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I am looking for some advice here. I own a cleaning business, and a client is claiming that my staff cracked their mirror. They've been long-time clients, AND are very quick to complain about things that are showing normal wear and tear (such as a cracked plastic water guard at the bottom of a swinging shower door).

This particular staff is my most trusted, has broken things in the past (it happens in cleaning), and has always been very forthcoming. Well, two weeks after she cleaned this home, the clients send me these photo, saying they had the installer check it out, and he deemed that it must have been excessive pressure on the light fixture that caused this crack.

At first glance, my guess is that this has to be a common problem with mirrors with holes cut out for junction boxes. Also, my staff says if she had noticed something like that she'd have pissed her pants. Her words, but I would have, too! They sent me these photos, and they've also conveniently removed the EXIF data, so I can't see when the photos were taken. You can also see that shower is pretty dirty, so it wasn't taken right after the clean or within a couple days. I can't imagine they would have waited two weeks to bring this up if it truly happened when they claim it did. And this is their master bath, so there would have been no missing it.

I'm not one to shy away from owning mistakes and being accountable, AND I feel like we're being scapegoated here. What are the odds that dusting a light fixture would cause this if it weren't already faulty or cracked?

How often do these types of mountings cause problems like this?

The crack is so clearly coming from where the light fixture is tightened.

mirror cracked around box

photo 2

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  • I agree with Alaska Man, but unfortunately we're all speculating. This type of question isn't a good fit here. Best of luck. – isherwood Apr 7 at 18:20
  • I agree with you, it would require a hammer to break the mirror or anything quite stiff and hard, that wouldn't be the usual cleaning tool. Also, if the cleaning lady is your long-term employee, I don't find any reason she would want to hide the damage with such a high visibility, unless she's retarded :) Drop this client, and don't look back. – r13 Apr 7 at 19:06
  • I appreciate everyone's input. I've removed mirrors from walls that were attached with adhesive, and I managed to avoid any damage to the mirror, despite extensive prying and scraping. But I've never worked with this exact situation. My gut told me that even if this happened during cleaning, it would have had to be the result of a flaw in the installation of the fixture or the cutting of the glass, etc.. Completely acknowledging that this is all speculation, and that this isn't exactly the type of question one might expect here, I have a bit more peace of mind, and you all have my gratitude. – Katidid Apr 7 at 19:37
  • If it is a good client and you want to keep their business, explain very diplomatically that you believe that any relationship between your crew's activities and the crack are due to a situation beyond your control (one proof to bolster that opinion is successful previous cleanings that did not crack the mirror). Then offer to take care of it anyway and have your insurance pay for a mirror guy to fix it or pay it out-of-pocket if less than deductible... – Jimmy Fix-it Apr 7 at 21:26
  • Thank you. This client has not been my favorite anyway, but they wrote to me a week after the clean that they were going to use another service since this particular staff of mine (to whom they've been VERY loyal) is moving onto more creative ventures, but how much they appreciate us. No mention of the mirror then. And now we're almost two weeks post clean, and they've already paid to have it repaired. Apparently the crack continued to grow even after the initial appearance of it. They paid $430 to have it replaced. – Katidid Apr 7 at 22:15
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How often do these types of mountings cause problems like this?

There is no way to answer that. In my opinion there is no way to prove that your employee caused the crack.

The genesis of the crack is the opening that was cut in the mirror for the light fixture.

It may be that the crack just happened without any outside influence, perhaps it was not a perfect cut, the cut caused a weak spot. Or the light fixture was tightened down a little to much and over time the opening in the mirror just failed. Or, Or.

If cleaning the mirror caused the crack to start then it would be because there was no proper support behind the opening, resulting in the glass flexing during cleaning, as opposed to not flexing because there was proper support behind the opening.

There is not much we can tell you,

Try to explain to the owner about where the crack started and why a hole in a mirror needs proper support behind it or how it there are inherent risks in cutting glass .

If it were me and they want take legal action then i would tell them that i would take my chance at having a court listen to both sides.

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    I agree. If there's a root cause here it's probably that the light fixture was clamped down on the mirror without support behind, creating a perpetual stress situation. Since the hole cut for the light probably wasn't finished properly, there are many small imperfections waiting to grow into full cracks. This is almost certainly not the fault of the cleaning crew. – isherwood Apr 7 at 18:19

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