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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a licensed electrican and back in Jan. I was finishing up a new home for a couple. We had about 2 days work left when the owner and I got into it over a 3way switch that he said I should have installed during the rough in stage. When he asked if there was a 3way on this particular light I said no. He started getting irrate and I politley explained to him that we had walked through the entire house together during rough in and marked everything that he asked for. He got ever madder and went to accusing me of not doing my job and telling me what a bad electrican I was. I tried explaining my side and he would have none of it, constantly shaking his head. I couldn't reason with this guy. I loaded up my tools and told him that I was leaving and would be back when he calmed down. The way it was headed that seemed to be the best thing to do. He got madder and started in on me again about not being a good electrican and told me that if I left don't come back.

I have a affidavid of lein filed against him and filed a claim in small claims court for $5500. He was served and I was sent paperwork, as was the justice of the peace from a lawyer showing his intention or threat to countersue me siting fraud, default on contract etc. It stated on the papers that the suit was now beyond the legal jurisdiction of small claims which is $10,000 because he is seaking damages in excess of $10,000. No exact amount just in excess of $10,000. I was told that he may be just stalling trying to keep it out of small claims and if he had a legitimate claim he would have come forth sooner. All I did was walk of the job due to his verbal attacks. I never said I wasn't coming back. He just told me if I left don't come back. If he had called and said come back and finish I would have. I work for 4 contractors and have never walked off a job or been told to leave. A few facts. This guy had no contractor. He subbed it all out himself. He has no loan on the home, he paid cash. There was no detailed electrical plans on the home. He gave me a blank floorplan of a 6,000 sq. ft. home and told me to draw in the electrical and give him a bid on that. Lastly, we have no signed contract betweeen us. I gave him a bid on what I drawed in and he accepted it. What do you think?
 

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.......... What do you think?

I think:

1. You made your bed, now you're complaining you're being forced to lie in it.
2. You should have never started the job without a written contract and an electrical plan.
3. You need a lawyer, not an on-line forum.
4. You need to consider this Lesson #1 in Contracting in the School of Hard Knocks.
5. Is the cost of not putting in that 3-way worth the headache, hassle, trouble and monetary expense, not to mention the damage to your reputation?
 

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You walked off a job cause of a three-way switch? I'd probably would have given him his 3-way & finished the job, but I'm not an electrician.

Never do work without a contract, period, I don't care what trade you're in that's rule #1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I couldn't give him a 3way switch because it was a 2 story and under the second floor. If it had been to where I could have crawled in the attic and added the switch you bet I would have. I didn't walk off because of a switch. I left because of his personal attacks. the switch is just what started the whole thing. The guy was getting so irrate that if i hadn't left we might have come to blows. I won't stand there and be accused of not doing my job and be degraded. Walking off and neutralizing the situation is alot better than one or both of us going to jail. you think?
 

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Do yourself a favor...make peace with the guy, eat a little crow, and give him the switch and whatever else is bothering him. Even if you have to send another electrician to do it....you will make out in the long run...:thumbsup:
 

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..... I won't stand there and be accused of not doing my job and be degraded. Walking off and neutralizing the situation is alot better than one or both of us going to jail. you think?

There are other ways to de-escalate a situation, besides walking off.

Walking off should be your very, very - last resort. If you walk off, you should have a contract, and solid basis/grounds for walking off, - to back you up.

You walked off, wihout a contract, and did so voluntarily. That is the key point.

BTW - Coming to blows = Should never happen. If it were to come to that. You take the first blow from the other guy (hopefully with a witness present)= and sue his a$$.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do yourself a favor...make peace with the guy, eat a little crow, and give him the switch and whatever else is bothering him. Even if you have to send another electrician to do it....you will make out in the long run...:thumbsup:
Thats sound advice and I agree. But that was January and this is October. Like I said earlier we were about 2 days out from finishing. He had his HVAC man, who is also a electrican go in there and finish up. Just kitchen appliances and a few fixtures was all that was left. You other guys are right. I should have had a contract and a detailed plan. Do I regret not getting paid? You bet. Do I regret walking off? Hell no! This guy needs to learn how to talk to people. I'll definitely do things differently next time but I'm not going to let someone degrade me.
 

