Don’t pay for damaged items that you don’t see. It sounds obvious, but in the world of uniform rental programs, customers often pay for damage that isn’t provable. The rule to follow is very simple – if your delivery driver or service manager cannot SHOW you the item that is damaged, then don’t pay for it. Don’t discuss at length. Don’t negotiate. Don’t waver. Don’t settle. If you are being billed damage or ruin, you have the right to see the evidence of the charge.

A common scenario the provider might follow goes something like, “We identified the damage in the plant, so we’re unable to retrieve the item for you.” Should that be your problem? Probably not. And don’t let your provider make this about trust or honesty – this has nothing to do with that. This is a very standard business practice that you have every right to enforce. You should not pay a fee for something that isn’t a transparent charge. This isn’t about whether or not you trust your provider, it’s simply about you following standard purchasing procedures – you don’t pay for items sight unseen.

SHOULD YOU TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT?

Here’s another tactic a provider might use – “The driver billed it on the spot, but has already disposed of the item, per our policy.” This should be countered with the same logic as above. To be clear, if they’ve already disposed of the item and they can’t prove to you that it was damaged, then they have no right to bill you. Not to sound like a broken record, but the standard procedure is applicable in all cases – don’t pay for a damaged or ruined item unless it has been shown to you.

If you do get billed for unseen damage, then you’re forced to manage your managed provider. Now you need to track an open issue and ensure that a credit actually gets applied to your account. You’re likely familiar with managing credits for a uniform rental program, so you know what a pain it is. Once that damage charge appears on your invoice, it’s almost impossible to reconcile the credit without spending way more time than it’s worth (which might be what your provider is counting on). If you choose to short pay, then you’re opening another can of worms.

AVOID THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE

All of these downstream effects can be avoided by you demonstrating to your delivery person that you simply won’t accept charges without the ruined item in hand. Once you do that a few times, you’ll notice that your damage charges will become much more accurate. Why pay for something when you don’t have to?