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Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??

 
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:27 PM   #1
 
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Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


I would appreciate some advice regarding my situation with my contractor. In April 2005, I signed a proposal for a home remodel. I then signed a second proposal to add new interior doors, replace a water heater and pay the difference between granite and laminate countertops. The first contract for most of the work was $28,549 and the second was listed as costs plus the hours of labor (quoted) for the door and water heater work.

The proposal also states that any additions must be put in writing.

Within the first 10 days I was stupid enough to pay him for 1/2 of the first contract, 6,000 for appliances and then gave him another check for 10,000 10 days later when he asked for a prepayment and said he would give me a new furnace for nothing rather than have mine cleaned.

The contractor said it would take about two weeks. Well, here we are into our seventh month. In June the contractor wanted the final payment. He then informs me that the final bill is about 3,000 more than proposal and it is because of "additions". I made a few changes, but nothing other than doornobs, etc. I found out after writing him the check that he had never ordered my kitchen cabinets. I stopped payment on the check and told him I was doing so. He then wanted me to go and pay for the cabinets myself, after spending another month lying to me that he had ordered them and finally said he couldn't get the cabinets in the color that I wanted. This was in July.

Cabinets were finally ordered by him and he spent one day here in August putting them in. Still has to allign doors and do crown moulding to this day.

The granite countertops apparently were cut before my cabinets were even ordered, and of course were 4 inches too small, so they pieced my granite on one end. This was done in September.

In October, he finally got the plumber back to my house to do the plumbing under the kitchen sink. We lived with a disabled person without a kitchen sink for six months. I ended up paying someone else to install my stove as that would not have been done until october also.

He brought a table saw to my house two weeks ago which has been sitting in my living room and he was a no call no show every day the first week. he hasn't even called since dropping it off.

Should I fire this guy? I certainly feel that I should be entitiled to some compensation for all this aggrivation. he insists that I still owe $4000. He never made any mention of what any extras were and he even told me that he couldn't provide the list of extras probably for two weeks after he completes the job.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Steve
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:52 PM   #2
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfritz
Should I fire this guy? I certainly feel that I should be entitiled to some compensation for all this aggrivation. he insists that I still owe $4000. He never made any mention of what any extras were and he even told me that he couldn't provide the list of extras probably for two weeks after he completes the job.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Hire an attorney to sort out this mess for you.

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Old 11-05-2005, 11:49 PM   #3
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Your guys brother has been working in our area. I agree with Pipe. Hire an attorney. It's the only thing these guys sort of understand.
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Old 11-06-2005, 12:07 AM   #4
 
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Thanks for your replies,

The thing that is getting to me is that I have no problem paying for what I agreed to. I just want it done. I think he is trying to charge me for having to replace carpeting in one bedroom that wasn't supposed to be changed, yet ripped out by mistake. having to have the plumber come back three different times to install my plumbing because he didn't notice that the water lines had to be moved because of the new vanity (which was not changed from the beginning). Oh, and also the "free furnace" that I received ($350, I checked it out).

To hire a lawyer would seem to be an additional expense on top of the possibility of paying him the $4,000 that I still owe him. I can't really afford to start adding more expenses here. I was thinking that I could hire someone else to actually finish the job. I am also worried about liens as I don't have any proof that this guy has paid everyone yet or paid for all the materials. I could end up paying for this stuff again, right?

Steve
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:16 AM   #5
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Do you have any friends that could make him an offer that he can't refuse?

I really regret to hear this but it happens all too often. I would just start making his life miserable. Contact licensing, bldg. dept., dept of bus. and prof. services, state attny's office, mayor, govnr. and anybody else that you can think of. Somebody will begin applying the pressure, you just have to find the right button to push. Make sure that you write a statement with a concise timeline and include copies of cancelled checks, contracts, change orders and anything relative. You have to do 90% of the work when dealing with govt. employees.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:07 AM   #6
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


