Maybe you need a constant source of fresh greens for the grab-and-go salads that comprise roughly half of your deli’s daily lunch sales. Perhaps you are in the construction industry and you need a supplier to provide you with flooring materials that meet the standards held by your prestige clientele.
You depend on the companies that you contract with to supply you with specific materials so that your company can conduct its business. Unfortunately, as costs increase, some businesses will become sneaky in their efforts to reduce their operating costs or increase their profit margins.
You might notice lower-quality materials that don’t meet the standards you have for your finished products. What can you do when a supplier defrauds you by providing something of lower quality than you expected?
Review your existing paperwork
The best-case scenario for a dip in the quality of the materials or products delivered by a supplier involves thorough standards in your contract or communication. The more detailed you are about your standards in your formal agreement with the other company, the easier it will be for you to show that what you have recently received does not meet the standard.
However, you may simply have trusted that they would maintain the same standard they had when you initially reached an agreement with them and did not include such details. What would the best solution be when you don’t have specific standard established in your agreement?
Document the source of your disappointment
Taking pictures of slimy lettuce or showing the results of a chemical analysis of a recent steel delivery could provide you with concrete proof of a dip in quality. Ideally, you will also have documentation of the previous standard as well. You can then use those records to communicate directly with the supplier and address the issue.
Sometimes, they will acknowledge the issue and arrange for an exchange. Other times, they may refuse to make things right. In that case, you may need to go to court.
You can end your contracts and request a refund
If you cannot get the other party to cooperate with you, you can potentially take the matter to civil court. A judge will possibly agree to refund you the payments made for substandard materials or void your contract so that you no longer have any obligations to the other party.
In cases where you can show that their changing quality of supplies affected your operations or your reputation, you may have grounds to request damages from the supplier as well. A change in quality could essentially be a form of fraud, as the company wants to obtain the same payment for lower quality materials than they agreed to provide to you.
Taking action when you experience business fraud may require asserting yourself or possibly going to court to resolve the dispute.