This Boston-based firm had approximately 3,000 cubic feet of files in storage with a national off-site records storage vendor the firm had targeted for destruction prior to the pandemic. The stored files in question had met the firm’s policy such that there was no need to review the files prior to destruction. At the time, the firm requested and received a quote from the vendor to destroy the file boxes but, unfortunately, the pandemic delayed the firm’s response as other urgent needs arose.
In early 2021, the firm received an 86% price increase on their monthly invoice from their vendor and the firm decided, instead, to return to their off-site file destruction plan. However, when leadership returned to the vendor requesting an updated destruction quote, the price had almost tripled. On top of this, leadership reached out to the vendor multiple times to discuss the unexpected price increase, but never received a response.
Stumped and frustrated, the firm’s administrator reached out to the consultants of Mattern.
“I thought someone died when I answered the phone,” Rob Mattern, President of Mattern, comments of his initial call with the firm’s administrator. Simply put, the administrator was distraught, and the distress was two-fold: both at the tripled escalation in destruction costs but also at significant increases in monthly costs.
Mattern’s consultants reached out to the vendor for an updated quote and noticed several inaccuracies, including the fact that different services were being charged incorrectly. Mattern clarified the quote and, appealed to their contacts at this vendor to more closely review the situation.
The initial review resulted in a 25% decrease in the firm’s costs, but it was still far above the industry benchmarks for these services. Mattern escalated this issue at the vendor and was repeatedly told, “There is nothing more to be done.”
Mattern knew there was room in the price, and that the firm shouldn’t be getting charged storage after numerous communications to destroy the records. Mattern consultants pushed the issue up the management chain.
After numerous conversations and exchanges of documentation of all contacts and commitments made, the vendor agreed to roll back prices and the services charged to 2019 levels when the firm initially made contact. This reduced the cost by 62.5%.
Needless to say, the client was thrilled.
Key lessons to be learned:
- Keep a log on all communications – phone calls, emails, etc.
- Get names of who you are talking to and document all conversations.
- Know what you are getting charged for and why.
- Don’t allow service providers to introduce new charges.
- Expertise is invaluable in these types of situations. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.