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Shady Contractors

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Posted by: from Belleville
6/1/2012 at 8:48:31 PM

Hey I am looking to start some sort of agency that specializes in going after shady contractors, these people need to be stopped I am hearing more stories of taking deposits and running and seeing more terrible work everyday and it's honestly making it hard for everyone.

Any ideas on what approaches I could make or ideas on how I can legally fry these people?

REPLIES (17)
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Date/Time6/1/2012 at 9:11:23 PM

Im sure if you check with the better buisness beuro they should have some advice for you. And if you check with someone like a lawyer or a crown or something they should be able to help you to.

Best of luck to you. I hope you sucseed in this as it makes it hard for pepole like me to get work because of all the con artist out there.

Best of luck

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Date/Time6/1/2012 at 9:47:23 PM

It would be hard but not impossible to prosecute those shady contractors. The problem is the owners (clients) are not educated enough to make proper decisions and they cheap too much not to mention no proper documentation on the work. I always wonder why clients hire contractors without liability insurance, pay a deposit for the trade securement and such things. No construction (big or small) is without problems and the good contractors are the ones that are up-front on the problem and the possibility of additional cost. I think what your business should do is to try not to have someone go through bad situations like those and not trying to fix the problem AFTER the harm is done. Fix the problem BEFORE it even happens.

If you really want to go and have a business like that you need to talk to lawyers, mediators, insurance companies who specialize on construction problems. Sometimes if you don't go through proper channels in making these crooks pay for their wrong doings it might back-fire on you and you might end up having a lawsuit against you because of doing things not legally right.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time6/1/2012 at 9:51:53 PM

Or, you find your car flipped over and set on fire during the night. Crooks are generally strong and plentyful and hang out in packs... kind of like the MOB.

Not saying what you are thinking about is a bad idea, but maybe not with your name posted on a forum ;)

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Eagle Crest in Surrey
Date/Time6/1/2012 at 10:03:19 PM

John,

Being a contractor myself I agree with Jesse. There are many crooks out there. I have helped a friend to track down some one who stole from him and it was a mess.

Here's the problem, perhaps this is true for you. If you hire someone who has a well established business, they got there by doing decent work and being honest the majority of the time. If you have been crossed by one of these people they have plenty to loose when you report them to BBB or a governing agency, WCB fining the most if they have made a major saftey infraction.

If on the other hand this crook is just a sweet talker who you take a little pity on or who demonstrates a good knowledge of construction and has a truckload of tools but no establishment or referances.... then it's a hard or futile pursiut. Honesty and communication cannot be bought nor easily detected.

When I started my company a few years ago, I made a point of giving referances to prespective clients. With just the offer alot of people gave their trust. To all the clients who took the time to ask others about my history and character I was never offended and often glad they were as serious as I was.

I won't toot my own horn further, just leading to this piece of advice for you and all readers: If you have suspision or not, ask for referances. People who are not benefiting from the transaction. I've been contacted by a large box store to do installations and they asked me for 10, up to date insurance, and a CRC! I'm glad they do. Perhaps HandyCanadian might go that route for it's contractors and homeowners/clients benefit.

Best of luck!

-Brian

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Date/Time6/1/2012 at 10:16:20 PM

I like your idea but how do you make it work well one way is through licensing and permits this will at least insure contractors have been security checked and there employees this will somehow hopefully weed out the guys that work for cash.

Homeowners have to start being more accountable they need to do there diligence in checking out contractors i.e. don't hire a contractor unless they can produce licensing,permits,references and insurance and the other thing is stop watching reality tv it sends the wrong message most customers don't get what it takes to do contracting work.

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Date/Time6/1/2012 at 10:21:28 PM

Hi there. I agree that customers should be protected from all possible fruad and dishonesty. However, all small constraction companies suppose to have legal names, registrations, lisences, WCB, insuranse and etc. When customers are signing contracts, it is in there power to check all this reguirements and ask for references.

