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#157676 - 12/18/05 08:52 AM Customer ripped me off!  
mlk682  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 48
Foley Mn
I recently had a customer,referred to me by a friend who owns a heating and air conditioning company. Customer needed some controls installed on an old damper system. I spent around 8 hrs on this job,customer met me in his home after the job was completed. I was demonstrating how nicely it worked when the guy informs me that Quote"I'll pay ya for your material,but I ain't paying you for your labor" That was supposed to be included with the air conditioning. I was so angry I just wanted to remove all of the work right then. Of all the gaul! have a guy work all day in your home and then look him in the eye and tell him your not paying, so I left (Before I tore a big chunk of his face off) called the police in the area and asked if I could remove my materials and was denied! Found out that this was the third call in the same area in the last three days for the same type of stuff. I still had an outstanding permit on the job and with some cooperation with my AHJ scared him enough he paid me. As the gas prices and economy changes are you guys seeing this...My first time in three years getting flat out ripped off.

[This message has been edited by mlk682 (edited 12-18-2005).]


Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#157677 - 12/18/05 09:10 AM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
Electric Eagle  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
Alpharetta, GA
I've owned several businesses, all construction related, and I've never had this happen. Did you give the guy a quote up front or just show up and start working? From the customers' perspective if the guy thought this would be a $90 job and you give him a bill for $900 I could understand him not wanting to pay. Now if you told him, this is time and material at $XXX an hour and I will be here all day, he should've had no complaints. Or better yet a flat upfront price.


#157678 - 12/18/05 09:28 AM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
mlk682  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 48
Foley Mn
I charged the guy 290.00 total labor and materials included. I felt I was doing him a favor doing it so inexpensiveley / your thoughts? I did quote t&m at 45.00 per hr. I had 4 hrs onsite and around 4 hrs rounding up all parts and materials from suppliers. I also had installed a 50 amp sub panel and hooked up his air conditioning and his garage last month. Charged him 650.00 for a 50 amp sub and Ac connect (garage was all existing)Again pretty mild pricing in my book. Minnesota has a lot of extra taxes ,fees and permitting hence the extra costs.

[This message has been edited by mlk682 (edited 12-18-2005).]


#157679 - 12/18/05 12:58 PM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
A crook is a crook.

There are legal ways to deal with this sort of thing. Everyone's first ideas...hitting the guy, ripping your parts out, etc....are not usually among them.

In the criminal area, there is such a thing as "theft of services." For that, you file a complaint with the police. There is also "theft by deception." Where several contractors are involved, a case my be made for fraud.

Your state is sure to have specific requirements for filing a lien agains the property. You will want to have a local attourney explain the process to you. There is also small claims court.

Finally, you may be able to get the city inspector to help you out. If nothing else, he may refuse to 'sign off' the job untill you say you're done- which won't be until you're paid.


#157680 - 12/18/05 07:01 PM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
mlk682  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 48
Foley Mn
Thanks Reno,Eagle for your replys!

I guess its a sign of the times,It did bring my attention to the wording in the contracts I was using,word to the wise,I contacted a collection lawyer whom was very helpful. (Collection Lawyer- Helpful) hows that for an oxymoron


#157681 - 12/31/05 07:37 AM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
Pat@Amber  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 106
Gaithersburg, MD USA
Has anyone here ever filed a "theft of services" complaint with the police? I've had a few customers over the years that I would have loved to call the police on, but didn't think that was really an option.

Here in Maryland you can lose your drivers license for driving off without paying for a few bucks worth of gas, yet some people think nothing of trying to cheat us out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

It would be great to see the cops roll up to a house with their lights on and sirens blasting to help us get paid.


Power to the people

#157682 - 12/31/05 12:02 PM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
An additional angle to consider: I have personally met several "Cuss-tomers" who deliberately seek out unlicensed contractors (Do you do 'side' work?) with the deliberate intent to stiff the guy later.
These cretins know that no court will help enforce a contract if the contractor is not licensed. So they give some money up front for parts, than fail to pay for the work itself.

I have, over the years, seen numerous articles cautioning homeowners to be wary of unscrupulous, or incompetent, contractors. Remember that these same shady types are seen by others as "customers," and are just as shady then.


#157683 - 12/31/05 05:06 PM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
LK  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
I had to laugh, weekend EC's was complaining about not getting paid, it seems your right, the home owners are getting smart, they seek out these guys, knowing they can stiff them, and not only do they not get paid, but to make things worse, the home owner plays dumb, and calls the AHJ, Oh did this guy need a permit? then the AHJ goes after Mr Side job, no pay and may end up going to court to defend himself.


#157684 - 01/03/06 12:33 PM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
mlk682  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 48
Foley Mn
No weekender here, I am fully licensed,bonded and insured. FYI


#157685 - 01/09/06 09:10 AM Re: Customer ripped me off!  
LearJet9  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 197
Millis, MA USA
One of our 'fully insured, licensed' guys did a service upgrade side job. The customer knew the price up front and agreed. At the end of the day when the check 'was not ready yet' [and we all know what that means] the woman told him to come back tomorrow and her husband would pay him. Knowing what might be happening, he said, 'no problem, the only item left is the fianl [weatherhead] connection. I'll do that tomorrow right after I get paid. He had a check in hand within 5 minutes. Bold, but it worked.


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