View Full Version : Is there another word for Liability?

excuse me??
12-06-2010, 02:17 PM
In the hardware store sometimes my customers insist that I make the final selection of screws bolts etc. to fix baby cribs, childs swings, tramplines (those projects which we would be sued)

I usually mention they I'm helping them by showing them what we have, but for "liability reasons" they will need to make their final selection ( I say this in a nice tone of voice too)

But lately several customers have objected to the thought that they need to be liable for their own work

I'm just trying to protect myself, but as soon as some customers hear the word "Liability" some will moan & grown and get pissed off because they don't want to take responsibilty for fixing their own baby crib, tire swing, etc.

I don't want to use the word "liability" any more, but don't want to get in trouble for refusing to help a customer make their final selecton of screws and hooks for dangerious applications. Is their another way to handle these kinds of customers?

12-06-2010, 02:48 PM
"Insurance"? It puts the onus onto the insurance company who has deemed it something they won't insure for.


Geek King
12-06-2010, 03:37 PM
Have you asked your management how such issues should be handled? You'll want to make sure you're following company policy with what you tell people.

It's me
12-06-2010, 03:40 PM
Just tell them that they are responsible for making sure that the hardware is appropriate for <whatever> and that it is installed correctly, and that you can't make any gurantees about the suitability of the hardware.

12-06-2010, 03:57 PM
People in the United States tend to respond better when the actual definition of any particular word is used.
... It's like they don't know the 'big' word or something!
I think, however, it's all the connotations/denotations/ bullshit around each word that gets people... like socialism. Most United States citizens will freak the fuck out over this word. Oh, little do they realize things like firefighters, social security, and even some forms of insurance are considered 'forms of socialism.'
In this case, it's liability. Which is why I agree with It's me.

12-06-2010, 06:48 PM
I'd just tell them I have no idea what hardware is appropriate. CYA.

Frantic Freddie
12-06-2010, 10:46 PM
Tell 'em to hire somebody if they can't handle it themselves.

12-06-2010, 11:01 PM
Could you say that you aren't allowed to incur responsibility on outside projects and that you can show them bolts that may be appropriate but that they need to make the final decision on their project?

12-07-2010, 01:00 AM
Tell them that since you don't have any experience with their particular death trap, they would be in the best position to judge what the correct hardware is.

12-07-2010, 01:36 AM
"due to legal reasons"
or perhaps "we cannot assume legal responsibility"

"We can tell you what your options are, but since this is a DYI project we cannot make the final decision for you. Our insurance only covers the product itself and won't cover personal work, or if the product is used improperly"

or the blunt truth: :devil:
"can't decide for you. Why? Cos if you fuck it up and hurt your kid now we don't have you pay you anything over it."
course i'm sure your boss won't like that one. :angel:

12-07-2010, 02:55 AM
But-but-but Pepperelf! It's so tasty!

Victoria J
12-07-2010, 03:19 PM
I spend a lot of time answering questions, and that means I spend a lot of time refusing to answer questions.

I will not tell people what choice they should make. I also will not tell them whether they will win or lose legal cases etc.

I like to keep things as simple as possible.

Of the examples above the first is a job requirement that we be non-directive and give people all the choices, and the second is basically a liability thing. If I think you are 99% likely to win or lose I'm not going to guarantee it, because we could get in trouble if we are wrong. I could explain that to people, I sometimes do, but I always give the more simple version :

"I can't make that choice because it is your life, and you have to live with the consequences."

"I can't tell you what will happen because I don't have all the information. I know what you will tell the court/employment tribunal/etc. but I don't know what the other person will say".

Everyone can understand. No one gets angry because they don't know what you are saying. People look very foolish if they argue.

On top of that people have become used to certain uses of language being used sneakily against them - and the semi-legal terms are often used. It sets of alarm bells and people think you're trying to trick them when you start using more complicated languages. Consider "down sizing" and the nine million variants that follow, people have good reason to be suspicious.

In your position I'd try something like :

"I'm sorry, I can only suggest products that may be suitable for the project you're describing. I haven't seen the full project so I can't say what is the best option. From the information you have given me I believe that any of these options should work"

You won't have seen the furniture, the swing, the garden it's being put up in. And they can't really argue about that. (Some still will of course). It puts the responsibility back on them, and emphasises that you are only giving information based on what they have told you.

Victoria J

12-07-2010, 07:21 PM
Go VictoriaJ~! :)

excuse me??
12-08-2010, 09:31 PM
Appreciate everyone's advice... Thank you.

This will help me get through my work shifts with less worry and far less conflict.