A framer has damaged my beautiful painting. How much discount should I ask for?
October 4, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe

A framer has damaged my beautiful painting. How much discount should I ask for?

My very generous Uncle John sent me two beautiful Aboriginal paintings from Australia, one of which is by Anna Petyarre and is very similar to the top painting on this page. I think it’s worth maybe £600. Or it was.
I put it in at a local framers, to be stretched over a frame, along with the other piece and two smaller prints. The total cost of the framing was c£550.

The other painting and the prints came back fine, but the framer had damaged the Petyarre very slightly – a small crack on the top edge. They offered to get it re-backed and restretched but I was reluctant as the painting was signed on the back. I eventually agreed as they made it clear that the painting would only get more damaged if it was not fixed soon. The repair and the re-stretching took 6 weeks and when it came back, the area of the crack was very obvious (to my eyes). It was also damaged further (with paint scraped off the sides and separately off the back where the staples had been removed from the old frame) and it was shoddily stretched, with a huge bulge on one side. They tried to hide these faults when I went to pick the painting up, but I spotted them and did not accept the restretching. I told them to repair the damage sharpish. I’ve just had a call (a month later) to say that the painting has been sorted and is now back, ready to be collected.

The total cost for this stretching was c£250, and I am due to pick the painting up (and pay for the stretching) on Saturday.

I’m really unhappy that this has taken so long (over two months now), and that the painting has been damaged. While the monetary value isn’t great, it’s clear that the value has been reduced (perhaps by half) by the split, the scratches and the obliteration of the artist’s signature, and I’m very upset that a thoughtful gift from my uncle has been damaged. I’m also annoyed that they tried to hide the faults from me. All of this makes me want to ask for a discount. However, they did a great job on my other pieces, and they’re in a very convenient location, so if they can sort this, then I would be keen to keep using them (which, my husband tells me, is madness).

Any advice on what discount to ask for, and how to get it?
posted by tonylord to Human Relations (14 answers total)
I'd say a discount of 100% is in order.
posted by bensherman at 8:55 AM on October 4, 2012 [36 favorites]

Well certainly, you're not paying for the stretching. I'd ask not to pay for the framing at all, based upon the shoddy way they damaged your painting and subsequent reduction in value of the painting.

If they work with you, then you can keep going to them for random stuff, but not expensive or important works of art. If they don't work with you, then you must boycott them, and leave a review of your experience on the web.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:56 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would offer to pay only for the cost of the frame itself, since their labor was worth less than nothing (i.e. caused more damage to the painting than the cost of the labor).

I would certainly never use that framer again. And I would very, very carefully inspect the newly stretched painting before paying anything.
posted by jedicus at 9:02 AM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

First off, regardless of what you chose to request about the cost of the framing, there is absolutely no reason for you to pay for the stretching. They caused you to incur the cost, so they should be bearing the cost. That reaches to the level of basic customer principle to me. If that happens, I would walk out immediately, consider calling the police, definitely call a consumer protection agency, and consider filing a lawsuit.

I concur that a 100% discount (on framing) is on order, and they should not be surprised when you ask for that. However, I would probably settle for something like a 50% discount or just the cost of the frame itself, because unless they are extremely professional framers, they will be probably be obliged to ask for payment to keep the place financially buoyant. That said, the only way I would ever consider using them again is with a 100% discount; anything else shows they are willing to compromise quality for financial reasons.
posted by saeculorum at 9:05 AM on October 4, 2012

The stretching is a direct result of the damage that they caused to your painting. You shouldn't have to pay for the stretching at all, and I don't think you should have to pay for the framing. I'm surprised that they're charging you at all, frankly.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:14 AM on October 4, 2012

Not exactly the same thing, but when I worked at a print shop if we damaged or destroyed the customer's originals (while laminating, cutting, mounting, whatever) we would not charge the customer for the one that was messed up, at the very least. I could understand charging the cost of the frame only, but not for any of the labor or any of the costs associated with fixing the screwup.

We used to ask customers to sign a statement acknowledging that they understood the risks inherent in laminating/cutting/whatnot but that was only so they couldn't try to make the shop pay to replace the item, and to make sure they did understand that there was a chance the item could be damaged.
posted by ZeroDivides at 9:25 AM on October 4, 2012

INSIST that you be given a full refund and do not feel guilty about doing so. My god. What kind of business are they running?!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:26 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I worked as a framer years ago - they shouldn't be charging you any labor and should discount the frame as well. I wouldn't use them again for anything you actually care about - the repeated errors are a real red flag, as is the way they handled it.
posted by leslies at 9:30 AM on October 4, 2012

If I were you, I wouldn't pay anything for the labor, and absolutely would pay nothing for the stretching. The most I would go is to pay their out-of-pocket cost for the framing materials only. They didn't produce any skilled work, so you definitely shouldn't pay for it.
posted by phunniemee at 9:42 AM on October 4, 2012

Agree with everyone that you probably shouldn't pay for anything; the most I would pay for would be the frame. And then I would write a scathing Yelp review.
posted by amaire at 11:43 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't pay for anything, and ask them to get in touch with your lawyer if they want to take it further.
posted by smoke at 4:54 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Demand a full refund. Write Yelp review outlining your experience and warning potential customers of this frame shop of the potential pitfalls of doing business there. Full stop.
posted by brand-gnu at 9:09 AM on October 5, 2012

Thanks guys!
The guy was a bit difficult, but I ended up paying for the materials only. I won't be going back.
posted by tonylord at 11:22 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, I should have said. They have actually done a brilliant job. It really does look great and the damage to the front of the canvas is entirely undetectable to anyone except me.

posted by tonylord at 7:36 AM on October 7, 2012

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