However, if you want to create a site that can protect people from this kind of "business" you can borrow experience from BBB ( better business bureau). This organization posted a lots of warning signs for the customers that idicate fraud. Another things like a case describtion, names, and tipe of businesses offered by this " contractors" could be posted on your potential site.

With best regards. Marina Reeves, directo of Artistic Homes by Pliska.

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Mark from Arbutus Sundecks in Richmond
Date/Time6/1/2012 at 11:36:11 PM

I agree with the response from my experience my company has been a member of the bbb for 7 years and I always encourage all of my prospective customers to check us out on the bbb before hiring us or anybody else. That way they are ensured that the company has web coverage and liability insurance

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Brendan in Mississauga
Date/Time6/1/2012 at 11:54:42 PM

In Ontario there is the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) for electrical concerns: http://esasafe.com/ and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) http://www.tssa.org/ for concerns related to fuels (natural gas, propane, ect.), and many other areas.

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John from Accu-Struct in Belleville
Date/Time6/2/2012 at 8:36:37 AM

Well I appreciate all the responses and advice here you are all correct and there a lot of things I should consider. I priced a roof job yesterday for a elderly widowed woman who survives on her pension alone she does not have a lot of money, when I arrive this poor woman told me the story of a man who showed up took 50% up front demanded it be in cash, this guy left this poor woman with a leaky roof and I mean leaking in countless places and he never came back, now she states to me she can't afford to have it re-shingled and asks me to please patch it the best I can. This guy needs to be in jail! She phoned the police but they haven't taken any action because the guy is unknown.

I am going to re shingle this lady's roof at my own expense to help her out but we seriously need to stop theses people from doing this. I am going to call my lawyer Monday as well as the BBB they should just make it law that you have to present customers with proper licensing, insurance, wsib certificates, and if not you face a hefty charge even jail. When theses people who don't know what they are doing a play with panel boxes and fireplaces they are putting life's in danger. I'm not worried if someone wants to flip my car in the night or whatever vengeance they wish to take on me at least it's not a 80 year old woman doing the suffering.

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Bill from Bill Carr Renovations in Baltimore
Date/Time6/2/2012 at 8:36:42 AM

Just because you are a member of the BBB or have a license , insurance, etc, does not make you an honest contractor. After 34 years I have seen a lot of so called pros botch jobs like it was a school project.

I ran across a contractor years ago by getting a call from his client. She had 6 pages of deficiencies and had called me in to estimate the cost to fix up his work before she paid any more money to him ($48,000 for a single story addition w/ kitchen & bath.). The work that this contractor had done was so bad I had to laugh, it was beyond anything I had ever seen at this point. And guess what - he was BBB registered, all insurance in place, licensed- fully legit according to the guidelines you folks are proposing, yet this guy was still operating. How? He had declared bankruptcy on 3 different occasions, opening under a new name the next day.

I ran across him a few years later working on his next victim. She was a sister of 1 of my clients so I was called in to see what I could do. The police escorted him off the property, I repaired his hideous work, and have been working for her for 18 years now. Outing shady contractors is touchy, but don't forget a lot of them are seemingly legit. I have also seen a lot of good contractors get trampled by shady customers.

I have said on these forums before that this is a 2 way street: if you as a contractor don't want to get ripped off by the client and vice versa- get to know them first. The first 5-10 minutes of every call I do are spent on small talk with the potential client, read their body language, get a feel for them. Usually (not always, but most times) I can sniff out a tire kicker or deadbeat. Shake their hand, look them in the eye and maintain eye contact, answer all questions thoroughly, and if they keep talking price over and over, it's time to leave. If you don't feel 100% comfortable with that 5 minute relationship you just had, proceed with caution.

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 9:28:50 AM

I think thats a great idea.

First start with the court system, make sure that all the crimanals, are put in jail for their crimes.Dont let the guy that just robbed 20 houses, get house arest, or make sure that the person that kill someone, doesnt walk free.

Then make sure that the guy that makes a life from stealing from everyone else, does his time and cant open a company.

Then go to the welfare system, and get all the dope smokers, and the lazy people off the system that can work, and make sure that they stop stealing money from the system that we pay taxes for.

