This may seem unnecessary and obvious but it recently happened to me with a customer and I thought it worthy of mentioning. Please spare me all the “No Brainer” comments.
We had a customer that had an old generator that was failing and they wanted to replace it with a new one. I put together a quote and emailed it to them. After a few days the customer sent me an email that said “Can you match or beat the attached quote from _________ X-Ray Co. I opened the attachment and saw a quote from one of our local competitors offering the same equipment about $2,500 cheaper than I quoted. I was surprised that they could sell that equipment and install it for that kind of money. We happen to be on good terms with that dealer so I decided to call and quiz him about it. Upon reaching him I said that I was surprised he could sell that equipment at that price and he immediately stated that wasn’t the price he quoted. In fact he claimed to have quoted it at a higher price than I did. He went to his secretary and had her email me a copy of the original quote. Upon opening the quote he was right, his price was $1,000 more than mine. We started discussing what happened and how the numbers changed from his computer to the customers. As I started looking over the two quotes side by side I happened to notice that the quote he sent to the customer was a Word document and the quote the customer sent me was a pdf. At this point I realized what happened. The customer received the quote in Word and realized that all they had to do was change the price, save it as a pdf and send it to me for a matching or lower price. The pdf quote looked legitimate and how was I to know that it had been altered from the original. This was clearly border line illegal and unethical at the least but some people have no boundaries what they’ll do to save a buck. After telling the dealer what the customer had done he quickly called the customer for an explanation, of which they had none and then threatened to call his attorney. Needless to say, neither of us has heard back from the customer and as far as I know they’re still using a failing generator.
The lesson in all this is to always send quotes to customers in a format that is difficult or impossible to alter or change. We would all like to say that customers are honest and would never do such a thing but as I found out, sadly that just isn’t the case.