What are the rules for charge backs?

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Posted by: from Blumenort
3/19/2015 at 1:59:05 PM


We recently had a run in with a general contractor that we used to work for. We did a fair a bit of work for him in the last year. He was a very unorganized general contractor. Things were never ready for us when he told us they would be, we made a lot of extra trips for nothing, and a lot of times we would just finish what he didn't finish ourselves just so we could meet his deadlines and we didn't even charge for them. On one occasion I got very upset with him and gave him a piece of my mind. That's when he decided to drop us and hire someone else. Now it came to payment for the last job, he dragged it out to 3 months and when we finally met, he gave me a long list of deficiencies some dating all the way back to a year. Some of them are legidimit, some are just outrages with outrages $ amounts attached to them. One invoice he just changed and said I made a wrong calculation and lowered it over a thousand dollars. In total we are short about 8300 dollars.

Has anyone experienced anything like that? What are my options? Can I fight those charges? Can he charge me for things that happened a year ago on jobs that we have been paid for a long time ago and just deduct them from the last job? He called me back to a job 2 weeks ago to do a few touch ups, so it's less than 40 days? Can I put a lean on that? Can I write out an invoice for him for all the things that we did for him that were not in the original contract? Can I back charge his illegit back charges?

Any advice will be appreciated.


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Date/Time3/19/2015 at 3:17:35 PM


I seen this post and had to respond. I have been in business for myself since 1997. I started out with 3 business partners as mentors that gave me advice like the advice you are asking for.

When I first ran into a problem like this, my mentors told me to save my energy! Don't spend my energy chasing down individuals like this.

What is occurring between you and the general contractor is not right. I agree. But my advice is to move on and save your energy for the fight you are about to take on and go find a new partner to work with and give the new general contractor your best and it will turn out well.

Be sure to not let this happen again though. This first time is just a mistake for many reasons. Doing a bit extra for free, trying to get paid when you know you may not, seeing the contractor unorganized. All of these items were signs that you need to look at and have something in place in your company so you can deal with the problem as it appears.

Gerald Audit

Impact Construction Inc

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Date/Time3/19/2015 at 4:10:52 PM

Hi Walter,

I'd have to agree with Gerald. I get it your are angry and frustrated and want some justice. This will be far too time consuming and legal fees would out weigh any financial gain. Plus, your lien would be immoral, and end up being released.

Your lesson is to learn to charge an aggravation fee for some contractors and that's it. Unfortunately, everybody does extras for free, it's part of good customer repore.


Wayne Balliet

Builtru Construction

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Date/Time3/19/2015 at 8:38:06 PM


The two gents who replied already offer great advice. I too have worked for a builder who really wasn't qualified. In my case, I received payment, after an extended wait time, but decided not to work for them any more. (It's that old "gut feeling" thing).

The legal battle isn't worth it unless you have major dollars involved and you have documented back-up proof of your claims. It is unfortunate but a lessend learned.

What I do for larger jobs it to have a contract that specifies what is involved, as clearly as you can, and have both parties sign it. It makes for a clear understanding on both sides. Smaller jobs may be just a matter of trust but again, that should be your call, depending on the "gut feeling".

On that note, don't be suspicious of every job because you can become a company/person that others may not want to deal with ... for being too controlling. Sorry to hear about your situation but move on and realize that now you are much wiser.



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Date/Time3/24/2015 at 1:41:38 PM

Hi Walter,

I feel your pain.

I too, was a sub before I became a design builder and experienced similar treatments from disorganized and dishonorable GC's.

The disorganized factor can work in your favor though. Sounds like the GC is a bit of a flake.

The other advice you have been given is good advice and you would benifit by following it.

There is an additional course of action you can take though.

Hire a paralegal to take the GC to small claims court. Provide lots of detail and paperwork.

Lots and lots.

This will seem like a great deal of work to the flaky GC and there is a good chance he will settle at either the settlement hearing or before the trial. If not, I don't think he will be a good witness and you will be if you stick to the facts and portray yourself as an "honest, hardworking Joe".

Take the time to find a good paralegal and you will benefit.


Andrew Parker

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