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Are you a licensed contractor? :shifty:You should have known better than to not have a written contract. It’ll likely cost you.

Where your plans submitted to the county and approved? If they are part of the permit package you should have at least that to stand on.

Without a contract he can say he supplied all the wire, directed you to install, only had you there for one day of labor pretty much anything he wants, he can claim anything. He can say he directed you to install the 3 way and it is you against him. The Judge will likely side with the Owner because Contractors are considered the professionals not Owners.

I would get an attorney.
 

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.......He had his HVAC man, who is also a electrican go in there and finish up. ............
Now you also have liability, licensing, permit and warranty issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There are other ways to de-escalate a situation, besides walking off.

Walking off should be your very, very - last resort. If you walk off, you should have a contract, and solid basis/grounds for walking off, - to back you up.

You walked off, wihout a contract, and did so voluntarily. That is the key point.

BTW - Coming to blows = Should never happen. If it were to come to that. You take the first blow from the other guy (hopefully with a witness present)= and sue his a$$.
I've been doing electrical work for along time but I've never been confronted with a situation like this. I was surprised at his reaction when I told him about not having a switch. He instantly got hostile and wouldn't listen to anything I said. Everytime i opened my mouth he went to shaking his head in disagrement. I gave up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are you a licensed contractor? :shifty:You should have known better than to not have a written contract. It’ll likely cost you.

Where your plans submitted to the county and approved? If they are part of the permit package you should have at least that to stand on.

Without a contract he can say he supplied all the wire, directed you to install, only had you there for one day of labor pretty much anything he wants, he can claim anything. He can say he directed you to install the 3 way and it is you against him. The Judge will likely side with the Owner because Contractors are considered the professionals not Owners.

I would get an attorney.
Yes I'm licensed and in Texas. The home was built in a rural area outside the city limits. There are no permits, inspections in this county and most counties in Texas unless your near a larger city.
 

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Sounds to me like he baited you and you fell for it, - - some people make it an artform to find an excuse to 'get mad' at those who they owe money to, - - unfortunately the homeowners automatically tend to get favored in these situations. Contractors are favored only as a 'fall-guy' species . . .
 

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Wow, shaking his head in disagreement! No wonder you were scared it would come to blows!

The deal breaker you have is you abandoned the job. As soon as you abandon the job you're screwed. If the customer stopped work or told you to leave its a totally different thing then a contractor abandoning the job.

Follow through on your small claims case and see how it turns out, you don't have an open and shut case because you abandoned the job and you have no contract, but you never know how it might turn out, at worst you might get some of your money.
 

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Sounds to me like your asking us to pat you on the back and say, "Atta boy! Go get 'im!" But the facts of the matter are, he found a weak spot and he apparently took advantage of it. At this point, the damage is done. The best you can hope for is to get some of what you're owed. Chalk it up to experience, find a contract to use......... and have a lawyer review it first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'll definitely do things different next. 99% of the work I do is for contractors that I have worked for for years. Some of them knew me as a kid so I never worry about them. Your right, he baited me and I fell for it.
This guy is such a nut that about a week after I left he called and left me a message wanting to know if i had the trim out parts to his bathroom exhaust fans! He needed them! He refuses to pay me and he wants me to give him something! I learned my lesson.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sounds to me like your asking us to pat you on the back and say, "Atta boy! Go get 'im!" But the facts of the matter are, he found a weak spot and he apparently took advantage of it. At this point, the damage is done. The best you can hope for is to get some of what you're owed. Chalk it up to experience, find a contract to use......... and have a lawyer review it first.
I'm not asking you for crap buddy. I'm simply telling my story and seeing if anyone else out there has been in the same boat. I'm looking for advice. If I want sarcasm I'll go talk to the homeowner.
 

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Texas = Wild, Wild,... Wide West

Let me see... where Mr. Bush stays, every citizen/HO get MAXIMUM protection:

1. You can shoot-to-kill anyone enter the home or steal your stuff?

2. You can declare bankruptcy and STILL can keep the house you live in;

3. You can build houses/mansions with NO permit, no inspections in rural but RICH counties? and then..

4. You can screw contractors with no license, no permit, no inspections, etc.. to work in these counties?? Uh oh.. no good :shutup:

M I rite?? :whistling
 
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