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Dumping your Vendor

The best way to dump a vendor is to make it their fault.

First, invent a list of things that the software/product was never meant to do, and accuse your vendor of selling you a defective product because it can't do them. Refer to meetings (preferably ones that you know were not minuted) where you recall telling the vendor that you needed these business critical functions and how they promised that you would get them.

Demand that the vendor provide you with a detailed plan of how they will get you the missing functions. At every meeting add another item to the list of "promised" functions.

Talk about a reduction of payments, proportional to the value of the missing functions. Give a percentage that is wildly out of proportion.

If your contract is valuable to the vendor (and why would you be worried about terminating it if it isn't) then they will start jumping through hoops to keep you on board. Remember, at this point it appears that they are in the wrong. Okay, they are beginning to see you as an unreasonable customer, but that generally makes them work that much harder to satisfy you. It also plants the seed in their mind that maybe they would be better off without you.

Now that you have them jumping through hoops, it is time to look at any data that they hold which you can't do without. Is there anything that is held in proprietry formats, or in their databases that you access remotely? Perhaps a specific way that a program operates that will make life easier if you know it? Talk to your new vendor, who will have a list of things that will make the transition much easier.

Demand that a copy of all data is kept on your systems, along with full documentation of formats and protocols etc. for "disaster recovery" purposes. Set a very tight schedule for when this is to happen so as to avoid having to sign non-disclosure agreements.

If you already signed a non-disclosure agreement, get them to sign a waver so that you can have the information "independently analysed". Perhaps this is because "a customer" of yours is making demands. Site some obscure piece of legislation that you have to obey.

Bombard them with emails demanding progress reports, but respond to as few of their emails as you can. Avoid answering most of their telephone calls, and when you do talk to them, start by asking them why they haven't delivered some item that you have never discussed before. This will put them on the defensive before they get to tell you their message. Then take everything they say out of context, interpreting it in as negative a manner as possible. If there is anything they are resisting giving you, reply that it shows how inadequate they are that they are incapable of doing the simplest thing.

If they actually succeed in providing some of the things on your list, get upset because now you have adjusted your systems to deal with the lack, and their changes have made everything worse.

Finally, when your new vendor is all set up and ready to go, tell the old one how disappointed you are with them, and cut off all further communication. If neccessary, talk about the financial and legal ramifications of them forcing you to terminate the relationship.

They will almost be glad to see you go.

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