You have yourself in a real mess. Your first mistake was not to getting EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Your second mistake was going with this guy. Meaning you should have went with someone everyone nows. The free furnace would have been a big redflag to me. He is going to give you a free furnace instead of cleaning your current one. LOL..Yes i guess get a attorney. Also as teetor has stated start making his life miserable. Do you have a local newspaper that you could take out a add in? Big one page describing your stituation with this guy. If you choose to do this. Make sure everything is the truth because a person can't be sued for the truth.
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:09 AM   #7
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Concerning liens. Along as you have documentation showing what you paid him them your ok in a way. Its best to get a attorney involved.
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Old 11-08-2005, 10:26 PM   #8
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Wow... Cant believe some people have the balls to work like that. I wish you luck and hope you get this mess sorted out.
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Old 11-12-2005, 01:16 PM   #9
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


You know whats funny I think the homeowner is trying to get out of paying the contractor just from his structure in his story . HMMMMM
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Old 11-12-2005, 07:53 PM   #10
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamMeider
You know whats funny I think the homeowner is trying to get out of paying the contractor just from his structure in his story . HMMMMM

No, he said:

Quote:
The thing that is getting to me is that I have no problem paying for what I agreed to......To hire a lawyer would seem to be an additional expense on top of the possibility of paying him the $4,000 that I still owe him.....
This customer has a legitimate complaint it seems to me with his contractor's work, or lack thereof. He is willing to pay off the whole contract if everything is finished.

This contractor ripped carpeting out of a room he shouldn't have, didn't know where the water lines were before contracting a job installing a vanity, and oddly offered a FREE water heater?? All signs point to something fishy with that fella.
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Old 11-13-2005, 03:40 PM   #11
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Friz My Offer To You Is This . Andrews Littleton Lawyers At Large If Your Story Is Credible
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Old 11-19-2005, 12:57 AM   #12
 
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Thanks for your replies,

The contractor has basically finished the work now and will be coming tomorrow to go over the final bill. And for Adam, I am not trying to get out of paying him. I just don't want to be ripped off.

I feel that because he took so long to finish this job, and because I live with someone in a wheelchair, and didn't have access to a kitchen sink for 6 months, we deserve some compensation for that. I cannot count how many times I have done dishes in the bathtub, then have to clean the bathtub after doing the dishes. Not to mention, that we have lived among boxes and possessions piled all over the place during this time. Because there was always something left to be finished in every room, it became very difficult to live in this house. We didn't have kitchen cabinets for almost five months. Try finding a place for groceries when you have nowhere to put them for this amount of time.

This contractor has built houses from the foundation up since taking my job and people have already moved into them!

After paying him the full price of our first contract (paid $30,400 and contract amount $28,500 within the first 10 days after starting the job) he wasn't as motivated to finish the job. I assume that he used my money on starting other jobs.

Tomorrow is judgement day...

I have been racking my brain to try and figure out what these additions are that are about $3500 more from the original contract? I changed the doornobs, had him replace a linen closet door that opened the opposite way, removed a door and made the doorway a walk-through, and the plumber move the water lines for my washer down the wall about a foot so that they were out of sight. Thats all I can think of.

There are things that weren't done and I intend to subtract them from the total he will give me. these things include replacing outlets in the bathrooms, glass doors for the fireplace, replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, also, the pieced granite countertop, water damage to my newly installed wood floors in my laundry room because he had to move the outlet for the air conditioner overflow which apparently was never tested after being re-installed and didn't work, therefore, most of the wood became water soaked and now is turning very dark.

Like I said, I am willing to pay for what I agreed to. But, after the above and the timeframe that the job took, I think a compromise needs to be worked out between us.

The reason that I posted my situation here, is that after reading alot of posts, I could tell that the forum here was honest. I have never hired a GC before, and I really expected him to handle this professionally. I got 3 estimates, and he was the highest. I picked him because he offered suggestions regarding the rehab, and he was doing a large addition next door to my brother in laws house and I was impressed with the quality of work ( and his work except for the above things has been excellent). In addition, he seemed to have a good company, had several crews (or so I was told) so I guess I put too much trust into him. If anything, this has been a learning experience.