After your done that, go to the goverment and make sure that they dont use exxsive funds, to party with their friends. or give contracts to their friends that dont know how to do the job, so that , they dont go over buget on the jobs, that the people of this country pay for. after you have done this life time of work.

then you can compete with the BBB, the is doing the same thing as you, trying to do.

Then every situation, you run into make sure you understand it because it could be a case that the coustmer, agreed to spend alot of moniey on extra work, and doesnt want to pay for it. Or could be a case that the customer, may have hurt the contractor and, and has caused damages to the contractors tools , or anything else.

Im sorry i do agree that there is bad contractors out there , and they usuly are the cheaper ones,

because they know people will jump, to save as much as they can. and thats why the cheaper ones arent the better ones. and by making it harder on the everyday contractor, is just going to make it harder for the people, because it will drive the prices higher.

And it allways comes down to the worker is hit the hardest because, because someone steals or finds another charge for something else.

You want to start a bussness to chase the shady contrctors, start with all the shady people. Once you get that done, you see, that the shady contractors will just disipeir

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 10:04:15 AM

It would be good to have an "agency" which specializes in punishing "black sheep".

There are a few issues that I can see. First, shouldn't the home owner do his home work? He or she should check the contractor if he is able to perform the task, if he has experience, a refference never hurts either.

The question is, how does the typical homeowner choose his contractor? Have a wild guess... right, you nailed it THE PRIZE, you are either the cheapest or not considerd at all (typically at lest but there are exceptions).

I know of quite a few cases where contractors where hired without insurance, WCB or even a business license.

I try to educate the homeowners and tell them why they should hire a ligit business instead of some guy they randomly find on kijiji and claims he can do it all.

And did you ever think about what you can do to the reputation of a otherwise good contractor? Let's say that a contractor does excelent work, he has all the requirements, all the tickets and even 30 years of experience in his trade. He signs a written contract with his costumer. The costumer is the most grumpiest home owner that you will find. He is only out there to screw contractors over. He complains about everything, stuff what isn't even relevant or not even the contractors fault because it was there before or it happened at the same time and it isn't even the contractors fault (material which got delivered and has defects). He gives you the worst review ever written in history and finds you. Now you step in and you will help the home owner to get to his right and slam a perfectly good contractor to the ground? Where do you draw the line?

There are a lot of shady contractors out there and it always will be and I would like to get the black sheep off the market.

I wish you good luck in your venture.

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 11:43:32 AM

I doubt there is anybody on this site (or any site for that matter) that would not love something like this. I think the prevailing sediment is that it would be futile and riddled with legal issues.

For the most part, most of these trunk slammers are pretty hard to catch. The next group, the guy that "look and feel" right, just take down their shingle one day and put a different one up the next. What you need to do is go after the individual not the company. I can be ABC Contracting one day, ABC+1 Contracting the next and ABC+2 Contracting the following day...but if I am the same guy then that is who you need to go after.

The guys that take the money and run without any work I think is pretty straight forward. It is the guys that claim substantial completion and then run. That is a totally different show, or the guy that stops halfway because he states something like, this was not in my bid, I need more money, etc.

I wish you luck, but my suspicion is that it it was relatively easy, legal or economical it would have already be done.

I look forward to this type of information being available legitimately one day.

Cheers

John

John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 12:06:13 PM

Hello,

It is very good idea to protect customers, but in my opinion , before somebody will open this business or website, they have to have this experience and knowledge themselves, otherwise this website can harm contractor's reputation so much that it can even destroy the business. It is very difficult to define "bad" or "good" in the renovation business.

Yes, there are a lot of contractors now who does not take pride in what they do- and their reputation does a lot of damage, especially for small businesses like our family business. This is why we have everything in place to protect our business and our customers -all licenses and insurances. It is our responsibility as business owners to give the customer that comfort feeling of protection and coverage and together with the quality of our work, working on the budget and the schedule it brings great results.

