advertisement
Forums

The Forum is sponsored by 
 

AAPL stock: Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 02:48PM
[forums.macresource.com]
Just wallowing in bad energy.. . he got the windows installed this morning but decided he was going to skip the capping, because he had some bad luck and the guy he lent his brake to pawned it and someone ruined it along the way (etc. etc.); so he twisted things to claim that the capping was just sort a "freebie" he was throwing in anyways, and wanted the full price we agreed on (well, actually more than in the contract-- he had called me soon after the initial deposit and told me it was going to be more, and I was OK with that). I told him I'd had an estimate of $400 to finish the capping, and he went ballistic. I was called things I literally haven't been called since 3rd grade. I was willing to meet him in the middle, but he was unwilling to discuss and after another 30 or 40 "FUs" and a string of veiled threats, he drove off.

So what am I missing here: You give an estimate, accept a deposit, do the work as agreed, and get the rest of your money.
If for whatever reason you can't do part of the job, you either find someone else to do that piece for you, or you reduce the price by the amount of the piece you can't do. Bad things that happen to you along the way don't have any bearing on what the customer is expected to pay. In the event of unexpected additional expenses beyond your control, you go to your client and say, "look, there's this additional expense beyond my control-- what do you want to do?"
Right? This is the second time I've been in this situation-- same exact "I was doing it as a favor to you for less than my cost" song and dance, and immediate psychopath.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2008 02:49PM by Black Landlord.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 02:49PM
.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2008 02:49PM by Black Landlord.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: MacMagus
Date: October 12, 2008 02:50PM
Next time you and a contractor amend an agreement over the phone, have him fax you a revised estimate with his signature.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: space-time
Date: October 12, 2008 02:58PM
so he was calling you things on your property? why didn't you call the police?
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: voodoopenguin
Date: October 12, 2008 03:00PM
Have you got the wording correct? There is a difference between an estimate and a quote.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2008 03:00PM by voodoopenguin.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 03:07PM
Quote
MacMagus
Next time you and a contractor amend an agreement over the phone, have him fax you a revised estimate with his signature.

That's certainly the best way to proceed, but the extra $120 or whatever it was was not in dispute (initially paid $810, original balance was supposed to be $540, but I think he was claiming I owed him $560-- he may have forgotten he called back with a higher price (this whole saga started in April), or the higher price may have been based on increased price of the aluminum cap, which ended up not being in play since I didn't get any-- he played such a shell game with the numbers I was barely interested in following it).

Handwritten estimate reads:
Furnish and install 6 white double hung windows, capp with white aluminum, caulk inside & out where necessary
Labor and matt $1350, dep $810, BAL $540.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2008 03:13PM by Black Landlord.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 03:12PM
Quote
space-time
so he was calling you things on your property? why didn't you call the police?

There was no reason to go all legal on him-- in unstructured business relationships there's a huge amount of value in keeping the channels open-- once you cross the line into uncordial waters, it's very hard to get back. Just because he crossed the line doesn't mean there would have been any benefit to me doing so.
Also, I live in Chicago, and getting the police to show up for "someone calling you names on your property" is possible, but typically takes at least 45 minutes and many calls, and you're as likely to have them put handcuffs on you as to handle the situation appropriately.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: October 12, 2008 03:45PM
Let me make sure I understand your post correctly.

You have a handwritten estimate in which he said he would do the complete job of installing the windows, but he did not itemize the job in terms of materials and labor cost.

When he was unable to complete the job, you got an estimate of $400 to finish the capping of all six windows.

When he came to collect the balance, you reduced what you owed him by $400, so the remaining amount owed became $160.

At that point he went into his nasty snit. You then offered him $360, with each of you splitting the cost of the additional it will cost to have the job completed. And then he continued in his vile snit.

Judge Judy would love to get involved in this one! smiling smiley

I agree that you, in fact, do not owe him the total amount of the original bid. It's also logical to assume that a contractor who was employed to do only one portion of the job will actually charge more than what it would have cost to install those caps at the same time the windows were being replaced. Under those circumstances, I can (kind of) understand how the original contractor would feel $400 is too much for the job. However, the truth of the matter is that $400 is what it's going to take you to get the window installation complete.