Steve aka Fritzie

Last edited by mrfritz; 11-19-2005 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 11-19-2005, 02:11 AM   #13
 
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


first, check and see if you have a contractors licensing board. if you do contact them. in my experiance they handle things very well. for both the contractor and the homeowner. they call them as they see them. plus should you have to go to court, having the cb on your side is a huge plus.--- your contractor sounds shoddy
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Old 11-19-2005, 08:37 AM   #14
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Ya kinda messed up with the time plus clause in the second contract. This opens the door for the gouge. That's why I always hit a bottom line, try to be as fair I can, and go from there.

I'll bet he tries to hit ya harder than 3500 when you do the sit down, he sounds like that kinda fella.

If it doesn't have a time frame in the contract, your kinda stuck on that compensation, it will be hard to get a judge to lean your way there, so get what you can at the sit down, pay up, and leave this fella behind you. Some times it costs us to learn, but don't walk away thinking all of us are like this fella, we're not.

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Old 11-19-2005, 11:54 AM   #15
 
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


As far as the timeline goes,

When I started this project, it was a FHA 203K loan. If any of you are familiar with this, we both had to sign a contract which stated that all work must be completed within 90 days. I ended up getting a better deal on a different loan later so I did not do the FHA loan. However, this is where we started with the bid/proposal stage. I still have the signed contract which is titled Homeowner/Contractor agreement. It also states that any additions must be in writing. His bid/proposal letter also states that all changes/additions must be in writing. I don't know that because I ended up paying him myself instead of him having to go through all the FHA inspections etc. to get his payouts really would void this contract that we both signed.

If we have to go to court then so be it. I have kept a timeline on my computer from day one of all of our conversations, prices he told me, etc.

Steve aka Fritze

Last edited by mrfritz; 11-19-2005 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 11-21-2005, 08:44 PM   #16
 
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfritz
I would appreciate some advice regarding my situation with my contractor. In April 2005, I signed a proposal for a home remodel. I then signed a second proposal to add new interior doors, replace a water heater and pay the difference between granite and laminate countertops. The first contract for most of the work was $28,549 and the second was listed as costs plus the hours of labor (quoted) for the door and water heater work.

The proposal also states that any additions must be put in writing.

Within the first 10 days I was stupid enough to pay him for 1/2 of the first contract, 6,000 for appliances and then gave him another check for 10,000 10 days later when he asked for a prepayment and said he would give me a new furnace for nothing rather than have mine cleaned.

The contractor said it would take about two weeks. Well, here we are into our seventh month. In June the contractor wanted the final payment. He then informs me that the final bill is about 3,000 more than proposal and it is because of "additions". I made a few changes, but nothing other than doornobs, etc. I found out after writing him the check that he had never ordered my kitchen cabinets. I stopped payment on the check and told him I was doing so. He then wanted me to go and pay for the cabinets myself, after spending another month lying to me that he had ordered them and finally said he couldn't get the cabinets in the color that I wanted. This was in July.

Cabinets were finally ordered by him and he spent one day here in August putting them in. Still has to allign doors and do crown moulding to this day.

The granite countertops apparently were cut before my cabinets were even ordered, and of course were 4 inches too small, so they pieced my granite on one end. This was done in September.

In October, he finally got the plumber back to my house to do the plumbing under the kitchen sink. We lived with a disabled person without a kitchen sink for six months. I ended up paying someone else to install my stove as that would not have been done until october also.

He brought a table saw to my house two weeks ago which has been sitting in my living room and he was a no call no show every day the first week. he hasn't even called since dropping it off.

Should I fire this guy? I certainly feel that I should be entitiled to some compensation for all this aggrivation. he insists that I still owe $4000. He never made any mention of what any extras were and he even told me that he couldn't provide the list of extras probably for two weeks after he completes the job.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Steve
Hi Steve,

I have been in this business with my heart and soul for 15 years. I can tell you that the only thing we can do is research our big investments. We look into our 401K's, we look into our automobile purchases, we research the PURCHASE of a new home, we rely on the fact that people are honest and we think because we are intelligent in our daily business, that we will be able to figure out a remodeling project.......but you're wrong.

