Dealing with Vendor issues in Residential communities

How to deal with vendor menace in residential communities ?

While residential communities get to enjoy the benefits of a secure environment, there are some disadvantages which when not handled appropriately may infest the quality of life. Vendor menace is one such nagging problem. Residents are most often stuck with sole vendors: 1 milk supplier, 1 news-paper vendor, 1 electrician, 1 plumber etc.

Nature of Vendor Problems

When they are new entries, most vendors are very obliging and promise good service. Over a period of time the quality of service tends to deteriorate. That is when residents should collectively deal with the vendor issues.

Causes of Vendor issues

Invariably vendors are known to bribe ( in cash or kind) a number of people like the security, supervisor, manager and maybe some office-bearers : initially to gain entry and then to establish monopoly. Ultimately, residents end up getting substandard quality of service for a premium price.

Symptoms of Vendor Menace and Mismanagement

In most cases, vendor menace and mismanagement go hand in hand. Vendors have a tendency to offer special, personalized services to a few office-bearers to please them and continue to be the "chosen ones". When a monopoly is established, the vendor becomes high-handed and denies regular services to member residents. If you happen to see a major part of the community work-force serving a few office-bearers, be alerted that your community funds are going down the drain. Residents should offer zero tolerance to such mismanagement, which is the root-cause of vendor-menace and ought to be nipped in the bud.

Possible Solutions

  1. Insist the security agency to change security personnel periodically
  2. Allow at least 2 vendors for each service to create a healthy competition
  3. If the management offers resistance to such changes, it is high time to change the management.
  4. Security and housekeeping should not be outsourced from agencies created by committee member(s) to siphon RWA funds.
  5. Ensure transparency in selection process or change of vendors.
  6. Residents should exercise their right to information and question mismanagement of vendors, if any.
  7. Democratic online discussion forum, dedicated to the community is the best way to alert your community about fraudulent vendors
  8. It is most important to ensure that valid issues are heard and not discouraged by vested interests.
  9. Use online opinion polls to take feedback on vendors. Signature campaigns may be used to take collective action.
  10. For isolated issues caused by vendor, the affected residents can approach Consumers Court.
  11. If vendor menace is community-wide, demand for replacement of vendor in forum and escalate in GBM.
  12. If your management is reluctant to replace vendors and behaves like a mafia, ignoring public demand, report to the Registrar of Societies.