So... Send the original contractor the $160 (technically only $140, if you're going to use his original bid as the basis for this, and I think you should.) Make sure the money is sent along with a letter explaining in detail the reason why you are not paying the final payment due in full. Also make sure you send the money and the letter by return receipt, and keep copies of everything. This will put the onus on him to go after you to collect the balance, but I don't think he would be successful in collecting from you in small claims court. Primarily, he failed to itemize his bid, so there's no way he can justify how much of the dollar amount of the total job represented the material for and installation of those caps. You also need to make sure you document everything, including getting, in writing, the bid for the cost of installing the caps.

I have a feeling I left out something, but I can't think of what it is. If it comes to me, I'll be back.

Good luck.

Edit: I remembered! Did he, or did he not, leave with any of the remaining balance which he claims is $540?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2008 03:50PM by AlphaDog.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Michael
Date: October 12, 2008 03:56PM
If the guy is a screaming crazy, you might want to be around in the evenings for the next couple of nights. He just might find his justice in breaking some of those brand new windows.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 03:56PM
Quote
voodoopenguin
Have you got the wording correct? There is a difference between an estimate and a quote.
Probably not. I guess it would be a contract or an agreement, since it's signed and acknowledges my initial payment.
The quote/estimate was verbal.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 04:08PM
Quote
AlphaDog
Let me make sure I understand your post correctly.

You have a handwritten estimate in which he said he would do the complete job of installing the windows, but he did not itemize the job in terms of materials and labor cost.

When he was unable to complete the job, you got an estimate of $400 to finish the capping of all six windows.

When he came to collect the balance, you reduced what you owed him by $400, so the remaining amount owed became $160.

At that point he went into his nasty snit. You then offered him $360, with each of you splitting the cost of the additional it will cost to have the job completed. And then he continued in his vile snit.

Judge Judy would love to get involved in this one! smiling smiley

I agree that you, in fact, do not owe him the total amount of the original bid. It's also logical to assume that a contractor who was employed to do only one portion of the job will actually charge more than what it would have cost to install those caps at the same time the windows were being replaced. Under those circumstances, I can (kind of) understand how the original contractor would feel $400 is too much for the job. However, the truth of the matter is that $400 is what it's going to take you to get the window installation complete.

So... Send the original contractor the $160 (technically only $140, if you're going to use his original bid as the basis for this, and I think you should.) Make sure the money is sent along with a letter explaining in detail the reason why you are not paying the final payment due in full. Also make sure you send the money and the letter by return receipt, and keep copies of everything. This will put the onus on him to go after you to collect the balance, but I don't think he would be successful in collecting from you in small claims court. Primarily, he failed to itemize his bid, so there's no way he can justify how much of the dollar amount of the total job represented the material for and installation of those caps. You also need to make sure you document everything, including getting, in writing, the bid for the cost of installing the caps.

I have a feeling I left out something, but I can't think of what it is. If it comes to me, I'll be back.

Good luck.

Edit: I remembered! Did he, or did he not, leave with any of the remaining balance which he claims is $540?

Thanks, that's pretty close-- it's good to have reaffirmation of how things are supposed to work- dealing with crazy people can be unnerving.

Some errata:
Paid more than half upfront (to cover his purchase of windows and materials, presumably).
Knew before he came today he didn't intend to do the capping; he rattled something on the phone about something being free and not charging me extra-- I didn't quite understand (because it was from left field) but thought he may be telling me to skip the rest of the payment
(I've been chasing him down for 6 months, and after all his problems and then being unable to do the capping it was conceivable that he was just going to get them in for a little above what they cost him).
The actual "negotiaton" was quite a bit mesier-- he was packing up and said I owed him the balance. I said I'd got an estimate of $400 to finish the capping, and he immediately went ballistic (I'm not going to repeat the specific content but it was very hostile). He almost immediately declared his intent to get in the car and drive away and I could keep my [expletive] money.Therafter, he kept challenging me to give him an amount of what I thought I owed him (in the most cutting, sarcastic, bitter way you can imagine). I told him I was willing to figure out with him what would be a fair compromise. A little something about me not knowing how nasty he can be, he grew up in Chicago with bad people etc. I'm jumbling things, but to cut to the chase at some point I told him $160 would be the balance once I paid to have someone do the capping, and that sent him through the roof some more (understand that there was absolutely no potential to discuss any of this with him, anything except "here's your payment as requested" was clearly going to e ugly).
Can't hold my arms up to type any more, sorry.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: October 12, 2008 04:33PM
You know, if you're going to continue dealing with the independent contractors, especially the ones who are so casual about their bids, I have a suggestion. Do some volunteer work with either the mentally ill or juvenile offenders. You'll get lots of practice dealing with irrational people. smiling smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: October 12, 2008 05:01PM
I don't know why you're even stressing over how he feels. You have a written document, he took 6 MONTHS to do the job and now he's trying to back out on something you can be sure he charged for in the original price. Pay him the $140 and tell him to sue you for the rest. I don't think he'll have a chance in hell of getting it as long as you have the signed contract.

