November 15, 2023 at 3:56 pm

Worker Gets Illegal Request In Writing So It Doesn’t Come Back To Haunt Them. – ‘A huge investigation is called for by senior management.’

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AITA/Jamespg614

Always get it in writing!

That goes for a lot of things in life and if you suspect something shady might be going on at work, it’s best to get requests in writing…just in case.

The person who wrote this Reddit story shared what happened to them.

Break the law? Sure thing Boss, sign here please!

“I used to work as a spare parts estimator for a fairly niche industry.

My job was essentially to work out what parts of our main product the customer wanted, find out how much it would cost us to make, add a little mark up and send them a quote. My boss was pretty strict on traceability so everything needed to be recorded, including why a certain mark up had been applied to a particular product.

Normal value of these quotes is somewhere between £200 and a few hundred thousand. Very rarely do we get orders for anything more than that (once or twice a decade in my experience).

They got a BIG request on the job.

A request for quotation landed on my desk when I was WFH during Covid, and it was a biggy. Just looking at the list of parts the customer wanted, this was going to be an absolute killer, over a million pounds all by itself.

I was told by the sales guy that if this one went well, there was another to follow of an even bigger size, ultimately looking at ten million over the next four years. So I set to work.

Normally I can do five or six of these quotes in a day, but this one quote took me six weeks to put together. I was in constant contact with 20+ vendors getting specifications, technical details, prices and lead times for over four hundred items. Finally, my masterpiece was complete.

But there was an issue.

Then came the snag.

Sales guy then says that because of the country this customer is in, they need to have four or more quotes in from different customers in order to get it cleared by their government (some anti-corruption policy that had been instituted).

We were the OEM of the product and there’s nowhere else on the planet they could get these parts from, so we’d have to work through third parties to get it done, and he knew just the guy.

And then a third party entered and they knew this guy was sketchy.

In comes a one man band with a dodgy looking entry at companies house to save the day. Sales guy and him go way back, so he was going to be the “preferential supplier”. I was asked to do the normal quote to him, then to bump the prices up by 30% and send that to three other companies who had been asking about it so they would absolutely not get the contract with the end user.

I argued the point, saying that the whole purpose of the anti-corruption policy is to prevent situations exactly like this, but I was overruled. The COO of the company now tells me to just do it over a phone call, at which point I request that in writing before I go ahead and do it.

Two years went by…

Fast forward two years and there’s still no order been placed. Then I find out through a different sales guy that the One Man Band has been put on a blacklist by this country’s government over this project, the other three companies have been turned down, and the end user is asking other companies to come in and take our product out and replace it with their own.

A huge investigation is called for by senior management, my quote is ripped to pieces and examined in microscopic detail, and the question gets asked “why did you give different prices to these other three when you knew it was all to do with anti-corruption, we should fire you!”

But they had the receipts!

“That’s millions of pounds of order you’ve lost us!” Out comes the email from my little black book, on the desk it goes, everyone suddenly gets veeeeeery quiet, and the COO starts packing his desk in a box the next week.

And the moral of the story is, if someone tells you to do something borderline illegal, make sure to get it in writing.”

Check out how people reacted to this story.

One reader made an excellent point.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This Reddit user said something similar happened to them.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another reader said they have to do this a lot at their job.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person has quite a bit of experience with this.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Did you learn a lesson today?

Always get it in writing!