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#39196 06/13/04 11:02 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
... Back in January,of this year,I took on a big job,re-wiring an old gutted,14 room Victorian house from top to bottom.The terms were to be time and material,and was accepted and signed on my proposal.We worked our way thru the 1st 3 rooms for the first week,and encountered lots of set-backs in regard to the plans..Walls were missing,partitions,etc..There was no legend for what type of light went where,as the plan was not drawn by a licenced architect,but an "interior designer"...I informed the H.O. that I needed to know what went where,and needed the framing to be complete.He said "Can't you go to another area in the house to work"? I replied that thats not how I planned to work,as the job was extensive,and wanted to methodically finish one level at a time.(There were 3 levels).The H.O. then told me to contact the "architect" via telephone,and go over the plans that way,because the "architect" lived in Miami,Fla...I called him,and after about 2 hrs. of talking long distance,notated my set of drawings.I moved forward..At the end of the week,I submitted an invoice based on labor and material costs that were incurred..The H.O. paid me in check...OK, now to start work elsewhere,..against my better judgement..I completed 4 more rooms,and told the H.O. that until he had ALL the framing completed,I would not be coming back..3 months later,the H.O. called me and told me I was discharged from the job,to turn in my key,and remove my "personal effects" from the house,he also said he'd gotten another E.C to come in and finish..I argued that we had a signed contract,and that if he really wanted to do that,well,he had to settle up with me,regarding the additional 4 rooms,that I'd completed.He exploded,and said he didn't owe me a dime,that that work was paid for under the old invoice he'd already paid for..This was not the case, I tried to calmly talk to him and he just hung up on me..The following day,I went to the house,took my stuff,and proceeded to CUT all the wiring I'd just installed and not gotten paid for..Bad move..He called the Police,and pressed charges on me for stealing "thousands of dollars worth of electrical supplies,and vandalizing (cutting the wires)in his house"..Before they could issue a warrant for my arrest, I went to the Police dept.,and spoke to a Detective there,and told him my side of the story..Long story short,I contacted the H.O. from hell,and told him I'd return said materials,..(1/2 a reel of 12-2 romex,1/2 a reel of 14-3 romex,some plastic nail-on boxes)and repair any wiring that was cut.He agreed,but will not retract the charges until everthing is repaired...I made a big mistake..The $2,000.00 he owed me wasn't worth the trouble... I lost about a year off my life due to the stress..Never Again!!

[This message has been edited by Attic Rat (edited 06-13-2004).]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
#39197 06/13/04 11:19 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 328
Ouch, but I think you also just became a better man in the process.

When there's a contract and any a flare-up, the best thing you can do is to eliminate or clarify any uncertainty as to where you stand legally by calling a lawyer (or someone who has had a reasonable outcome after a similar situation if you're unable to contact a lawyer). The best way to proceed is to have your emotional outburst or venting in your own space (or here, for example) and then put a lid on your emotions in order to get through the steps of dealing with the issues with clarity and better judgement.

On a lighter note, anytime I hear of wire-snipping I think about the story my parents tell of my dad's attempts to completely rewire a car. He got it all wired, connected the battery cables and .... NADA. He tried a couple different things and .... NADA. He got so mad that he went around to every wire he could find and snipped it. I never heard whether the car got finished or sent to salvage in their wrecking yard.

#39198 06/13/04 11:20 AM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
No problem with taking back the supplies (if they were yours), but cutting the installed wiring was the mistake.

Once equipment is installed into the building, it becomes part of the structure, and removing or damaging it is vandalism.

Next time, file a mechanic's lien against the property, and haul the HO into court.

#39199 06/13/04 11:27 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
...Honestly, the materials weren't mine,..I "appropriated them in an effort to re-imburse myself for the work that wasn't paid for"..I know,.."2 wrongs don't make a right" and all, but I was fuming!!! I guess my judgement was clouded,and I didn't consider the consequences ...What a lug-head I am... [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
#39200 06/13/04 11:33 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 328
...What a lug-head I am...

WAS... what a lug-head you 'was'... [Linked Image] (silliness intended)

since you've learned your lesson you aren't one any longer.

#39201 06/13/04 11:33 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
[Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
#39202 06/13/04 01:32 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 375
This is why most subs should not work for homeowners acting as GCs.

You really need a lawyer as a friend. Hire one to do all of the little legal work you need done and he will be around to advise you on issues like this.

#39203 06/13/04 03:49 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,438
I'm not sure how the lien laws in your state work, but I know my company deals with placing a lien on property a few times a year out of the thousands of jobs we do... One of those liens went from $1700 when it was placed in 1998, to about $8000 when the HO just recently tried to sell his house [Linked Image]


#39204 06/13/04 06:24 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 46
Tough break Attic Rat,definitely a lesson to be learned.The thing I always find amazing that there is always some other EC out there willing to finish a job that obviously another electrician has started.I've been called out to look at work that others had started and never take it on.Once Had a GC I had done some work for call me and needed an "emergency" rough in for a basement finish job(needed it the next day).Against my better judgement I told the GC I would do it but would charge him my (double time)rate to get it done the next day.He agreed.(I had to postpone another job)Well after rough in and inspection the GC "freaked out" upon getting my bill(he paid me 75 %) and found someone else to finish it.I found out who it was (it was a brand new Ec)and upon me calling him to tell him what I thought of what he did,he told me "Well if your prices weren't so high I wouldn't have stole it from you.I need work."Got to love people like that.Best of luck to you attic rat we are all learning from our mistakes.

#39205 06/13/04 06:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 91
njwire nut said it best, as i remember it they cannot sell there house (in the future) until they settle with you.

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