad color all the time. Watch the judge shows; they sue over bad dog grooms too. It's a small claims case, you don't even need a lawyer.

                  So, that said, it's possible (though not probable) that the woman in question could sue. If she does there could be some problems. The OP does not have a signed grooming agreement, so it's going to be her word against the owner's.

                  Everyone should be using a grooming request form. Ask the owner specific question; how do you want the body, the ears, the tail? If it's a poodle, clean face, clean feet? Write down exactly what the owner asks for. If they want the body left 1 inch, write it down. If they want a terrier face, write it down. Be as specific as possible. THEN MAKE THE OWNER SIGN IT!

                  If you have a signed grooming request, you did exactly what they asked for, and they decide to lie in court, you have proof. Submit the request as evidence. The case is outta gas.

                  In most cases, if someone does sue over a bad hair cut, the only amount they can recover is the cost of the groom. In the even the dog was injured, they can also recover the amount of the vet bills, but only if they show up with more proof than just the bill.


                  • #10
                    Communication is key here, the more of it the better. I always triple check before cutting anything on a double coated breed. And not to start the "Don't clip double coated breeds" argument (again) but I have seen poms and the like grow in at least "different" once they are clipped, although I doubt it will be too much issue with using the attachment vs. a 7 blade.


                    • #11
                      "If you dont know how to handle this no brainer, what are you going to do when you "really" do something wrong?"

                      Any unhappy customer is a very serious situation not to be brushed off lightly. Granted hair grows back but the damage that can be done by one unhappy client telling her five closest friends is irreversible!

                      (Supposed to be posted as a reply to a quote. ) I personally would do everything possible to appease this client NOW and if they ever asked for another appointment tell them that their needs may be better met else where.
                      Last edited by pugnacious; 03-19-10, 07:35 PM. Reason: clarification


                      • #12
                        You don't want to lose her as a client? Really?

                        I really don't want a client who is going to sue me.

                        I swear there is something about some groomers, and some shops, where the owners think they can walk all over the groomers. Miscommunications abound.

                        Just today my co-worker told me that at the shop she used to work at, a client bulked at the price she had to pay for her shih tzu (and this is the cheapest shop in town!!), and went out in a huff, slammed the door SO hard, that the door wouldn't lock anymore. Did they make her pay for it? No. I would have! No sense in acting like that! Over a dog's haircut!

                        Tammy in Utah
                        Groomers Helper Affiliate


                        • #13
                          Well first off she's wrong ther eis no such thing as a AKC Miniature Pomeranian so realize you are dealing with a misinformed person. The coat will grow back, but do not take her back as a clinet as she is prob more of a headache. Most people who have purebreds who think they know it all have not seen how much blending and thinning goes into those little Poms before they hit the ring with their sparkly owner/handlers! Chalk it up as a learning experience and make sure you talk thru waht exactly a client does want when they ask for a haircut


                          • #14
                            I agree with everyone who says "cut her loose", you do not want or need a client that is that unreasonable. You have offerred ways to make it up to her and that's about the best you can do. Try not to fret about it, it sounds like you have a lot of integrity!


                            • #15
                              Insurance gives you "Peace of Mind" and peace is spelled correctly

                              Dear obediencerottweiler,

                              I hope you are insured. If you are have no fears as your insurance company will defend you in court against any nuisance suit. This is why it is so important to be insured so you can carry on your business and not worry about every quackydoodle that comes along.

                              I agree with Helly and I say keep the money and the client just get her written agreement of what she wants done. Otherwise don't sweat the small stuff. It is not the judgment I would be concerned about but her badmouthing in the community. Cut her off at the pass and keep her satisfied if you can otherwise cut her loose.

                              Good Luck and Godspeed,


                              Last edited by Chuck; 03-23-10, 06:06 AM.