networkn:Handle9: Regardless of what was discussed between the vendor and the customer you took the order for the solution, not the vendor. The onus is on you to provide the solution described in your offer. If the vendor has caused you a consequential loss by misrepresenting the features of the product it's on you to recover it from the vendor, not the customer. At the end of the day that is what your margin represents, and why the customer engages a solution provider rather than free issuing the gear and engaging you labour only.
To put it simply if you make a margin on something, you take the risk of losing the margin due to issues. If the vendor makes the margin, they take the risk. If you don't take the risk what value are you providing.
If the description in your offer was lacking it's super grey and comes down to what your view on the customer is and what you can get past really.
I work for a very large vendor in a semi related area and it it very grey and we get this type of thing occasionally, particularly in non standard solutions. It's always a bit grey and tricky.
I wouldn't care so much if ONLY my margin was impacted, but we are talking considerably more by labour, not because the labour was faulty, but potentially because the VENDOR, has incorrectly informed the CUSTOMER about the products capability. This is something we were not privy to.
I wonder, if this was you, me and the customer, and you had incorrectly informed the customer the products capability, would you accept us claiming the labour content from you?
As a general rule we would never pay for a partners labour but we do explicitly exclude consequential losses in our partner agreements and our partners understand this. Saying that we have very few partners and our technologies are highly bespoke (engineered and programmed systems, not just configured). You can literally do just about anything, it's about how much gear and labour would be expended to make it work.
If it's a defective piece of equipment, which just will not do what we said it would we would generally provide our applications engineer to help make it work, or provide the extra gear to sort it out.
Also saying that we work in a building/construction environment so the rules are quite different. I am responsible for our direct to market solutions business and we wouldn't do anything like that without a scope. We've been bitten too many times by grey scopes and then you end up in the "I would have expected..." conversation, which always leaves all parties feeling a bit screwed.