If you are worried about losing a good contractor then this is no prize. There HAS to be better people than this even in Chicago. Any price consideration you think you're getting is being vastly offset by the rudeness he's showing you, his valued customer. F_sck him! Tell him to get lost.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 05:09PM
Quote
Michael
If the guy is a screaming crazy, you might want to be around in the evenings for the next couple of nights. He just might find his justice in breaking some of those brand new windows.
Er, that had crossed my mind, but it always helps to hear it again.
You know just what to say winking smiley
Part of the reason I still want to find a resolution that's fair to both of us.
Last time he went off he claimed afterwards he "does that" and doesn't remember it afterwards . . .



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 05:16PM
Quote
Jack D.
I don't know why you're even stressing over how he feels. You have a written document, he took 6 MONTHS to do the job and now he's trying to back out on something you can be sure he charged for in the original price. Pay him the $140 and tell him to sue you for the rest. I don't think he'll have a chance in hell of getting it as long as you have the signed contract.

If you are worried about losing a good contractor then this is no prize. There HAS to be better people than this even in Chicago. Any price consideration you think you're getting is being vastly offset by the rudeness he's showing you, his valued customer. F_sck him! Tell him to get lost.

It helps to hear that, but "screw you" is not my style. Not worried about losing this guy, trust me, I want to be done with him. But I want to be able to enjoy my windows content in the knowledge that I didn't act unfairly. He did get under my skin claiming repeatedly that he paid more for the windows than what the additional $160 would have totaled. I've got my neighbor's grandfather coming next Saturday to give me an estimate on the capping (and probably complete it the day after), and I will do my best to figure out from him what these windows must have cost. He did my bedroom and kitchen windows 5 years ago.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: October 12, 2008 05:22PM
If he's like many contractors right now he's probably hard up for work
and was trying to get ever last dime out of you. Everyone I know that is
in the home improvement business or building contractor are really
hurting except one guy. The guy that put my windows in came a took a
look at our bathroom for a remodel job, he's covered up with work.
When he replaced 13 windows in our house he measured one picture
window in the front wrong and it was 3" short in width, he said he could
use it but it would not look right. So he reordered the window which
was basically 3 windows joined together. Our house had the old crank
out Aluminum windows that had to be cut out and wood casing put back
in and everything covered with Aluminum, it was a large job. I think it
cost us about 300 per window, $900 for the one triple. It was the best
home improvement we've done so far. The bad window probably had to
come out of his own pocket.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 05:23PM
Just thought I'd put it in writing before I completely block it out--
he did say "I hope your house burns to the ground" at one point (maybe just before leaving).
He was pretty adept at stopping just short of police report material.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 05:28PM
Quote
Grateful11
If he's like many contractors right now he's probably hard up for work
and was trying to get ever last dime out of you. Everyone I know that is
in the home improvement business or building contractor are really
hurting except one guy. The guy that put my windows in came a took a
look at our bathroom for a remodel job, he's covered up with work.
When he replaced 13 windows in our house he measured one picture
window in the front wrong and it was 3" short in width, he said he could
use it but it would not look right. So he reordered the window which
was basically 3 windows joined together. Our house had the old crank
out Aluminum windows that had to be cut out and wood casing put back
in and everything covered with Aluminum, it was a large job. I think it
cost us about 300 per window, $900 for the one triple. It was the best
home improvement we've done so far. The bad window probably had to
come out of his own pocket.

