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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I built a deck for a customer a couple weeks back with a fence going across the front and a gate. I had a contract although it was extremely simple it stated that I was installing a deck with pressure treated frame and decking, the cost, and the payment structure. I am licensed and insured in my state as a contractor (though still new at being on my own). The payment structure was 60% up front due to materials and 40% upon completion. The project was completed a couple weeks ago. She wasn't happy with the gate so I took it down and rebuilt it then asked for my payment. She continued to make minor complaints (literally the paint on a screw chipped off) and I entertained her and took care of all these things. Now its time for payment once again and she claims she is getting moisture in her storage closet. Simply put I don't see how the deck could cause it the joists run with a pitch sloping away from the house and the joists run level across. Also there is an overhang above the closet I just don't see how it could happen. This lady has been so negative, rude, obnoxious, and everything else you can think of from the start. I am at the point I don't want to talk or see her again. How do I go about getting my money? She said she's waiting on another opinion and still isn't happy with the way the gate looks. The payment wasn't contingent on someone else's opinion so I think she's doing something illegal there and the gate is perfectly fine. Every neighbor and person who saw the project besides her have given me plenty of compliments so i have the confidence to call it complete.
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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Lien her property and be on your way. Or have a lawyer write something up for you to send to her.

Keep sending her invoices, keep track of them and send them by registered mail. If you have a clause in there for interest/penalties then add them in. If you don't put it into your next contract. The school of hard knocks teaches it's lessons well.
 

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Good advice above.If you don't have a legal and binding contract for the scope of the work you don't have shtz.More people are like that than you think.Everything is always good until it comes time to write the check.
 

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The payment structure was 60% up front due to materials and 40% upon completion.
I'm in PA too. I would tell her to get you three WRITTEN opinions from local registered contractors by the end of the month or you are going to start court - lien - whatever proceedings.

In the future - do not leave that much hanging on the end. I leave MAYBE $200 payable upon completion with new customers. You can go with the state regs on down payment and it's all your call on every payment after that.

In 11 years we have only had maybe 2-3 people complain about the small token last payment.
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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Tell her everything she wants you to do is warranty work. And she doesn't get the warranty until she pays for the work performed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think I am going to have to go the lawyer route. Other contractors opinions aren't really all that important to me. There was no contingency in the contract about other opinions and it's a small deck barely above grade so no permit was required therefore I can't say I'm out of code. Beyond that the deck was built correct. Beams have a pitch away from the house the joists are level across. The deck is below the brick shelf of the storage closet she's complaining about and even lower from the sliding glass doors to the house.
 

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..... Other contractors opinions aren't really all that important to me. There was no contingency in the contract about other opinions........
So why did you bother asking?
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm sorry that came out wrong haha. I meant to amilia saying to have her get written opinions from other contractors about the deck. The opinions on how to handle the situation from other contractors is greatly appreciated
 

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I'm sorry that came out wrong haha. I meant to amilia saying to have her get written opinions from other contractors about the deck. The opinions on how to handle the situation from other contractors is greatly appreciated
She mentioned that she's from PA as you are and it's very likely she's giving you good advice that is specific to that state.
 

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#1 ask for a written list of deficiencies
#2 go over each one onsite.
#3 if they're your fault fix it.
#4 if not your fault, try to fix it
#5 collect payment or send letter of INTENT TO LEIN
(found here in file sharing section

for future work, have a better contract.
not sure why no permit ? how much was the job?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No permit because the deck isn't 20" above grade. Contract could've definitely been better. I've been back and forth with the "problems" 4 or 5 times already hence the frustration. I can't continue to go back and forth just because she doesn't wanna pay. It cost me money and time and enough is enough. I was going to contact a lawyer tomorrow. Like I mentioned I dont even wanna deal with her any more. She's been nothing but a hassle and has been holding may payment making me dance like a puppet on a string.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
try the intent to lien letter

that's free , lawyers are not.
this might be my method. I am going to take action tomorrow. I am giving her the rest of the day to make a payment. I have done a lot of searching through this site as the problem was going on and this is where I stand. A lot of the posts I read regarding the issue said take care of the little crap its much easier than the legal route. However, I went back time and time again, like I said one time the paint on the screw was chipped and I replaced it no questions asked!!! At this point I just feel like whatever I fix shes going to make up her next excuse. I feel like she just simply doesn't want to pay. I never thought it would happen to me and what a great lesson its been to go through but man I wish i didn't have to!
 

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I am not, nor will say much here! BUT take photo's lots of them, AND USE a cell phone, the time is there, date as well! A camera can be messed with, a cell phone photo, will and can be used in court!!

My wife works, in this type of field! LAWYERS!!

FYI if ya are involved in a auto accident, do the same! take the other peoples insurance card info, plate #, drivers ID, etc.

The insurance companies just hate it! LOL
 

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you should have collected the check right after you fixed the first issue......why do you keep fixing things and not getting paid?

i collect my money when the job is complete with homeowners.....if they have issues i come back and fix them.....i dont fix them without being paid first.....they have no warranty if they dont pay you....so why fix things anymore

lien the house

learn how the lien law works in your state.....

i just had a customer who threatened me back, saying if i lien her house she will trash me on the internet..

dont let someone steal from you...
 

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I don't think it's a warranty issue until they have paid you because they are satisfied with the product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Every "issue" she has brought up has been aesthetic. I have been bending over backwards to make her happy but trying to avoid the legal procedure. Now that she is claiming she gets moisture in her storage room she says shes going to get a second opinion but I told her the deck doesn't have anything to do with it since the deck is below the brick shelf and the threshold. The seals on the door could be bad and that isn't related to the deck and its just a little storage closet that hasn't been updated since the house has been built there's a million reasons it could be getting moisture. She always has a complaint and nothing is ever enough and she is gut wrenching to deal with. That's why I was going to get a lawyer or go the legal route. If you put a level near the beam you can see the pitch away from the house. as you move away from the edges it varies a bit due to the crowns all being pointed up (as you would building any structure) so she thinks she has a case against me. It's just the fact that lumber isn't perfect I don't see how she has any case and I've been there enough times with e mails texts and pictures to prove that I did my best to satisfy her but she's just always miserable and wants more.
 
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