I am a die hard fan of good construction. I am also a die hard fan of doing things correctly. If it doesn't stand as long as the quality of the product, why use it. I am a "Builder" for a multibillion residential home builder. I manage a minimum of 50 homes at a time. I work 65 hours and get paid for 40. Obviously I do all this for my family, but the bottom line is that there is no precise science to construction anymore than there is to figuring out a way to end world hunger. People pay good money, but they generally get the shaft.

My suggestion to anyone in this position is to identify the problems, be strong with the knowledge you have, aquire the knowledge if you have none, know exactly what you are paying for and understand that paying a lot of money never means necessarily getting the best. The best only comes from the heart. If you don't love what you do, then what left is there for you........................................Happy Thanksgiving from your friend and true confidant...................The Constchameleon...........
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Old 11-22-2005, 08:43 AM   #17
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Wow this amazes me how political a simple discussion can turn . MRFRIZ you posted documentation of all your records and so forth . Sounds to me like you decided to go with the cheaper bid on decision day . So yes alot of this is your fault and his also . I would make my choices better in the near future . www.bbb.com is a great tool for you to look on . Also check the public records division on your local Tax office to check and see if they have any records or leins,bankruptcys ect . have a great day
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Old 11-22-2005, 08:48 AM   #18
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamMeider
Wow this amazes me how political a simple discussion can turn . MRFRIZ you posted documentation of all your records and so forth . Sounds to me like you decided to go with the cheaper bid on decision day .
Actually I think he said he had 3 bids done by different people and the guy he chose was the highest of the 3. I dont think its his fault one way or another. He was taken advantage of by this guy. If the person he hired to do the remodel did other homes from scratch, there is no reason why this man's house shouldnt have been in anything less than 90 days.

Last edited by 6stringmason; 11-22-2005 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 11-22-2005, 09:02 AM   #19
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Quote:
Originally Posted by constchameleon
I work 65 hours and get paid for 40. Obviously I do all this for my family...
Agreeing to give your employer a 62.5% discount on the wages you've earned (40 x 1.625 = 65) is quite an odd example to set for your kids. It might also send a rather confusing message to your wife. You might want to reconsider your position in the near future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by constchameleon
...the bottom line is that there is no precise science to construction anymore than there is to figuring out a way to end world hunger. People pay good money, but they generally get the shaft.
With all due respect, I emphatically disagree with your conclusion(s)
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Old 11-22-2005, 09:20 AM   #20
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Re: Homeowner Being Taken Advantage Of??


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfritz
The contractor has basically finished the work now and will be coming tomorrow to go over the final bill.
I feel that because he took so long to finish this job...we deserve some compensation for that.
After paying him the full price of our first contract within the first 10 days after starting the job he wasn't as motivated to finish the job. I assume that he used my money on starting other jobs.
I have been racking my brain to try and figure out what these additions are that are about $3500 more from the original contract? I changed the doornobs, had him replace a linen closet door that opened the opposite way, removed a door and made the doorway a walk-through, and the plumber move the water lines for my washer down the wall about a foot so that they were out of sight. Thats all I can think of.
There are things that weren't done and I intend to subtract them from the total he will give me. these things include replacing outlets in the bathrooms, glass doors for the fireplace, replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, also, the pieced granite countertop, water damage to my newly installed wood floors in my laundry room because he had to move the outlet for the air conditioner overflow which apparently was never tested after being re-installed and didn't work, therefore, most of the wood became water soaked and now is turning very dark.
I am willing to pay for what I agreed to. But, after the above and the timeframe that the job took, I think a compromise needs to be worked out between us.
I know I'm late to the party but here's my $.02:
As long as you owe money you're in a poition to try to negotiate whatever compromise you like - fair or unfair. Once he's paid, you can forget about it.
While it seems that your contractor strung you out big time, it's not clear that you have any grounds to seek legal recourse. Only an attorney can figure that out.
As far as the extras go, I'm not sure I'd pay him for anything you didn't either agree to in writing or in the company of others. I think that's how I'd address my dissatisfaction with his performance. A contract requirement "that any additions must be put in writing." is a two way street. If he didn't get it in writing, shame on him.

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