Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Questionable business practice
Questionable business practice
Wed, 15 Dec 1999 11:48:57 -0500
I would like to share with you information that I/we perceive
as a questionable business practice and ask for your opinion
about what to do about this (if anything).
The short story is that we feel that Mickman Brothers deliberately
misled us about the total actual cost of their product. They did
this by highlighting a price, then hiding shipping costs in fine
print. The sales rep. never mentioned the fee during several calls
and even when he quoted a final bill did not include the shipping
The situation - My troop has sold holiday wreaths as a money
earning project for many years. Last year we found a new supplier
(previous local company retired). After checking with many vendors
who advertise in Scouting Magazine we settled on Mickman Brothers.
Last year we paid $8.14 per wreath. We were satisfied with the
service and the product. The price was described as an introductory
This year the troop parent who is chairing this (for the third year)
contacted Mickman Brothers again. The sales rep. quoted the price
of $8.19 per wreath. We said yes. A contract was sent with the price
in bold print and circled in red.
The troop committee set price, troop share, and Scout share.
Many wreathes were sold (400 plus). Order was placed and product shipped.
When wreathes arrived event chair called to verify payment amount and
due date. Price quoted was X wreathes times $8.19.
When we made payment we were informed that we owed an additional $700
Upon examining the contract closely we did find the language about
shipping cost - small print on bottom of form pointing to small print
Mickman Brothers sales rep. accepts no responsibility for misquoting
our TOTAL bill. Others at the company seem hostile or non-responsive
to our inquiries. A letter has been written to their company president
asking for some consideration in this matter.
Our event chair accepts responsibility for not reading the fine print.
Our troop still made a profit, but not what we had planned.
My/our contention is that Mickman Brother purposely makes it difficult
for a customer to determine the full, actual cost of the product. The sales
rep. does not disclose this and the contract does not show this information
in an forthright manner.
Has anyone else had a problem like this?
Scoutmaster, Troop 31
State College, Pa.