Client accusing us of breaking something

So we have a client we did Christmas lights for last Christmas and we recently did her windows. She has a large light fixture hanging outside above her door she asked us to clean. We cleaned the glass on it carefully and she was happy with the work. Now she is claiming that a breaker that keeps flipping everytime she turns on her bathroom light or the outside fixture light was caused by us cleaning the outside light fixture. The fixture looks perfect, it wasn’t even on when we cleaned it. No wiring was touched. Here is her email below:
"I have had our electricians out twice to figure out why our breaker keeps tripping and they’ve narrowed it down to the large fixture over the front door. I think you all may have damaged it while cleaning. It was working with no problems before that. We did not have any issues with the breaker tripping, etc. They are recommending that we either get a new one or have a lamp company come out to repair. I will have to call the company to figure out options.

What are your thoughts concerning helping to recover the costs to fix or replace?"

It all seems fishy to us. Any advice?

Apparently it is rather expensive. File a claim through your insurance and let them handle it.

Won’t that jack up our insurance rate ?

Talk to your broker about it. If you have one claim that would be a chincy carrier to jack you for using what you bought insurance for in the first place.

This client has also gone with LED lights in the past because of wiring issues. We’re considering having her sign a waver on Christmas lights and any other cleaning that touches anything remotely electrical.

She hired an electrician who can’t even fix a lamp?


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True. If it is close to your deductible just take care of it yourself; business is slow and it’s a chunk away from your deductible file a claim. Insurance is for the big stuff that hurts a bit.

That is what seems weird to us. We have a good friend who is an electrician who is going to take a looksie for us.

We think it is pretty strange she’d want to replace the entire fixture for what sounds like bad wiring. Things are not adding up.


So I’m guessing that you took down the lamp and cut the wires to clean it and then didn’t twist the wire nuts tightly enough when you put it back?

If not, sounds like a wiring problem and that her electricians are just trying to soak her. I’d just tell her

  1. We didn’t soak your fixture in water, but even if we did, it’s an outdoor light and should be able to take some water

  2. Sounds like your electricians are trying to rip you off and that SOMEONE installed that light incorrectly.

  3. I’d call out the original installer to fix his problem install.

I’m would not pay for a new fixture and will not be servicing her again because she’s always going to fault you for everything. You cleaned my windows and now my stove isn’t keeping correct temperature!

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Bullshit adds up like a book keeper on steroids. Could just be the washer, vacuum, and lamp (or some other combination) can’t all run at the same time. :-/

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It was not taken down or cut in ANY way. We climbed a tall A Frame and cleaned it in place.We’d never do anything like that to a clients light fixtures.

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You mean I can’t run my hair dryer on the same outlet as my window AC unit? No, no, must be like the window cleaner screwed something up or something because I can’t even…

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Our only concern is that we currently have an impeccable reputation. I’m concerned she would write a bed review if we don’t pony up. Our plan thus far is to have our own electrician take a look and determine what is actually going on

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Don’t let one review own you. If it is an online review there should be an option for your side of the story. Allowing someone to bully you with a threat of words isn’t how to run a strong business. Hiring an electrician yourself would solve it, if the customer allows it. Just explain you’ll pay for discovery and if it is found to be your fault you pay, if not they will have to make arrangements for repair.

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Even if your cleaning somehow caused the light to malfunction it is not your fault. It sounds like you did it very carefully. Things can just break through no fault of your own.

I am no electrician, but if the breaker trips in the bathroom with the front light fixture off that does not make sense.

The main problem lies with the electrician I see it here ever day the sparky says “oh this is undercover, lets just put a standard indoor switch/socket/light” so he saves time and $ and charges the same where as how are you gonna clean it, Its outside it needs to be weatherproof, if any external electrical fitting can’t get wet then the electrician cut corners to save time and $$, I had a friend who went to court vs an electrician and the judge asked the electrician how he was meant to get his annual house wash if he were to fit his house in the same manner, The electrician replied “find some other way to clean your house I don’t care, I’m gonna get the job done as fast as I can.” He was then informed that under stated legislation all external power connections must be weatherproof.
This may also be the case where you are located.

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Yea, I got taken to task over a broken water spigot after I hit it with a window screen. (No damage to the screen by the way). If it weren’t a slow month and the client a litigation attorney I would have worked out a 50/50 split. My insurance sided with me but paid anyway because it would have cost more to prove him wrong in court. :-/
Edit: Point is, last to touch it gets the blame.