If I can believe anything that comes out of his mouth, he's just completed a huge job that's been dragging on for months and "kicking his butt" on a large famous skyscraper in downtown Chicago, and he's done similar large buildings around town, and little jobs like mine are just peanuts that he does as a "favor" (although he doesn't seem to like me or anyone else for that matter, so not sure why he wants to do me any favors)-- so it doesn't seem to be about the money.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: October 12, 2008 05:38PM
Quote
Black Landlord
Just thought I'd put it in writing before I completely block it out--
he did say "I hope your house burns to the ground" at one point (maybe just before leaving).
He was pretty adept at stopping just short of police report material.

I'd still file a report with the police just in case your house burns down or rocks accidentally come flying through your window.

>but "screw you" is not my style.

Well all I can say is you're going out of your way to take a beating from someone who obviously doesn't give a whit about you. You want to be fair? Don't kill him. That would be "fair".

He ignored you, cursed at you, bumped the price, reduced the amount of work promised and threatened you with property damage. And you're trying to be fair? When you let someone like this get away with this game you just reinforce the fact that he can. It just makes it harder on others ability to get a fair shake.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 12, 2008 05:58PM
Quote
Jack D.
Quote
Black Landlord
Just thought I'd put it in writing before I completely block it out--
he did say "I hope your house burns to the ground" at one point (maybe just before leaving).
He was pretty adept at stopping just short of police report material.

I'd still file a report with the police just in case your house burns down or rocks accidentally come flying through your window.

>but "screw you" is not my style.

Well all I can say is you're going out of your way to take a beating from someone who obviously doesn't give a whit about you. You want to be fair? Don't kill him. That would be "fair".

He ignored you, cursed at you, bumped the price, reduced the amount of work promised and threatened you with property damage. And you're trying to be fair? When you let someone like this get away with this game you just reinforce the fact that he can. It just makes it harder on others ability to get a fair shake.

Thanks, Jack. Only problem is, he didn't do anything illegal.
I'd have to stretch the truth to file a police report, not willing to do that. Had he said something more like "don't be surprised if your house burns down", I'd take that step.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: GuyGene
Date: October 12, 2008 06:36PM
BL, wish I lived in your area - I wouldn't mind working for you!

I think you will come out great in the long run... kindness and goodness does really have benefits... not necessarily so-called fairness.



That old man - he don't think like no old man...
Now I wouldn't want to be within 400 - 500 yards of one of them nuclear bombs when it goes off! WW1 Vet Old Man
"He's pinned under an outcropping of rock. Lucky for him, the rock kept the dirt from burying him alive."
If idiots could fly, this place would be an airport. And I'd be a TSA agent.
A bonified member of The Mystic Knights of The Sea, George P. Stevens, President. Andy Brown, Treasurer, Algonquin J. Calhoun, Legal Consultant.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Wailer
Date: October 13, 2008 01:56PM
Ignore the curse bombs and unprofessional behavior.

Document everything with pictures, witness, dates, etc.

I'd probably file a small claims suit for the "overpaid" amount, if any. If there isn't any, then pay the balance for actual work performed promptly. I'm not a litigious person, but you will protect yourself. If it does go to court, you will likely prevail if you showed that you tried to remedy the situation as best as possible.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Screaming contractor redoux
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: October 13, 2008 05:20PM
Quote
Wailer
Ignore the curse bombs and unprofessional behavior.

Document everything with pictures, witness, dates, etc.

I'd probably file a small claims suit for the "overpaid" amount, if any. If there isn't any, then pay the balance for actual work performed promptly. I'm not a litigious person, but you will protect yourself. If it does go to court, you will likely prevail if you showed that you tried to remedy the situation as best as possible.

Kind of what I planned to do (pay any additional amount owed after my expense to get the capping done). I have to talk to him to get an address to send payment to though. [dread] I wanted to discuss the situation with my attorney friend (along with a little bike incident last Friday) but we haven't connected today.
He's got to know he doesn't have a leg to stand on legally, though.
Contract says "cap". He didn't/hasn't/won't. The end.



[www.papanicholas.com] coffee smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2008 05:21PM by Black Landlord.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 194
Record Number of Users: 186 on February 20, 2020
Record Number of Guests: 5122 on October 03, 2020