But there is a perfect saying: "It takes two to tango"... Sometimes we come to do renovations and the customer is TOTALLY not ready not for the process, not for the idea to live with the renovations process in their house. Yes, we did the estimate, but then the owner changed their mind so many times that the budget increased almost double... they get upset... and here it started... too late to change to the original budget and do not have enough funds for the new and the owner is asking to cut corners, like-please install the laminate over the carpet... please install the tile over the existing tile... I think every contractor has been in this situation. If we refuse to do it and the owner will insist, of course he will find the contractor who will do it and we will be in the black list right away.

Are we bad or good??? Do we have to cut corners just to meet customers budget?

Do home owners have to prepair for the renovation budget wise and living with reno... and be very specific in their dreams for the change? A lot of questions and to judge them is very difficult in just a website. But to harm honest sontractor who just want to do his job and be proud of it-is very easy, just one or two testimonies and it is done...

It takes two to tango.... when the third party is involved, it is better be qualified to do the judgment, otherwise there will be somebody else who will open the business which will be dealing with this third party... the process is endless...

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Date/Time6/2/2012 at 12:10:11 PM

We have been in business for over 33 years and have seen an increase in the underground economy. There have always been shady "contractors" out there. And some of them do have all the correct paper work in place but just do not have the skills to do the job. And, as mentioned, usually have gone bankrupt then open under a new name. However, the "for cash" contractors are now coming out of the woodwork around here. Over the past year we have been called into countless homes where bathroom renovations have been done for cash. No surprise that walls are crooked, drains don't drain, and tiles are falling off the walls!

By the time the homeowner calls us in they have run out of money and have lost trust in contractors. And often, we end up dealing with the anger and the frustration. The difference is like night and day when we deal with a customer who calls us first. We discuss what they want and work within their budget, get the permits and the inspections. Happy customers!

It seems that the public still needs to be educated. Perhaps the the local papers could run some stories on people who have been scammed by cash deals. Although, I am sure, not many people want to own up to paying cash and then admitting that they had been taken to the cleaners....perhaps the article could change the names to protect the innocent!!!!!

In a perfect world those of us operating businesses built on honesty and integrity would never have to deal with the fallout of these guys!

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Date/Time6/3/2012 at 12:48:25 PM

Good luck with that. I personally have been called into court by clients who take ex-contractors to court for work done sub par, not to code or have simply ripped them off. The end result is usually not in the favor of the customer, sad but true. That being said there has to be more responsibility on the clients.

Main thing is check them out, contact past clients not the trades that work for them. The lowest price is not the best and 9 times out of ten you get what you pay for. If 5 companies price out a job and they are in and around the $30,000 mark then company XYZ shows up and gives a price for $22,000, ask yourself how is that company able to do the job properly, use proper trades, make a profit and still be $8,000 cheaper? Common sense kids, use the brain God gave you.

Some contractors are pro con artists and that's a whole different level. Also, read your contract, if its not in the contract consider it an extra or its not going to be part of the project. READ THE CONTRACT! I hear these stories all the time then I find out they went with the lowest price, the company is not licensed, insured etc. So what did you expect would happen. Did you know that they set up sting operations in the states to get the ones working without a license and not insured?

That is awesome, we need to get rid of these guys calling themselves contractors and who are nothing more than a bunch of D.I.Y. hacks! Whatever I can do to help I am on board to change how things work but it starts with the clients who keep these jokers in business.

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Date/Time6/13/2012 at 11:21:07 PM

It is great to hear that someone is looking to weed these guys out. It makes it very difficult for those of us who are trying to run an honest company to get work because so many people are "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and its understandable too. There are a lot of shady home builders out there too, unfortunately that are happy to take advantage of the smaller contractors because they feel that they can get away with it. It would be nice to weed some of them out as well.

I don't know how you would go about making this happen but I do wish you luck as it would be beneficial to all of those who are effected by these companies. Customers and honest contractors everyone pays when these users get away with this kind of behavior.

Best of luck in your attempts at righting some of these wrongs.

Thank you,

Sherri & Dustin Depatie

Seamless Finishing Inc.

Office : 780-760-3852

Sherri : 780-297-0986

Dustin : 780-885-2231

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