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Hey everybody ... I've been trolling for a while but just had to start a new thread to discuss how I should handle a problem client.

To start, let me give a bit of background - without getting too into the specifics that don't really matter anyway. I took on a project that was a big bite to chew on, and I knew it going into it. I managed to get it down, figuratively speaking, even though I found a series of significant problems caused by a dishonest contractor (I should write that in quotes) who originally built the place. Of course, it took twice as long as I had planned and/or budgeted for which lead to the usual issues associated with that. All told it turned out quite nicely.

But, at about 90 percent complete the client refused to acknowledge and pay for a written change order worth more than 5% of the original price - after we had discussed it at length at least 4 times. At the same time they were demanding I complete the job.

They eventually paid most of it and I finished. They still owe me money and now their trying to pull a payment out of of me for whatever "damages" they can think up.

My contact stipulates that any disagreement will be settled in mediation. In 7 years I have never had an issue like this. I know i made several mistakes, and I have updated my "rules of engagement" list so that I don't make those same mistake again, but I have been feeling like these people were going to pull something exactly like this for a while.

I could use some input. What is meditation like? Do I need a lawyer? Anyone ever been in a similar situation and can offer some input or guidance? It would be much appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Head Grunt
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I find it kind of odd you have been in business for 7yrs using a contract that you yourself are unsure of with executing properly. In mediation since your contract states this is the procedure you will follow you and the HO will meet with the mediator separately and then together at a later date. This is so the mediator gets both sides of the story and can advise a resolution to the problem. Do you need an attorney through this? I would not think so and if anything they may further complicate the matter. This is my opinion anyway. I would assume since this is your contract and how you both agreed to proceed that you would be contacting a reputable mediator, who pays the costs of the mediator? That just may be part of the mediation too.
 

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Electrical Punk...
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571 Posts
Hey everybody ... I've been trolling for a while but just had to start a new thread to discuss how I should handle a problem client.

To start, let me give a bit of background - without getting too into the specifics that don't really matter anyway. I took on a project that was a big bite to chew on, and I knew it going into it. I managed to get it down, figuratively speaking, even though I found a series of significant problems caused by a dishonest contractor (I should write that in quotes) who originally built the place. Of course, it took twice as long as I had planned and/or budgeted for which lead to the usual issues associated with that. All told it turned out quite nicely.

But, at about 90 percent complete the client refused to acknowledge and pay for a written change order worth more than 5% of the original price - after we had discussed it at length at least 4 times. At the same time they were demanding I complete the job.

They eventually paid most of it and I finished. They still owe me money and now their trying to pull a payment out of of me for whatever "damages" they can think up.

My contact stipulates that any disagreement will be settled in mediation. In 7 years I have never had an issue like this. I know i made several mistakes, and I have updated my "rules of engagement" list so that I don't make those same mistake again, but I have been feeling like these people were going to pull something exactly like this for a while.

I could use some input. What is meditation like? Do I need a lawyer? Anyone ever been in a similar situation and can offer some input or guidance? It would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

Welcome to the forum..:thumbsup:

Do you need a lawyer No,Get an Attorney instead..

Make sure that all of your paper work for this job is perfect make sure you've got notes in a journal of he time and dates you were working there.

Be carful what you say to these people and if you're in their home assume that there are cameras and mikes there even if you think there are not,because this is the 21 st century so don't give them the upper hand.

Make sure you keep the money they want refunded in an account that is separate from your other accounts in case a judge rules in their favour.

If you have not been keeping a journal,Get one,a day at a time book from staples will do and always fill it out each day,with the exact time of day and what you're doing.

A good attorney will save you,but you must keep all of the paperwork in order each day,always take pictures with the exact time of day and the date.

Also it really depends on what state you live in on how much luck you'll have.
 

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just because they're not paying you doesn't mean they're right.

everyone has the option to not pay and everyone has the option to suffer consequences.

Keep communication in writing form this point on.let them know what you expect and how you are planning to proceed if they do not resolve it with you.

What are the "damages" they are claiming? time frame? actual finishes? all the above?

if they are finishes offer to make them right propose a date to do so in writing.

except no blame but show willingness to work things out...

it doesn't always end at mediation so don't expect it to..you may have to got court and depending on the amount it may or may not be worth a lawyer but if it is..Hire one.
 

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Welcome to the forum..:thumbsup:

Do you need a lawyer No,Get an Attorney instead..

Make sure that all of your paper work for this job is perfect make sure you've got notes in a journal of he time and dates you were working there.

Be carful what you say to these people and if you're in their home assume that there are cameras and mikes there even if you think there are not,because this is the 21 st century so don't give them the upper hand.

Make sure you keep the money they want refunded in an account that is separate from your other accounts in case a judge rules in their favour.

If you have not been keeping a journal,Get one,a day at a time book from staples will do and always fill it out each day,with the exact time of day and what you're doing.

A good attorney will save you,but you must keep all of the paperwork in order each day,always take pictures with the exact time of day and the date.

Also it really depends on what state you live in on how much luck you'll have.

You smoking the pipe?
 

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too much info missing

most important is the dollar amount were talking about?

if its $100 vs $10,000 the advice would be significantly different

my contracts always say 'not responsible for existing conditions' .....something should have been signed and ok'd at each new problem found
 

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Kowboy
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2,573 Posts
Say you could snap your fingers and win in court tomorrow. Great. Now you've got money and pi$$ed-off former customers.

Cut your losses. Have a meeting, settle it, and move on. Let it sting and you won't repeat this.
 

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Say you could snap your fingers and win in court tomorrow. Great. Now you've got money and pi$$ed-off former customers.

Cut your losses. Have a meeting, settle it, and move on. Let it sting and you won't repeat this.
id rather have money and pissed off customers then no money and pissed off customers.

they're no longer a referral or a customer if they are stiffing you
 

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Administrator
Maker of Fine Sawdust
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58,348 Posts
in cases like this the homeowner is just looking for a deal....give him a deal, let him feel he has won and move on.....sometimes you lose (we all do)
:censored: that.
 

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Administrator
Maker of Fine Sawdust
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58,348 Posts
I was wondering,,,,,If the customer dosen't pay the full amount, is the contractor still responsible for any warranty ?
Nope. Breach of contract.
 
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